Tag Archives: creative writing program

The Way the Rain Works

Ralph and Ashley

Photo credit: Mary Barnard

 

Here I am posing with award-winning poet Ralph Earle, who kindly autographed a copy of his book,  The Way the Rain Works. To the folks gathered at the Central Carolina Community College Creative Writing Program’s Open Mic Friday night, he treated us all to a few sample poems.

the way the rain works

If you haven’t yet read The Way the Rain Works, you should do yourself a favor and order it today from Sable Books. The individual poems weave a powerful and poignant story about the slow dissolution of a family. There is great sadness, yes, but there are also touches of humor (“The Insulating Properties of Trees” and “Sweater Weather”, for example).

The primary landscape, North Carolina, is familiar but at the same time, new again, through Ralph’s intellect and imagination. In “The Mill Dam at Bynum” he writes: “In the summer I wander the overgrown farm road / like Whitman, mad and undisguised, observing / how broad the river grows there, how poised.”  I am not the only one who will never think of the Bynum mill dam in the same way again!

There are many other gems, from “The Flight Back Home” to “The Sea and Sand Did This” to the title poem itself. For me, the best way to summarize my own personal experience with this book is in the concluding lines of “Snow Falling Silently”: “No matter how often / we start the story / differently, it ends / the same: water flows,/ Night grows old./ Snow falls in the silence.”

A number of other writers regaled us into the evening at the Open Mic, with diverse poems and tales of deviled eggs, dancing queens, fathers, birdsong, crisper drawers, and much, much more. A huge thanks to the members of the Board (in addition to Ralph) who organized the evening: Maggie Zwilling, Kim Overcash, Judith Stanton, Michele Berger, and Mary Barnard (who doubled as poet AND photographer for the event).

If you missed it, no worries. Stay tuned because we’ll do it again in the fall!

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Join us on Friday for the CWP Open Mic!

FILE - In this file photo from Aug. 11, 2010, two donkeys, Napoleon, left, and Antosia, stand near each others at a zoo in Poznan, Poland. The two were separated recently because of an outcry over their lovemaking, but have been reunited. The couple, together for 10 years, got into trouble when mothers expressed outrage that children had to witness their mating. (AP Photo/Joanna Piechorowska, File)

Real-life lovers Napoleon (left) and Antosia at a zoo in Poznan, Poland.

Made plans for next Friday night? If not, plan on joining us at the Spring/Summer Open Mic for the Central Carolina Community College’s Creative Writing Program. It will be Friday, May 296-8 PM in the beautiful Chatham Community Library, Mary Hayes Holmes Room, in Pittsboro, N.C.

If you’re interested in reading your prose or poetry, please sign in upon arrival.  We’ll follow the order on the list, and you’ll have up to eight minutes. In addition to the reading, light refreshments will be served, another reason why you shouldn’t miss this event. If you don’t want to read, no worries, it’s still a lot of fun to hear the work of other local writers and mingle with the crowd.

I plan on reading 3 of my poems, one of which (“Napoleon and Antosia”) was inspired by two amorous real-life donkeys in Poland.

This piece was the result of another one of my most favorite poetry prompts  (source: The Practice of Poetry, edited by Robin Behn and Chase Twichell). You choose a story from the tabloids, write a poem in third person, and, as outrageous as it may be, take the story perfectly seriously. Oddly enough, this may lend your poem a bit of magical realism! I penned this poem during a class by Ralph Earle this fall and at his direction, wrote it with two different sets of line breaks.

While the National Enquirer and Star tend to focus more on celebrity news these days and unfortunately print less of those wacky stories such as “Alien Abducts My Wife” (remember those?), thanks to Reddit, you can find a wealth of these stories on this internet-based site, such as “Woman Lives with Mother’s Skeletal Remains for Years” or “Enchanted Creature Dances Beneath Icy Waters in Norway.”

Let your imagination run free and who knows how far you will go! Have fun writing, and we hope to see you at the Open Mic next Friday!

Seeking Last-Minute Gifts? Give Someone the Gift of Creative Writing!

Wondering what to give that “certain someone”? Perhaps they’ve seen it all or they’re notoriously persnickety and whatever you get them, you just know they’ll be returning it.

Consider giving the gift of creative writing and signing them up for a Spring 2015 class at Chatham Central Community College! And if you happen to be that “certain someone” yourself, sign yourself up.

Why?

1. The college’s unique Creative Writing program on the Chatham County Campus is the only Continuing Education program of its kind in the state. And we have something for everyone—from 10-week classes or one-day workshops in poetry, fiction and non-fiction led by celebrated authors Ruth Moose, Ralph Earle, and Judith Stanton, just to name a few. Considering what you’ll get in return, the price is nothing short of a bargain.

2. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. You’ll make new friends worth knowing! And the wisdom you pick up will be priceless. Warning: these classes are addictive.

3. You’ll have a new hobby worth bragging about. Instead of things like “I learned how to change the oil in my car” or “I learned how to julienne a carrot” (as important as those things are), you’ll get to say things such as “Just finished up a flash fiction piece about my day at work” or “Wrote a poem today about the cardinal in my yard.”

4. You’ll never look at life the same way again. If you already enjoy creative writing, you’ll know what I’m talking about. But if you’re a newbie, the opportunity to share your unique experiences with others will bring you boundless joy. You’ll feel more connected to the world and the people around you.

5. Need inspiration? Okay, here’s Warning #2. Here comes a shameless plug. Sign up for a workshop lead by yours truly!  It’s called “Jumpstart Your Poetic Imagination: Stop, Look, and Listen.”  You can find inspiration for poetry everywhere – from reading newspapers and periodicals to mining your daily life and memory. In my workshop, we’ll improvise on sample poems written by other poets and participate in fun and collaborative exercises meant to spark your own imagination.

For more information, check out the Spring 2015 Creative Writing Course List for Chatham Central Community College. Register today by calling 919-545-8044, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. M – F.

Hope to see you there!