Opportunities and Announcements: Week of December 13, 2016

Image of the "Stories by the Fire" audience courtesy of our host, Gin Ferrara

Image of the “Stories by the Fire” audience courtesy of our host, Gin Ferrara

Wow. I’m still glowing from the warmth of Saturday’s “Stories by the Fire” event at Hotel Vermont.

The warmth of listening to some of Vermont’s best storytellers share their experiences of everything from childhood adventures (and misadventures) in snowmobile-enhanced sledding and late-night tobogganing to harrowing holiday experiences on the streets of New York City to the rallying of a middle school band against the bully in their midst. The warmth of being so fully supported by the generous audience while attempting my own first shot at oral storytelling. And the warmth of following it all up with dinner and great conversation with BWW friends both old and new.

As our wonderful host for the evening, Gin Ferrara, said in her closing remarks, this kind of gathering and sharing of stories is exactly what we all need to keep us going through the dark days ahead. So I hope you’ll all keep on joining us this winter for workshops and craft sessions, keep on gathering with friends you’ve made through the BWW, and keep on writing and sharing your stories.

And, since we’re in the midst of our December fundraiser, I’d be remiss not to add that I hope you’ll also consider making a donation to help us keep on bringing free and open events like this one to the Vermont creative community. Any amount is deeply appreciated. Donate now >

The BWW owes a huge thank you to several people and organizations for this incredible evening. First is Deena Frankel, who produced the event. From designing the Best Of books to leading the BWW’s oral storytelling workshops to editing for Mud Season Review, Deena is one of our most dedicated volunteers. She is also a fantastic storyteller and (as I can now personally attest to) an inspiring and generous storytelling coach. If you haven’t had the good fortune of working with Deena before, I highly encourage you to sign up for her next BWW Oral Storytelling Workshop on Thursday, January 19th in Burlington. Turning your written tales into oral stories can bring out a whole new side of your creativity. RSVP now >

Please see our thank you section below for recognition of all who made this event possible.

Opportunities

January workshops

Our January schedule is up on Meetup.com. We have some great opportunities coming up, including a new member workshop, a poetry craft series, and a workshop on how to give better feedback. Check out the January calendar >

Call for art submissions

This year marks the BWW’s 5th anniversary of our The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop anthology—a book that is edited by, and features the work of, writers within our community. For this anniversary year, we’re hoping to get local artists involved in the design of the book cover. All Vermont artists are welcome to submit work for consideration. Call for submissions is open through Monday, January 9, 2017.  See the submission guidelines >

the-masterWinter 2017 Literature Reading Series

Thanks for helping to choose our book for the Winter 2017 Literature Reading Series! We had our biggest response to date to a literature series poll. And you chose Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita to be our winter reading material.

This next reading series kicks off the first Tuesday in January. RSVP now >

 

Announcements

Website changes: You might have noticed changes to our website this week. We’re just doing some restructuring to keep the website as clean and easy-to-use as possible. If you’re looking for the workshop schedule pages to submit your work for review at an upcoming workshop, go to “Our Workshops” and click on the page for your preferred location.

Flynn Center Blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Check out these recent posts:

Cynthia Close previews A Christmas Carol >

Lorraine Ryan reviews A Christmas Carol >

Mud Season Review interviews

Mud Season Review editors discuss writing with our Issue #25 featured authors:

Louisa Wakefield interviews nonfiction author Rebecca Fremo >

Chris LaMay-West interviews featured poet Triin Paja >

Patrick Brownson interviews featured fiction author Amanda Rodriguez >

Congrats and thanks

Thank you to everyone who made the recent “Stories by the Fire” event at Hotel Vermont possible:

Gin Ferrara for being the perfect host for the evening and for first bringing oral storytelling to the BWW with her workshops.

Deena Frankel for producing this joyful and inspiring event and for continuing the oral storytelling workshops for the BWW.

My fellow storytellers who shared their humor and their wisdom with us: Gin FerraraRichard FinkelsteinPeter BurnsSusanne Schmidt, Bill TorreyDennis McSorleyDeena Frankel, and Kevin Gallagher.

Hotel Vermont (and especially Tori Carton and John Abair), our longtime creative partners, for providing such a beautiful, cozy atmosphere for the event.

RETN, our media partner, for filming the event (stay tuned for when we’ll be featured on the station).

Susanne Schmidt for providing the excellent sound quality.

 

Opportunities and Announcements: Week of November 28

It’s time to choose the next novel for our BWW Literature Reading Series! winter-2017-novel-poll

 

 

 

 

 

The group recently finished its best season yet with the reading of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and we’re ready to start on a new novel this coming January. There’s still room in this dedicated group of readers who meet each Tuesday evening in Burlington to share their experiences and perspectives of some of history’s most celebrated novels.

As with each season, the current participants have voted among themselves to come up with their top 3 choices for the next novel:

  1. Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master & Margarita
  2. Toni Morrison’s Beloved
  3. Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano

Now, it’s the larger BWW community’s turn to weigh in. Voting is open through Friday, December 9, 2016. Vote now >

Opportunities

Stories by the Fire:

In addition to the opportunity above, don’t forget about It Happened One December: Stories by the Fire, our oral storytelling event coming up on Saturday, December 10, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  For the second year, the BWW will present Stories by the Fire around the hearth at Hotel Vermont. This oral storytelling event features 8 first-person, true stories—each about 8 minutes long—told without notes in the style of The Moth.

Produced by BWW oral stories leader Deena Frankel and hosted by BWW member Gin Ferrara, this event is free and open to the public. Our media sponsor for the event is RETN. RSVP now >

Member event:

Also, a reminder that all BWW members are invited to the “Afternoon of Poetry and Friends” book launch and reception for BWW member Anne Averyt’s recently published poetry chapbook, Autumn’s Yard. The reception will be held on Thursday, December 1 from 4:30 to 6:30 at Chef’s Corner South End on Flynn Avenue, just below Pine Street.

Announcements

msr-issue-25Mud Season Review‘s Issue #25 launched last week, with artwork by Ole Brodersen, fiction by Amanda Rodriguez, nonfiction by Rebecca Fremo, and poetry by Triin Paja. Congratulations to the MSR team on the launch of another fine issue! Check out Issue #25 >

 

 

 

Flynn Blog

Burlington Writers Workshop members regularly blog for the Flynn Center. Check out these recent posts:

Lorraine Ryan previews “A Christmas  Carol,” coming to the Flynn MainStage on Thursday, December 1 >

Cynthia Close writes about Sally Linder, whose “White Magnetism” exhibit opens on December 3 at the Flynn’s Amy E Tarrent Gallery >

Cynthia also previews National Theatre Live’s Hamlet at Palace 9 Cinema in South Burlington >

The BWW changed my life

Deena Frankel, leader of the BWW oral storytelling workshop

Deena Frankel, leader of the BWW’s oral storytelling workshop

The BWW changed my life. Really.

I’d been to a bunch of workshops, but never submitted work, as I struggled to transition from the dry writing in my day job to creative nonfiction. Then one idle Thursday night, I went to an oral storytelling workshop for want of a better plan, and I went home with a draft of my first “Moth-style” story. This new medium turned a key in my creative life. I’ve been telling oral stories ever since AND for me those oral stories became the gateway to the writing I’d been striving for. [Editor’s note: To see how far Deena’s storytelling has taken her, come hear her weave her storytelling magic on the Flynn MainStage for The Vermont Moth GrandSLAM II, Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 8:00 p.m.]

Workshopping member writing is surely the heart of the BWW—for writers and readers alike. But the BWW is so much more. A place of continuous learning about the art, craft, and business of storytelling in its many forms. A community of colleagues and friends. Rich opportunities to try on new professional roles, whether staffing Mud Season Review or The Best of the BWW, or leading a workshop.

And all for one low price of admission: nothing. But of course it isn’t really free; it’s just on the honor system. We may operate on a staff-less shoestring, but you’ve still got to buy the shoestring.

What we provide and produce together at BWW is quite an extraordinary feat of community. I feel honor bound to do my part for that community by donating my money, as well as my time. I hope you will too.

Deena Frankel, leader of the BWW’s oral storytelling workshop, design editor of The Best of the Burlington Writers Workshop 2016, and senior nonfiction reader for Mud Season Review

**Become a sustaining member at $12/month or a one-time donation of $150 and we’ll thank you with a pair of BWW pint glasses! Donate now >

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