Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

The third Sunday this April is Easter Sunday so the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Third Sunday Write” (see March 17, et al.) had to be scheduled a week early this time.  And while the warm-up exercises could be a bit prosey — a list of things known and that one might like to know, answers to the question “What feeds you?” (which could be poetic), and a descriptive rendering of a favorite place, the final event took on a more poetic flavor.  Poems from three poetry books were read with instructions to note down lines or phrases that seemed to particularly stand out; then write your work incorporating some of these phrases.  Mine, a poem called “Magma,” discussed energy in its various forms, potential, kinetic, but also mental — in imagination — and will it matter?  The ending, another “borrowed” line:  “The gods are never caught.”

Not much will come of this one for me, probably, in terms of work that could lead to a story, but it was fun.  And the end, fun too, was to comment not so much on others’ readings of what they composed, but to also pick out lines and phrases that stood out — an exercise in imagination but also an appreciation of things that can spark it.


Join us for this generative writing workshop.  You will be provided with prompts and have the opportunity to share your work.  This was the way it has been advertised (see, e.g., July 17 2016); the thing itself is the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “Third Sunday Write,” more recently touted:  Stretch your writing muscles with prompts, exercises, and activities.  Open to all Writers Guild members, this drop-in, generative workshop is led by local writers on the third Sunday of every month. So it’s been a while, but this afternoon, on St. Patrick’s Day, feeling an urge to kickstart my imagination a trifle, I packed a small notebook and gave it a shot.  The result, three mini pieces, the challenge being to write about (1) Solids, then (2) Liquids, and (3) Gases, all in my case being thoughts of a person buried before his time.  Ick!  Except, with some editing, I think I may have the makings of a flash story, or at least mood piece, that I might try sending out to a few places.

Next month, we are told, because of Easter (and hence the Monroe County Public Library with its meeting room being closed) “Third Sunday” for April will be on the second Sunday — not that stranger things haven’t happened!  I think, perhaps, I may plan to be there.

Then in other news, Barnes and Noble is having a new sale (cf. March 16, below) with discounts of up to seventeen percent, but like yesterday’s it’s for one day only.  Like yesterday also for info press here, then scroll in this case to the second row down for details.  But again one must hurry — the discount will be in effect for only a few hours more.

So yesterday I attended a session of prompts and readings, the object being to inspire imagination.  But many are the roads to creativityAbierce with, semi-serendipitously discovered today, an essay by Ted Gioia, “Were Ambrose Bierce’s Ghost Stories Inspired by Undiagnosed Agoraphobia?” offering one alternative method:  the mining of one’s own fears.  Bierce, one may recall, was author of THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY as well as such short stories as “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and (for science fiction horror fans) “The Damned Thing.”  For more one may find the essay itself on CONCEPTUAL FICTION.COM, brought to us courtesy of Robert Dunbar via Facebook’s LITERARY DARKNESS, by pressing here.

“Join us for this generative writing workshop.  You will be provided with prompts and have the opportunity to share your work.”  This was a members only activity of the Bloomington Writers Guild, despite some other offerings on hiatus for the summer (but First Sunday Prose will resurface on August 7!), held at the Monroe County Library, so on a warm sunny afternoon I and seven others had a go at it.  MCs were Joan Hawkins and Lisa Kwong and, WritersGuild1following introductions plus six-word “memoirs” composed on the spot (hey, I’ll tell you mine as a mini-lagniappe:  “feet smell/ nose runs/ built backwards”), we wrote what came to us in ten-minute time slots for three successive prompts.  Thus for the first, on “Where I’m From,” I offered an unrepeatably bad poem glossing the four geographical areas I cite sometimes in biographical notes.  So it takes me a little time to warm up.  Then, second, we had to write an apology but avoiding apologetic words, in which I in effect demanded to know what’s wrong with writing horror.  And then third, on “Nature” (with the idea of speaking for something that can’t speak for itself), I wrote a mini horror story in which a disgruntled forest finds a way of getting its message through.

The bottom line:  (1) the story, I think, will be worth rewriting as a sort of moody flash piece.  And (2) it all was fun.

Also to round out the weekend, Editor Clifford Garstang’s EVERYWHERE STORIES Facebook page (see July 13) has a new item on it, a link to Sonnet O’Dell’s last-August interview on moi (see July 5, et al.), in which I describe my then-latest book THE TEARS OF ISIS.  As I pointed out in offering the URL, Sonnet’s the one who asks purposely goofy questions among the more serious ones, that add a sense of surprise and fun — which one can find by clicking here.  Also, as noted below, there will be a new interview October 24 which will take up my upcoming novel-in-stories due out next spring, TOMBS: A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.

Today the second of my The Tears of Isis Interview Trifecta has been posted, the first of them being on LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS on May 7 and Number 3 scheduled for July 29 on the British blog DUSTY PAGES (cf. May 17, April 25, et al.).  This is the one by Teresa  Schnellmann on  THE WRITERS’ LENS which, as she has descried it elsewhere, has me “talking about how truth resonates, even in fantasy & horror.”  There’s more than just that, of course.  Her leading question has to do with what “brings your writing into focus — the characters, the stories, the love of words?” while others cover such things as inspiration, what makes a book or characters unique, and what readers might especially find of interest in THE TEARS OF ISIS.  I will say, in fact, that while I tend to be a relatively long-winded interviewee in the best of cases, the questions Teresa asked were ones I thought particularly inviting for answering in some depth.

So give Teresa’s interview a try — and maybe even leave a comment!  The title she gives it is “Fantasy/horror author James Dorr:  ‘True’ stories resonate with readers,” and it can be read by pressing here.

Teresa Schnellmann of THE WRITERS’ LENS (cf. May 7, April 25) has set aside Wednesday May 29th for the second of three (thus far) scheduled interviews of me with attention to the just published THE TEARS OF ISIS.  The first, “preview” interview by LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS appeared on May 7 while the third, by Sonnet O’Dell of DUSTY PAGES, is set for Monday July 29.  What new secrets will be learned in less than two weeks:  Elements that bring a story into focus?  The inspiration for THE TEARS OF ISIS?  What “fact” does for fiction?  Some or all of these may be answered, so check back  here a week from next Wednesday.  And in the meantime, if you’d like to browse about THE WRITERS’ LENS just click here.

But that’s not all.  In discussing dates, Teresa also asked if I might be interested in doing a guest post for THE WRITERS’ LENS on tips for submitting short fiction to magazines and anthologies.  So why not? I thought — I might not have anything that groundbreaking, but just a reminder of things in one place could be useful, especially for newer writers.  So tentatively we’re thinking about trying to whip up something for late June or early July, perhaps the week following the 4th of July.

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