Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Publication - Infant Girl Photo Shoot on Soft-focus Blanket in Defenestration today


Thanks to Defenestration for publishing my piece Infant Girl Photo Shoot on Soft-focus Blanket today.

It begins:

You wanted to see pictures of my infant girl swaddled in soft-focus, white blankets, right? I’ve posted my top fifty outtakes on my Facebook page. I don’t see that you gave the post a heart yet and you probably want to.

Once you see the photos, you won’t forget that our baby is a girl. We stretched that purple ribbon over her head to help with that. Boys don’t wear purple, right? We’d never dress our boy like that because you might think he was a girl. (He’s not. Remember his infant pictures with a football and crisp focus blankets?)

I wonder when my baby girl will learn how to put on a bra. Then it will be even more obvious that she’s a girl. She might need a padded bra at first, but that’s a good start.

Click through to read the rest and, I hope, laugh!


For more on raising your child - rather than a defined boy or girl - read 10 Science-Backed Tips for Raising Your Child Gender Neutral (Forbes) and check out Let Toys Be Toys.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Publication - Cost Saving Advantages of Perimenopause in McSweeney's today


Thanks to McSweeney's for publishing my piece Cost Saving Advantages of Perimenopause today! It starts:

1. Winter scarves. Winter feels like a tropical vacation, despite the snow. You create your own heat, baby.

2. Pads and tampons. You don’t need them. Sure, occasionally you’ll need to stop at Costco, but then suddenly you won’t need any. Give away that big box to someone younger. Until you need more again, but maybe not.

Click through to read the full piece for a laugh - and solidarity!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Summer!



The end of the school year is accelerating and summer is quickly approaching. I hope that you have some time built in to rest, enjoy your friends and family and write, too, over the next few months.

I'd love to help you with your writing project. This summer, I'll take writing coach appointments via email and video conferencing (Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp). In September, I'll return to in-person appointments in the D.C. area. You can learn more about my writing coaching here

I'll be offering a fall memoir writing workshop through Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C. (please follow the bookstore for class announcements, including registration details.)

I'd love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter. and Goodreads

Don't hesitate to email me any time with questions (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com).







Monday, May 13, 2019

Resources

Our almost 6yrold dressed as Luke Skywalker
looking at comics at Big Planet Comics
on Free Comic Book Day, which was also Star Wars Day

My goal is to make this website a useful source of information.

Have you searched for something recently and not found it? What are you looking for?

Local folks - Do you run or know about a local reading series, publisher, etc., which is not listed under "Selected DC Area Literary Readings, Festivals & Resources"?

Let me know via email (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com) and I'll be sure to add the resource!

Monday, May 6, 2019

New Moonlit Workshop: Point of View (Wednesday, May 15)



I'm excited to be offering my first Moonlit workshop next week! Sign up for my workshop or one of the many others today through their website, MoonlitDC or link through via Facebook.

Here are the details:

Point of View: Who? You? Me?
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at 6 PM – 8 PM
Capitol Hill Books
657 C St SE, Washington, District of Columbia 20003

In this workshop, we will discuss point of view in general and as it relates specifically to a piece of writing that you are currently working on. Your goal is always to craft a clear and consistent narrative; a clear point of view can help with this. While you want to surprise your reader with your writing, you never want to confuse them. We will look closely at a few examples (first, second and third) and see what happens when the point of view changes. We will dedicate half of our time to completing a hands-on writing exercise.

Writers should bring a draft of a piece (1 – 2 pages double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font) printed out or on a laptop. If this isn’t possible, an example will be provided that can be used for the workshop exercise.

About the Instructor: Chloe Yelena Miller is a writer and teacher living in Washington, D.C., with her husband, child and their many books. Her poetry chapbook Unrest was published by Finishing Line Press. Her work is published or forthcoming in Alimentum, The Cortland Review, McSweeney’s, Narrative Magazine, Poet’s Market, and Storyscape Literary Journal, among others.

Chloe teaches writing at the University of Maryland University College, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Politics & Prose Bookstore, as well as privately. Chloe has an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Contact her and read some of her work at www.chloeyelenamiller.com / https://twitter.com/ChloeYMiller

Scholarships are available for this workshop. If you are interested in applying for a scholarship, please send a few sentences about yourself, your goals as a writer, and an outline of how you would benefit from a scholarship through the contact form on our website. Alternate payment methods are also available. Learn more or be in touch at moonlitdc.com.




Monday, April 29, 2019

A Love Letter to Chores And Errands (Or: Write-Think Time Today!)

I got distracted by the 80's time traveling to Target.
Here's a mannequin wearing tie-dyed shorts and a t-shirt tied in front. 
Ok, I can't say that I really "love" chores and errands or that I would ever write them a love letter. But, I'm here to argue that these chores and errands can be fruitful writing-thinking times.

I recommend that my my busy writing students read a troublesome part of their piece or think about an issue in their piece before they start their day. This allows their mind to actively - and perhaps subconsciously  - work out an issue. Maybe a character needs a better backstory or someone from the past needs to be better understood in order to move past a boring caricature. Whatever it is, you can think about it while you fold laundry or go food shopping (of course, pay attention while you drive, bike, scooter or walk!)

I recommended this technique recently and I was challenged. The writer said, "Really? You do that and you can still pay attention to whatever you're doing?" I responded with a firm, "Yes!" She looked doubtful and a little annoyed.

I worried I was optimistically misrepresenting myself (so many writers are prone to anxiety and second guessing.) Do I? Do I sometimes or even ever focus that much on a writing problem while doing something else? I think I do, but do I? As it quickly turned into questions about my ability to live in the present (anxiety!), I decided to test it.

I had an essay idea in mind. A friend had asked me a question the other day and as I started to answer, she said, "You should write that! I'd read it!" I decided to take that challenge.

So since I also had to go to Target today, I decided to make it a three prong challenge: 1. Go to Target. 2. Think about the essay I want to write. 3. Prove that I can both go to Target and think about an essay.

I needed to make sure that going to Target with a list of different kinds of soaps and cereals to buy wouldn't be counter to writing. I wrote myself an email with some key words and then thought a lot about the issues, possible scenes and bigger ideas as I gathered items in my cart.

Back home, I sat down to write. And, lo and behold,  I succeeded in writing a 1,500 word draft fairly quickly. Is it finished? Far from it. But I did succeed in getting out some ideas in my "sh*tty first draft."

This is all to say that while it can sound pretty "woo woo" to  make running errands a part of writing, it is possible. Undo your boredom and write-think today!



Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Memoir Writing Challenges

Old Typewriter

The memoir writing workshop that I teach regularly at Politics & Prose bookstore just ended, which always leads to some nostalgia. I look forward to teaching the class again in the fall (stay tuned for details!) 

For now, I wanted to share some challenges beyond the course material that I offered to the writers in the class. If you are writing memoir or personal essays, you might find these helpful, too. 

1. List the many parts of your self (gender, sex, religion, political leanings, education, class, profession, interests, family roles, etc.) Think about how these aspects - some more visual than others in different settings - effect how you behave and how people relate to you. (This is a very private exercise; you don't have to share this with anyone.)

2. Write the backstory for your characters, especially the ones that you don't like, feel have wronged you or find hilarious. This exercise might help you to develop them as characters, rather than stereotypes or caricatures.

3. Look for 3-5 contemporary news stories that overlap with your memoir (facts or themes.) If you are interested in publishing, you might submit responses to recent events and relate them to your memoir. You can also think about these connections as you work to sell your book to agents or publishers.

4. If you are writing in the past tense, take 1-5 paragraphs and rewrite them in the present tense. Notice what changes.

5. Look at the first three paragraphs of your favorite (or at least well-loved) books from your bookshelf. Notice where these books begin and how important details are revealed (or not.)