Here’s a tasting sampler from Word Cafe’s first three seasons at Kingston’s outdated: an antique cafe. Click on authors to see blog posts, photos, and writing exercises from their events.
An online standing ovation for the mighty readers of the Word Cafe Salon on 12/3/15: Lisa St.
John, Greg Correll, Molly Lilly Correll, Peter Beuf, Tina Barry, Catherine Arra, Susan Dahlinger, Kathleen S., Connie DeDona, Juliet Harrison, Leeta Damon, Elle Cage, Terry Martin, Jana Martin, Susan Pittman, Mourka, Kathleen Griffin, Natasha Williams, and Craig Mawhirt. Thank you all for your well-chosen words, which ended the Fall 2015 Word Cafe series on a reverberant high note. Write on!
WORD CAFE EVENT ARCHIVE
JENNY MILCHMAN + JEFFREY DAVIS “INSPIRATION” 11/19/15
Hard to believe we’ve reached our last author event of the Fall 2015 season! Our topic was “Inspiration,” and authors and workshop leaders Jenny Milchman and Jeffrey Davis were an inspired pairing.
Jenny led off by reading the opening of her latest novel, As Night Falls. She described her turf as “tales of women who are about to cross that thin gray line, whose life has been upheaved.” All of her published novels have roots in upstate New York, and she’s very concerned with the economic and cultural tensions between longtime locals and incoming weekenders and ex-urban residents–the workers who build showplace homes, and the people who own them. She’s also the founder of national initiative Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day and the star of the World’s Longest Book Tour.
Jeffrey wrote the groundbreaking nonfiction book The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing and has worked as a creativity consultant around the globe. Practicing yoga, he says, “shifted my concentration and gave me an emotional range that the 25-year-old poet never had. It opened me up as a writer.” He treated us to readings of three poems from his forthcoming collection Coat Thief, due out in 2016.
This opened a freeform discussion of creativity and process, where ideas come from and how they develop. Jenny can remember the “genesis moment” of all her published and unpublished novels except for As Night Falls, which mystified her with its eerily prescient similarity to the Adirondack convict escape which filled the media right before its publication.
Jeffrey spends “a lot of time in museums, watching people watch art.” Before he became a father, he had “a regular poetry rhythm, waking up first and attending to whatever that tremor of a feeling is.” He’s trained himself to “seed my mind,” writing down something–an image, description, phrase or melody that’s “somehow in conversation with that feeling.”
Both writers agree that movement helps. Yoga, walking, driving, even a shower can give an idea room to stretch. Jenny also urged writers to “write the kind of book you curl up with at night.” Jeffrey described “the hunger for that immersed state, the song of joyful concentration.”
Jeffrey asked writers to start from “the nuance of feeling.” What are you or your character feeling at this moment? Don’t answer directly. Write into a particular description, scene or object that’s in conversation with that feeling.
Jenny invited us to “Look around this space. What would happen if something went wrong here tonight?”
Nina paid homage to the evening’s downpour by inviting writers to describe being outdoors in terrible weather, and heading toward a light. What does it turn out to be? Do you go inside?