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Archive for the ‘Personalized Poems & Writing’ Category

I will be offering an online creative writing workshop this May. Hope you will be able to join us! Here are the details:

Memoir Writing Workshop (Prose & Poetry)

In this workshop we will discuss the meaning of memoir, how to choose a moment in your history when your life shifted in some way and how to best present it in an essay or poem.  

You will write and workshop your original work with published writing teacher Chloé Miller for two weeks. She will present writing prompts and exercises, links to short online readings and lead discussions around your work. You will receive individual feedback from her on your two longer assignments. Through group peer editing sessions, you will hone your editing abilities and receive additional feedback on your work.

Short assignments will be posted every day. Your longer assignments will be due each Friday. It is suggested that you spend 30 – 60 minutes per day on the class. No assignments will be given over the weekend, although the lively discussion and writing will continue.   

All levels welcome; beginners encouraged.

The class will be held for two weeks from Monday, May 17 – Friday, May 28. Class enrollment is limited to ten adult students. It will be held in a private Google group that will be available 24/7. With a free Gmail account, you will be ready to start.

The cost is $200.00 payable by check. Chloé’s current and previous private writing students receive a 10% discount. To register, email Chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com. 

For daily writing tips, please visit Chloé’s writing blog.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email: Chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

For more information on Chloé:

Chloé Yelena Miller has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a BA in Italian language and literature from Smith College.

She has taught writing at a number of places, such as Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJ; Northampton Community College, PA; Hudson County Community College, NJ; Maplewood South Orange Adult School, NJ; Recreation and Education, MI and presented at a number of writing conferences, such as The Association of Writers and Writing Programs; Sarah Lawrence College’s Conference Women’s Stories, Women’s Lives; Rochester Writers’ Conference in Michigan; Ann Arbor Book Festival’s Writer’s Conference; Writer’s Center of Indiana’s Conference; and Winter Wheat: The Mid-American Review Festival of Writing.                    

Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Cortland Review, Narrative Magazine, Alimentum, Sink Review, Storyscape and Lumina, among others. She currently reads poetry for The Literary Review and was previously an editor for Portal Del Sol and Lumina.

Her writing was a finalist for the Narrative Magazine’s Poetry Contest and the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry. She has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, A Room of Her Own’s Retreat in New Mexico and Summer Literary Seminar’s program in Prague.

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Remember when I guest blogged last June @Survive Wedding Season about personalized wedding poems? I was happy to hear that it was chosen  as one of the Top Ten Wedding Guest Picks of 2009!

Thanks so much!

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Most of us don’t have the luxury of doing something obviously creative every day. I wish I had time to write and edit poems, read poems and even watercolor and cook new dishes every day. Of course, there are errands to run, laundry to do and paying work to finish.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to really slow down and make time for what is not only important, but vital to living a good life. I want to *find* the time to do these things if not every day, then every week. 

Taking an extra moment to do something might even allow us all to do less creative things more creatively. You can take a new road to work and explore your neighborhood more. Look around at your surroundings more carefully. Buy different vegetables in the Farmer’s Market and try out a new recipe. Spend an extra minute writing an email so that it isn’t a list of speedy facts, but rather a thoughtful progression of words.

My husband and I enjoyed making many of our holiday gifts this year. We talked about what we wanted to do, made them and then wrapped them together. With a pile of markers, we were able to personalize what could have been a present wrapped by a store clerk who never met the receiver.

I recently bought a travel watercolor kit and watercolor postcard paper. I’m fairly certain that my work would only make a mother proud, but I’m slowly improving and I feel peaceful when I experiment with the colors and painting new shapes. It is important to find this space for ourselves.

I really believe that we will all be more productive if we take advantage of moments here and there to relax and recharge.

What will you do to be more creative in 2010?

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For those of you specifically interested in writing tips – composition to creative writing – I’ve started a second blog. This blog, Chloe Yelena Miller, will address the kinds of tips I give my composition writing students and private writing students.

My blog will integrate the content of some of the writing courses I’ve taught and workshops I’ve presented since I received my MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.

Here are some sample courses I’ve taught:
Poetry Writing Your Family
Travel Writing
Memoir Writing
Advanced Writing
Popular Culture: Poetry & War
Composition I & Composition II
Research Writing

Additionally, I’ve presented the following workshops:
Brainstorming, Work, and Creativity: Thinking Outside of the Box
Family History: Ideas for Collecting & Assembling
Writing About Family
Journal Writing: finding a beginning
Digging up Dirt: Writing and Researching Your Family

If you would like further assistance with your writing project, I would be happy to work with you. I currently work as a private writing coach with adults who are working on projects ranging from trade freelance articles to poetry to chapters for an upcoming novel.

If you haven’t worked with a writing coach before, here is how it works: the author emails me the text a few days before we talk on the phone, Skype, email or meet in person (depending on our respective locations.) I have reasonable rates and my goal is to help you reach your writing goal and perfect your own voice for the project.

If you have questions that you’d like me to address in my blog, please email me at chloemiller(@)gmail(dot)com. I also welcome guest bloggers, if you would like to share some of your expertise.

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My friend Hila Ratzabi is putting together an essay anthology by women in Jewish interfaith relationships. You might remember reading her piece recently on this subject that I blogged about.  She is the perfect editor for an anthology like this.

Following is her call for submissions. For more information, please, contact her directly. You can also read some of her work on her blog.

***

Call for Submissions: Essay Anthology by Women in Jewish Interfaith Relationships
I am a graduate of the MFA in Writing program at Sarah Lawrence College and am developing an essay anthology that will feature essays by women who are in (or have been in) an interfaith relationship or marriage, in which one of the partners is Jewish (the contributors may be the Jewish or non-Jewish partner). An amorphous body of this literature is floating around the internet, notably on the website interfaithfamily.com. Sociology books on the topic of Jewish intermarriage abound, as do practical guidebooks for marriage and parenting. But what is often missing from the existing literature are human stories. This collection of personal essays will focus specifically on women’s stories, about the joys and challenges of their relationships, their experiences with child-rearing, how they relate to their communities and families, how they create their own identities in the unique “liminal zone” of the interfaith relationship.
I am looking for, first and foremost, great, well-written, vivid personal stories. I welcome published and unpublished authors to submit their essays/stories. The length may be 1,000-2,000 words (but I am open to any reasonable length, shorter or longer). The tone/style should not be polemical or sentimental, just an honest and compelling non-fiction personal narrative. (You may want to take a look at the excellent anthology, Half/Life, edited by Laurel Snyder and published by Soft Skull Press, which features the stories of adults who were raised in Jewish interfaith homes.) 

Notes:
– I’m focusing only on Jewish interfaith relationships, because the phenomenon in the Jewish community takes on a very particular valence that distinguishes it from the phenomenon in other communities, even as there may be some overlap.

– There are many wonderful narratives told by men in interfaith relationships, but I believe it is important to highlight women in this particular anthology. An anthology of men’s essays would be a separate project.

– I invite queer women to submit—you may deserve your own anthology as well, but your interfaith experiences probably have much in common with those of heterosexual women.

– We often hear about Jewish-Christian interfaith relationships—I would love to hear from those in relationships where the non-Jewish partner is also non-Christian.

– For those of you who are poets and fiction writers, I’m looking only for non-fiction, and I love non-fiction written by poets and fiction writers.

– If you consider your relationship inter-something other than faith (culture, race), and one partner identifies as Jewish, I want to hear from you, too.

– I do not have a publisher yet, but I solemnly promise to get one. And I hope to pay contributors.

Please send submissions as a Word attachment (not .docx) to interfaithessay@gmail.com. Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis through May 1st, 2010—earlier is better, though. Include your name, a short bio, and email address. Responses will be sent by September 1st, 2010. Thank you, and I look forward to reading your stories! 

Hila Ratzabi, Editor

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cookbook

**I wanted to remind everyone about this opportunity to share recipes for a good cause. I submitted three recipes the other day. Have you submitted yours yet? **

Debbie Green is calling for recipes and tasters for a second cookbook to support the Greenview Hepatitis C Fund, a nonprofit. The Fund raises money for Hepatitis C research at the University of Michigan.

As avid writers and chefs, I thought I’d share this with you. 

The cookbook will focus on special diets (think: allergies, glutton free, low carb., etc.) I look forward to contributing some corn syrup-free recipes for dishes that are impossible to order in a restaurant without being saturated in it. The first two that come to mind are pecan pie and meatloaf, but I’m sure I’ll think of more.

When you are thinking of recipes to share, keep in mind that Debbie prefers recipes that are easy to prepare and don’t have too many hard to find or unusual ingredients. Also, she prefers things that are made from scratch. 

To submit your recipes, send them in a Word document or regular email to Debbie(at)hepcfund(dot)org or mail to:

Debbie Green

2773 Holyoke Lane

Ann Arbor, MI 48103 

Be sure to include and check:

1. correct measurements (T=tablespoon, t= teaspoon, c=cup)

2. oven temp.

3. cooking time

4. nutrition info if available

5. clear and precise instructions

6. ethnicity of dish

7. if this dish is for a special diet (gluten-free, vegetarian, allergy, etc.)

8. any suggestions for accompanying dishes

9. your name and contact info

10. any comments you wish (Try to keep comments to 4 lines, unless it’s a really good story!)

Through the Fund, Debbie has raised a total of $30,000 so far. One of her best fund raisers is her first cookbook, Cooking Around the World, which sold over 1,000 copies. (This cookbook, along with a few free recipes, is available from her website.) Help make this next cookbook just as, if not more, successful!

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You might have noticed that this blog is no longer a “Personalized Wedding Poet’s Blog.” I’m expanding my personalized poetry business to include occasions beyond weddings.

Here is a love poem I wrote recently for a couple whose togetherness is inspirational.

 

 

Earth’s Elements

Hold my hand; remember our song.

Before Tennessee, we live together

in the palm of Michigan.

Our love, wide as the Atlantic,

spans farther than the tiny part

sweeping the shores of Myrtle Beach.

The air warms and cools these waters at once.

No, that’s wrong. It’s larger than that.

Our love rounds the earth, an equator.

Uncomplicated, we taste childhood’s milk and cookies.

In the beginning,

you sat across the table,

wrote on the receipt,

will you be my girlfriend? Check yes or no.

A fair test, the answer sure.

We settled in, home building in the small space between us:

everyday Black Love Day.

Now, spooning on this couch, thigh to thigh,

I tell you,

Honey, I love you always.

 

As Maya Angelou wrote,

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I add,

That’s us.

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