Sunday, April 21, 2013

The NEPWC Journal

Today we tossed around the idea of creating a published journal of sorts, like the Stacks writing group did. It would feature original short stories and poems by our members, as well as artwork throughout. There seem to be four basic questions (or groups of questions) in doing this:

1. Getting the content. Poems and short stories, short enough to fit on one or two half-sheets of 8.5" x 11" paper, plus illustrations. All must be in a format that can be scanned, copied, and/or digitally stored. All content will be being released into the wild. Its appearance in even something like this may count as first publication, so that may complicate matters for pieces people may intend to publish later.

(One suggestion was that the content could be the result of a "free write", so that numerous stories and poems would be based on a single writing prompt. This would also keep the length of each piece low.)

2. Design. What works best for this? Everything typeset neatly, the rough-and-ready look of zines, or some combination of the two? What should the title be? What other information will be contained? How long will it be?

3. Creation. What sort of paper? Should the cover be a different paper? What kind of staples or stapler? How many copies? Where is the best place to do this? Who will bear the cost?

4. Distribution. The journal will serve as a sampler and an ad for the group. Where should we place copies? How many copies at each location? How many copies will we keep for ourselves, and for future use?

We are going to contact several people currently publishing zines (including the Stacks zine) to get their advice.  We might not have something in place for the Scranton Zine Fest in June, but we may have something ready to be dropped off at local libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops before too long.

Prompt for April 27

"I'll hurt you if you stay."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Prompt for April 20

The prompt for April 20 is from Rusted Root by way of K.K.: "Lift me up with golden hands."

Monday, April 15, 2013

REMINDER: Third Thursday is THIS Thursday, April 18

Our Third Thursday Poetry Readings for this month will be held Thursday, April 18 starting at 8:30 PM at The Vintage, 326 Spruce Street in Scranton. Admission is free, and all are welcome!

Here are some images from the March 2013 Third Thursday. All photos are by Alvin K. Nurse.

Leslee Clapp reading at Prose in Pubs at the Vintage, April 21 at 4:00!

Leslee Clap will be one of the opening readers at the April 21 Prose in Pubs, which will be relocated to The Vintage (326 Spruce Street, Scranton) for this month only. She did a preview of her presentation at this weekend's NEPWC meeting.

Prose in Pubs @ The Vintage will start at 4:00 PM on Sunday, April 21, 2013. The featured reader will be Rae Bryant.

Rae Bryant's biography, from the Prose in Pubs page:

BIO: Rae Bryant’s short story collection, The Indefinite State of Imaginary Morals, released from Patasola Press, NY, in June 2011. Her stories and essays have appeared in The Paris Review (online), StoryQuarterly, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, BLIP Magazine, Gargoyle Magazine, and Redivider, among other publications and have been nominated for the Pen/Hemingway, Pen Emerging Writers, and Pushcart awards. She received fellowships from the VCCA and The Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a Masters in Writing, teaches creative writing, and is editor in chief of the university-housed literary and arts journal, The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review. 

Rae Bryant's website:

Rae Bryant's Wikipedia entry

Saturday, April 13, 2013

HAPPENING NOW: K.K. Gordon's "Taking Liberties with Peter Rozig"

K.K. Gordon's dramatic comedy "Taking Liberties with Peter Rozig" is currently being performed at The Olde Brick Theatre, 128 West Market Street, Scranton, along with "Lou Gehrig Did Not Die of Cancer" by Jason Miller.

Performances are April 12 and 13, April 18, 19, and 20, and April 25, 26, and 27.

Showtime is at 8:15 PM.

Tickets are $12.50 for Adults, $10.00 for students and Senior Citizens.

For reservations call 344-3656.

The Olde Brick Theater, 128 West Market Street, Scranton

K.K.'s synopsis of "Taking Liberties with Peter Rozig": "Chris, a disgruntled postal employee, kidnaps a co-ed who's obsessed with serial killers in order to complete an absurdist piece by Peter Rozig. Wackiness ensues!" 

He summarizes "Lou Gehrig Did Not Die of Cancer": "Victor, the son of a spaghetti sauce mogul and a little league coach and his charming community theater bride seem to be outgrowing each other."

These two dramatic comedies are being presented by Scranton Public Theatre, Northeast PA's Resident Professional Theater, as part of A Spotlight on the Jason Miller Playwrights' Project.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Prompt and Superprompt

We wrapped up the normal meeting quickly on Saturday, so we took Chaz's suggestion of a "free write": ten minutes of quiet time dedicated to writing from a new prompt. The prompt Leslee chose was "rat poison," and we came up with diverse pieces of flash fiction: new member Vanessa told a tale of a quiet neighbor who has suddenly asked the story's narrator to pick up some rat poison at the store - even though the neighbor keeps a scrupulously clean house; Alvin wrote a story based on a true incident about a group of kids and their dog engaging in a fearless rat hunt - no rat poison needed (adding the phrase "beating a dead rat" to the vernacular);  Leslee wrote of a class that tries to have some fun with a substitute teacher by supplying her with false names (including "Rat Poison",) and how she turns the tables on them with a writing assignment; Marion wrote of two siblings, a hoarder and an anti-hoarder, and a dispute over an ancient container of rat poison; Leslie also wrote about two siblings, resuming their bickering after a temporary truce in the wake of their mother's death; and Harold wrote a story involving Ratt, Poison, and numerous other relics of mid-80's culture - and a woman who has chosen to live in the past, rather than join the modern world of iPhones, dubstep, and half-gallons of ice cream that are only a quart and a half.

Anyone else is welcome to write to the prompt of "rat poison" for next week. Try limiting yourself to just ten minutes of writing and see what you can come up with!

We also floated what Alvin described as a "superprompt": a "story seed" or beginning of a modified "exquisite corpse" story. Harold supplied the opening. Everyone else is welcome to take that starting point and run with it, wherever they see fit, possibly limiting themselves to three paragraphs or so, so they can then hand off their stories to the group to see where others might take them.

Here is the "superprompt" story seed:

Tim didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when he first came home. Pat was gone for the weekend, so he had the place to himself. He unlocked the front door, stepped inside, turned off the alarm, closed the door, took off his jacket, and tossed it over a chair. He stepped into the kitchen to fix himself a drink and heard an unfamiliar crunch under his shoes.

He was walking on broken glass.

The window over the sink was smashed, and glass was scattered around the kitchen.

He stopped moving and tried to assess the situation. Someone or something had smashed through the window.  Whoever or whatever it was would have made a hell of a racket coming through the window, but was stealthy or clever enough to avoid setting off the motion detectors - part of the alarm system he had shut off a minute ago.

Were they still here? It seemed likely. He knew that he should run, get out of the house, get in his car and call the police from there, but he felt rooted to the spot. Somebody was in his house - his house - and he wanted to confront them, not run away.

Tim stared at the broken glass and listened for any sounds that would give away the presence of someone else in the house. He didn't hear breathing, or snoring, or anything. But he did see spots of blood on the floor, scattered among the shards of glass.. Whoever or whatever had come through the window was injured and bleeding.

Where will you go with this? Write the next few paragraphs - or even chapters! - of the story, and bring them to next week's meeting!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Prompts and promptings for Saturday, April 6

At last week's meeting, Leslie pulled two prompts out of the book "642 Things to Write About."

Prompt 1: Choose how you will die.

Prompt 2: Write a scene where the only spoken dialogue is "Uh-huh," "Umm," "Errr...," and "Mm-mmm."

Harold suggested that for our next project we do a sort of "exquisite corpse" story - where one member writes a section and passes it off to another member, who will write another section and pass it on again.

Chaz suggested starting the meeting with an "open write," setting aside a few minutes for each member to write whatever comes to mind.

Our next meeting is Saturday, April 6 at the Vintage in Scranton starting at 1:00.