#38Write: February 2013′s Writing Workshop Is Open for Registration

#38Write—my 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, culture, or the writing life, and during each 38-hour adventure, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board.


Crush Points_Wikimedia CommonsWhoop! Whoop! February’s #38Write writing workshop is open for registration!

Topic?

CRUSH!

Why CRUSH?

Well…when I first started to plan out this workshop, I was thinking about Valentine’s Day in the U.S. (which falls on Feb. 14) and my very first “culture crush.” The buzz and hum I felt in my head and heart when, in second grade, my teacher Mrs. Mangus introduced our class to the indigenous Aboriginal people of Australia. I was hooked, as hooked as a seven-year-old with a slim social studies book, a World Book Encyclopedia, a few worn issues of National Geographic, and a map can be—by the people, the place, the faraway-ness of it all, the distinct differences between my boring old life and their exciting one, as well as the hint/promise of similarities. At night, for months after Mrs. Mangus moved us on to other, less scintillating social studies topics, I’d lie in bed wondering how to buy a plane ticket to Australia, what it would feel like to be a seven-year-old Aboriginal kid, if the Aboriginal kids were reading about and longing to visit kids in U.S. steel communities, how I could convince my mom to let me pierce my nose, and so much more…. (finish reading about the “why” here)

When?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cost?

$38 (U.S.)

How to register?

Easy peasy. Click over to the CLASSES pages.

WHAT IS #38WRITE?

#38Write is a writing adventure workshop designed specifically for place-passionate, culturally curious writers that will get you out of your house—no matter where you live—and into your environs.

In June, I launched the first #38Write online writing adventure with #38Write | Description.

In July, I continued with #38Write | Structure, which went forth with 16 writers in 9 countries. One of the assignments for that workshop was to define culture without using a dictionary, thesaurus, or other reference tool. It sparked some pretty spectacular definitions (read them here) and a lively conversation on Twitter.

In September’s #38Write, writers wrote about square peg, round hole situations. Read a few examples here.

#38Write has been growing ever since. In January 2013, we had 17 writers in 9 countries.

THE UNIQUE ASPECTS OF #38WRITE

  • Each writing adventure is 38 hours long. It’s a manageable amount of time that fits into anyone’s busy schedule. (Good gracious, no, you will not be writing or adventuring for 38 hours straight. I’m ambitious for you, but not crazy. You will need approximately 2-4 hours to work during the 38-hour period…give or take an hour.)

 

  • Each writing adventure will focus on one particular aspect of culture, craft, or the writing life. You will not be writing an entire essay or short story (but you might accidentally do so). Some adventures will focus on a skill, like writing kick-butt descriptions; others might get you to look at what inspires you or how you move from idea to writing; all will encourage you to engage with and explore the culture in which you’re living.

 

  • During each 38-hour period, you’ll be able to connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. (How cool is that?!)

 

 

  • You will get feedback from me. (For more info about me, click here.)

 

  • You have the option to participate in peer critiques.

 

  • Terrific for folks writing fiction, essays, memoir, or poetry.

 

  • Beginners and experienced writers are welcome and encouraged to join. There are some of each (and everything in between) in every workshop.

 

  • It’s affordable. A single #38Write writing adventure costs only $38 (U.S.).

WHY DID I CREATE #38WRITE?

Growing and developing my global niche is a big part of who I am. My own global niche starts at home. I’m from the U.S. My husband is from Ireland. Our daughter is from Vietnam. And we began as a family while living in Shanghai, China. While living, writing, and teaching writing in the U.S. and Shanghai, I learned (and/or relearned) a number of things:

    1. Each of us has a heck of a lot to learn from folks in other countries (and not usually the things we think we need to learn).
    2. Story is an international conversation that can help us better understand one another.
    3. By helping writers from all over the world to improve their craft, I can play a wee role in facilitating this global conversation.
    4. Writing is recursive. You must practice. (And if I do say so myself, I’m pretty darn good at getting writers to practice.)

IS #38WRITE FOR YOU?

#38Write adventures are designed for all place-passionate writers, including expats and repats, globetrotters, armchair travelers, nomads, cultural spelunkers, deeply rooted souls, mapmakers and mapbreakers, wanderers and wayfarers, voyagers, and all writers interested in exploring and writing about their environs.

Heart_MorgueFileFreeSo, yup, if you’re asking, #38Write is probably for you.

To learn more and sign up for #38Write | CRUSH, visit CLASSES.

#38Write: January 2013’s Writing Workshop Is Open for Registration

#38Write—my 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, culture, or the writing life, and during each 38-hour adventure, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board.

Whoop! Whoop! January’s #38Write writing workshop is open for registration!

Topic?

I EAT FEAR!

Why fear?

Eat Fear_MorgueFileFreeBecause (a) fear is a common denominator among cultures, and (b) I (and a number of veteran #38Write writers) have been grappling with a few fears. (Read more about mine here.)

When?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cost?

$38 (U.S.)

How to register?

Easy peasy. Click over to the CLASSES pages.

WHAT IS #38WRITE?

#38Write is a writing adventure workshop designed specifically for place-passionate, culturally curious writers that will get you out of your house—no matter where you live—and into your environs.

In June, I launched the first #38Write online writing adventure with #38Write | Description.

In July, I continued with #38Write | Structure, which went forth with 16 writers in 9 countries. One of the assignments for that workshop was to define culture without using a dictionary, thesaurus, or other reference tool. It sparked some pretty spectacular definitions (read them here) and a lively conversation on Twitter.

In September’s #38Write, writers wrote about square peg, round hole situations. Read a few examples here.

#38Write has been growing ever since.

THE UNIQUE ASPECTS OF #38WRITE

  • Each writing adventure is 38 hours long. It’s a manageable amount of time that fits into anyone’s busy schedule. (Good gracious, no, you will not be writing or adventuring for 38 hours straight. I’m ambitious for you, but not crazy. You will need approximately 2-4 hours to work during the 38-hour period…give or take an hour.)

 

  • Each writing adventure will focus on one particular aspect of culture, craft, or the writing life. You will not be writing an entire essay or short story (but you might accidentally do so). Some adventures will focus on a skill, like writing kick-butt descriptions; others might get you to look at what inspires you or how you move from idea to writing; all will encourage you to engage with and explore the culture in which you’re living.

 

  • During each 38-hour period, you’ll be able to connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. (How cool is that?!)

 

 

  • You will get feedback from me. (For more info about me, click here.)

 

  • You have the option to participate in peer critiques.

 

  • Terrific for folks writing fiction, essays, memoir, or poetry.

 

  • Beginners and experienced writers are welcome and encouraged to join. There are some of each (and everything in between) in every workshop.

 

  • It’s affordable. A single #38Write writing adventure costs only $38 (U.S.).

WHY DID I CREATE #38WRITE?

Growing and developing my global niche is a big part of who I am. My own global niche starts at home. I’m from the U.S. My husband is from Ireland. Our daughter is from Vietnam. And we began as a family while living in Shanghai, China. While living, writing, and teaching writing in the U.S. and Shanghai, I learned (and/or relearned) a number of things:

    1. Each of us has a heck of a lot to learn from folks in other countries (and not usually the things we think we need to learn).
    2. Story is an international conversation that can help us better understand one another.
    3. By helping writers from all over the world to improve their craft, I can play a wee role in facilitating this global conversation.
    4. Writing is recursive. You must practice. (And if I do say so myself, I’m pretty darn good at getting writers to practice.)

IS #38WRITE FOR YOU?

#38Write adventures are designed for all place-passionate writers, including expats and repats, globetrotters, armchair travelers, nomads, cultural spelunkers, deeply rooted souls, mapmakers and mapbreakers, wanderers and wayfarers, voyagers, and all writers interested in exploring and writing about their environs.

So, yup, if you’re asking, #38Write is probably for you.

To learn more and sign up for #38Write | I EAT FEAR, visit CLASSES.

 

#38Write: 4 Questions Worth Asking & Answering

#38Write—my 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 culture, craft, or the writing life, and during each 38-hour adventure, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag (#38Write) and a group Pinterest board. Lots and lots of good work getting done.


You’re an expat, a traveler, a dreamer, a cultural spelunker, a place-passionate writer, a map-obsessed armchair traveler…and you write…or you want to write. You’ve happened upon #38Write and you’re wondering, “Is this workshop for me?”

If you answer yes to any or all of the following questions, it’s time to register for December’s #38Write workshop:

  1. Do you wake in the morning thinking, “Maaan, I need to write but I don’t know how to get started”?
  2. Are you longing for guidance, solid feedback, and a kick in the writerly patootie?
  3. Do you write on napkins in bars, the palm of your hand, the margins of books, menus, airplane tickets, etc?
  4. Are you looking for a supportive writing community of like-minded souls (who also write on napkins in bars, the palms of theirs hands, the margins of books, menus, airplane tickets, etc.)?

Ah, see, I knew it!

Yes, yes, yes, and yes!

You are in the right place. Click here to register for December’s #38Write!

#38Write: Annoying Habits

#38Write—my 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, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag (#38Write) and a group Pinterest board. Lots of good work getting done.


The theme of November’s #38Write online writing workshop was Habits. Fifteen writers in 9 countries participated: China, Turkey, Australia, the U.K., France, the U.S., South Korea, the U.A.E., and Japan.

Let me tell you, there are some habits in those 9 countries!

After reading/watching a number of assigned pieces/videos, I asked writers to: “…go on out into your community and find a habit that annoys the hell out of you. Yep, put on your walking shoes, hop in your car or on your bike, and go to work, a bar, a restaurant, the street in front of your house, a school, a library, a park, a movie theatre, the Laundromat, etc. Go any place where you’ll find people who annoy you.” Then I asked writers to lay it on the line (or in this case, on the page).

Here’s what a handful of #38Write writers put on the page. Now, you may cringe once or twice, thinking “Wow, that’s got a little bite to it!” but that’s exactly what I asked the writers to do. Get the bite on the page.

Sean | U.S.

Dr. Seuss’ Grinch put it best… “That’s one thing I hate! All the noise, noise, noise, noise!”

I’m a self-professed foodie, culinary aficionado, and home chef, yet I absolutely cannot stand listening to people eat. Really. It literally makes my skin crawl, I’m confronted with the fight or flight response in its most primal form.

Death for me is meal time void of conversation or at the very least white noise. Otherwise the sound of the food being masticated along with the accompanying chorus of tongue and esophageal noises rush in to fill the void.

Six months of the year I am forced to exist in a level of hell unknown or yet undisclosed by Dante when my mother-in-law shares our home. Poorly fitted dentures and age-related temporo-mandibular disorder punctuate each bite with a range of “snaps”, “clicks”, and “pops” adding to the cacophony of consumption and elevating my misphonia to an entirely new dimension.

I am cursed.

Maria | U.K.

Serge has this incredibly annoying habit of always leaving the hangers with clothes stretched on the bed whenever he takes out a shirt or a coat from the wardrobe. Even after almost nine years together and many, many rows on the topic, I am still going bonkers when I find them just lying there on the bed or even on the bedroom floor. Like a broken record, I ask him why in the world is it so difficult for him to put the damn hangers back on the rack. I ALWAYS get the same answer. “I will put them back, chill out!” Of course he never puts them back and although I know it is a lost battle, I cannot help and work myself up into a seizure and start nagging, mumbling and sometimes shouting. And when he sees my veins on my forehead bulking and my eyes popping out with rage, he serves me his scram face adding idly “chill out woman! What are you fussing about? They are just clothes, and I am in a hurry.”

For almost nine years, he’s always in a hurry! In that moment, I just want to go for his throat and strangle him slowly and methodically until I feel he’s hanging on to dear life. For God’s sake, all he needs to do is raise his arm and hang the damn clothes up where they belong.

Lately I have given up trying. I bark the usual “Again, you left your clothes all over the bed. I am going to take them all and burn them and put the ashes in a plastic bag and throw them out!” without really expecting an answer. I just feel good saying it. But then his answer only deepens my frustration: “I will put them back, don’t worry”! God forbid, I should worry about my partner being tidy and organized. God forbid I should worry about waking up one day and not finding any of his clothes scattered around the house waiting for me to pick them up!

I went through so many stages—annoyance, rage and finally psychotic rants. Nothing helped, nothing will I guess. I just have to resign myself and think of green pastures and happy places when I see those hangers on the bed. Think about all his wonderful qualities and accept that tidiness is definitely not one of them. And then I hear my mom’s voice drumming in my years: “You are so messy. When you will be a wife and a mother and you’ll have to pick up after your husband and kids, you will remember my words and only then you will understand”. I never paid much attention to my mother back then, but I am finding myself sounding more like her every day. And by God, I thought she was irritating. I can only imagine what a nuisance I can sometimes be.

Catherine | Turkey

Joanna sat down just outside the door of the café. It was still warm, the October breeze hadn’t cooled the temperature much. Martha arrived a few minutes later, apologising and giving out about the crush on the dolmus. They ordered and Martha ran through her usual complaints about her latest Turkish boyfriend. The last one was too full on, the latest too distant. It took a few minutes to register that Joanna was unusually quiet.

“You usually have a few more opinions on this stuff,” Martha asked. “With all your experience… You ok, hon?”

“What experience?” Joanna replied.

“Jeez, leave the question-answering-a-question bit out. You know what I mean, you and Alper are nearly married.”

“Nearly doesn’t count for anything.”

Martha could never let a silence go.

“Come on, spill already.”

Joanna waited until after their coffees were served and the waiter was out of earshot.

“Alper doesn’t want to marry me.”

“I don’t believe it,” said Martha. “What’s the problem – his mom won’t let him marry a non-Muslim?” She laughed but stopped when she saw the look on Joanna’s face.

“I don’t think so; I get on great with his mam. He just doesn’t want to.”

“There has to be a reason though. You guys did discuss this.” Martha was more serious now.

“We did ages ago. But last week I asked him about it again and he didn’t answer. He talked about his plans to go to the UK for a doctorate and how he wanted to do what was expected of him. He hasn’t answered my calls for the last two days.”

“He didn’t say no, then.” Martha smiled, half-heartedly.

“He didn’t say yes,” said Joanna. Martha frowned.

Another silence, again Martha spoke first.

“This is just like the plumber, the electrician and that guy who was going to give you a job at the publishing agency, isn’t it? Promise to do something and then back out by just ignoring your calls…”

“I’m afraid it might be.” Joanna felt the tears begin, she’d just confessed her worst fear.

Martha sighed, “The curse of the Turk—they just can’t say the word no.”

Jennifer | South Korea

Chuh bok chuh bok was the sound of Father’s footsteps. From the anbang, where he gathered up another pile of gear, turned back and went through the maru, past DongJin sitting at the kitchen table eating apples. A steady beat of chuh bok chuh bok. Without a glance at DongJin, Father continued to the doorway to add to his pile of gear. Then chuh bok chuh bok back through the maru to the anbang. Back and forth, back and forth, the rhythm of his footsteps as steady as a metronome.

First DongJin tried to drown Father out by humming Smoke on the Water while tapping his dessert fork on his step-mother’s new Corelle dishes. Then he tried to create a counter-beat by loudly crunching on the apples. But Father’s pacing continued, unfaltering. Chuh bok chuh bok… It wasn’t just the sound; the footsteps vibrated through the floorboards and permeated DongJin’s body like a second heartbeat.

Chuh bok chuh bok. I could go to the bathroom or bedroom to escape, mused DongJin. But he was determined to be conspicuously lazy. I OFFERED to help, he fumed. I TRIED to take the heavy bags from his hands, but Father waved me off like a pest. Told me to go ‘Eat some fruit and rest.’ So that’s what I’m doing. While he lugs more and more stuff over to the doorway and grumbles about how his back hurts. Chuh bok chuh bok.

It always came down to this: Father’s way or his way. And Father always presided. Father made the decisions, Father did all the important stuff, Father even set the goddamned rhythm of the place. Chuh bok chuh bok. Leaving DongJin to sit and sulk. Like he always did. Like he had when he was a child. Which only made Father feel justified to treat him like an immature, incapable idiot.

When do I get to grow up? In Father’s mind, he is the adult and I am the child, one or the other, black and white, nothing in between. How can I prove to him that I don’t need to be coddled, when he never gives me any chances to show it? When he tried to step up, take responsibility, act like an adult, Father pushed him down again. Told him to sit and eat fruit. Chuh bok. chuh bok.

Anita | U.S.

It started in the buffet line at the Allenberry Playhouse Restaurant with the old lady in front of me. She was using a walker and had come to a lingering stop. Another woman in her 50s, who had been helping the old lady with a walker, stepped away saying “I’ll be right back”. Waiting, the old lady, with one hand on her walker, repeatedly reached under the glass shield with her free hand and fingered cubes of cheddar, pepper jack and Swiss before nibbling the winner. The growing line was at a standstill. Annoyed as hell and avoiding the cheese platter I stepped around the old lady and proceeded to fill my plate with salad greens.

Next, the ‘hot entrée’ line was backing up when the woman in front of me barked “Go around the other side. It’s open!” I stood fast. The ‘other side’ of the hot entrée line was led by a man with Parkinson’s; food was falling from his trembling plate back into the serving dishes.

Finally, sitting in the dining room, my appetite gone, I looked at my salad and turkey dinner wondering what had it been exposed to before finding me. As I picked over my food, I couldn’t help but over-hear the conversations at the next table.

The obese man with thick eyeglasses at the table to my right was telling his tablemate that he gives himself insulin twice a day…” Between bouts of bemoaning the woes of having diabetes, I watched him make two trips to the buffet line returning each time with mounds of potatoes, breads and meats with gravy. Then he visited the dessert table returning with a piece of lemon meringue pie and chocolate chip cookies.

His tablemate, a thin fellow except for his belly which tested the strength of his shirt buttons, added that he was glad he didn’t have to give himself a needle but that he did have to take three blood pressure pills. As he spoke I watched him add salt to an already salted meal.

My husband heard the same exchange at the table to my right. Before I could start preaching, again, about personal responsibility, my husband lowered his head, peered over his glasses at me, winked and smiled. I smiled in return and watched him appreciate his food. I’d wait until later to tell him about the cheese and ‘hot entrée’ table…maybe.

Russell | Australia

I can’t handle this job, Dave, I really can’t. You know me, right? How long have we been together? Two years already? You should know me well enough by now, Dave. Well enough to know that I cannot abide messy people. I can’t stand them. I literally can’t.

So you remember me telling you that we were moving desks today? Remember I said we also had a new team member joining us? Rose Janning? Remember? Oh come on,

Dave, I only told you last week. Yeah, that’s right, you’ve got it. New location, new teammate, and all of it happening today.

Okay, so Rose seemed like a lovely lady when we met her last week. A bit on the ratty side—bird’s nest hair, weird sense of dress, a little bit out there. Actually, definitely way out there but still, she seemed alright. So, today, she moved her things over to her new desk. My God, Dave, you should have seen it. Reams and reams of paper, she must have 30 binders, and the plants… Dave, honestly, you should have seen the plants. Ten of the ugliest damn plants you will ever have seen. Ever. Period.

I’d already spent all morning cleaning our team’s new desks, you know, getting them ready for us to move into. I’d been wiping them down with disinfectant, tossing any rubbish into the bins, recycling, polishing, scrubbing, and tidying. I must have used a ton of hand sanitiser while cleaning. It was disgusting. Grime all over the telephones, fingerprints on the monitors, coffee stains on the desktops.

You know what I’m like, Dave. I can’t handle the thought of any germs. I can’t even go to the toilet without taking my hand sanitiser with me. Heaven forbid if I accidentally touch the toilet seat or the cubicle handle with my bare hands. Anyway, I cleaned and then cleaned some more. So Rose moves over and brings her plants with her and places them on her desk, on the windowsill, and even on the other desks I spent all morning cleaning. Ten of them. Ten sprawling, leafy, dust covered bushes spread out across our sparkling clean office. I just couldn’t believe my eyes.

I tried to ignore it, Dave. I tried to look away. I tried to concentrate on my work. I even got up and went to the toilet three times in one hour, which I never usually do. You know what I’m like, Dave, when it comes to toilets. I never go three times in one hour unless I’m having a really bad day. Eventually, I decide I can’t hold out anymore and I have to eat some lunch. I start unwrapping my sandwiches… Just the memory of it freaks me out as I’m telling you, Dave. It was so disgusting.

As I unwrap my lunch, there were flies, Dave. Dirty, infectious little fruit flies everywhere. Buzzing around my desk, near my food, getting caught up in my hair. I tried killing one with my spray cleaner and another one appeared. I was so grossed out and I swear it was down to those plants. There were no flies before those plants arrived, Dave, no flies at all. It has to be those awful, nasty plants. Before the week is out, those plants will be gone, Dave. I swear it. I swear it on my hand sanitiser’s life. You just wait and see.

#38Write | Habits: The November Writing Workshop Has Launched

#38Write—my 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, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board. Lots of good work getting done.


It’s November 3! Launch day for the Oct/Nov #38Write | Habits!

For this spectacular online writing workshop, we’re got 15 writers in 9 countries:

  • China
  • Japan
  • U.K.
  • U.S.
  • France
  • Australia
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates (I’m especially excited about adding the U.A.E. to the mix. I have a long history with this country, strong emotional ties, and many wonderful memories of my U.A.E. friends from college.)

As I type, writers around the world are digging into both their cultural and writing habits.

I’ve been using Pinterest in the workshop since the July and August workshops, and since it works so beautifully, I’m using it again. #38Write writers are already pinning on the group #38Write | Habits board. (Check it out here.)

And we’re off! If you’re curious about #38Write, check out the conversation among writers this weekend using the Twitter hashtag: #38Write.

Happy writerhead!

38Write Square Peg, Round Hole?: The September Writing Workshop Launches Tomorrow

38Write—my 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, writers connect with me and 38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board. Lots of good work getting done.


Tomorrow—Saturday, September 29—#38Write | Square Peg, Round Hole? launches! This is the fourth writing workshop in the #38Write monthly series and I’m looking forward to reading what the writers get on the page this time around. 12 writers in 8 countries will be looking at their square peg, round hole (and roundish peg, round hole) experiences around the world and, of course, writing:

  • Australia
  • U.S.
  • U.K.
  • France
  • Belgium
  • S. Korea
  • Japan
  • Spain

Since using Pinterest in the workshop worked so beautifully during the July and August workshops, I’m using it again, and #38Write writers are already pinning on the group #38Write | Square Peg, Round Hole? Pinterest board. (Check it out here.)

Looks like we’re ready to go. If you’re curious about #38Write, you can check out the conversation among writers this weekend using the Twitter hashtag: #38Write.

Happy writerhead!

 

#38Write: Win, Win, Win A Scholarship to September’s #38Write

#38Write—my 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, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board. In the August workshop, we had 16 writers in 8 countries.


Big news!

I’m giving away one scholarship for the September #38Write writing workshop! Yep, one lucky writer or aspiring writer will get to take the workshop for free.

The workshop will take place on September 29–30, and the theme is “Square Peg, Round Hole?” To learn more about the workshop, click here and here.

Folks all around the world are encouraged to enter the #38Write contest.

Here’s the scoop…

How to Enter

Leave a comment below telling why you’re the perfect candidate for this scholarship. Perhaps a quick story about a place or culture with which you’ve connected deeply OR a place or culture with which you’ve disconnected completely. Make a list of all the places you’ve lived or write a description of the place where you’ve lived all your life. Tell me why you’re interested in the workshop. Or… (you get the picture)

I’ll choose the winner on Wednesday, September 26. You may leave comments until then. (only one comment per person)

AND…please be sure to leave an email address OR check back on Wednesday to see if you’ve won!

Who Can Enter

You quality if:

  • You’ve NEVER taken a #38Write workshop before. (If you’ve EVER taken a #38Write workshop, you may not enter the contest.)
  • You are able to write in English. (English might be your second, third, or fourth language. Perfectly fine.)
  • You can commit to the September 29–30 weekend.

Details, Details

  • You can’t transfer this scholarship to another #38Write. Nope, not for any reason…not illness, a dental appointment, a wacky travel schedule, a sick kiddo, an unexpected jail term, a Nobel Prize, etc. The winner must take the September #38Write (September 29–30).

What Are Writers Writing in #38Write?

Ooh, such good, good stuff (both fiction and nonfiction):

  • Here’s a sampling from August’s #38Write (Peregrination).
  • In the July #38Write (Structure), I asked writers to define culture without using any external resources (dictionary, thesaurus, Internet, friends, etc.). Here’s what some of them wrote

What Are Writers Saying About #38Write?

  • “I entered 38Write timidly and came out confident.” (Anita C., U.S.)
  • “And what I love the most is that the writing exercises and Pinterest board make me look at stories, people, and places from different perspectives. They make me think of the whole craft behind the beautiful words on the paper.” (Maria C., U.K.)
  • “…thanks to Kristin I am inspired to continue to find that voice and explore the world of written expression once again.” (Lisa T., Belgium)
  • “…unbeatable cultural connection—writing perspectives from Belgium to Turkey!” (Meena V., U.S.)
  • “To focus, for one weekend a month, on some particular way of tackling ‘place’ has been a perfect way to hone my skills, get some inspiration, and learn from Kristin as well as the other fascinating participants.” (Jennifer L., South Korea)
  • To read lots more from #38Write writers, click here.

Unique Aspects of #38Write

  • It all happens in a weekend.
  • #38Write is a marvelously global workshop, with writers in South Korea, Australia, Belgium, the U.K., China, and many more countries.
  • The workshop has a strong social media aspect. Writers in the workshop connect via both Twitter and Pinterest. (Some writers in the workshop choose some or none of the social media engagement; it’s up to each individual.)
  • You get solid feedback from me, an author with an MFA degree, nearly 20 years as a writing workshop instructor, and almost five years of experience as an expat in China.

How I’ll Choose the Winner

  • I’ll be using the highly scientific method of putting into a hat the names of all folks who comment and having my four-year-old reach in and pull a name. (Time and time again, this method has proven to be fail-safe under the most extraordinary conditions. You can depend on my four-year-old.)
  • Again, this will happen on Wednesday, September 26. Don’t dilly-dally.

Spread the Word

  • Please spread the word about the scholarship! Tweet about it. Put it on your Facebook page. Share it in your blog.

 

This is a great opportunity to try something new as a writer. Hope to see your comment below!

 

38Write: 5 Reasons to Sign Up for September’s #38Write

#38Write—my 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, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board. In the August workshop, we had 16 writers in 8 countries!


September’s #38Write writing workshop (Square Peg, Round Hole) will take place on September 29–30. (For a thorough explanation of Square Peg, Round Hole, click here.)

If you haven’t signed up yet, here are five six compelling reasons you absolutely should:

  • You sometimes feel like a square peg in a round hole.
  • You have NEVER, EVER in your entire life felt like a square peg in a round hole and you’ve been looking for the perfect opportunity to tell why/how you achieved such a spectacular feat.
  • You’re a writer who loves Pinterest and you’re aching to combine your passions. (See Square Peg, Round Hole Pinterest to-be-group board here. Check out how I use Pinterest in #38Write here.)
  • You’re curious about how a 38-hour writing workshop actually works. (Yep, just 38 hours. Check out some of the kick-ass writing that erupts from a 38-hour workshop here.)
  • #38Write is affordable (just $38 U.S.) and manageable (time-wise).
  • You’re a place-passionate, culture junkie who has stories to tell. (Well, come on then…click on over to the “Classes” page and register.)

 

#38Write: The September Writing Workshop Is Open For Registration

#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, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board. In the August workshop, we had 16 writers in 8 countries!


Looking for a unique writing workshop that nurtures your interest in place, culture, maps, journeys, odysseys, travel, etc.?

Perfect timing…because the September edition of the 38Write writing adventure series—38Write | Square Peg, Round Hole?—is now open for registration. It will take place on September 29–30. (Click over to the CLASSES page for lots more information about this specific workshop and to sign up.)

WHAT IS 38WRITE?

38Write is a writing adventure workshop designed specifically for place-passionate, culturally curious writers that will get you out of your house—no matter where you live—and into your environs.

In June, I launched the first 38Write online writing adventure with 38Write | Description.

In July, I continued with 38Write | Structure, which went forth with 16 writers in 9 countries. One of the assignments for that workshop was to define culture without using a dictionary, thesaurus, or other reference tool. It sparked some pretty spectacular definitions (read them here) and a lively conversation on Twitter.

And in August, 16 writers in 8 countries participated in 38Write | Peregrination. Though the writers are still nursing their blisters, they wrote some pretty amazing pieces about walks that connected them culturally to places. (Read those here.)

THE UNIQUE ASPECTS OF 38WRITE

  • Each writing adventure is 38 hours long. It’s a manageable amount of time that fits into anyone’s busy schedule. (Good gracious, no, you will not be writing or adventuring for 38 hours straight. I’m ambitious for you, but not crazy. You will need approximately 2-4 hours to work during the 38-hour period…give or take an hour.)
  • Each writing adventure will focus on one particular aspect of craft or the writing life. You will not be writing an entire essay or short story (but you might accidentally do so). Some adventures will focus on a skill, like writing kick-butt descriptions; others might get you to look at what inspires you or how you move from idea to writing.
  • During each 38-hour period, you’ll be able to connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag. (How cool is that?!)
  • You will get feedback from me. (For more info about me, click here.)
  • Terrific for folks writing fiction, essays, or memoir.
  • Beginners and experienced writers are welcome and encouraged to join. There are some of each (and everything in between) in every workshop.
  • It’s affordable. A single 38Write writing adventure costs only $38 (U.S.).

WHY DID I CREATE 38WRITE?

While living, writing, and teaching writing in the U.S. and Shanghai, I learned (and/or relearned) a number of things:

    1. Each of us has a heck of a lot to learn from folks in other countries (and not usually the things we think we need to learn).
    2. Story is an international conversation that can help us better understand one another.
    3. By helping writers from all over the world to improve their craft, I can play a wee role in facilitating this global conversation.
    4. Writing is recursive. You must practice. (And if I do say so myself, I’m pretty darn good at getting writers to practice.)

IS 38WRITE FOR YOU?

38Write adventures are designed for all place-passionate writers, including expats and repats, globetrotters, armchair travelers, nomads, cultural spelunkers, deeply rooted souls, mapmakers and mapbreakers, wanderers and wayfarers, voyagers, and all writers interested in exploring and writing about their environs.

So, yup, if you’re asking, 38Write is probably for you.

To learn more and sign up for 38Write | Square Peg, Round Hole?, visit CLASSES.

#38Write: Walking as a Cultural Connector

#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, and during each 38-hour adventure, writers connect with me and #38Write writers around the world via a Twitter hashtag and a group Pinterest board. In the August workshop (Peregrination), we had 16 writers in 8 countries.


The August #38Write workshop was Peregrination, and sixteen writers in 8 countries participated.

To peregrinate is “to travel, especially on foot,” and, yep, writers in the workshop did just that. For 38 hours, they walked and wrote, wrote and walked.

I gave them a couple of writing assignments. One was to tell a story of a walk that changed them in some significant way…that connected them culturally to a place.

Here’s what the fantastic #38Write writers/cultural spelunkers had to say:

Jennifer | S. Korea

The crowd moved through the bus doors like we were being squeezed through a birth canal, emerging in the bright morning sunlight at Gangnam Station, squinting at the glass and metal skyscrapers, the flash and color of billboards and cosmetics displays and clothing stores. A few intrepid partiers were coming out of the alley bars and clubs, leaving a trail of cigarette butts, empty soju bottles, and patches of vomit.

When I saw the body on the sidewalk I assumed it was one of those legless beggars who lay stomach-down on flat trolleys. And then I saw the policeman, and looked again, and saw the face. A young man, covered hastily with cardboard. He must have jumped from one of the nearby buildings.

The next day only a painted outline was left on the sidewalk. I walked around it, every day, as months passed and the lines began to fade. Later, near my apartment, a group of mourners came to crouch down and touch the asphalt where a policeman had written “head” and “motorcycle” and drawn a rough outline. And thus I began to read the stories in the surfaces of Seoul, those palimpsests of city life and death.

Kelly | Turkey

Hiding in the sparse shade of the village square waiting for the minibus that will take me to the seaside. Trying to fade into the stone walls with my decidedly not-Turkish looks. After twenty minutes two old men rush towards me, hands flapping. At first I’m not sure what they are saying but then I focus with my Turkish-language ears and realize they are asking, “Are you going to Kadirga Beach?” When I nod they tell me the minibus is down the hill and around the corner (why? It should be in the square, it’s always in the square!) I step-slide down in my flip-flops but of course I am too late. It’s gone. Uff.

But now I have a connection with the men who sit in the square all day drinking tea. We are in this together. I go back so I can ask for help and they can give it. Together we have a project and I have a way in. Now instead of being the foreigner who wanders the square I become “the American who lives in Istanbul who we helped get to the beach.” We have a connection, a place to start.

Anita | U.S.

I’m big. No, not fat but compared to the skinny, long-legged young women in Seoul I’m big. You see, I’m American. American women care what other women think of them. So, many outings found me shrinking with self-consciousness.

Slowly, after many expeditions of frumpy dread, I became aware that these slim, stilettoed women were paying absolutely no attention to me as they maneuvered through the throngs of sidewalk traffic. Confidence grew as I allowed my world-view to widen. I noticed that no one among the throngs of sidewalk traffic were noticing me, not the men in their three piece suits or the ‘ajumma’ with their like-hairdos, thickening middles and flat shoes.

Beginning to enjoy my walks, I ventured to the Thursday Farmers Market at BongBae Plaza on a quest to buy spinach. Realizing my limited Korean vocabulary of ‘hello’ and ‘I love you’ weren’t going to help me I used English; the ‘ajumma’ used Korean – it was a stand-off. A giggle bubbled up from each of us then a laugh and before I knew it we were hugging and guffawing. I bought a tomato that day and walked home not noticing the sidewalk traffic.

Meena | U.S. (repatriated from China)

The first time I walked inside the red bricked Shanghai Sikh temple noticing the muddied, cracked floor tiles, I knew forgotten lives needed remembering. Shanghai city, prior to 1949 housed variegated foreign residents till Communist China closed its arched doors to the world. A city guide book had mentioned the Sikh temple. As indentured laborers the British Indian policemen were brought here to maintain the English order. Here, I was in Shanghai as a “trailing spouse,” feeling displaced, homesick and really quite out of order. I longed to walk in their footsteps and understand how they had acclimatized themselves to China for hundred years…

Narrow, concrete steps led to the temple archway with fanlight. Inside an ayi was sweeping the scepter patterned tiles. She let me in without a question. Confused, I stumbled in. My eyes traversed the dimly lit hallway, resting on the paper thin cardboard walls dividing pint sized rooms. Was a descendant hiding in there?

Dropping the broom, the ayi mumbled ‘Ni de Yindu?’ Finally realizing I did not speak Mandarin, she beckoned me to follow her. I hurried after her, afraid that if I didn’t, I would miss out on secrets. Secrets of unobserved history.

Hilary | U.S.

We left the safe haven of the raised wooden pathway (alligators don’t do steps). Jeff splashed in the water as a lure, simulating an animal in distress. Only it was not a simulation for long. Jess found a nest of fire ants and they found her ankles. With the bait set – twice – an alligator burst from the bayou and headed straight towards her, parading like prehistoric royalty. Towards easy prey. An afternoon snack.

It was my fault. I was supposed to protect her, yet I had brought her to America. To a perilous land of ants and alligators. Where life or death were so easily tested. In an instant, with calm certainty, I knew the creature could take my hand, my arm, my life, but it could not touch my daughter. One more clawed step and I was jumping.

Somehow, suddenly, it knew it too. She. It had to be a mamma. I swear she looked right at me and understood. She backed down, and returned to the water. Our walk was over. We returned to the car, carrying Jess with her dozens of bites, and our great relief.

Simon | Belgium

The automatic doors at the Stop ‘N Shop swung open and I walked into the United States. No one stopped me to ask for my passport but it would not have fazed me if they had. I had clearly just crossed the border. Inside was a world I could not have imagined, a landscape entirely shaped by the concept of choice. I tried to walk and go about my business, just as others were around me, but every 10 yards or so I would have to stop and stare. It was breathtaking. Over here was a Grand Canyon made deep by vertical walls of multi-coloured cardboard bricks, and over there a towering sky-scraper of stacked metal cans. Each new sight of excess confirmed that now I really had arrived, despite the pretensions of the immigration officials I’d met the day before. The true border guards, the many smiling shop assistants, seemed blithely unaware of it all, though at the check-out I did see some of them checking visa cards before allowing people to collect their bags and leave the building. Still reeling I paid instead with cash, walked back out through the automatic doors and began to consider my options.

Maria | U.K.

The first time I moved away from home to Bucharest in 1997 to do my university degree, I was living alone in a one-bedroom flat close to the North Railway Station, with a small TV set as my sole companion. Weekends felt lonely and endless without my family and friends. And so I got into the habit of taking long walks to ease my longing for familiarity and better acquaint myself with this somehow unfriendly city. I didn’t buy a map, but decided to do things the old fashioned way instead: start from a familiar spot and walk until finding myself back home. One October Sunday morning, when the sun was shining bonhomie over the still quiet Capital, I returned to the German Embassy, the place where I had applied for a Schengen visa two years previously. There, on Cpt. Av. Gheorghe Demetriade Street, the premises unfolded before my eyes almost as I had left them. This time the building was hushed, exonerated of the rowdy visa applicants queuing at the embassy gates during weekdays. From there I walked along large sidewalks, edged by imposing mansions dating back to monarchic times from the turn of the 19th century, the sole witness of a spectacular, decadent past of Parisian chicness. These grand aristocratic edifices belonged then to the Romanian haves educated in Paris, Vienna and Berlin. Now, at the end of the 1990s they were still homes to the rich, the Oxford educated business men and foreign ambassadors.

For two straight hours I walked through the thick rug of titian leaves, all the way to Charles de Gaulle Marketplace, watched eerie clouds invade the sky, and finally felt the silent sprinkle prickle my skin and fill the air with fresh scents. Outstretching in front of me was a vast two-lane cubic stoned boulevard shadowed by perfectly trimmed chestnut trees. I stopped in awe, feeling the excitement in the pit of my stomach: all the way to Aviators’ Marketplace there was not a soul in sight. Just a misty, hazy veil, the pastel colours of the fall and…me. Smiling, I pushed forward guided by the winged colossal statue at the foot of the boulevard. That moment I felt I was finding my place in that new world. The city was warming up to me. We were becoming friends.

Lisa | Belgium

Sometimes a walk begins with a dream. This walk began with navigational directions scratched on paper, a compass, and a dream to find rare corms; an adventurous walk that ended in love and corms.

1984. Not Orwell’s nor Bowie’s, but the player’s: the Dane, the Canadian, the Brit, and the American’s. The location? Ahh, the location. Not quite the badlands, but definitely a land rivaling. Bumping along in a cheap, cab – velveteen, smoke-saturated seats, evil eyes dangling from the rear view mirror, the intrepid four-nation search party witnessed their walk emerge through wind-twisted spines of pines.

An unusual walk; bent at the waist they faced scarred ground on the quest. The terrain, deeply gouged by dry crevices, etched testimony to harsh weather: a land unforgiving for agricultural gains. Anchored scraggy trees and scrappy brush, and loose rubble punctuated this bit of Gaia. Each step, executed better by a goat, evaluated judiciously by all so not to lose a foothold yet not to miss a jewel. The dream of a Dane, like that of his 15th century-Dutch bulb-loving predecessors, resulted in a mother lode for Danish commercial crocus propagation. For the American, the walk cemented love and marriage to the raw Turkish landscape now ingrained deep in my soul.

Michelle | France

The haze of birth, emergencies and the neonatal unit, created an unusual home in Lewisham Hospital for my little family. But as things settled, and Izzy was destined to remain sick in the hospital for some time; logistics took over. My husband was going to work and I was to start my new maternal duty shuttling between ‘Home 1’ (terraced 2 bed cottage) and ‘Home 2’ (NICU, Lewisham Hospital). A twice daily walk to and from the hospital. Half and hour at a brisk pace.

This walk should have been familiar; it was ‘My Manor’ after all. But the walk was new for me. I’d never connected these two ‘Homes’ before and now needed to. The walk became an effective umbilical cord—connecting me and my sickly daughter.

Every morning—after pumping the milk, calling in to check morning status, showering and packing a bag—I slammed the front door behind me and set off; a part of my empty stomach filling with the prospect of seeing my little lady again. Past the terraced houses of Hedgley and Taunton, through the urban oasis of Manor House Gardens, along the pretty well kept larger Victorian villas of Kellerton; my stride lengthy, my gaze drifting along window boxes, into front windows, painfully through those women with the buggies that fill the pavement. Always trying to float above our situation somehow; ‘pretend to be normal’.

Half way point. The station, and the station tunnel. A gritty connection to a starker urbanity; more people, more poverty, more bustle. Up the long strait that is Ennerdale Road, right into Hither Green proper—food and drink at the newsagents—and then down the pleasant hill, past lovely old but poorly buildings, into Lewisham Park Gardens. And then five minutes later, popping out onto Lewisham High Street, the noisy pelican crossing, the sharp redness of the double decker buses.

And there was ‘Home 2’. My Izzy, waiting for me on the 4th floor; past the reception, through the heavy cobalt blue flaps of the hospital entrance, along the echoing rabbit warren of Victorian corridors to the lift. A deep inhale and a wipe of the eye outside the door; ferociously rubbing the alcohol into the hands, buzzing, opening the click of the door. My heart is beating faster. I never know what I will find. But for those three and a half months it was reaching the end of the umbilical cord and finding my daughter that made those tears flow and flow and flow.

Sean | U.S.

David and I set out and took our first steps up Castro Street. The late morning air warmed gently, thanks to the efforts of a sun intent on summitting the eastern slope of an October sky. This was my first visit to San Francisco and my senses were in overdrive. It was Christmas morning, your birthday, the last day of school, and whatever else you regard as the best day of your life in a single instant. I was buzzing and most likely talking incessantly to David. The two of us, best friends since 8th grade, still sharing a common path. Oddly, in one of life’s more ironic moments, we had come out to each other during the same conversation only six months prior on the eve of his westward departure. David knew me better than anyone, including myself. He knew all too well the transformative effects of our Castro sojourn.

Each step forward I took on our continued march toward Market Street manifested itself as physical change. I was oddly aware of my breathing. Effortless, without consideration. Anxiety, denial, and shame evaporating from my psyche. It was in that perfect moment of lucidity, for the first time in my life, in every sense of the word, I felt utterly normal.

Michelle | U.S.

I was fifteen the night a car hit me as I ran across Fairmount Avenue. Cindy, Roxy, and I were walking to the Glidden Avenue School playground. We had stopped at Nick’s, a small corner store, to buy candy bars. We sidestepped slush puddles of dirty snow, the traffic coming and going.

It was normal traffic at Nick’s. Cars parking out front and on both sides of Merlin Avenue, either for cigarettes or to patronize Mallares’, a tavern to the left of Nick’s. Others went in and out of the Quality Markets parking lot, the supermarket across the highway.

I don’t remember hearing my friends scream, “Stop,” but witness said they did. They also said I froze in the middle of the far lane, hand outstretched in a classic stop gesture just before the car smashed into my right hip and hurled me over its hood for fifty-three feet. I landed face down in Quality’s entrance, missing a street pole with my head by inches.

I broke my right collarbone. My face has two faint scars, one under my nose, and one at my hairline from embedded black gravel. The hospital scrub-brushed it out like a filthy floor.

Later, my father said my hard head and the fluffy winter hat I wore saved my life. I’ve been trying to stop cars ever since.

 

 * * *

Interested in signing up for future #38Write workshops? Great! I run one every month. I’ll be announcing the September workshop in a few days. To learn more:

  • send me an email
  • subscribe to the Writerhead blog so that you’ll get the workshop announcement conveniently in your email inbox
  • check back for the September workshop announcement (“Classes” page)