January 11 | FABULOUS Creative Writing Workshop with Debra Kaufman

January 11, 2014 is the first of the 2014 Writers’ Series of WWOT Writing Workshops.  It promises to be inspiring and productive!

** PLEASE NOTE ** This event is open to the general public.
Advance registration is required.
Writers from all groups and genres welcome!

Cost for the two hour workshop is $25. This will be a productive session!

Debra Kaufman is a phenomenal writer and teacher, and we’re lucky to have her coming over from the Triangle to spend an hour and a half with us, reading and exploring a few pieces to get conversation and creative juices flowing, and then begin writing exercises.

This is sure to be an informative workshop so plan on attending and RSVP as soon as you can.  Space is limited so reserve yours as soon as you can!

From her bio:

Poet and playwright Debra Kaufman’s newest collection of poetry is The Next Moment (Jacar, 2010). She is also the author of Family of Strangers (Nightshade, 1990), Still Life Burning–winner of the Kinloch Rivers Poetry Competition–(South Carolina Poetry Society, 1996), A Certain Light (Emrys, 2001), and Moon Mirror Whiskey Wind (Pudding House, 2009).
Her poems have appeared in many literary magazines, includingSouthern Poetry Review, Greensboro Review, Pembroke, andCarolina Quarterly, and in several anthologies, including Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont(University of North Carolina, forthcoming), The Sound of Poets Cooking(forthcoming); Word and Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry(Carolina Academic Press, 1999), and The Art and Craft of Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 1994). Her poems have won prizes from such organizations as the North Carolina Writers’ Network, the North Carolina Women Writers Conference, the North Carolina Poetry Society, Emrys Press, the Poetry Society of South Carolina, theIndependent, WUNC-FM’s Radio Poets, Kakalak, and the Triad Writers Group.

Debra’s plays have been produced throughout North Carolina and elsewhere. She won a North Carolina Arts Council playwriting scholarship in 1997. Variations on a Dream was selected as one of Burning Coal Theatre’s New Works series; What You Inherit won the Carrboro ArtsCenter’s New Plays Rising award; and Like Candlelight Draws Smoke was produced at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women through the North Carolina Writers’ Network Outreach Program.

Debra has taught many creative writing workshops for children and adults, including in Durham’s Creative Arts in the Public Schools program, at High Point University’s Phoenix Festival, in libraries, for writers’ groups, and for Our Stories in Focus, a public arts and history collaboration sponsored by the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and the UNC Humanities Program.




Great literary happenings over the next two weeks in the Triad

Okay, lots of good stuff happening:

Tomorrow is the Soul Collage and Writing Workshop. Judith Behar, Donna Anthony, Kim Goldstein and myself will be facilitating. Cost is nominal. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll put you in touch with Judith.

Monday, June 17, is Monday Night Poetry at the Central Branch of the Greensboro Public Library.

Thursday, June 20, Elaine Orr reads and signs copies of her debut novel, A Different Sun at the Central Branch of the Greensboro Public Library.

Jean Rodenbough is the featured poet at Tate Street Coffee House next Saturday night, June 22, at 7pm. Come out and hear Jean and have a coffee or something sweet. There’s an open mic to follow if you’re so inclined!

On Sunday, June 23, WWOT Critique happens at Deep Roots Market. Sharon Burkitt is facilitating. Thank you, Sharon!

June 25, Andy Irwin’s workshop on Humor, Wit & Storytelling.  Greensboro Public Library, Central Branch,  6:00pm.


Whew. I probably forgot some.

Read. Write. Love. Perform. Support the local arts. Be nice to each other.


For June, a writing and art workshop on gratitude

On the theme of gratitude:

Saturday, June 15, 9:30 am-4:00pm.

A visual and writing arts workshop on the theme of Gratitude, with Kim Goldstein and Donna Anthony guiding the group in making soul collages and Judith Behar and Melissa Hassard guiding the group in writing prose or poetry about their soul collages.

Place: Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall St., Greensboro.
Cost: $10 to Women Writers of the Triad and Writers Group of the Triad members; $25 to non-members.

Pre-registration is required: Contact Judith Behar at jbehar@triad.rr.com or (336) 294-4904.

You may bring your own lunch or pre-order lunch (cost: $10) at time of registration. Coffee and tea will be provided.

The Academy Awards and The Lowest Common Denominator

From the opening, you should have seen it coming.

“Over a billion people will be watching this event worldwide.”  Seth McFarlane delivers this line while licking his chops.

Now, let me preface this by saying that I’m not sure why he believed a billion would be watching.  Here’s the last ten years’ ratings, according to Wikipedia:

Ceremony Date Best Picture winner Length of ceremony Number of viewers Rating Host(s)
76th Academy Awards February 29, 2004 The Lord of the Rings:
The Return of the King
3 hours, 44 minutes 43.56 million 26.68 Billy Crystal
77th Academy Awards February 27, 2005 Million Dollar Baby 3 hours, 14 minutes 42.16 million 25.29 Chris Rock
78th Academy Awards March 5, 2006 Crash 3 hours, 33 minutes 38.64 million 22.91 Jon Stewart
79th Academy Awards February 25, 2007 The Departed 3 hours, 51 minutes 39.92 million 23.65 Ellen DeGeneres
80th Academy Awards February 24, 2008 No Country for Old Men 3 hours, 21 minutes 31.76 million 18.66 Jon Stewart
81st Academy Awards February 22, 2009 Slumdog Millionaire 3 hours, 30 minutes 36.94 million 21.68 Hugh Jackman
82nd Academy Awards March 7, 2010 The Hurt Locker 3 hours, 37 minutes 41.62 million 24.75 Steve Martin,Alec Baldwin
83rd Academy Awards February 27, 2011 The King’s Speech 3 hours, 15 minutes 37.63 million 21.97 James FrancoAnne Hathaway
84th Academy Awards February 26, 2012 The Artist 3 hours, 14 minutes 39.30 million 25.50 Billy Crystal
85th Academy Awards February 24, 2013 Argo 3 hours, 35 minutes Seth MacFarlane

But I will be watching for the ratings when they’re available.  But clearly, this was the gig of a lifetime for McFarlane.  The shameless whore even trotted out his CGI Ted with poor Mark Wahlberg, who looked stricken.

And today, we are discussing whether or not he crossed the line, the incessant misogyny, racism, homophobia — you name it, he said it, went over the line, got the reaction.

 As I said, tonight’s ceremony is being watched by a billion people worldwide. Which is why Jodie Foster will be up here in a bit to ask for her privacy. — Seth McFarlane

I personally do not believe Seth to be a misogynist.  I believe Seth to be a quasi-shrewd businessman who has learned the skill of appealing to the lowest common denominator on the Fox Network — and wants a broader audiences for his own projects.  He doesn’t mind scandalizing us all.  He was an equal opportunity offender, after all.  No single demographic was safe or excluded as a target.  Maybe he wasn’t even trying to scandalize so much as tell his same, tired little jokes.  But hey, they must be working for him somewhere …

It’s the money, honey.  I assume The Oscars was hoping for huge ratings and increased advertising revenues.  Seth’s exposure goes up, too.

The one thing that has been lost in all of this is that films are an art form, and while the Academy has made its penchant for epic known, the awards are less about art, and definitely not about honoring the people who worked so hard for this reward, nor allowing them the time to enjoy their award in those moments it is handed to them, nor thanking the people they feel helped them get to that achievement.

(Cue theme from Jaws here.)

It’s about appealing to the lowest common denominator, the easy joke, getting the reaction, and hoping for ratings.

Am I offended by the tasteless jokes, the rampant sexism?  Not especially, though I likely should be.  I am used to adolescent humor and it pretty much rolls down my back, with one or two exceptions.

But call me an old-fashioned idealist —  what offends me is that this award has very clearly defined its direction in choosing Seth McFarlane:  that it no longer even pretends to have any interest in respecting  the hard work, the craft, the artists themselves, or the art.