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Becky Jones on Summer Writing Goals

Setting your summer writing goals  and our recent Roundtable Discussion

Eight of us met on Saturday, June 10th to talk about our summer writing goals. Our goals ranged from the basics of getting back to our writing to sending our work out for publication: goals within the group were varied and unique; such as brainstorm writing ideas, dip into each topic, and find a project; establish a regular writing schedule; finish a first draft of a short story or chapter of a novel; listen to one’s manuscript be read aloud by the computer and note places of repetition, bad grammar, or clunkiness; revise a short story and then submit it; incorporate research into one’s novel; write or edit five poems for submission to the Straw Dog Writers Poetry Anthology that Jane Yolen will be editing; write five children’s songs.

We enjoyed each other’s company so much that we will meet mid-summer for ice cream at Herrell’s to see how we’re doing on our goals (and possibly do a little writing together). At the annual meeting, which happens to be the next roundtable discussion on September 9th at Lilly Library in Florence, we will also check in with each other to see if we met our goals. We welcome others to check in with us too.

Becky Jones

SDWG Writing Residencies

WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE
 a new benefit for our members—
the Straw Dog Writers Guild Writing Residencies at Patchwork Farm Retreat.

Patchwork Farm Writers Retreat

A Straw Dog Writing Residency will include 6 days, 5 nights, Sunday at 3:00 pm through Friday noon, in one of the lovely, unique places at Patchwork Farm Retreat in Westhampton MA.

Patchwork Farm Writers RetreatResidencies will be self-guided and residents will provide their own meals, with access to cooking facilities. Cost of accommodations will be covered by a grant from a generous Straw Dog member.

To apply for a residency, you must reside in one of the four western counties of Massachusetts (Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin & Berkshire), be a dues-paying member of Straw Dog Writers Guild (you may join at time of application for residency), and be working on a substantial writing project.

Application by email to Straw Dog Writers Guild, (jac.sheehan@comcast.net), to include:

–       a brief description (no more than two paragraphs) of your writing project in any genre: poetry, fiction, memoir, literary non-fiction, essays, dramatic writing, songwriting, journalism, etc.;

–       writing sample: 3-5 poems or 5-10 pages of prose, double-spaced;

–       how it would benefit you to receive a full scholarship residency at Patchwork Farm Retreat.

Residencies are awarded on the basis of merit and the extent to which it seems that the person will benefit from the residency.Patchwork Farm Writers Retreat

A small group of Straw Dog members, including the director of Patchwork Farm Retreat, Patricia Lee Lewis, will welcome applications beginning July 1, with residencies to be scheduled beginning September 1, no more than one per month.

Blog by Christopher J. Sparks

Like any writer, I know how important craft can be. Straw Dog Writer’s Guild, a group of the Valley’s own writing talent, offers workshops by our, often quite accomplished, neighbors. In mid-March, I attended a lecture on crafting Magical Realism with Andrea Hairston. Andrea is a playwright, novelist, and professor of theater at Smith College. Andrea knows that writing magic must live with or within the body, that shared experience between all readers. Even the magic of metrics, while cerebral, indulges in the physicality of sound which is where its real power lies. Were it anything less, meter would be mere word math.

Magic through the body allows the reader to use their senses and experience to make it real. I have read Sci-Fi and Fantasy that often suffer getting too caught up in their own ideas rather than the interior, rather than what we all share and can relate to. Magic then becomes an increasingly hollow cerebral task like phasers, lasers or whatever. Trained as a mathematician and physicist as well as a playwright, Andrea explained, perhaps more clearly than I can recount, how authors may have an interesting invocation or spectacular spell, but that the transmission fails or becomes stagnant because the writer must convince the reader to see as they see for even a simple summoning to have any real emotional impact.

Andrea introduced the works surrealist artists Remedios Vera and Dorothea Tanning, whom fame passed over because they were women, to illustrate magic graphically framed by the body. The paintings echoed some of Andrea’s own work, some of which is still in process, that she was kind enough to share with the group. Her descriptions are as beautiful as they are visceral.

Realism is the illusion of reality, tenuously strung between points of status quo. So like any world-building, there are steps and processes to fashioning the frame, even if the intention is that those underpinnings be invisible. Andrea demonstrated how important it is to balance what is perceived as realistic without getting too caught up in details such that the flow of the narrative is broken, potentially overwhelming the reader in one’s striving to seem authentic.

Andrea brought these lessons together in her own vivid writing. The workshop demonstrated how writing magic through the body allows the reader to use their senses and forces the writer to frame invocations in our common experience. So written, the spell only grows in power as it branches out into your world, not only shifting narrative but becoming a thread of the fabric of your characters. Valuable lessons.

— Christopher J. Sparks is a local writer with a passion for poetry and history.

Meaning awaits in the desert of truth,
blue and deep as deep can be.
— Christopher J. Sparks

“What sustains you as a writer?”

Two writers tell us what they got out of participating in Straw Dog’s first Writers Roundtable -held February 11th.

The topic was “What sustains you as a writer?” -  The next Roundtable will be June 10th.

Straw Dog Writers Guild, Northampton, Northampton MA, Western MA Writing, Writers, Local Writers Pioneer Valley, Straw Dog,  Sustain – once removed, by Jess Martin

How does one dart, weave and unwind words into some semblance of beginning, middle and end? Then revise until proclaiming: “done” or “I surrender” or perhaps “I must get on with my life”… only to return to the blank page to do dance again.

Sustain solution (7% success content, percentage variable to dilution / desperation): Writer seeks same. Isn’t that part of what brought writers to a Straw Dog-led roundtable discussion on a Saturday morning: the company and commiseration of/with other writers? Sustain through group support. Levels vary from groups that meet to write, to groups that meet to critique, to groups that evolve into something under “x” (unknown) indescribably more, a network of support, reader, confidantes, muses? Some groups also might like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.

Sustain solution (38% with delicate drips of self-acceptance): Joy. Pardon me, while I summon my Texas roots: You ain’t gonna do somethin’ you don’t like to do. Not having fun? Flip the switch. Before you jump two feet into blank space like someone’s hurtling flaming rocks at your face, do this: smile. Put on your favorite shirt, those fuzzy socks, whatever to get yourself to relish words spilling out of you. Sing’em. Sling’em. 

Sustain solution (72.6314% effective but do not operate farm machinery when under the influence): You are the writer of your own story. I learned last week that my first short story will be published. I took a ~20 year hiatus from narrative writing. In November, I deliberated: why am I making this so hard? Whose mold am I trying to fit? I scrapped it (it’s a daily practice to fight the temptation to dredge it up). I want to write lesbian stories, and oh, that other problem I have of never finishing a story? I will write short stories. I found an anthology call with a queer publisher, and I spent December in a mad dash to meet the deadline. Last week, the publisher says “we’re including it,” and I take my news to my social media enclave, and there, I found it: the mold waiting: “Now if you write sci-fi for young adults, you can be a real success!”

It reminds me of what I would avoid in a writer’s group when critique veers off the story I’m trying to tell and the one the critic wants me to tell.

I’m going back to my baseline: what do I expect of myself? Turn off the noise. What story is mine? Edit the well-meaning but cutting congrats. I must hold to the kind of writer I want to be. Because we all know this so well it could be written on our bodies: when you sit down to write again, there you sit and write: alone.

Sustain solution (100% with a grain of salt): Finding perfectly inspired moments captured in lyrical prose is like stealing a bit of manna from the muse’s table. It feels so good when the words are right on target and kick-ass gorgeous to boot. As hard as it is, though, cast a long glance at those imperfections too. The music falters, breaks, and pauses – imperfection must be there for us to aspire to the B-side of it. It still has the word ‘perfect’ in it, so it can’t be all bad. Get cozy with it. 

There are some thoughts. The only bit I would add is, as you continue to write, revise and read, you should be sure to keep some elemental part of you inspired, intrigued, blind-folded (maybe?), and open.

If we are channeling words, plots, and inevitable endings, maybe we should also remember to keep our writing radar flipped on, receiving, broadcasting and sometimes converging.

-- Jess Martin 

Jess Martin is a playwright by training and co-founded and co-created with Queer Soup Theater for ten years in Boston. Her plays have been produced around the New England area with a jaunt occasionally to the New York International Fringe Festival or a festival in South Dakota. After living overseas in Denmark for the past four years, she returns to writing once more with an eye towards story-telling in the narrative form.

Straw Dog Writers Guild, Northampton, Northampton MA, Western MA Writing, Writers, Local Writers Pioneer Valley, Straw Dog, Here’s what I took away from the roundtable discussion of what sustains writers, by Emily Nagoski

Writers are sustained by writing, other writers, and other writers’ writing.

 There are sources of sustenance that are universal to all humans – physical activity, affection, mindfulness, sleep, maybe music, maybe groups of people, maybe silence. Get those. And then there are source of sustenance unique to the specialized (weirdo) human known as “writer.”  Writing, writers, and other writers’ writing. Get those – and stay alive.

But suppose you sit down to write, and you find yourself lost in the question, “Why am I doing this? Why does this poem/novel/memoir/sentence matter, given the state of the world?” Answer: You write because you are a writer. “Why” is answered by “who.”

 The next question is, “what.” What will you write, given the state of the world?

There are actions anyone can contribute, to make the world a better place – be kind, resist autocracy, step forward when you notice injustice, step back when you can create space for someone who has had less opportunity than you. Do those things. And then there are the unique contributions made by the specialized human known as “writer.” Say something new, say something old in a new way, tell us what’s true. Do that – and help make life worth living.

You’re going to write anyway; you’re a writer.

What did I take away from the roundtable discussion of what sustains writers?

Read and write and talk to other writers, like your life depends on it. Because if you’re a writer, it probably does.

-- Emily Nagoski

Emily Nagoski, based in Easthampton, Massachusetts, is a health educator and New York Times best-selling author of "Come As You Are." - more info: http://emilynagoski.com/about/

 

New Member Benefits! Newly Redesigned Website!

Please check out our newly redesigned website!

Over the past month, I have had the pleasure of redesigning the Straw Dog Writers Guild website. It has been inspiring to design new pages and formats to celebrate and promote the excellent work you are all doing in the community. There are many new additions and exciting plans coming from the website too. Please take a look around at www.strawdogwriters.org, visit the updated 'Bulletin Board', the new 'About Us' and 'Our Story' pages.

We are thrilled/excited about new ways for members to promote your work, on our ‘'Meet our Members' page! (see below for more info). We also have a new resource, our new 'Literary Community Calendar', in which all local literary organizations are invited to submit upcoming events.

Below are our new guidelines for submissions for

Straw Dog Writers Guild members:

 

To have your book cover part of the Straw Dog Bookshelf moving banner on the website

Send image (jpeg/png) of your books (or literary magazines, anthologies in which your work appears)

To be added to the Straw Dog Members Page

Send one image, and a link to your work (Website, Facebook, Twitter, etc… )

Include your name & up to 30 words describing your work.

A great example to see what we are envisioning for our member's page, please visit http://clickworkspace.org/members/

Members Book Launch Page

We want to spotlight your new publications and make it easy to promote each other’s books on social media. Please send two months before book publication:

Title and image of book

Brief description (100 words)

Book blurbs 1 or 2

Link to your website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, (social media hashtags #yourbook)

Date and location of 3-5 local readings

Member News

We want to celebrate your publication successes. Please send”

Title of poem or story or essay and name/date of publication

Link to the magazine or website

Please send all submissions to - admin@strawdogwriters.org

We look forward to connecting with you soon, and promoting your work!

Thank You,

Laura Stone 

Straw Dog Writers Guild

Admin. Director

To learn more about non-member submissions, please check out our new

Straw Dog Writers Submission page.

 

Patricia Lee Lewis upon reflection …

Patricia Lee Lewis upon reflection …

By Patrica Lee Lewis

In the year that opens before us, I will turn 80, and recently in a writing circle of workshop leaders in training, I wrote a piece in the voice of a woman facing the mysteries and gifts of going forward in a well-worn life. Onward through the fog, as they say.  However young or old you are, as you reflect on your life and your world, I encourage you to write down your (or your character’s) thoughts and share them with someone. . . .

Here is what my character had in her heart that December afternoon –

            “Every day on the road she gets closer. It’s not clear to what, or from what she travels, but there is a road and there are trees alongside and there is a sun that arcs overhead and every day it is in a different place. She believes the sun, that it knows its business, she believes the trees, that they lean far, that their minds are enormous, that they can hear the life as it thunders ahead. She sets out every day when the sun shows itself to the trees and along the way she learns the lessons of the road, how family and friends and strangers create the world, how stones hold stories, how waters enter and leave the earth, how the night sky sends pricks of light onto grasses as they curve and rustle in the fields between trees. Some days it does not matter how long she walks or if she lies down in the crooks of fallen trees to rest. Other days she frets to think the end will be invisible; she may not know it when it comes, she may not awaken. But mostly, she is content to move along, to mosey, to skip, to run, to hobble, depending on the day, the year, the weather. Mostly, she is on the road and it is a place that suits her.”

Welcoming Big Changes for SDWG in 2017

 

Welcoming Big Changes for SDWG in 2017

By Elli Meeropol

2017 looms, and seven years after Straw Dog Writers Guild was conceived in Patricia Lee Lewis’ living room, we are poised for big changes. Two original members of the group, Jacqueline Sheehan and Patricia Lee Lewis, are stepping off the Steering Committee and moving to the SDWG Advisory Board. We are so grateful for their leadership and dedication, and do not plan to let them entirely off the hook.

Two big changes have already begun. Most exciting is our hiring first staff person for SDWG. After an exhaustive reviewing and interviewing process, we hired Laura Stone as the part-time Administrative Director. Laura started work on December 1. She has been getting acquainted with our mission, our members and committees, our website, and our plans for the future.

Laura Stone

Laura has worked in the arts and nonprofit community for over 10 years, as a Program Coordinator and Youth Arts Program Manager. She is an experienced writing group facilitator, fundraiser, social media marketer, web designer, events planner.  She has a strong passion for community building through the arts. She also writes and plays nature-inspired songs for children on her ukulele.

She recently received a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Marlboro College Graduate School. Laura is looking forward to meeting and working with SDWG members and is inspired and very thankful to be on board. She will be attending most Straw Dog events; please introduce yourself to her.

The second big change is that Straw Dog has joined Click Workspace in Northampton with a Community Membership for the organization and an individual membership for Laura. This gives us a home. We can use the meeting room for our second Saturday craft programs, the big downstairs space for larger gatherings, and conference rooms for smaller meetings, as necessary. Click is an exciting co-op working venue. Check it out at http://clickworkspace.org.

Change can be unsettling but it offers huge opportunity for growth. Please join me in welcoming Laura, exploring Click (you can sign up for their community newsletter to hear about the wonderful programs offered there), and adding your talents and energy to our local literary arts organization.

 

Perugia Press Turns Twenty

Perugia Press Turns Twenty:
Celebrating Milestones with our Local Community

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Susan Kan

By Susan Kan and Rebecca Hart Olander

For 20 years, Perugia Press has published the best new woman poet each year—the winner of our annual, national contest that draws more than 500 yearly submissions. Our aim is to produce beautiful books that interest long-time readers of poetry and welcome those new to poetry, and to give a leg-up to women at the beginning of their publishing careers.

The press began as a one-book experiment, and we have gone on to produce books that earned nationwide acclaim. Many Perugia Press poets have published additional books, won poetry prizes, and been hired to teach college-level creative writing. Excellence comes this way: one book at a time. Read more of our story here.

On November 12th, Perugia Press will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an afternoon of free, drop-in, poet-led workshops and conversations, and a reunion reading in the evening. At that time, founding director Susan Kan will step down, and the new director, Rebecca Hart Olander, will formally take over. This year, 2016, is momentous for Perugia Press.

Why is the anniversary of Perugia Press important to our local writing community? Why is it important that Perugia Press is based here?

As Chase Twichell says in her blurb for our commemorative anthology, Brilliance, Spilling (to be released at our anniversary events), “In the last few decades, the publishing of poetry has gone through a seismic shift. Although the big commercial houses still publish a few volumes, it’s small presses like Perugia Press that are doing the essential work of scouting out the best new poetry and bringing it into the world. The future of American poetry literally depends on this kind of dedication and effort.”

For a small press to survive and thrive is what we’re celebrating. For the local community of writers and readers of poetry, this means access to an established, mature resource, a bank of knowledge about publishing. Although Perugia Press doesn’t specialize in publishing local writers, we are firmly rooted in this community, and benefit greatly from it. Likewise, the community benefits from having us here. We bring our award-winning poets to the area for readings, and the valley shows up to listen. With our poets comes a network; they serve as ambassadors for the press, taking news of this amazing community back home with them. We invite local poets to participate in this sisterhood.

When Nikky Finney lived in Northampton—as the poet-in-residence at Smith College—she became a friend of the press, participating in the judging day for our contest and reading twice with our poets, once with Lynne Thompson, another time with Nancy Pearson. At the reading with Nancy, she noted that the audience was lining the staircase leading to the full room. She said we needed to take this in, that most towns and cities across the country don’t have our appetite for poetry, don’t spill out of rooms to listen to it.

We thank our community by offering, on November 12th, an opportunity to sit down with us and our poets to find out how a small press works, what our poets are thinking about, and have questions answered about submitting manuscripts to poetry contests and book publishing.

 

Susan Kan is the director of Perugia Press. She founded the press in 1997 and is proud of the work she has done to bring women’s writing to the forefront year after year. She looks forward to continuing to serve on the board of Perugia Press.

Rebecca Hart Olander is the incoming director of Perugia Press, as well as an instructor of writing at Westfield State University. After serving on the board of Perugia Press, and as a judge and screener of manuscripts, she is thrilled to be taking the helm of the press as it moves into its next phase.

Note: See the Straw Dog Bulletin Board for details about the Perugia Press anniversary celebration on November 12th, along with area readings on the 10th and 15th of November featuring Perugia Press poets.

 

The Depressed Novelist’s Complaint

Photo: Jason StempleThe Depressed Novelist’s Complaint,
or How I Learned to Love the Gray

By Jane Yolen

Having just finished a major Holocaust novel for young adults,* I find myself at loose ends while waiting for editorial feedback. I’m not new at the writing game. My first book was published in 1963, my first novel (for middle-grade readers) in 1967. I’ve written over 60 novels since then, for children, young adults, adults.

But every single time I finish a novel, I’m struck with three thoughts:
1. I’m depressed. A kind of post-natal droop. I wonder if it’s good enough. I want it to be the novel, the one that changes the world, that brings about peace, wins major awards, sets my name in the books of great novel writers. Or at last I hope I haven’t embarrassed myself, my editor, my publisher.

2. I have no distance from the book. Ask me what it’s about, I’ll tell you it’s about 98,000 words. It’s about the Holocaust. It’s about Hansel in Gretel only not. (Though the wicked witch, a Mengele-type doctor, gets pushed into the oven at the end.) It’s about time I finished it. It’s about me.

3. I itch to get back to work—on the revisions of this book or a new one. I can’t decide which though, in the end, my beta readers and then my editor will decide that for me, depending upon how soon they get back to me, and how many questions I have to answer with the editorial-directed revision.

So, if it’s this painful, why continue? Read the above carefully. Nowhere do I say it’s painful. In fact, I’m never more alive than when writing something that could be significant (though rarely is). That I fail means I have another chance. If I’m perfect, there is no room for growing. And, at 77, I am all about growing! Consider the alternative.

*The book is HOUSE OF CANDY, due out from Philomel/Penguin Books in Fall 2017 or Spring 2018.

Jane Yolen, sometimes called America’s Hans Christian Andersen (she cops to Hans Jewish Andersen) has published almost 360 books between 1963 and 2016. They have brought her many awards (one of which set her good coat on fire) and honorary doctorates from six institutions, among them Smith College and the University of Massachusetts. She was the first writer to win an Arts & Humanities Award from New England Public Radio and was one of this year’s Massachusetts Unsung Heroines.

 

 

August 15, 2016

Meet Andrew Connelly, Straw Dog’s First Scholarship Recipient

by Becky Jones

Andrew ConnellyAndrew Connelly was chosen by his teachers at the Easthampton High School as the recipient of the first Straw Dog Writers Guild Scholarship given to a senior with a promising future in writing. Andrew is soon heading off to Fordham University’s NYC campus across from Lincoln Center, to pursue his passion in theatre, especially set production.

Since he entered junior high, Andrew has been involved in set design, lighting, and the Drama Club (including as president for two years), and he does it all with passion, humor, intelligence, and creativity. The Drama Club hosted a 24-hour playwriting and production event last year, and Andrew provided the writing prompts, stayed up all night to co-write a play, and acted in another play. His college essay focused on making Broadway plays accessible to a wider audience through telebroadcasting, as Andrew believes more people will make the effort to attend plays if they can see them affordably ahead of time, and that actors as artists will appreciate having a wider audience see their work.

Andrew lives this value of inclusion. He appreciates his family because of their ethic of working things out together based on respecting each other’s unique contribution. He looks up to his drama and art teacher Amy Davis not only because of her talent, creativity, and spontaneity but also because of her ability to see the good in others. In Andrew’s words, “I wish I could mimic that trait,” and he does. In his graduation speech, inspired by the question “What is a legacy?” from the Broadway musical Hamilton, Andrew named the legacies his classmates leave behind in the memories he carries of them. “I didn’t want it to be a shout-out to my friends, so I made sure to include people I don’t know as well. But then I didn’t want to leave anyone out, so I used a twitter account to write something about every single student in my class [over 100], even those I don’t know too well or have had some negative experiences with in the past.” He said he was chosen to be the class speaker not only because he’s class valedictorian but also because Andrew pays attention. Clearly, if he could give a detailed memory about every student, he’s been paying attention.

The youngest of three sons, Andrew has grown up in a family of readers and theater-lovers. His two older brothers were in the EHS Drama Club before him, so “I grew up in it.” His mom headed the organization that ran the shows, was band booster and frequently took her sons to theatre. Andrew’s oldest brother worked at the library, and his next oldest brother was such an avid reader that the children’s librarian asked him what books he was reading so she’d know what great books to order for the library. Andrew spent so much time there that he didn’t need his library card to check out books.

When I asked Andrew to name a favorite book from any period of his life, his face lit up. He most remembers Gingerbread Man and Make Way for Ducklings because he read them over and over and over again. When I set about to take his photo, we decided to take it in front of the Make Way for Ducklings print on the wall behind him, the backdrop to our hour-long conversation. It was Andrew’s idea to enhance the photo by holding the actual book, so he searched through the large supply of kids’ books on hand because he and his mom regularly care for his young nephews. He couldn’t find it then, but by the time I got home there was an e-mail from Andrew with the photo above.

Now an older reader, he’s getting into Shakespeare. Andrew was thrilled to get the complete works of Shakespeare at the library book sale where he volunteered and admitted, “I have a book-buying problem.” He’s seen a bunch of Shakespeare this summer and loves the way the written words come to life. Andrew enjoys seeing different productions of the same play because “you can see different interpretations and aspects of characters. I love that Shakespeare’s plays lend themselves to be adapted to different times.”

Andrew's set designLast summer Andrew spent five weeks in a program in set production and art at the Savannah College of Art and Design, learning more of the craft of bringing theatre to life. He made a series of 3-D set designs for song and theatre as well as fabric and costuming sketches. At SCAD, Andrew began to see himself having the artistry and creativity that I could so clearly see.

Andrew mulls ideas in his head. “I’m probably writing speeches, never to be delivered, all of the time,” he said. His writing inspiration often comes late at night. He doesn’t mind if his thoughts aren’t organized at this point but tends to pay attention to grammar and having complete sentences right from the start. Later (by which he doesn’t mean that same night) he edits and reorganizes his thoughts. There’s a sample of his writing at the end of this article.

Since his passion is about the three-dimensional aspect of theatre, both Andrew and I were curious about why his teachers chose him for this writing scholarship. While he is not yet a playwright, novelist or poet, Andrew is clearly a writer even when he’s talking. He’s articulate, choosing his words carefully and thoughtfully. He’s a prolific reader, puts his heart into his original writing, and has found a life passion, “which is also the passion of a writer.” He continued, “Theatre is about making literature come alive. Both theatre creators and writers seek to do the same thing, which is to tell a story, and in that sense we share that objective even if our means are different.”

Andrew is engaging, funny, literate, and earnest. He earned this scholarship because of his passion, enthusiasm, and attentiveness, and he happens to be one smart human being who also enjoys making music with his clarinet and guitar (he had to return the baritone sax to the school), searching for old vinyl records, and baking and cooking, taking after his father who was once a chef.

From Andrew’s college essay on making Broadway more widely accessible:

There has to be a way for a kid striving to understand himself, to hear the stories of relatable and diverse characters
. . . . Theatre is one of the greatest human creations. It takes the talents of dancers, actors, musicians, and technicians and combines them into a spectacular show. Theatre gives a voice to its artists, who use it to share their world with audiences. I cannot think of one reason why an artist would not want their world shared with as many people as possible. Therefore, I believe in accessible theatre. Because those worlds not only entertain people; they save people. Theatre has a message and that needs to be shared.

 

Becky by Carol DukeBecky Jones has had her fiction and poetry published in Peregrine, Patchwork Journal, and The Cancer Poetry Project 2. She is at work on a collection of essays about her former work as a hospital chaplain and her journeys through cancer and loss. She leads bereavement writing groups in the community and has a small counseling practice. She volunteers for Cancer Connection and Straw Dog Writers Guild and is an active member of the Northampton Friends Meeting (Quakers).