38Write: Is This Writing Workshop Right For You?

38Write—my [new-ish] global writing initiative—is a monthly series of online writing adventure workshops for place-passionate, culturally curious writers around the world. Each writing adventure focuses on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life (for example, writing kick-butt descriptions), and during each 38-hour adventure, you’ll be connecting with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. It’s new. It’s different. It’s crazy, mad fun!


I sat down just now to write a blog entry about why #38Write is the writing workshop for you, but instead, I find myself in writerhead, being drawn to work on a piece I’ve been writing about the chicken man in Shanghai. All kinds of things are stirring me up creatively this morning: this NYTimes piece about singer/songwriter Frank Ocean; Julian Gough’s open letter to Jonathan Ive (and Apple) about a short story he wrote called “iHole” (which I discovered via a Tweet on Sunday morning); and even this study about how dogs in an office setting can reduce stress (weaving it into my argument for taking my new pup to work).

So if you’re sitting out there in China or Ireland or Boracay or Alaska, thinking, hhhmmm, 38Write? Yay? Nay?

Yay. For sure, yay. And let’s get on with telling the story.


Mojo Monday: Diagram (the lit magazine)

It’s Mojo Monday, and as always, I’ve got a little something-something to lift your creative spirits, buoy you up, help you get your mojo on, and nudge (or better yet, catapult) you into writerhead.

I’m kinda in love with DIAGRAM lit magazine right now. (A high-five to Ned Stuckey-French for sharing it on Facebook a few weeks ago.)

I think a lot about structure—the structure of a beach, the structure of a squirrel’s nest, the structure of the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, China, the structure of my family, the structure of a particular lane off Anfu Road in Shanghai, the structure of a chair, etc.—and how the structure, or anti-structure, of a novel or essay can reflect the structure of a thing or place or concept.

Right now, I’m looking at a row of stones that lines an overgrown garden-y space outside my office window , and I’m thinking about how I could write an essay that reflects the shape, rhythm, and pattern of those stones. Flat, roundish/tall, small headstone-y type, roundish/short, flat/triangular, turtle-like, a mere bump, etc. And then, of course, how to work in the lopped-off trunk of a tree that stands guard behind them.

Anyway, DIAGRAM publishes pieces that explore structure in a concise, schematic way. It speaks to my obsession interest in place and how to express place on the page.

It’s cool. Check it out.


Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net