#WritersResist

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Writers Resist was launched after the recent elections by poet Erin Belieu, to encourage us to recommit our focus to the fundamental ideals of democracy and social justice for all.

The flagship Writers Resist event, co-sponsored by PEN America, is being held on Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday, January 15, 2017, in New York City. Prominent writers, including American poet laureates Robert Pinsky and Rita Dove, will gather on the steps of the New York Public Library to “re-inaugurate” their commitment to the fundamental principles of democracy. Throughout the US and in other countries, other events will take place where invited speakers will read from a curated selection of diverse writers’ voices that speak to the ideals of Democracy and free expression. The public is encouraged to attend.

Writers Resist is not affiliated with a political party. We wish to bypass direct political discourse in favor of an inspired focus on the future, and how we, as writers, can be a unifying force for the protection of democracy. In order for us to heal and move forward, individually and as a nation, we believe people need something to be for in this anxious moment. We believe these events will coalesce and energize a widespread network of writer-activists throughout the United States and in other countries capable of becoming a consistently potent voice and force for social good around the world.

BLOOMINGTON WRITERS RESIST will be held 3-5pm on Sunday, January 15, 2017, in the Whikehart Auditorium at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, 122 South Walnut Street, Bloomington. Our readers will include Scott Russell Sanders, Mihee Kim-Kort, Adrian Matejka, Catherine Bowman, Joe Betz, Emily Bobo, Paul Daily, Derek Mong, Christine Brandel, & Samantha Levy-Arnold. There will be an open mic and appropriate readings available for those who’d like to participate. We will also have information about community resources available. We will be accepting donations, all of which will go to Bloomington Pride.

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A Writing Process Blog Tour

Pens

Thank you to Dan Nielsen for inviting me to participate in this blog tour. Please stop by his blog, preponderous.wordpress.com, to read his work.

What are you working on?

Right now I am finishing two poetry collections. Each has a loose ‘theme’ and a couple gaps, so I am currently trying to muster up the inspiration to write a poem involving a key as well as three others about spiders and/or dance. I’m also working on short pieces for my character, Agatha Whitt-Wellington (Miss), and finishing a paper on creative writing as a logotherapeutic technique.

Despite these projects, though, my brain’s been spewing out some flash fiction as of late. I don’t know quite where they’ve come from, but if something shows up in my head, I do my best to let it out.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

Regardless of the genre, voice is the most important — and hopefully the most original — element in my work. Someone described my book as a “tough set of poems” and said “Panic Annie will resonate with me for some time to come. I may have nightmares.” I hope it was meant as a compliment because that’s how I took it. It’s precisely what I want my work to do — resonate and stay. (The nightmare part is optional).

Why do you write what you do?

To stop my own nightmares. No, not really.

I wasn’t lying — I don’t know why I write the fiction I write. My poetry is written to convey themes that I think are worth thinking about. The Agatha pieces are written primarily to make myself laugh.

How does your writing process work?

Fiction arrives in my head and comes out my fingers. I send drafts to other writers and ignore their feedback, because I almost feel like I’ve not got the right to change anything. I’m all right not understanding how or why the stories arrive; I just appreciate the fact that they do.

I occasionally have a point I want Agatha to make, so I concentrate really hard with my eyes squinting until I find a way to write it in her voice. Other times, I’ll build an entire post around a single line if it captures her perfectly.

My process for poetry often starts with an image, and I’ll work to build a poem around it. If I can’t, it goes into a file in the hopes that one day the rest of the piece will come.

I’d like to nominate two other writers to participate:

Grant Clauser is the author of two poetry books, Necessary Myths and The Trouble with Rivers. Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cheat River Review, Mason’s Road and others. He also writes about electronics, teaches poetry at Musehouse Writing Center and chases trout with a stick. Grant’s blog is here: uniambic.com 

Colleen Wells writes from Bloomington, Indiana. She volunteers for a homeless shelter and a state hospital and also loves crafting with recycled materials, especially old buttons and the caps from beer bottles. Her work has appeared in ORION, The Georgetown Review, and The Potomac Reviewamong other publications. She holds an MA in English from Butler University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Colleen’s book, Dinner with Doppelgangers – a True Story of Madness and Recovery, is forthcoming from Wordpool Press. Colleen’s blog is here: www.colleenwells.com