Opportunities & Announcements: August 7, 2018

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Mission, vision & invitation to 2nd strategic planning session

Strategic planning update & meeting invite

Back in January, a group of about 25 BWW members met at the Fletcher Free Library on a cold Saturday morning for a three-hour strategic planning session. Since then, the BWW board of directors has been incorporating that input into a revised mission statement and a draft statement of values. The board has also articulated four strategic initiatives to carry us forward based on broad input from membership. At a meeting on April 7, we hope to get feedback on this work and roll up our sleeves on next steps. This post includes:

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Opportunities & Announcements: Week of February 5, 2018

In this issue (click to jump to a section):

 Opportunities

New Member Informational Workshop

Thursday, February 28, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington

Have you attended 5 or fewer BWW workshops to date? If yes, please join us for a new member workshop with BWW board members Rebecca Starks and Danielle Thierry. We’ll offer a brief introduction to the BWW—including how it all works and opportunities to get involved—and answer any questions you might have.  Then, we’ll review the work (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) of 1 member, focusing on specific elements of craft and giving honest responses to the writing. All skill levels are welcome.

RSVP for this workshop now >

Fast Feedback Workshop with Joni B. Cole : 2 spots open

Saturday, February 17, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington 

We’ve had 2 spots open up in the February 17th Fast Feedback Workshop with Joni B. Cole.  As part of this workshop for writers of fiction and creative nonfiction, participants are invited to bring 2-3 double-spaced pages of a work-in-progress to read aloud for appreciation and quality feedback. The discussions also will include instruction on craft, and insights on how to cultivate a positive and productive creative process. Both nervous beginners and seasoned authors are welcome. Enrollment is limited to 9. The workshop is taught by Joni B. Cole, founder of the Writer’s Center of White River Junction and author of the new book Good Naked: Reflections on How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier (listed as “One of the Best Books for Writers” by Poets & Writers magazine).

RSVP for this workshop now> 

Lottery opens for Generative Prose Workshops with Baron Wormser

Individual workshops to be held Wednesdays, March 14, 21, and 28, 6:30 p.m. in Burlington

These workshops will consider how various approaches to sentence construction can broaden any writer’s approach to his or her material. We will do 2 prompts each session, one from a fiction writer and one from a nonfiction writer.

Each is an individual workshop and they do not need to be attended as a series. Participation in these workshops will be decided via a lottery. The lottery closes on Friday, February 23, midnight. Enter the lottery now >

Baron Wormser is the author/co-author of fourteen books and a poetry chapbook. His books include Scattered Chapters: New and Selected Poems (Sarabande Books), The Road Washes Out in Spring: a Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid (University Press of New England), and The Poetry Life: Ten Stories (CavanKerry Press). His novel Tom o’ Vietnam, about a Vietnam veteran who is obsessed with King Lear, was published by New Rivers Press in the fall of 2017. Wormser has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. From 2000 to 2006 he served as poet laureate of the state of Maine. He has taught many dozens of workshops across the United States and continues to offer generative workshops along with workshops focusing on the works of a particular poet. Founder of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching and the Frost Place Seminar, Baron lives in Montpelier and teaches in the Fairfield University MFA Program.

 

Reminder: BWW anthology name change survey

The BWW anthology follow-up survey concerning the possibility of changing the anthology’s name will be held open until this Friday, February 9. We’d like to see at least 40 responses before we close the survey. If you haven’t responded, please share your opinion on this important question.  Take the survey now > 

Open hours at the BWW studio: All writers welcome!

During “open hours” at the studio, Burlington Writers Workshop members are invited to come to the workshop space to free write, write with guided prompts, make coffee or tea, and mingle with other fellow writers. RSVP for an upcoming open hours time  below:

Announcements

Board and strategic planning update

At the last meeting of the BWW board of directors, we finalized the budget for 2018, and focused attention on next steps in developing our strategic plan. (Meeting minutes will be posted shortly.) Here are our evolving ideas for next steps, with strong emphasis on the board’s intention to have lots of conversation in many different ways as we go forward.

  1. Mission/vision statement: Board member Partridge Boswell is doing some initial drafting of a revised mission/vision statement. (All organizations should have poets  do this work!) Once we have a working draft, we’ll bring together the BWW members who were part of the initial strategic planning retreat, and other interested folks, for an informal focus group discussion. We’ll also offer other, online opportunities for feedback and discussion.
  2. Sustainability and the need for committees or working groups: In the coming month, we’ll be considering a committee structure to engage members more formally in the work that sustains the organization. In some areas, such as retreats and space management, leaders have emerged naturally and the work is in hand. In other areas, more hands are needed to make lighter and more collaborative work. Stay tuned for more details later in February.
  3. Strategic initiatives: Based on the work at the strategic planning retreat, the board has articulated 4 strategic initiatives that seem to have broad consensus. We hope to have more conversation about these at the upcoming mission/vision statement gathering. Initiatives include:
  • Powerful programming: Supporting and developing workshop leaders and providing content and support that continually evolves to meet emerging member needs (such as the work being done now to ensure MSR can continue on a self-sustaining path).
  • Digital platform reinvention to better support members and membership development.
  • Redefinition of “free” to a sustainable model and practices for the organization’s long-term health.
  • Administrative support.

The next meeting of the BWW board of directors will be held on February 15 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will be a phone conference. If you’re interested in listening in, please feel free to contact us and we’ll provide the conference number.

Mud Season Review applies for Barrelhouse Amplifier Grant

A dedicated team of volunteers met the January 31 application deadline for this year’s Barrelhouse Amplifier grant for small literary magazines. If Mud Season Review is selected for this $1500 award, the money will be used to provide editing workshops and other types of professional development to journal staff in order to continue to strengthen the journal and its value for those who do the work. Thanks to Danielle Thierry, Margaret Grant, Rebecca Starks, Erin Post, Lauren Bender, and Deena Frankel for the collaborative work that produced a strong and creative application.

Flynn Center Blog

BWW members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Read Joyce Gallimore’s recent preview of Pilobus’ “Shadowland” >

Congrats & thanks

Congratulations to Barbie Alsop whose poem “social security day” was published in the February edition of Peeking Cat Poetry, Issue 34.

Congratulations to Martin Bock, whose “Studies in Depth,” photos, sculpture and a Burlington Ode, will be exhibited at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington from February 6 to April 28.

Thank you to Wendy AndersenKristabeth Atwood, Melinda BachandKelly BartlettPatrick Brownson, Rosa CastellanoTerry ClevelandEva GumprechtStephen KastnerSeth Melvin CroninNatasha Mieszkowski, and Rita Munro for hosting workshops in January. And thanks again to our January special guests, Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord and digital marketing consultant Mieko A. Ozeki.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of January 7, 2018

In this issue (click to jump to a section):

 

Mud Season Review aims for long-term sustainability & invites more BWW members to join the staff

As announced at our annual meeting in November, the BWW board and Mud Season Review staff have been meeting over the past 2 months and discussing how to help ensure the journal’s long-term sustainability while staying true to all aspects of its mission. We are now in a position to share our collective plan to help Mud Season further its objectives as an integral part of the BWW. Some very promising changes are afoot.

Click here to read the plan

Adding professional development for our staff

The main goal of Mud Season Review is to help interested BWW members learn how to become editors, better understand the publishing world of literary journals, and build connections with authors and artists outside of Vermont. To that end, the BWW will now offer at least 4 professional development workshops throughout the year, with in-house and outside editors sharing their knowledge with MSR staff as well as editing staff of the BWW annual anthology. The first will be later this January.

Adjusting the publishing schedule to allow for more community building

As part of the Burlington Writers Workshop, Mud Season also serves as an extension of the BWW community and learning initiatives. To that end, we are modifying the publishing schedule significantly to allow staff more time to meet, mentor and be mentored, and attend workshops so they can continually develop skills and build stronger connections with each other as a team.

Going forward, Mud Season will publish 6 online issues per year, one every other month, with discrete one-month submission periods.

Paying contributors in lieu of an annual print issue to save resources and adjust to a changing media climate

Because the print issue requires a significant investment of funds and time-intensive work, as well as the work needed to raise those funds, Mud Season will not be doing a print issue unless staff members decide in a particular year to take on this challenge and make it happen. Instead, with the money raised through manuscript reviews, Mud Season will begin to pay contributors, $50 for each featured author and artist and $15 for each illustrating artist.

This decision was made based in part on the following considerations:

  • While these are nominal amounts, payment of any amount shows respect for the work that goes into writing and art, and provides a strong marketing tool.
  • Paying contributors is seen as an even greater draw than having a print issue in today’s changing media climate.
  • Our MSR contributors have consistently expressed a preference to be online rather than in the print issue, because being featured online gives them the spotlight through an interview and allows them to share their work on social media.
  • The BWW already provides the experience of designing and working on a print journal through our annual anthology of member work.

Expanding and strengthening our staff

Mud Season can also strengthen our connection to local communities and receive their support in turn. We will continue to provide internships for Champlain College students and hope to draw on the resources of other local universities. But our hope is that the bulk of the journal’s staff will come from the BWW itself. To that end, we would like to put out a broad call now, to invite more members to be involved in the capacity that best meets both their needs and the journal’s.

If you are interested in being part of Mud Season Review, please respond below with:

  1. Any relevant experience, from editing to proofing, to website design and social media aptitude, to community building and marketing
  2. A statement of your interest, whether in a particular genre (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art) or in a particular role (reading, editing, interviewing, social media, marketing)
  3. What you hope to gain from involvement with Mud Season
  4. An assessment of how much time you could give to the journal (hours per week) and whether you would be available to meet 4-6 times a year

This call will be open for 2 weeks, and then will look to match applicants with the roles best suited to them, or modify roles accordingly.

Finally, a note on mission

In the annual survey and at the annual meeting, questions were raised about the connection between the BWW and Mud Season. We would like to share a few thoughts on this.

By giving BWW members the experience of a literary journal and putting it in touch with the broader literary world beyond Vermont, we enrich our organization in 2 primary ways:

    1. Voices new to us become part of our community, whether virtually or by coming to lead workshops and retreats or by giving time and money to the organization (all of these have happened to date)
    2. Mud Season volunteers come back to workshops with new perspectives, more experience reviewing stories and poems and essays, and more experience with the process of submitting and getting work into publishable form. Better writers and readers enhance the quality and reputation of workshops, result in better feedback to submitters, and draw in more community members and funding that allows the organization to expand its offerings. We are hopeful that with the new workload balance, everyone in the community will benefit from the symbiosis between the BWW and Mud Season.

Frigid day, hot ideas at BWW strategic planning

The weather outside was a frightful-15°F, but inside the Fletcher Free Library, the BWW was cooking Saturday morning when 2 dozen dedicated volunteers participated in a strategic planning retreat. The commitment, creativity, and collaboration on display suggest a very bright future for our all-volunteer organization. A summary of the proceedings will be available in a future edition of O&A, but in the meantime, here’s what the group looked like hard at work.

Opportunities

View Stories By the Fire streaming and broadcast

“Stories By the Fire December 9, 2017,” presented by the BWW in cooperation with the Hotel Vermont and RETN, is now available to watch online and on television.

ONLINE here  and here  and here.

ON TV: The show premiered on RETN Channel 16 on Monday, December 25, 9:00 p.m. And on BTVHD Channel 216 on Monday, December 25, 8:00 p.m. Additional air times will be posted online as they are scheduled. RETN is also distributing this show over the Vermont Media Exchange for statewide cable TV distribution. If you have any questions or would like to request a digital copy of the program, contact the RETN distribution coordinator.

Podcast Workshop

Saturday, February 3, 10:30 a.m. in Burlington

Do you enjoy listening to and participating in literary conversations? If so, please sign up on Meet Up to join us for a Saturday morning conversation sparked by an attentive listening to a podcast interview with an author. Before the workshop, participants will listen to David Naimon’s conversation with Eileen Myles, poet, writer and, most recently, author of Afterglow (a dog memoir). The group will continue that conversation to start the workshop, read aloud from Myles’ work, and allow time for writing based on questions or prompts that arise from the podcast conversation. RSVP now >

Mud Season Review call for volunteers

As we gear up for 2018, we invite more BWW members to get involved in the journal.

If you are interested in being part of Mud Season Review, please respond below with:

  1. Any relevant experience, from editing to proofing, to website design and social media aptitude, to community building and marketing
  2. A statement of your interest, whether in a particular genre (nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art) or in a particular role (reading, editing, interviewing, social media, marketing)
  3. What you hope to gain from involvement with Mud Season
  4. An assessment of how much time you could give to the journal (hours per week) and whether you would be available to meet 4-6 times a year

We will have this call open for 2 weeks, and then will look to match applicants with the roles best suited to them, or modify roles accordingly.

Celebrated poet performs at Higher Ground

On Thursday, January 18, Higher Ground presents celebrated slam poet Andrea Gibson. Here’s more info on the event.

Announcements

Congrats & thanks

Thank you to Lauren BenderErin PostRebecca Starks, and the entire Mud Season Review staff for their hard work on putting together the Mud Season Review changes proposal.

Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who served as an initial strategic planning group at Saturday’s retreat. And thank you to Liz Dallas of the Coaching Center of Vermont for expertly facilitating the session.

Thank you to Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord for coming all the way from Putney, VT, to lead an inspiring poetry workshop this week.

Thank you to Karin Ames for generating the idea of a new literary discussion workshop inspired by timely podcasts.

Thank you to Mindy Wong for her work in solidifying our winter space volunteer schedule and process for keeping the space warm, inviting, and well-stocked.

Congratulations to Barbie Alsop, whose poem “Making Loaf” will appear in the spring issue of Buck Off magazine.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of December 11, 2017

Hands in a circle graphic‘Tis the season when nonprofits remind us that their important work can’t happen without our tax-deductible support…because it’s true!  If you’re thinking about end-of-year giving, please remember the good work that depends almost completely on BWW member donations. Whatever you took away this year—a workshop or retreat, the opportunity to work on a publication, the fellowship of a writing community, a place to write—was all made possible by member contributions. As the end of the year approaches, please give what you can to support the health and growth of the Burlington Writers Workshop. Donate today >

Survey says…

That’s a teaser. Actually the survey is still open to gather input for the 2018 BWW anthology (aka The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop) and to recruit people interested in staffing the publication. At the moment, opinion is running 5-to-3 in favor of renaming, and there are some great ideas for names on this list. When the survey closes, January 2, 2018, We’ll announce the results and—if renaming is in the cards—offer a few ideas for final selection. Watch for an organizational meeting date early in the new year. And thanks to those who have already expressed interest in staffing.

If you haven’t done so, please provide your feedback and let us know if you’d like to be part of the team. Take the survey >

Packed house for Stories By the Fire

Stories by the Fire: A BWW and Hotel Vermont event

What could be more fundamentally human than listening to fellow humans tell stories around a fire? Saturday night more than 60 people gathered at the Hotel Vermont for the 3rd annual Stories By the Fire, a very special night hosted by Gin Ferrara and featuring 7 BWW members and community storytellers. Special thanks to the hotel for again providing the warm and welcoming space, and the snacks. If you missed it, thanks to our media sponsor RETN, you’ll be able to watch it online and on Channel 16. Watch for a link coming soon.

Writing retreat—literally—Feb 18

The Retreat Committee has some wonderful ideas in development for 2018, and its first event, February 18 at the BWW space, is something different. For this retreat, writers will neglect everything and lock in to just write, glue themselves to their chairs, eat pretzels, run up and down the stairs, take bathroom breaks…that’s it. This will appeal to writers who are deeply immersed in a particular work and don’t want the distraction of prompts, feedback, or direction from leaders. Also for anyone feeling like they don’t have time to write due to life’s many distractions, as well as writers who just want to get out of the house and not into a bar. If this is exactly what you’ve been needing to fulfill your writing resolutions in the new year, sign up for a seat and get ready to write. RSVP for this BWW winter retreat >

The Rally is On…At City Market: Rally for Change

Throughout December, remember that shopping at City Market and “rounding up” at the check out benefits the BWW. Through their Rally for Change program, 50% of round-up donations go to the Chittenden County Food Shelf, 40% to the Committee on Temporary Shelter, and 10% to the BWW. Visit the downtown store or the new location in the South End.  Learn about City Market’s Rally for Change >

Congrats and thanks

Congratulations to Cathy Beaudoin whose nonfiction stories “Opening Up My World” and “Seeing is Believing” were published in Five on the Fifth and Kind Magazine, respectively. Her fiction story “Gaining Momentum” has been accepted by Scarlett Leaf Review.

Thanks to our 8 Stories by the Fire storytellers:  Gin Ferrara, Peter Burns, Deena Frankel, Owen Foley, Cardy Raper, Anne Mollo and Bill Torrey.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of Nov. 27, 2017

Stories By the Fire: A BWW Winter Tradition

It’s great to be responsible for a new holiday tradition! This year marks the third annual Stories By the Fire, presented by the Burlington Writers Workshop in collaboration with the Hotel Vermont. This entertaining and moving event has drawn overflow crowds both years to date, as BWW and community members gather early in the holiday season for a tradition as old as the hearth.

Join us on Saturday, December 9th as Gin Ferrara hosts 6 to 8 first-person, true stories—each about 8 minutes long—told without notes in the style of The Moth. Our media partner for this event is RETN.

The atmosphere is magical. Please join us by RSVPing now.

Space Available in Dec 11th Poetry Workshop with Kerrin McCadden

Kerrin McCadden’s  upcoming poetry workshop  still has a few spaces available.  The session is the next in our continuing craft workshops series, supported in part by a grant from Burlington City Arts. Kerrin is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, inaugural winner of the 2015 Vermont Book Award, as well as the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize, chosen by David St. John. Check out her full bio and grab an available spot today.

Round Up for BWW at City Market

The new South End City Market is a beautiful store, opened just in time for the holiday season. And the timing is perfect because this month our turn came up for their “Rally for Change” program. Throughout December, 10% of all funds raised from patrons who “round up” at the check-out will come to BWW as a donation. The other 90% goes to programs addressing hunger.

In the check-out line this weekend, every patron around me chose to round up, so clearly this is a successful fundraising technique. It is one of many ways City Market supports its community. A good reason to visit City Market anytime, but especially throughout December.

Mud Season Review Issue #34

Mud Season Review issue #34 launched this week. Check out this month’s stunning words and images. And thanks to all the MSR staff whose hard work makes this journal a source of international recognition and justifiable pride for the BWW.

Congratulations

Mud Season Review editor-in-chief Lauren Bender‘s poem “# wife”  was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the Pittsburgh Poetry Review .

In this week’s Flynn Center blog, Cynthia Close previews “A Celtic Christmas, via Canada” featuring Canadians Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy, a sold-out Dec. 1 production.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of November 5, 2017

I talked to so many people this week whose lives were seriously disrupted by last weekend’s freaky storm; friends who were without power—and heat—for 5 or 6 days. I suppose the silver lining is the good stories that will come from all that adversity. The experience was certainly one of those times for reflection on the comforts of modern society.

Annual meeting Nov 11, noon, Fletcher Free Library

Speaking of reflection, next Saturday is a perfect time for BWW members to gather and reflect on where we’ve been, but more importantly, where we’d like to take this community of ours in the future. It isn’t too late to RSVP on Meet-Up for next Saturday’s annual meeting, to be held at 12 noon in the Fletcher Free Library. RSVP for the annual meeting now >

BWW Open Mic, Nov 16, 6:30-8:00, Light Club Lamp Shop

The first (of 2) BWW open mics associated with our BCA grant is drawing a big crowd for a full slate of readings, songs from the songwriting workshop, and oral stories. The 10 slots in the program are filled with a wait list, but there’s plenty of room to enjoy the evening at the Light Club Lamp Shop. If you haven’t been there, you’re in for a treat. Can you say “funky”? RSVP for the open mic today >

Seeking BWW writers for the 3rd annual Stories by the Fire

The Hotel Vermont has enthusiastically invited BWW back for the third annual Stories by the Fire, an evening of oral stories on the theme of winter or the winter holidays. The enchantment begins at 6:30, December 9, in front of the lobby fireplace. If you have a first-person, true story you’d like to tell in 8 minutes, please submit a brief description (a paragraph or less). If you have an idea, but haven’t told an oral story to an audience before, coaching is available. Submit your story description >

Congratulations

 Cynthia Close’s creative nonfiction essay, “Slip-sliding Away”—which was workshopped at the BWW—was recently published by The Woven Tale Press. Cynthia also recently published a book review of Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision in Documentary Magazine 

Nina Gaby’s micro essay “Observations from the Girl Who Wasn’t Even Under the Bridge” was a finalist in The New Millennium Writings monthly muse contest.

 Dian Parker recently published 2 short stories, “Back of Beyond” in The Burlington Beat, and “The Art of Falling” in BlazeVox.

 Jimmy Tee‘s poem “There, I’ve Done Something About It” was published in The Burlington Beat.

 Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members.

Opportunities & Announcements: Week of October 23, 2017

Fall is a busy time at the BWW, with many opportunities upcoming. But perhaps the most important opportunities ahead are several ways for you to help shape the future of the BWW, for us to engage in thinking about the future together, and to hear your creative voice, if you are so inclined.

Member survey launched

Today we launched the annual BWW Member Survey, which will remain open until November 4. Each year, the Board of Directors relies heavily on this feedback to shape the next year’s programming and determine how resources are spent. The aggregated results of the anonymous survey are shared at the annual meeting to help provide a framework for further discussion about member goals, and are used throughout the year to inform decisions—taking into account what’s working, what could be improved, how the BWW can better meet member needs, and who wants to step forward to help. With the organization at a moment of transition, your input is more important than ever.

Annual meeting Nov 11, noon, Fletcher Free Library

On November 11, we will gather from noon to 2 p.m. at the Fletcher Free Library in Burlington for the BWW Annual Meeting. Please RSVP today. You will not want to miss the collaborative thinking about the future and the fun—by which I mean good food, good company, and readings and performances from each of our diverse types of writing: Best Of, Mud Season Review, songwriting, the literature group, and the oral storytelling workshop.

BWW Open Mic, Nov 16, 6:30-8:00, Light Club Lamp Shop

Finally, I’m pleased to announce the first (of 2) BWW open mics at the Light Club Lamp Shop, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on November 16. If you would like to read your work, tell an oral story, or play an original song, please sign up here. These open mics are part of the programming associated with the BCA grant we received this summer. Even if you don’t care to read or perform, come join us for an evening in the magical living room that is the Light Club.

Announcements

The BWW Board met on Saturday, October 21. We accepted BWW founder Peter Biello’s resignation with sadness and thanks, and elected veteran BWW member Deena Frankel as chair of the board. As the board begins a strategic planning process—with lots of opportunities ahead for member input—Danielle Thierry, current board member and past organizer, will be aiding in the transition to give us time to decide how to “staff” various roles in the future.

Congratulations

Rebecca Starks’ poem, Open Carry, was published in the October 8, 2017, edition of Rattle.

Candelin Wahl has 6 poems published and forthcoming in Red Wolf Journal and HerStory.

Congratulations, Rebecca and Candelin.

Have you published something recently, won an honor or award, or have an accomplishment to share? Please let us know so we can help share your good news with your fellow BWW members.

A Call for Oral Storytelling Proposals

Submit your oral storytelling proposal by October 31st for:
It Happened One December
Stories by the Fire, a Hotel Vermont and Burlington Writers Workshop storytelling series

Saturday, December 5th and 19th, 2015
4:00 pm at Hotel Vermont

—An invitation from Deena Frankel, BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop leader

Hotel Vermont Lobby

Fireside at Hotel Vermont

Nobody wants to think about December just yet, but we all know it’s coming. So think about sitting by the fire in the lounge at Hotel Vermont, with snow falling on St. Paul Street, listening to tales of winter. Or better, yet, telling your own!

This December the BWW has two storytelling collaborations on tap with the Hotel Vermont to share true tales told live by BWW storytellers—our first-ever oral storytelling public events. With your help, we’ll enjoy great success and continue this as a regular series in the new year.

These will be curated events with an editorial panel of seasoned storytellers, led by our own Oral Storytelling Workshop leader Deena Frankel, choosing a well-balanced line-up from proposals by BWW story makers. Noted area storytellers will host each evening.

Here’s how it works:

Submit a brief, one-paragraph written proposal for a 7- to 8-minute story that connects, at least loosely, to the themes of winter, December, or a December holiday. The panel will pick 6 or 7 stories for each of the 2 evenings. (Let us know if you can make one but not the other.)

Stories guidelines are similar to the popular Moth series: a true story that happened to you (at least 94% true), rehearsed but not memorized, told without notes.

If your story idea is selected, we’ll invite you to “workshop” your story either at a BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop or at a mutually workable time with the panelists, sometime before the event.

The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2015.

Submit your oral storytelling proposal >

New to oral storytelling? That’s okay!

If you already tell stories out loud, you know how connected it feels to tell a well-crafted slice of your own life to an eager audience hanging on your every word. If you’re a writer, and haven’t tried this version of storytelling yet, here are some great reasons to give it a try:

  • Telling our stories out loud and in person connects us to a deeply ancient and primal human experience.
  • Crafting an oral story in a limited timeframe demands disciplined editing and choices that will help you as a writer.
  • Oral storytelling reveals what a story is REALLY about—why you care, and why we should care—more surely and quickly than you can imagine.

At the BWW’s September Oral Storytelling workshop, a writer attending her very first BWW workshop listened to the first story and then asked if she could tell her own. And, with no rehearsal and no real discussion of the form, she knocked our socks off with a story about coming to understand her tough, immigrant grandmother. Wow, writers make good tellers!

So please consider making a story proposal and helping the BWW make our inaugural public storytelling events at Hotel Vermont a hit this December.

Here’s an example of a storytelling proposal to stimulate your thinking. This was a successful pitch for a curated event on the theme of “summer”:

When I was 11, my very cool New York cousin got a job waiting tables at a resort in near my suburban home and he came to stay with us for the summer between high school and college. He brought all his cool with him: his red Fu Manchu mustache, his Buick Roadmaster convertible, and his love of folk music. I helped him work on the Buick, he introduced me to Bob Dylan, and he treated me like a pal instead of an annoying little kid cousin. After that summer a feud between our mothers separated us for more than 30 years, but rediscovering my very first record album—Blonde on Blonde—made me want to find my cousin again, hoping for a nostalgic reconnection. With the help of the internet, I found him, but the reality of my reunion with a self-absorbed slob couldn’t possibly match up to my memory of that cool, 1960s New York cat. Sometimes memory is better than reality and listening to old vinyl is a better tribute than an actual reunion.

Submit your oral storytelling proposal or come check out an upcoming oral storytelling workshop: Thursday, October 29th and Thursday, November 19th