April Grotto Class Bulletin

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Lindsey Crittenden

Apr 14, 2016, 1:07:50 PM4/14/16
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Class Bulletin

SPRING CLASSES IN FULL BLOOM!  We’ve got multi week workshops & one-day courses in poetry, personal essay, short story, travel writing, grammar, memoir, and spoken word, all taught by published professionals.  Sign up now at http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/upcoming-classes or scroll down to Note Three.

Note One: Writing Tips from Our Teachers

From Lavinia Spalding (Writing the Travel Essay, 6 sessions starting Wed., Apr. 13):

I have two assignments I always give my students when I teach a travel essay workshop. First, I ask them to read a poem every single day during our six-week course, recommending they subscribe to a poem-a-day site (I like writersalmanac.org), or check out some books of poetry. I do this not because I hope my travel-writing students will suddenly discover a deep passion for poetry (though they usually do), but because reading poems is a great way to encounter beautiful language. So my first tip is to read a poem every day and pay close attention to the words. Read for pleasure, but also for vocabulary.  

The second assignment I call “word harvesting.” While reading these poems – and anything else you happen to be reading, keep a running list of words that strike you as special, beautiful, evocative. They needn’t be fancy or esoteric—just lovely words you don’t tend to use in your own writing. I’ve been word harvesting for over a decade now, and it’s one of the best tools I’ve found for keep my writing fresh. During the final editing stage of any piece of writing, I refer to my lists, plugging in these words wherever I can. I keep word lists on my phone, and I update the lists constantly. Word harvesting is an easy way to elevate writing—and it’s fun. And it’s also important, because as writers, it’s up to us to keep beautiful language alive.

Note Two: What We’re Reading Now 

From Anisse Gross (Freelance Writing, 5 sessions beginning Th., Apr. 28; Freelancing Bootcamp, 1 session, Sun., May 1) 

Growing up, I never liked science class. So as an adult, it’s not surprising that I’ve never been drawn to reading about science. Which is a shame, because scientific discovery is more closely related to the art of writing than I’d once thought. Mary Roach is someone I look to as a great example of a writer who can convert any science-phobic person to an enthusiast. In her newest book GRUNT: The Curious Science of Humans at War (June, 2016), she explores the oft-overlooked parts of keeping human beings alive, safe, and hopefully emotionally and mentally intact through the difficulty that is war. GRUNT examines a range of dangers, from heat to the bombs which cause flesh to “flower” (yes the book has many gruesome details), and allows us to meet the scientists and engineers who work tirelessly to mitigate these threats. Roach has so much fun while doing her research, that it’s infectious. Her prose is accessible, funny, and morbid all at once, and she reminds me as a writer, that if you let the joy of the writing process show on the page, the reader will feel it too.

Note Three: Upcoming Classes

Classes are listed in chronological order, by date of first session.  For full descriptions and to enroll, click on each class or go to http://www.sfgrotto.org/classes/upcoming-classes for the complete catalog.

Thursdays, April 14, 21, 28; May 5, 12, 19

6:30 - 9 p.m.


Sat., April 16

1-4 p.m.

Saturdays, April 30; May 7, 14, 21
3 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
$220 ($200 early bird before April 15)

Producing Your Solo Performance or Storytelling Event (with Zahra Noorbakhsh)

Sun., May 1
10:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Freelancing Bootcamp (with Anisse Gross)

Sun., May 1
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Sun., May 15
10:00 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Sun., May 29
9:00 a.m. - noon

Sin and Syntax Workshop: Grammar Brush-up for Writers (with Constance Hale)

Sat., June 11
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Note Four:  News & Updates

Congratulations to Kaylen Baker, a student from our summer 2015 Writing What Matters class, on her acceptance to the Writing MFA Program at Columbia University School of the Arts in NYC! 

We love hearing from you!  Send your news, feedback, & suggestions to Lindsey Crittenden at lindseyec...@gmail.com 

We’ll be rolling out our new (& improved) Grotto Letter in the next couple months, with the latest on Grotto classes, the craft of writing, and news from the Grotto community.  As a Bulletin subscriber, you’ll be among the first to see the inaugural issue.

Thanks for reading!
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