Writer’s Access: January-February 2002

Molly Gloss to Lead Guild Workshop

Award-winning novelist Molly Gloss is coming to Eugene on Saturday, February 9 to lead a writing workshop sponsored by the Lane Literary Guild. Gloss is an excellent, insightful teacher who inspires her students to do their best. The workshop is for all levels, and participants should come prepared to write rather than bringing work with them. The workshop will meet at the Wayne Morse Ranch, 595 Crest Drive; advanced registration is required (see below).

Writing workshops give writers a chance to share their work, get feedback, and work under the guidance of established authors. Here’s how Gloss describes the intent of her workshop, which is called "Alive in the World: Fictional Characters and Setting."

"Character" and "setting" are often looked at as separate aspects of fiction writing. In truth, they are inextricably connected, so much so that even small details, such as the description of objects in a room, can shape or change the entire fabric of the story. Our best writers draw us wholly into the character’s world as if we were born to it, however odd or unfamiliar that world may be. For a reader to see and feel vividly what characters see and feel, the writer must create a setting so inextricably linked to the overall theme and plot and characters that it will seem as if these particular characters could only have performed these particular acts in this particular setting.

In this workshop we will explore the ways that setting can and should do far more than just tell us where things are happening, or give us props to later burn down or hide in. We will work hard to discover the small, essential details of place and of character that make the fictional world, and the people in it, whole and convincing. And we will especially look at the ways setting changes and creates and interacts with character.

To register, send a check made out to Lane Literary Guild to P.O. Box 11035, Eugene, OR 97440 or email coordinator Hannah Wilson. The cost is $50 for Guild members, and $50 plus Guild membership ($15-50, sliding scale) for non-members. Workshop is from 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Tea and coffee will be available, please bring a lunch. Size of the workshop is limited to 15, so sign up early to be assured of a spot in this rare opportunity to hone your skills with one of the state’s best fiction writers.

More Workshops to Come!

Thanks to the generous volunteer work of Hannah Wilson, the Literary Guild is offering three more workshops in coming months. More information will be in the March-April issue of The Writer’s Access, but mark your calendars for these dates: March 9, poet David Biespiel will offer a half-day workshop on "Vision & Revision: The Poetics of Risk." April 21, poets Kurt Brown and Laure-Anne Brousselar will offer "How Poems End." And in May, memoirist Judith Barrington will lead a workshop for non-fiction writers.

Membership News and Views

New and Renewing LLG Members

Welcome or welcome back to all these folks who have decided to join or renew their membership in the Guild.

Renewing members: Louise Lindsay-Sprouse for the Young Writers Association, Carter McKenzie, Jenny Root, Michael Allender, Joyce Salisbury, Hank Alley, Bean Comrada, Teresa Herlinger, Debbie Mohr, Winnie May Hrachovec, John Reed, Michael Spurlin, Sara Burant

New Members: Kathleen Noble, Susan Carey, Jacqueline Sutton, Gail Parr, Phyl Kerns, Keli Osborn, Gene Burks, Emily Reed, Guy Melton

Guild Membership – Why Join?
by Guild Member Toni Van Deusen

Lane Literary Guild Steering Committee members have been doing a bit of soul-searching lately. More than once over the past few months the question has been raised, "What do people get out of being a member of the Guild?"

In other words, why should people pay dues to belong to the organization when they can simply pick up a copy of this newsletter at a bookstore, attend the Windfall readings for free, or go on-line? It’s true that membership in the Guild has few tangible benefits to offer – you won’t receive a coffee mug or a T-shirt. We don’t even send you a laminated ID card to add to the bulge in your wallet.

One thing you do get with your membership is the ability to participate in Guild sponsored ongoing workshops. There are currently six of these, two for poetry critique, two for fiction critique, one for creative non-fiction, and the new writing-practice workshop. A good portion of the active Guild members are in one or more of these workshops.

There are also the day-long or half-day workshops, led by established writers from out of the area. These are open only to Guild members or those who join the Guild to attend.

Another benefit you receive is harder to put your finger on. At the last Steering Committee meeting someone asked, "What’s the reason people want to be affiliated with the Guild?" I think the most important reason is simply that human beings need to affiliate with others who share their interests and compulsions. I remembered moving to Eugene a year and a half ago and feeling adrift without my writers workshop, my group of close-knit writer friends and acquaintances, and without the knowledge that when I attended a reading I’d know some of the folks there – essentially, I was without a sense of belonging in my new community.

After a few months I joined Lane Literary Guild and felt that I was brought into the fold. I am not by nature a big "joiner." But it is important to me to belong to the community of writers and to feel that there are others who pursue this lonely art as zealously as I do. I need to feel part of a community of writers who are willing to support one another with a listening ear and a word of appreciation or encouragement. The Guild provides just such a community.

Two Magazines Offer Opportunities

The editors of Fireweed and Denali are seeking submissions.

Denali, the Lane Community College student-run literary arts magazine, is looking for material from Lane County writers and artists. This is your chance to send to a local publication that’s widely available and free – so if your work is accepted, many people who know you will see it.

The deadline for the winter issue is February 1. For the spring issue, send work by April 26. Send your work to Drew Laiche, Editor; Denali; Lane Community College; 4000 East 30th Avenue; Building 18, Room 213; Eugene, OR 97405. For more information about submitting work, visit the Denali website.

Fireweed publishes the work of Oregon poets. The editors are especially interested in getting submissions from beyond the Portland area. Send to: Fireweed, 5204 N. Gay Avenue; Portland, OR 97217. Subscriptions are $10 for four issues, and current issues are sold at Tsunami Books.

Winter Windfall Readings to Warm You

Thirteen contributors to Nan Phifer’s new book, Memoirs of the Soul: Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography, read January 15 for the Windfall Reading Series. In all, 45 members of the community appear in Memoirs of the Soul, which takes readers on an exploration of their inner lives through writing.

The readers were: John Pierce, Wes Flinn, Wanda Henson, Ted Berktold, Timothy Whitsel, Laura Lyford, Bonnie Gundeloch Johnson, Lisa Rosen, Doug Finn, Debra Burgess-Mohr, Liane Cordes, Dana Furgeson, and Kirsten Jones.

Next month’s reading is on February 19, when a fiction writer from Keizer and two poets from Ashland will entertain us. Gina Ochsner has won so many prizes for her fiction it’s hard to select which ones to list. She’s received an Oregon Arts Award, the Flannery O’Connor Award, the Raymond Carver award, the Robert Penn Warren award, a prize from Fish Publishing in Cork, Ireland, one from Crab Orchard Review, and many more. Her collection of stories, The Necessary Grace to Fall, is due out in a few months from the University of Georgia Press.

Steve Dieffenbacher spent many of his early years in Latin America. His poems appear in Fireweed, Manzanita Quarterly, and West Wind Review, and in At the Boundary, a chapbook that came out in 2001.

Jonah Bornstein earned his MFA from NYU. He directs the Ashland Writers Conference and has won the Coulter Prize, an Academy of American Poets college prize, and an Oregon State Poetry Association prize. His poems appear in Violet, Headwaters, and West Wind Review. His book, The Art of Waking, is coming out soon from Cedar Hill Publications.

Both readings begin at 7 p.m. in the Friends’ Lecture Room, upstairs at the Eugene Public Library. Refreshments are served during intermission. We hope to see you there!

About Writer’s Access

Please send member news, calendar events or other announcements to: newsletter@laneliteraryguild.org

The Writer’s Access is published bimonthly; the website is updated as changes & additions occur.

The next newsletter will be released in March. Please send announcements by February 15th for inclusion!