Writers’ Showcase THIS Saturday

The Writers Showcase Spring 2017 (1)-page-001

 

If you’re around the Scranton area this Saturday, I encourage you to attend the Writers’ Showcase. We have a fantastic line-up of authors who will be sharing their work. Here are their bios:

Amanda J. Bradley is the author of three books of poems: Queen Kong (2017), Oz at Night (2011), and Hints and Allegations (2009). She has published poetry and essays in many journals including Paterson Literary Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Kin Poetry Journal, Rattle, The New York Quarterly, and Poetry Bay. Amanda is a graduate of the MFA program at The New School, and she holds a PhD in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis. She is an Assistant Professor at Keystone College outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Barbara J. Taylor has an MFA in creative writing from Wilkes University. Her latest novel, All Waiting Is Long, is the sequel to her debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night, named a “Best Book of Summer 2014” by Publishers Weekly. In addition to writing, Barbara has been teaching high school English for 30 years.

Al Manorek is an aspiring writer and poet originally from Shavertown. He is an active member of NEPA Creative Writers and the Game Chateau Writers. He enjoys performing at various local
open mics throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. He was drawn to writing at the tender age of twelve when he began writing short stories and poetry. He loves working as a Regional Substitute Teacher for Bright Horizons Family Solutions. He is an avid home brewer and professionally guest bartenders for friends in need.

Heather Harlen is the author of the Marina Konyeshna thriller series (Northampton House Press). SHAME, SHAME, I KNOW YOUR NAME is the second book in the thrillogy. Heather was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania and has coal dust in her blood, so this series takes place in the Wilkes-Barre area. She earned an M.A. in creative writing from Wilkes University and currently teachies high school English in Allentown. Her writing has been featured in publications such as Hippocampus and Yoganonymous. Find out more at www.heatherharlen.com.

Robert Fillman won the poetry contest at the 2016 Pennsylvania Writers Conference at Wilkes University and has been featured as a “Showcase Poet” in the Aurorean. Recently, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blueline, Chiron Review, Off the Coast, Pembroke Magazine, Spillway, and others. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate and Teaching Fellow at Lehigh University, where he also edits the university literary magazine, Amaranth, and runs the Drown Writers Series. He lives in eastern Pennsylvania with his wife, Melissa, and their two children, Emma and Robbie.

Authors will have books for sale, too!

Sometimes You Just Have to Say No

The nonfiction journal Brevity has a great blog post about ways to avoid overbooking yourself as a writer. The guest author, Lev Raphael, admits that most young writers say yes to everything for the exposure. However, there is  a danger to that because committing to so many engagements pulls a writer from the daily work schedule. Raphael shares some useful advice he learned from another writer during an engagement at a Jewish Community Center. “It’s not just the day you’re there, she (the other author) said, if it’s only a day.  It’s the day before, getting ready, and then at least one day of re-entry into your regular schedule, sometimes more, depending on how complicated your visit was.”

Raphael also notes that writers should consider whether or not the gig will be fun or challenging, and whether or not the compensation, if there is any, is worth it. Raphael’s post made me reflect upon all of the writing engagements and readings I’ve done in the last few years, which has probably neared 100 or so. More recently, most of them have been worth it and have led to book sales and networking with different writers and literary communities. However, when I first started doing this, I said yes to everything. I’ve driven a few hundred miles round trip to read before five or six people. Looking back, I would have said thanks, but no thanks to some of those engagements. Like Raphael advises, guard your time and worry about the work first and foremost.  Research the conference or reading series. Make sure the drive or air travel is worth it.

Writing Process/Writing Life

Yesterday, the weather was mild and warm, and for the first time in at least days, the sun was actually out for extended periods. I made the most of the pleasant weather and took my reading materials and a notebook to a local park to sit outside and write. Without any way to use my laptop, I actually got a lot of writing done and I felt more focused than I had in a while, probably just from being outside.

This whole experience caused me to seriously consider how I structure my time to write. Most of the time, I write in the morning, at my kitchen table, for at least 30 minutes. And then I try to pour in another 30 minutes or longer after work, again, at my kitchen table. But a lot of times, in the comfort of my own apartment, I feel like I’m rushing the work because I’m thinking about emails I have to respond to on my laptop only a few feet away.

But yesterday, I didn’t have any of those distractions. It made me realize that when I leave the house in hopes of writing, I should leave the laptop home or not connect to the web. I find that too often when I go to Borders, Starbucks, or a local cafe, I spend far more time mindlessly surfing the web as opposed to getting much work done.

I’m even considering going to the park more and more, like I did last summer, to get serious writing done. No internet connection there. I’m curious as to what the writing process/space is like for other people. I suppose it varies from person to person.