Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Politics & Prose Alum Reading


Teaching memoir writing workshops at Politics and Prose independent bookstore in Washington, D.C., is one of my favorite things to do. The bookstore attracts writers with such interesting stories, perspectives and creative goals. They ask probing questions and challenge me in ways that help me to grow as a teacher and, ultimately, writer.

With the help of the bookstore and, in particular, Justin Stephani, I recently organized a reading for writers who have taken my class. I have been teaching workshops since 2011 and have worked with over 300 writers. On Friday, ten readers shared insightful work and many brought food and drink to share. What a pleasure to be a part of such a strong, supportive and energized community!

We collected $180.00 for the Thea Bowman house run by SOME. I've been connected with them and really admire their work. You can donate to them directly online. (You might write a note dedicating your funds to the Thea Bowman House, where I recently co-led a writing workshop.)

As some of you know, my family and I will be spending the next academic year in Florence, Italy. While I will continue to teach college level classes online and work privately with writing students via email and video conference, I won't be able to teach at the bookstore.

If you are looking for writing workshops at Politics and Prose, Mathina Calliope will be teaching a memoir writing workshop similar to mine starting the end of May. It be open for registration online through the bookstore on May 8th. Here are the details:
This five-session course will help you write your memories into scenes by responding to writing prompts, by workshopping essays and excerpts, and by studying Mary Karr's Art of Memoir. Five Tuesdays: May 30, June 6, 13, 20, 27, 10:00 a.m. to noon.

Also, keep an eye out for writing classes taught by Cynthia Blair Kane, Shaheen Qureshi, Sara Burnett, Linda Kulman and Martha Ertman.

Thank you again to the bookstore, Justin and the writers who read, listened and shared food during the reading!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Leaving on a Jet Plane...



As some of you already know, my family and I will be leaving on a jet plane this summer for Florence, Italy. I can hardly believe that fourteen years after living and working there, I'll be back. This time I'll be with my husband and (soon to be) four year old. It truly feels like a dream (and large organizational project) come true. 

I will be focusing on finishing a multi-genre manuscript and continuing to work as a private writing coach. I still have a few spots available for new clients starting in September, 2017, if you're interested. We can communicate via email and "meet" via video conference (Facetime or Skype.) Read more about my services here and email to set up your first appointment (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.) 

My husband, Hans Noel, will be teaching a class on Italian democracy at Georgetown University's campus in Fiesole, Villa Le Balze. Meanwhile, our four year old will be attending a local, Italian school and, hopefully, learning to speak the language like a native. Look for us on Firenze's cobblestone streets as we take our evening passeggiata - with gelato, of course - every evening. 

A presto! We'll be back in D.C. August 2018. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

March for Science & Science Stanzas




Saturday, Earth Day, is the March for Science on the National Mall in D.C. and other cities. The poets, led by Jane Hirshfield and the Wick Poetry Center, are joining the scientists and hosting Science Stanzas. In D.C., they will be a part of the main stage rally, teach-ins and workshops before the march. There will be giant posters with poems and signs with poems to hold during the march. You can read through the poems and download your own signs electronically.

Join the poets and scientists as they stand up for science.

Here is the March for Science's Mission: 
The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.
You can read their full mission here

Why will I march, as a poet, mom, teacher and wife of a political scientist? Because I believe in science. Science allows us to question what we know, learn more, experiment, keep humans, animals and the earth safe and healthy and, hopefully, improve our overall health, safety and progression into the future. I need science for fresh water and air, safe food, this laptop and internet connection, my son's vaccines, my eyeglasses and contacts, and endless other things. We, scientists and non-scientists alike, need the scientists to be free (supported financially and materially, as well as safe) to investigate our world and worlds beyond.

Monday, April 3, 2017

National Poetry Month


Happy National Poetry Month! 

Poetry happens all year, on good and bad and in-between days, of course. But April is a great time to celebrate the genre.

How will you join in?

You might start by looking at the National Poetry Month page from the Academy of American Poets (complete with my favorite: sign up for a poem a day to be emailed to your in-box throughout the month), attend a reading (the Beltway Poetry Review publishes a thorough calendar for the D.C. area), visit your local library or favorite independent bookstore and browse for books, watch and listen to poets read their work at the Dodge Poetry Festival on their Youtube station or try writing a poem a day.

For more, scroll through the resources I've gathered on the right side of this website.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Connecting with Writers, Reading Series and Venues

Do you run a reading series? Have a new book out and hope to schedule some readings? You might check these directories to help you to connect with other writers, reading series and venues that host readings:

Directory of Poets & Writers from Poets & Writers Magazine

Have Book Will Travel: Connecting Authors with Reading Series and Venues

AWP: Directory of Members from the Association of Writers and Writing Programs

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Students' Publications & Beryl Radin's Upcoming Politics and Prose Reading

I'm excited to be linking to current and former writing students' publications on this page. Click through to read what folks are publishing: blogs, articles, literary magazines and books.

If you are a former writing student of mine, please email me a link to your work so that I can add you to the listing (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

Speaking of former students, if you are the D.C. area, I hope you'll stop by Politics and Prose bookstore on Sunday, March 5th at 5 pm to hear Beryl Radin read from her new book Leaving South Dakota: a Memoir of a Jewish Feminist Academic. Details on the event on the bookstore's website.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Writing & Thinking about Taste

The five senses can help you interrogate your words when your descriptions seem dull (for example, you can ask yourself what something sounds like when sliced or dropped or what something tastes feels like on a cold or warm day.) I recently offered a generative, creative writing workshop at Georgetown University. Since we were meeting during lunch, I couldn't help but focus on taste. Here are the taste and senses-related materials that I shared with them and now you:

Isabel Allende’s book Aprhodite: A memoir of the senses

Diane Ackerman’s book A Natural History of the Senses

Grace Cavalieri & Sabine Pascarelli edited The Poet’s Cookbook: Recipes from Tuscany & Poems by 28 Italian and American Poets

Poet Jane Hirshfield’s essay Five Utensils of the Spirit (including two poems: Da Capo and Green-Striped Melons

Martín Espada’s poem Coca-Cola and Coco Frío 

Mark Strand’s poem Eating Poetry


What else would you add? 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Support Facts. Support Journalism.


image found here

We all need some giggles to get through the "alternative facts." What else can we do? We can support journalists and journalism with our wallet. Here are some places to send our dollars in exchange for facts:

Start with a print or digital subscription to The Washington Post or The New York Times.

Find a local NPR station and donate.

Browse the Global Investigative Journalism Network and choose a place to donate (they list nonprofit and related organizations worldwide that work in support of investigative journalism, listed by region.)

Donate directly to the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

For more organizations, here are great lists from PEN Center USA and Medium

Friday, January 13, 2017

Books Alive! 2017


I'm excited to be participating in the upcoming Books Alive! conference as a panel moderator. Register today to hear agents and writers talk about their craft April 28 & 29th in College Park, MD.

I will be moderating this panel on Sat., April 29th:

2:50-3:40 p.m.: The Twilight Zone: Between Memoir, Fiction, and Family History 
Moderator: Chloe Miller, a memoir-writing instructor at Politics and Prose
Tom Shroder, author of The Most Famous Writer Who Ever Lived: A True Story of My Family (named a Best Memoir of 2016 by the Washington Post)
Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist and author of Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books 
Jenny Yacovissi, author of Up the Hill to Home


Books Alive 2017

5th Annual Washington Writers Conference

April 28-29, 2017

Presented by the Washington Independent Review of Books

Join the DC literary community and successful authors, agents, and publishers from around the country for the 5th Annual Washington Writers Conference at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in Hyattsville, MD. See why this inspiring and instructive two-day conference has quickly become a leading literary event in the DC area.
It kicks off on Friday, April 28th, with an informal meet-and-greet (cash bar), followed by a "how to pitch an agent" session.
On Saturday, April 29th, the schedule includes:
  • Agent pitch sessions throughout the day. (All participants will have the chance to sit face-to-face with up to three agents for five-minute sessions and pitch their ideas. You might even sign with an agent, as past participants have.)
  • An exciting line-up of panels and conversations with authors and other industry professionals.
  • Lunch with keynote speaker Judith Viorst.
  • And much more.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Great Day Washington TV Segment



This morning may have started off with a little one's feet under my chin, but then it progressed to the set of Great Day Washington, a morning show on the local CBS affiliate. I spoke with co-host Markette Sheppard and special guest Darrell Green about journal and memoir writing, as well as Politics and Prose bookstore.


You can click through to watch the full clip here and read the follow-up article, with recommended books to get you started, here.

Great Day viewers and new clients, mention the show for a free writing coach consultation. Email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com to set up your consultation and first appointment. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year! Ok, Now It Is Time To Write


Happy New Year! I hope you had a lovely holiday that included some rest, treats, and time with loved ones.

Now is the moment to shake off the holiday cookies, keep the joy and settle into your writing spot. You can be your own administrative assistant who organizes and encourages you to meet your goals. Here are some tips:

LIST YOUR LONG TERM GOALS
What are you working towards? When do you want to accomplish those goals? Do you want to write, edit and submit an essay? Write a full manuscript and submit it to agents? Start a writing practice by journaling every day? Write your goals down. Give yourself a final deadline. Know that you can and will reach that deadline step by step.

LIST YOUR SHORT TERM GOALS
If you sit down to work on your long term goals and only see, "write my book!' written in cursive at the top of the page, you are more likely to finish your laundry than start working on your book. Break down the large project into small chunks with deadlines. For example, maybe you want to complete some research this month and finish the outline and the opening chapter by the following the month.
List the actual steps that it will take to reach your goals. Read this post for some tips on what to short term goals to include.

SCHEDULE YOUR WRITING TIME
At the start of last year, I wrote about trusting your calendar. If you schedule the time you have to write, you will be more likely to leave those hours free and focused on writing.

END YOUR WRITING TIME WELL
Dedicate the last ten minutes of each writing session making a very short term to-do list. Do you need to research a city? Does a particular scene need more dialogue? Is there a contest you want to submit work to? This list will help you to use shorter periods of time more effectively and to better jump into your writing project.

PERIODICALLY CHECK-IN
The beginning of a new year is a natural fresh beginning. I recommend checking-in to see how you are progressing every three months. Here are some tips on how to do a self-evaluation of your writing process.

SAY, "NO" SOMETIMES
Many writers are balancing a day job - or juggle a few day jobs - and a personal life with a writing life. You will need to say, "no" to things. This piece, "How to Say No to Taking on More Work" offers some great times. One friend recommends keeping a list of all the things you say, "no" to during the year to review at the end of the year.

WHERE TO KEEP YOUR LIST?
I'm a big fan of using my computer's calendar program to block off time to write. I also regularly update a word processing document titled, "Writing To Do List" which lists both the large and small goals.

I haven't tried it yet, but I'm interested in the Bullet Journal, which helps you to prioritize and see the different categories your (overall) to-do list might include.


If you are looking for individualized help setting goals and meeting them, I am accepting a few new clients this February. You can read more about my writing coach services here. Email me to discuss our first appointment (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.