Tag: creative writing

On Not Being Roseanne Barr: An Awakening in Whitesville


A couple of weeks ago I was in New York City for my son Vince’s graduation from his masters’ program, held at Radio City Music Hall. His sister Jane and I were waiting on the plaza across the street; I was reminiscing geezeresquely about how I used to eat falafels for lunch in this very spot when I worked at Stanley Kaplan in the 1980s. As I scanned the purple-robed throng for my own graduate-to-be, we were approached by what seemed to be three rock stars: a tall man in a low ball cap, a beautiful blond, and an even taller guy with a mane of brilliant, copper-colored hair and a slim black suit. All were wearing dark glasses. It turned out to be my son Vince, his girlfriend Shannon, and his friend Adam.

Writing Lessons

Writing Lessons
Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

I’ve been supervising a graduating high school senior for the past month. He wanted to try his hand at being a full-time writer, bless his heart, and he’s writing a novella for his final project. At our weekly meetings, he turns over a chapter or so of writing, and we discuss the previous week’s work. It’s been more than a decade since I’ve taken the teacher’s seat, but the old neural pathways started firing right away: show, don’t tell; omit needless words; keep dialogue spare. Though my role is more advisor than teacher, I can’t help myself. At our first meeting, I bled feedback all over his manuscript in black ink. What follows is a roundabout apology.

Don’t Shoot: One UB Student Stands United

image via ksdk.com
image via ksdk.com

University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray recounts her local experience after Ferguson.

“Is there a way to add to the conversation through our art?” she asked. Her eyes scanned the faces of the students. None of us wanted to talk about Ferguson, but we all kind of needed to.

On the Tenure Clock: A Cautionary Tale

image via mycollegesandcareers.com
image via mycollegesandcareers.com

As Goucher writing prof Kathy Flann endured five years of tenure-track hell, her health fell apart and she began to question her own creative work–you won’t guess what happened next.

When I landed what’s known as a “tenure-track” job teaching creative writing at Goucher College, it was the culmination of long and arduous quest. There were so many fiction writers clambering for university teaching positions that several hundred people would sometimes apply for an opening.

Really Write Your Book This Year


Betsy Boyd, Baltimore Fishbowl’s senior editor, is teaching a writing class focusing on “book-building” at the Creative Alliance starting next week.

The workshop “Let’s Get it Started in Here!” begins February 14 and meets four consecutive Tuesdays from 7-9pm. Boyd, who teaches writing at MICA, will give writers that motivational and editorial push they need to complete short stories or structure a book.

Not sure if you are ready to commit? Boyd says, “An idea alone is fine, but if they’ve started writing, we can mine those early pages.”

Writers will be expected to bring five to 10 new pages minimum each week, portions of which will be shared aloud. They will receive constructive feedback from one another as well as from Boyd during class. Boyd says, “I will close-read all the latest work during the week that follows and share my feedback more thoroughly one-on-one.”

If writers get stumped, Boyd has some solutions such as, “posing a pesky question to yourself and free-writing a set of three possible answers,” she says. “Or free-writing from the first-person POV of an ostensibly minor character.”

Both fiction and creative nonfiction writers are welcome.

Six years ago I walked nervously into a similar writing workshop at the Creative Alliance. By the end, I’d made several close friends whom I continue to write and dine with. Some of them have gone on to publish books and win awards. You never know the talent bubbling inside of you until you uncork it.