15th Anniversary Spotlight — Yvonne M. Estrada

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

Yvonne M. Estrada, Poets At Work, Women’s Poetry Project
Project: MY NAME ON TOP OF YOURS, poetry chapbook (Silverton Books, 2013)

I brought in a poem on the subject of graffiti.  During the critique it became clear to me that I had many more things to say about graffiti than could be contained in one poem.  It was suggested that maybe i needed to write a series.  Learning that I could intentionally approach a subject from so many different perspectives allowed for a creative freedom that inspired more much investigation and a lot more writing. A series 14 sonnets in which the last line of one poem becomes the first line of the next, is called a “crown of sonnets.” Each one has different viewpoint and each one able to stand alone. Good lesson.

Connect with Yvonne Estrada on Facebook.

 

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Micheal Skiff

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

Micheal Skiff, Crafting the Story
Project: Kink Crusaders, documentary film

When at a loss for drama in my stories, I ask “What are the stakes for my characters?” This helped me to craft a story for my documentary about a men’s Leather competition.  I didn’t want to go with the tropes of Reality TV and exploit their “freakishness.”  Discovering the stakes – survival during the AIDS crisis in the ’80‘s, negative perceptions by the mainstream – was how I was able to better see characters grow and story deepen.  My reward, as an artist, was to hear audiences laugh and cry during public screenings (and getting distribution!)

KinkCrusaders-themovie.com

 

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Carmen Elena Mitchell

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

 

Carmen Elena Mitchell, Women At Work
Project: The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else, web TV series

Whenever I find myself drawn to subjects that I have no business writing about, I think of Terry’s advice, “Write what you don’t know. Write to discover!” I find that when I do this, I’m able to go past my own limited experience and start learning and growing along with the story.  With Real Girls, my main character is a journalist who is investigating women’s right issues in Afghanistan, a subject about which I knew very little. However, rather than staying in my comfort zone, I followed my instincts as to where the story wanted to go (and hit the library!) The result, I think, was a much richer story.

http://www.therealgirlsguide.com/

 

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Pablo Alvarez

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

Pablo Alvarez, Working From Life, The Art of Prose
Project: Gil Cuadros’ AZT-Land: A Queer Chicano Literary Heritage

My struggle to complete my master’s thesis was the simple act of sitting down to write it!  I learned that sitting down for 30 minutes at a time helped build my capacity to focus and write.  Each week I added an additional 30 minutes of writing so that by the end of the first month I was able to sit with my thesis for up to 3 hours at a time with breaks in between to stretch.  I emailed a participant after every writing session for accountability.

Connect with Pablo Alvarez on Facebook

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Sage Bennet

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

Sage Bennet, Crafting the Story, One-on-One Consultations
Project: Wisdom Walk: Nine Practices for Creating Peace and Balance From the World’s Spiritual Traditions

Although there are many things I learned and still use today from both working with Terry Wolverton privately and in a weekly group, the one thing that stands out is PERSEVERANCE:
* I set a personal goal of writing a chapter a month then offer it up for critique.
* I mostly take the feedback badly, but limit emotional wallowing to 24 hours  (“Ouch, poor me!”  “Well, that was harsh!”  “Instead of writing, I’m going to the movies!”)
* Soon after, I listen to the critique  (which I record) again  and find it extremely helpful.
* I make changes to the chapter under discussion and/or go on to the next chapter.
* I repeat these steps until the project is finished — or I’m dead.

www.sagebennet.com

 

 

October Poem of the Month — Angel Uriel Perales

Fugue Life

I’m nanoseconds younger
in the mirror and abashed,
wearing weakened skin
like a sharp cilice abashed,
drooping guerite eyelids
and inwardly wince abashed.

Such shame, the leathery cinctures
of centuries, such Biblical shame,
ashamed and drunk with lust like Lot
pining his salt lick wife and his pregnant
daughters repugnantly ashamed

but alive, sight travels from my iris
to my spittle spackled elapsed reflection.
A single candle flame flickers, fantails,
my soles are burnt, I’ve walked through
il Ciampate del Diavolo, I’ve seen
the devil’s footprints and the damned
fascist suffers from plantar fasciitis.

I pray contrite in this windowless place
where the hankering citherns play hymns
contrary to the wind; let the impatient
clamor bestride the misery of Job,
let the Buzite bees attempt to mediate,
let my adversarial accusers walk to and fro
and stomp up and down and let God
harangue from his tourbillion.

I am the only penitent in my fugue life.
I grin chagrined, consecrate my memories
to forget and fit my foot into the Teufelstritt.

Angel Uriel Perales is a poet and journalist currently residing in Valley Village, CA. Please visit his poetry website at www.rumrazor.com

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Jeanne Cordova

Each day for the 15 days leading up to the WAW Open House (October 7, 2012, 2-5 p.m.), we’re going to feature a current or former participant who’s completed a major project (book, film, album, academic credential). We’ll find out what they learned that helped them with their work.

Jeanne Cordova, One Page At a Time
Project: WHEN WE WERE OUTLAWS: A MEMOIR OF LOVE & REVOLUTION

What I learned at WAW: That writing is an art, like painting, which needs many layers laid onto the canvas. I learned what “story” meant. And I learned how to write story, as differentiated from “background notes” which is what TW first said encountering an early draft of When We Were Outlaws. She was right. I was wiped off my surfboard. Then I got up.

http://www.jeannecordova.com