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ASHEVILLE—The North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference will be held November 20-22 at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. Christine Hale will lead the Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, "Using the Imagination in Memoir."

We selected a passage from Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward Angel (one of Asheville's most famous texts) and removed a few words. Then we prompted Christine to fill in the resulting blanks, for what we're calling "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition." Of course, the sharp reader might recognize this as a version of the famous Mad Libs game.

Below is Christine Hale's contribution to "Word Plugs: The Thomas Wolfe Edition". To read the original passage, click here:

"Where is the day that smattered into one rich overbearing mother? Where the music of your traveling feet, the banjo of your teeth, the dainty languor of your suit coat, your wayward firm spleen, your slender fingers, to be satiated like an okra, and the little cherry-squirrel of your white writer's bump? And where are all the tiny ice boxes of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the ridges of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this fedora. You who were made for bar keeping, will sling scullery maid no more: in your dark attic closet the windstorm tearing trees out by the roots are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that paper cut that we did not foresee, return not into Altamont, but atop Mt. Mitchell, where we have never rattled, into the enchanted wood, where we collected stamps, strewn on the back stoop. Come up into the hills, O my young Zelda Fitzgerald: return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved Jay Gatsby, come back again."

***

At the NCWN 2015 Fall Conference, Christine Hale will lead the Creative Nonfiction Master Class, "Using the Imagination in Memoir." Although memoirists can and should struggle to tell the truth about themselves and others, good memoir relies on a good capacity for imagination. A writer must use imagination when writing memoir because the facts we think we remember are not, in fact, facts. Robert Root, writing about memory in The Nonfictionist’s Guide, says, “What is seen is determined by the eye of the beholder. Who you are determines what you pay attention to.” And I would add to that, “Who you are at a given point in time determines what you pay attention to and how you interpret it.” During our time together, I’ll provide examples of and the rationale for the role of imagination in memoir. We’ll workshop a portion of each participant's submission, attending not only to what's working well but also the places where imagination might be used to good advantage. Time permitting, we will complete writing exercises practicing the techniques we have discussed. Participants should come away from the sessions with strategies for artfully deploying imagination in their memoir projects.

Christine Hale’s prose has appeared in Hippocampus, Arts & Letters, Prime Number, Shadowgraph, and The Sun, among other literary journals. Her debut novel Basil’s Dream (Livingston Press, 2009) received honorable mention in the 2010 Library of Virginia Literary Awards. A fellow of MacDowell, Ucross, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ms. Hale has been a finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers and the Rona Jaffee Foundation Writers’ Award. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College, and teaches in the Antioch University-Los Angeles Low-Residency MFA Program as well as the Great Smokies Writing Program. Her new book, A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations (forthcoming from Apprentice House, April 2016) is set in the southern Appalachian Mountains, where she and her parents grew up. She lives in Asheville, where she is director of operations for Urban Dharma, a Buddhist temple and community center.

Registration for the North Carolina Writers' Network 2015 Fall Conference is now open.

 

Passage III:

"Where is the day that melted into one rich noise? Where the music of your flesh, the rhyme of your teeth, the dainty languor of your legs, your small firm arms, your slender fingers, to be bitten like an apple, and the little cherry-teats of your white breasts? And where are all the tiny wires of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the mouths of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this loveliness. You who were made for music, will hear music no more: in your dark house the winds are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that marriage that we did not foresee, return not into life, but into magic, where we have never died, into the enchanted wood, where we still life, strewn on the grass. Come up into the hills, O my young love: return. O lost, and by the wind grieved ghost, come back again."

 

With prompts:

Where is the day that (Verb (Past Tense)) into one rich (Pet Peeve)? Where the music of your (Body Part), the (Musical Expression) of your teeth, the dainty languor of your (Item of Clothing), your (Adjective) firm (Internal Organ), your slender fingers, to be (Verb) like an (Fruit or Vegetable), and the little cherry-(Small Mammal) of your white (Body Part)? And where are all the tiny (Home appliance (Plural)) of finespun maidenhair? Quick are the (Land Formation (Plural)) of earth, and quick the teeth that fed upon this (Descriptive Noun). You who were made for (Occupation), will (Verb (Present)) (Occupation-b) no more: in your dark (Scary Place from Childhood) the (Act of God) are silent. Ghost, ghost, come back from that (Injury) that we did not foresee, return not into (Fictional Landscape), but into (Favorite NC Location), where we have never (Verb (Past Tense)), into the enchanted wood, where we (Hobby), strewn on the (Place in Your House). Come up into the hills, O my young (Historical Figure): return. O lost, and by the wind-grieved (Fictional Character), come back again.

ASHEVILLE—Registration is now open for the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2015 Fall Conference, November 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton Asheville-Biltmore. 2015 marks the thirtieth anniversary of NCWN, and the Network will celebrate more than a generation of serving writers at all levels of skill and experience, all weekend long.

Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with agents or editors. Professional writers from North Carolina and beyond comprise the conference faculty.

New York Times bestselling author Lee Smith, author of, most recently, Guests on Earth, will give the Keynote Address. Former NC poet laureate Kathryn Stripling Byer will be the featured guest at Saturday’s luncheon, and later that night the annual banquet—the de facto birthday bash for the Network—will feature musical guests Keith Flynn & the Holy Men.

Tina Barr will lead the Master Class in Poetry, “The Alchemy of Revision.” She has published five volumes of poetry, including her most recent, Kaleidoscope (Iris Press). Her awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ucross Foundation.

The Master Class in Creative Nonfiction, “Using the Imagination in Memoir,” will be led by Christine Hale. A fellow of MacDowell, Ucross, Hedgebrook, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, she teaches in the Antioch University-Los Angeles Low-Residency MFA Program as well as the Great Smokies Writing Program. Her new book, A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations (Apprentice House, 2016), is set in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Tommy Hays will lead the Master Class in Fiction, “Locating Our Stories.” His first middle grade novel, What I Came to Tell You, was a VOYA Top Shelf Pick for Middle Grade Fiction 2014, a nominee for the 2015-16 North Carolina Young Adult Award, and a Fall 2013 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. He is Executive Director of the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at Murray State University.

Additional fiction workshops include “Writing Middle Grade Fiction” from Robert Beatty, whose recent novel, Serafina and the Black Cloak, features Asheville’s Biltmore Estate and was a 2015 Summer Okra Pick. Wayne Caldwell will teach attendees how to craft the perfect first paragraph; Vicki Lane will review “Mystery 101.” Wofford College’s John Lane, author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, will instruct on “Writing Description that Means Something”; Megan Shepherd, whose novel The Madman's Daughter was optioned for film and won the NC Book Award for Young Adult Literature, will teach “Writing Young Adult Fiction”; and Lee Smith will lead a freewheeling discussion on the hazards and benefits of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Poets will find a broad range of offerings including former UNC-Chapel Hill English Department Chairman Laurence Avery’s “To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme, That is the Question”; “The Art of Editing Poetry” with Keith Flynn; a prose poetry workshop led by Murray State's Nickole Brown; and “Personal Poetry Dives into Archetype,” guided by Katherine Soniat, author of seven poetry collections.

For those writers hoping to stick more to the truth, workshops include “Guiding Others through Places You Love” with travel writer Danny Bernstein; Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Laura Hope-Gill’s “Narrative Medicine: Stories in Clinical Care”; “Memoir Plus: Doing More With Memoir” from Western Carolina University’s Jeremy B. Jones; and Catherine Reid of Warren Wilson College will lead a workshop on balancing craft and content.

Along with classes focusing on craft, the 2015 Fall Conference offers workshops designed to help writers navigate the publishing industry. Amy Cherrix, author liaison for the Southern Independent Booksellers Association, will lead a workshop on helping authors connect with independent bookstores. NCWN’s Communications Director Charles Fiore and Board Member-at-Large Nicki Leone (aka Lady Banks) will co-teach “Web Tools for Writers.” Joy Neaves will guide writers through the submission process, and Heather Newton will discuss legal issues writers commonly encounter in the areas of copyright and defamation.

Once again, the Manuscript Mart, Marketing Mart, and Critique Service are available to those who pre-register. And the Network will offer the Mary Belle Campbell Scholarship, which sends two poets who teach full-time to the Fall Conference.

2015 Fall Conference sponsors include Robert Beatty, Disney-Hyperion Author of Serafina and the Black Cloak; Lenoir-Rhyne University’s MA in Writing Program; Chatham-Lee Counties NCWN regional rep Al Manning; Alice Osborn and Write from the Inside Out; The Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site; WCQS Western North Carolina Public Radio; Western Carolina University’s MA in Professional Writing Program; and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Registration is now open at www.ncwriters.org.

The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to writers at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.

 

 
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