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

 

 

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

 

 

15th Anniversary Spotlight — Sharon Venezio

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.

Sharon Venezio, Poets At Work
Project: The Silence of Doorways (Moon Tide Press, 2013)

Terry Wolverton helped me understand the process of revision.   My earlier notion of revision was making minor edits by changing a word or two and being done with it.  My revision process has become more aggressive; I’m not afraid to cut lines or even stanzas if those words don’t serve the poem.  Revision is a way to push poems past their limit, stretch them out and open up a space for possibility. In short, Terry taught me how to dig deep and pay attention.

www.sharonvenezio.com