Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Apr 18 2017
4

Founder Elizabeth Ayres bids farewell to the Center for Creative Writing

Founder Elizabeth Ayres bids farewell to the Center for Creative Writing

In The Sound of Music, when Maria must choose between her life with the sisterhood and her life with the von Trapp family, her spiritual mother encourages her to follow the dream in her heart. “Climb every mountain,” the elder nun counsels, “Ford every stream.” For 27 years, I have poured all my love into the effort of encouraging aspiring writers to follow their dreams. Now it’s my turn to climb a mountain that’s beckoned…

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Dec 01 2016
Comments Off on Creativity & Social Change (III)

Creativity & Social Change (III)

Creativity & Social Change (III)

In an effort to find models of strength in times of crisis, I have turned to Holocaust literature.  I’m now reading a memoir called And There Was Light by Jacques Lusseyran, a Frenchman who was blinded in a schoolyard accident when he was 7 years old yet went on to become a hero of the French Resistance during World War II.  Along with two thousand Resistance fighters he was sent to Buchenwald, and, after a…

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Dec 01 2016
Comments Off on Creativity & Social Change (II)

Creativity & Social Change (II)

Creativity & Social Change (II)

I’m still trying to get my head around what it means to be a creative artist at this moment in time. Aside from the obvious, I mean – aside from the specific content of what we might write, what does the creative act do for the writer?  For the world in which the writer lives? There are two quotes I’d like to share with you, because they have meant a great deal to me as…

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Dec 01 2016
Comments Off on Creativity & Social Change

Creativity & Social Change

Creativity & Social Change

The seismic shifts in our political landscape have led me to reflect more deeply on the nature of creativity as a force for social change. I sit at my desk every morning for three hours and every evening for another hour.  How can this solitary work contribute to the healing of the deep wounds apparent in our society? Let me borrow an image I came across in John Butler’s beautiful book, The Wonders of Spiritual…

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Nov 20 2016
4

Nature Inspires the Imagination

For most of my life, nature has fueled my imagination.  When I am stuck inside for too long, I get cranky.   In school I angled for the seat near the window, and 365 nights a year I sleep next to an open window.  When I cannot be outside, I bring the outside in:  jars of sand, bowls of rocks, winter twigs arranged in a pitcher. Therefore, it is no accident that when I write, the…

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Nov 14 2016
Comments Off on Creativity, Culture & Consciousness

Creativity, Culture & Consciousness

In response to the seismic shifts in our political landscape, Elizabeth invited the community of Center teachers to share inspirational writing. We’re trying to hold each other up so we can, in turn, hold all of you up. We want to make sure the Center remains committed to establishing for aspiring writers the conditions necessary for creativity to flourish. Now more than ever we need that, yes? This piece was written by Tawni Waters, who…

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Feb 18 2015
Comments Off on #HopeforCarmen: A family tragedy, a writer’s eloquence, and a community’s response

#HopeforCarmen: A family tragedy, a writer’s eloquence, and a community’s response

#HopeforCarmen: A family tragedy, a writer's eloquence, and a community's response

Every once in a while, through the process of sharing our writing, we get an opportunity to help others. Holly Helscher is a Writer’s Eye student who recently submitted, as part of her week four course assignment, a story of personal tragedy within her family. Here are Holly’s words from Feb. 15:

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Feb 05 2015
Comments Off on Harper Lee’s second novel–50 years after her first

Harper Lee’s second novel–50 years after her first

Harper Lee's second novel--50 years after her first

The author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” widely considered to be one of the great American novels, is finally publishing a second book–50 years later. Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” was completed in the mid-1950s. It will be published July 14 by HarperCollins. Lee is an 88-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner who took 50 years to publish a second work. I’m just astounded by that. From Lee herself, about “Go Set a Watchman”: It…

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Jan 29 2015
Comments Off on Must-have literary swag—even if the holidays are over

Must-have literary swag—even if the holidays are over

Must-have literary swag—even if the holidays are over

I’ve come across a lot of fun, quirky, writing-related merchandise in the past month or so—just in time to miss asking for them in my holiday stocking. But guess what. It’s just about tax return season. Oh, and Valentine’s Day is coming up, too. Not that you need an excuse to invest in any of these super cool gifts for writers, whether for yourself or a writer in your life. I want just about everything…

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Jan 07 2015
Comments Off on Readers make “friends” with characters in books

Readers make “friends” with characters in books

Readers make "friends" with characters in books

I recently read an article via Slate that studies how and why readers become (or don’t become) emotionally invested in the books they’re reading. We know that cliffhangers between chapters can keep us reading, and how important it is to create a main character with whom readers can relate or at least sympathize. The fascinating thing about the article, though, is its conclusion that we “get to know” and “build relationships with” the characters and…

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Dec 10 2014
Comments Off on Writers are healthier and heal faster, studies say

Writers are healthier and heal faster, studies say

Writers are healthier and heal faster, studies say

Many writers might say they experience stress relief through self-expression. Doctors have been telling us for some time now that less stress equals significantly better health. According to a recent mic.com article (“Science shows something surprising about people who love to write,” Sept. 15, 2014), the recent findings of researchers in America and abroad conclude that people experience both emotional and physical benefits through writing. A 2013 New Zealand study examined wound recovery in 49…

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Sep 25 2014
Comments Off on My Writing Process Blog Tour

My Writing Process Blog Tour

My name is Abriana Jetté and I was invited by the effervescent Elizabeth Ayres to participate in the current wave of Writing Process blog tours, and couldn’t pass it up! Thank you, Elizabeth, for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts. It was a stunningly gorgeous day in the Pocono mountains when I first heard Elizabeth’s voice on the phone. It melded with the nature. It sat softly in the air, calming the already…

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Sep 18 2014
1

My Writing Process Blog Tour

My Writing Process Blog Tour

I was invited to participate in this lovely event by Tawni Waters. As far as I know, there are four people in the entire world who incorporate the blowing of soap bubbles into their prayer:  me; my friend, Kellie, who introduced me to the practice; my friend, Theresa, who picked the practice up from me; and Tawni, who, independent of any of us has been blowing bubbles as a form of prayer for quite some…

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Sep 11 2014
Comments Off on E-Book Giveaway Contest

E-Book Giveaway Contest

The Center for Creative Writing is sponsoring an e-book giveaway for Twitter and Facebook users who want to help promote our online writing courses and scenic writing retreats! I’ve written a number of books in which the Center’s philosophies about the creative process are rooted. Noted essayist Phillip Lopate wrote of my Writing the Wave: “Elizabeth Ayres has thought long and hard about the writing process, and is one of the most seasoned and exemplary…

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Sep 02 2014
Comments Off on How To Get Your Poems Published

How To Get Your Poems Published

This informative post by (widely-published!) poet Stacia M. Fleegal originally appeared under the title “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” on the now-defunct blog Versify. I wish I had had then the wisdom of Stacia’s advice which you can posses now! — Elizabeth Ayres If you’re a poet who is considering sending your work out for publication for the first time, I have some advice for you, for what it’s worth. Well, first,…

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Aug 27 2014
Comments Off on The Writer as Good Steward

The Writer as Good Steward

In a recent issue of Orion magazine, poet and writer Wendell Berry wrote the text for an article (illustrated with gorgeous photographs by Francesco Mastalia) entitled, “Good Stewards.” It’s a lyrical examination of the high calling and low economic status of the farmer in our society, and as I read the article, it seemed to me that much of what Berry has to say about farmers is relevant to both the high calling and the…

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Aug 20 2014
3

Word Collecting

Guest Blogger Ellen Collins is a Center Teaching Associate.  Here she offers a really unique tool that will help you make use of random images, memories, snippets of dialogue — all the flotsam and jetsam of everyday experience that seems irrelevant to anyone but a writer.  Thanks, Ellen,  for your “word tickets” idea! Ask any group of people what they collect and you will get a plethora of responses:  sea shells, ceramic frogs, ticket stubs,…

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Mar 21 2014
Comments Off on Annie Dillard on the Writing Life

Annie Dillard on the Writing Life

In this series we’re looking at a few inspiring quotations taken from Annie Dillard’s marvelous book, The Writing Life. “Out of a human population on earth of four and a half billion, perhaps twenty people can write a book in a year. Some people lift cars, too. Some people enter week-long sled-dog races, go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, fly planes through the Arc de Triomphe. Some people feel no pain in childbirth. Some…

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Feb 15 2013
Comments Off on Unsticking Your Writing Practice

Unsticking Your Writing Practice

In the literature on creativity, four stages of the creative process have been identified.  These are:  inspiration (when you first get an idea); incubation (when the idea percolates in your unconscious); assimilation (when the original idea matures to include new and old ideas); completion (when the work is created that embodies the ideas. I use the word “idea,” which is more relevant to nonfiction writing, but of course, we could be talking about images (for…

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Feb 08 2013
Comments Off on A Writer’s Valentine

A Writer’s Valentine

A Writer's Valentine

My Valentine’s Day wish for you is a torrid love affair with your own words, ideas, stories, characters, images. So when they pass around those heart-shaped candies, nibble one in celebration of your passion for writing. XOXOXO  Elizabeth

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Dec 28 2012
Comments Off on Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Next Tuesday is New Year’s Day.  Please accept my good wishes for a beautiful, bountiful harvest of days, and please enjoy my New Year’s reflection. The Journey When the sun sets.  When the sun sets on my river.  When the sun sets on my river, and the wings of gulls turn to white gold.  And the leaves of trees turn to green gold.  And the clouds turn into carnelian cobblestones that pave, east to west…

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Dec 21 2012
Comments Off on What Are You Birthing?

What Are You Birthing?

What Are You Birthing?

Today, December 21st, marks the end of the Mayan calendar. Tomorrow, December 22nd, is Birth 2012, “an unstoppable global effort to create systemic changes in all sectors of society.” Writers can make their own unique contribution to the shift in consciousness.  As part of the world-wide birthday celebrations tomorrow, you can publicly declare your commitment to write something that moves us all “another step toward a peaceful and sustainable world.” Watch evolutionist Barbara Marx Hubbard…

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Oct 26 2012
2

A Writer Looks at Halloween

A Writer Looks at Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a reflection on the holiday I wrote several years ago.  “Baking for the Holidays” is excerpted from my newest book, Invitation to Wonder:  A Journey through the Seasons.  “Lay me down like a stone, raise me up like bread.”  As prayers go, this one’s a champ, don’t you think?  I picked it up from a character in Tolstoy’s War and Peace…

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