Posts filed under ‘Letter from the Director’

Jul 01 2019
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Photo writing prompt, July 2019

Photo writing prompt, July 2019

How does the world change underwater? How are sounds and sights different? What does water do to the feel of things? Does the image frighten or excite you? What of the soft fuzz of algae and growth on the smooth stones? Is this a river or a lake? What is just beyond the photo’s frame, or behind those filtered sun rays? How long can you stay submerged in close observation without a breath? What do…

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Jun 01 2019
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Photo writing prompt, June 2019

Photo writing prompt, June 2019

What about green? What about rain, or is it dew? What about dirt, worms, and bugs, and the beauty that rises from it, cyclical and strong? What about what’s hiding in or under these hostas? What about hostas? What about spring and growth and regrowth, the return of color and light and warmth so forcefully that winter seems once again so far in both the past and future, it’s unimaginable? What do you think about…

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May 01 2019
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Photo writing prompt, May 2019

Photo writing prompt, May 2019

A shore at sunset–a place where all the elements converge, interact, affect one another. The waves shape the shore, erode and smooth stone. The sun paint colors on water and sky. The water enters the sky in clouds; the clouds rain back into the water. So many mirrors. The infinity of tide and horizon. In this photo, is infinity contained by the view through this pipe, or does it grow out of it? You could…

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Apr 01 2019
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Letter from the director, April 2019

Letter from the director, April 2019

Life is springing back everywhere you look, it seems. The egg is a primordial image, loaded with meaning. Do you think of baby birds when you look at this image, the mighty pine sheltering the nest from harm and the lingering chill? Or do you think, in broader terms, of the egg’s symbolism, of fertility and possibility? Does the vibrant blue of this tiny egg make you think of Easter egg hunts, or of Ostara,…

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Mar 01 2019
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Letter from the director, March 2019

Letter from the director, March 2019

  Talk to me about the night sky, about late winter under stars speeding (hopefully) toward spring in the northern hemisphere, about the pending return of more light than dark, about the various points of light in this image, both natural and artificial. Who is this person? A stargazer? Explorer? Someone on the run? Is this person coming or going? Is this our world, or another–where are we? What do the stars, the winter trees,…

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Feb 01 2019
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Letter from the director, February 2019

Letter from the director, February 2019

  They are all frozen water, but no two snowflakes are exactly alike. Let’s talk about our differences, the traits, qualities, quirks, and so on that make us unique. Let’s talk about what “difference” and “uniqueness” mean–and for that matter, sameness, and what most humans have in common. What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Jan 01 2019
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Letter from the director, January 2019

Letter from the director, January 2019

What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. Do you see the persistence of death and destructive forces or life and generative forces when you look at this picture? Is it one of warmth or coldness, defiance or acquiescence? Where is it? Who is seeing it? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Dec 01 2018
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Letter from the director, December 2018

Letter from the director, December 2018

Who is this creature, and how did you come upon her? Or did she come upon you–is she running from or toward her own threat? Is she a menacing figure that instills fear, or is she majestic, perhaps an animal guide, a companion? Is she an omen or a sentry, foe or friend? What makes you think so? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Nov 01 2018
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Letter from the director, November 2018

Letter from the director, November 2018

You can’t tell whether this leaf is still attached to a tree or has drifted to the soon-frozen ground, but you can see the intricate beauty of its veins, the damage its papery skin has endured, the bold color, the fragility, the persistence…all these competing forces contained in one iconic seasonal image-object. So. Look close. Do you see life or death? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Oct 01 2018
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Letter from the director, October 2018

Letter from the director, October 2018

Ah, a country road in the fall. Is this a road in, or a road out? What is it leading to or away from? What is that old fence holding in or keeping out? What do you see around the bend? What do you hear, smell, taste, feel? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Sep 01 2018
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Letter from the director, September 2018

Letter from the director, September 2018

Where are you going? Where have you been? What mark(s) will you leave on the world? What mark(s) have others left for you? Who left this footprint? How long do the footprints go on? Are they the only ones, or do they go where others have gone before? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Aug 01 2018
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Letter from the director, August 2018

Letter from the director, August 2018

Is this a positive or negative image? Do you see a bright future or a dark hole with escape just out of reach? Are you focused on up or down? How did the photographer get down in there, anyway, and how did they get out? Does the thought of a cave or underground enclosure make you feel warm and safe or claustrophobic? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about…

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Jul 01 2018
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Letter from the director, July 2018

Letter from the director, July 2018

Are you feeling the heat, writers? How are you interpreting that phrase? Are you thinking about whether or not your air conditioner is working, or are you under pressure at work or even in your writing practice? What does this photo make you think about? How does the literal and figurative heat connect you with the rest of the world, the rest of the universe? Write about it in July. If you feel so inclined,…

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Jun 01 2018
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Letter from the director: June 2018

Letter from the director: June 2018

School is NOT out for the summer, if you’re a student at the Center for Creative Writing! We just started up a brand new session of our five-week online writing courses and students and teachers alike are flexing our creative muscles. Monthly photo prompt writing contest for email list subscribers! If you aren’t currently enrolled but want to write with us, we are also launching a new community-building project through our email list. Every first…

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May 01 2018
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Letter from the director: May 2018

Letter from the director: May 2018

Dear writers, May Day, mayday! If your writing is in distress at this start of May, let me remind you: just like a late winter storm, this too shall pass. In the creative world, we talk a lot about blocks. I’ve said before and will continue to say that I don’t believe in writer’s block. There are too many tried and true techniques to steer around blocks or banish blocks entirely, too many tips for…

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Apr 02 2018
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Letter from the director: April 2018

Letter from the director: April 2018

Dear writers, I don’t know where you are in the world right now, but in the Northeast U.S., spring is taking its sweet time to arrive. The waiting truly is the hardest part, and that’s what I want to talk about as March closes and April opens: how the creative process so often feels like delayed gratification. Maybe you are waiting to take a writing class, attend a retreat, or join a group. Maybe you’re…

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Mar 01 2018
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Letter from the director, March 2018

Letter from the director, March 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what writers want. I am one, so I have some perspective on the matter! I’ve called myself a writer for 20 years, so my challenge, in serving as director for an online hub for primarily beginning and blocked writers, is to remember what it was like to be just starting out. What did I want then? Less challenging is remembering what it feels like to be blocked, because…

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Feb 01 2018
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Letter from the director, February 2018

Letter from the director, February 2018

On Wednesday, a blue moon, super moon, and blood moon coincided in the pre-dawn sky for the first time in 152 years. What a universe we live in. I want to talk about wonder, because I’ve been thinking a lot about how so many people might be writers and not even know it because they haven’t, for whatever reason, channeled their wonder and awe at the world around them. That’s all it takes, really, to…

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Jan 03 2018
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Letter from the director, January 2018

Letter from the director, January 2018

Dear writers, When one year closes, another one opens. In Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Burning the Old Year,” the poet writes Where there was something and suddenly isn’t, an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space. I begin again with the smallest numbers.

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Dec 01 2017
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Letter from the director: December 2017

Letter from the director: December 2017

  I don’t know about you, but as the end-of-year holidays approach, the largest and loudest feeling I feel is gratitude. The festive season and the longer nights make me cozy up to awareness of what I have, rather than focusing on what I don’t have. And I don’t mean material possessions. I am grateful for good relationships with my friends and family, especially my young son; but beyond my support system, I am most…

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Nov 01 2017
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Letter from the director, November 2017

Letter from the director, November 2017

It’s the first of November. The nights are growing longer, and the days shorter. Soon here in the U.S., we will turn back the clocks one hour and consider the illusion that we are gaining time. And perhaps we are, since time is a mental construct. What will you do with your “extra hour”? How will you “make more time” and space for writing in your life? These are the questions I ponder myself, as…

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Oct 01 2017
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Letter from the director, October 2017

Letter from the director, October 2017

Dear writers, Fall has fallen. I know I’m not alone in preferring this season over all the others, even as I enjoy warm weather activities and dread the barren landscape, biting cold, and ice-covered roads that follow. The grand metaphor of the Earth preparing for a long sleep by first putting on a brilliant show of color is energizing to me. Be slow, fall, said the poet Robert Frost: O hushed October morning mild, Thy…

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Sep 03 2017
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Letter from the director, September 2017

Letter from the director, September 2017

In a few short weeks, summer will be over and fall–and the first fall session of Center courses–will arrive. As usual here in the northeastern U.S., it feels too soon, like we can’t possibly have already moved through the warm months even though we can feel with visceral clarity the morning chill in the air. At this time of changing seasons, I am reminded that there are seasons in our creative lives as well. Sometimes…

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Aug 01 2017
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Letter from the director, August 2017

Letter from the director, August 2017

Dear writers, How is it August already? The last session of the Center’s online writing courses before a late summer break is in full swing, but here I am, thinking about the harvest. I remember that in pagan culture, the first of August is the first of three harvest-oriented celebrations. To harvest is to work, to bring forth the proverbial fruits (and vegetables!) of one’s labor. In the context of writing, a harvest might be…

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Jul 02 2017
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Letter from the director, July 2017

Letter from the director, July 2017

Dear writers, It’s Fourth of July weekend and all I can think about is fireworks–how to light up the sky with words. Like you, I write. I have several projects in progress at the moment, and probably also like you, I sometimes struggle to get to the page. Life gets busy, and between our various obligations, sitting down to write (especially when the weather is gorgeous!) can pose a challenge. To myself and to all…

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May 30 2017
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Letter from the director, June 2017

Letter from the director, June 2017

Greetings, writers, I’m actually writing this letter on May 30, the first day of a new session of courses here at the Center. Our teachers and students are gearing up to spend the next five weeks reading, reflecting, and of course writing. I am fielding inquiries, organizing course materials, updating the website, and getting to know my own students. The first day of school has always made me feel giddy. I always looked forward to…

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