Mid-Week Field Notes–December 1, 2021

Some very quick things:

  1. I’ve now seen the second pass of my forthcoming YA novel in verse, Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosenberg’s Life in Poems. Still too early to reveal the cover but as soon as I receive the go-ahead, I will share it! Calkins Creek, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers, will be publishing the book Fall 2022. They and I have high hopes for it.
  2. Even though my focus has been on novels in verse, memoir, and my dissertation, I still have picture books in the back of my mind. I am in awe of writers like Nancy Churnin, Audrey Ades, and Laurie Wallmark who all seem to write them with such ease. I know it takes sometimes Herculean effort to make the writing seem that way. Stay tuned for an interview with Nancy about her new book, Dear Mr. Dickens.
  3. Join us on December 8 to commemorate the UN and human rights via Zoom, sponsored by the Mercer Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education Center.
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#52snapshots–Week 48

In an Amherst Writers & Artists (AWA) generative writing session last week, I wrote about my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer, catalyzed by “Bunny” comics, featuring Bunny Ball, international fashion model and by a supermarket novel about Barbie (the doll) becoming a fashion designer. I pulled out my Crayola box and using metallic crayons designed an outfit for Bunny. Months later, my twin sister found it in the issue she was reading. This marked my first publication, and I think I was in the sixth grade. My high school guidance counselor wanted me to apply to the Fashion Institute of Technology. I didn’t. I didn’t think I was creative enough, although I made most all of my own clothes. After college and earning my undergraduate degree in German, I still considered my dream. As an adult, I took classes at Parsons School of Design in fashion merchandising and drawing.

By writing about this, I realized I was adding to my sketches about the outfits I created. In Evernote, I’ve begun to jot some ideas about a collection of essays, although maybe they’ll become poems, about my sewing days.

I’m scheduled to participate in four AWA sessions this week, so we’ll see what I produce. I’m still working on a novel in verse.

StoryScapes Studio Launches January 2022

I am excited to announce the launch of StoryScapes Studio in January. The first offering is a four-week cycle of Writing Family History and a four-week cycle of Memoir. Click here for details.

Happy Writing!

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Mid-Week Field Notes–November 24, 2021

Some very quick things:

  1. This week I’m working on a short article/personal essay, an opportunity that came up from a Facebook group.
  2. Last weekend I participated in three Amherst Writers & Artists sessions, generating at least five new poems for my novel-in-verse work in progress. Hint: I’ve just purchased Linda Forgosh’s Jewish Weequahic (Newark, New Jersey) for background.
  3. I am dedicating this Thanksgiving weekend to make-up appointments delayed by my October surgery and recovery–and to working on my dissertation! .

Happy Writing, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Chanukah!

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#52snapshots–Week 47

For the rest of this calendar year, I’m pretty much putting #52snapshots aside to work on my dissertation. I’m still, though, jotting down notes into Evernote, reading memoir and about memoir, and engaging with other memoirists. I just won’t be writing new material or revising existing material until I send the first complete draft of my magnum opus to my committee chair.

That said, I am having fun during self-imposed breaks to research writing retreats in exotic places. So many to choose from! If any of you have one to recommend, please comment below.

StoryScapes Studio Launches January 2022

I am excited to announce the launch of StoryScapes Studio in January. The first offering is a four-week cycle of Writing Family History and a four-week cycle of Memoir. Click here for details.

Happy Writing!

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Mid-Week Field Notes–November 17, 2021

Some very quick things:

  1. I am announcing the launch of StoryScapes Studio! Two writing workshops start in January: Writing Family History (starts Jan. 9, 2-4 pm ET) and Memoir (starts Jan. 8, 11 am – 1 pm ET). Both are four sessions (consecutive Sundays or consecutive Saturdays), $120 for the full cycle. In these sessions I’ll be providing timed prompts for real-time writing using the Amherst Writers & Artists method. If interested, please send an email to barbaradkrasner(at)gmail(dot)com. Want to be on the mailing list for StoryScapes Studio newsletter? Send an email to the above address and I’ll send you a free family history interview guide.
  2. Another rejection, this time a form letter, came in for my essay about my maternal grandfather. Sigh. Back to the proverbial drawing board.
  3. Last chance to register for today’s webinar about Holocaust fighters with author Jeffrey Sussman via Zoom, sponsored by the Mercer Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education Center. .

Happy Writing!

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#52snapshots–Week 46

During the last week, one more rejection came in for my paternal grandfather essay. I haven’t sent it out widely, and that’s a good thing, because revision is certainly necessary. Memoirist and Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA instructor Sue William Silverman posted on Facebook about a new podcast interview of her by journalist Jonathan Small. Listening to her, I got some new ideas for revision.

In Progress

I’ve been invited to write a short piece about being told by university administrators and faculty that I was too old to pursue a PhD. I’ve also been writing about my father and our family home.

StoryScapes Studio Launches January 2022

I am excited to announce the launch of StoryScapes Studio in January. The first offering is a four-week cycle of Writing Family History and a four-week cycle of Memoir. Click here for details.

Happy Writing!

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Mid-Week Field Notes–November 10, 2021

Some very quick things:

  1. I’ve been participating in a twice-monthly Zoom gathering of writers to learn about author’s platform. It’s called the Writers Bridge, hosted by Allison K. Williams and Ashleigh Renard. Yesterday’s session was about creating promotional videos for Instagram and other social media. I admit, I’m a bit of a neanderthal when it comes to this, but I’m going to give it a go. Comment below if you have any tips on promoting your books through social media.
  2. A thoughtful rejection came in for my essay about my maternal grandfather. The editor thinks there’s a much bigger story here. I’m going to have to rethink this and other essays after I complete the draft of my dissertation.
  3. Sign up now for a free, 90-minute workshop on Writing Your Family History, Sunday, November 14, at 2:00 pm ET. To register, comment below or send an email to barbaradkrasner(at)gmail(dot)com.
  4. Last chance to register for today’s Kristallnacht commemorative event via Zoom, sponsored by the Mercer Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education Center.
  5. First chance to register for next Wednesday’s Zoom session with author Jeffrey Sussman. .

Happy Writing!

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#52snapshots–Week 45

I’ve been reading a book my twin sister sent me about developing a shift in mindset for weight loss. One chapter struck me. It dealt with leveraging strengths. Years ago, when I was a director of marketing in Corporate America, I was big on strengths, knowing that more could be accomplished by knowing and applying strengths than to correct weaknesses.

Then and now, networking is one of my strengths. But taking this free survey from the VIA Institute on Character identified the following top strengths (from a list of 24):

  1. Love of learning (Wisdom)
  2. Creativity (Wisdom)
  3. Perspective (Wisdom)
  4. Curiosity (Wisdom)
  5. Spirituality (Transcendence)

The question I’ve been grappling with now is how do I apply this to my writing practice. Perhaps this is exactly why I’m writing family history essays.

If family history writing is an exploration you want to engage in, please join me for a free, 90-minute Writing Family History workshop on Sunday, November 14, at 2 pm ET. A four-session workshop series will follow beginning January 9. A four-session workshop series begins January 8 for Memoir. If interested, comment below or send an email to barbaradkrasner(at)gmail(dot)com.

In Progress

I spent some time revising my essay about a maternal great-grandmother, but my beta reader says it needs more of “me” in it. This is a common comment I receive, irrespective of who reads it. I also just received a rejection (but with a wonderful personal note) of my essay about my maternal grandfather. Once I complete the draft of my dissertation and wait for feedback from my advisor, I can turn my attention to these essays again.

In the meantime, I’ve signed up for some Creative Nonfiction webinars and a Lafayette Writers’ Studio Zoom session with Brenda Miller about hermit crab essays.

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Mid-Week Field Notes–November 3, 2021

Some very quick things:

  1. My recovery is going well. But I still tire easily and have trouble focusing on a computer screen. While I still have a lot of grading to catch up on, I’d love to carve out some time to generate some new writing.
  2. Sign up now for a free, 90-minute workshop on Writing Your Family History, Sunday, November 14, at 2:00 pm ET. To register, comment below or send an email to barbaradkrasner(at)gmail(dot)com.
  3. Register now for the Nov 10 Kristallnacht commemorative event via Zoom, sponsored by the Mercer Holocaust, Genocide & Human Rights Education Center.

Happy Writing!

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#52snapshots–Week 44

In the November/December 2021 issue of Poets & Writers, author Victoria Chang shares her journey in writing her new book, Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief, published by Milkweed in October. As part of her process, Chang collected documents and photos that intrigued her. She writes, “In a few weeks I had a stack of longing.”

That’s how I feel about family history. I long to know how it felt to live in the shtetl, to come to America, to assimilate, to live through the Great Depression, to hear the news that siblings and others died by bullets or in the camps. There is no one left to ask. All I can do is scour documents, photos, and objects and piece together a narrative.

If you share in this longing, please join me for a free, 90-minute Writing Family History workshop on Sunday, November 14, at 2 pm ET. A four-session workshop series will follow beginning January 9. A four-session workshop series begins January 8 for Memoir. If interested, comment below or send an email to barbaradkrasner(at)gmail(dot)com.

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