By Katy Yocom, Spalding School of Writing Associate Director of Communications and Alumni Relations
This is the time of year when students and alums start sending me GIFs of impatient cats, with captions like “Me watching my email for news about Paris.”
I know you’re eager to make your plans. I swear we’re not holding out on you; we’re just putting the final touches on the residency. And in that spirit, even though final details are still in progress, here’s what I can tell you.
Two cutting-edge areas of creative writing—writing for television and writing for tabletop games—gain special focus in two unique workshops offered May 22-31 during the Spring 2020 residency of Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing.
By Debra Kang Dean, Spalding School of Writing Poetry Faculty
For any circuit the electrical current is directly proportional to the voltage and is inversely proportional to the resistance.
As a consequence of my bewilderingly high scores in the electronics section of the battery of tests I had to take before enlisting in the Air Force, I was recruited into the field of ground radio repair. It turned out to be a poor match since I never really got beyond being able to read schematics; I console myself by believing that one need also have mechanical sense to do well, and my scores on that part of the test had been dismal.
By Elaine Orr, Spalding School of Writing Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Faculty
I recently had the good fortune of a one-week writing residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, not a long retreat, but long enough to crack open my novel-in-progress, roam around in it and warm it up. Anyone who has written a novel knows that if you leave it too long, it goes cold, and it’s frightening to go back in. It’s like entering a winter abode with no means of heat. And who knows if things have gotten worse while you were away. Maybe the furniture is shabbier than you remember, the cupboards barer, the wallpaper flapping off the walls. It really can be like entering a haunted house.
Spalding University’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, the state’s largest fall-spring reading series, takes place Saturday, November 16, through Friday, November 22, with faculty and alumni of the low-residency programs of Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Bestselling graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang headlines the festival as Distinguished Visiting Writer. Yang is the author of the Printz Award-winning American Born Chinese and the National Book Award Finalist Boxers & Saints, a boxed set of graphic novels. Yang has served as a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.
By Eleanor Morse, Spalding School of Writing Fiction Faculty
Ocean Vuong, a soft-spoken and brilliant Vietnamese-American poet and fiction writer and a 2019 recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, said, “Often we demand of the American novel to be cohesive, a monolithic statement of a generation, but having grown up post-911, cohesion was not part of my generation’s imagination, nor our language, nor our self-identity, and I felt if I were to write my version of an American novel, it would have to look more like fragmentation.
By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Spalding’s School of Creative and Professional Writing
Here’s something I’ve learned. Nearly
everybody thinks they have a picture book in them. Another thing I’ve learned?
To underestimate the expertise needed to write a good picture book is foolish. At
Spalding’s Fall 2019 SCPW residency in Louisville, we’ll give our writers a chance
to explore picture book practice during our cross-genre venture into Writing
for Children and Young Adults.
By Beth Ann Bauman, Writing for Children & Young Adults Faculty
Maybe it’s just me, but the use of multiple perspectives in middle-grade and YA fiction seems to have swelled in the last decade. And it’s understandable why this is an appealing choice for a writer. It’s fun to head hop, use different voices, and create a broader understanding of the world. When done well, it makes for a satisfying, compelling read, such as in the young-adult novel Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, a WWII story that follows four narrators seeking passage on a ship to escape a Soviet advance. The shifting perspectives provide a wide lens on this historical event while keeping a strong narrative focus. But handling multiple perspectives is tricky and complicated, and a book can easily lose its narrative unity. Before attempting, here are some considerations:
Jeremy Paden, Spalding School of Writing Translation Faculty
A popular internet list in recent years is the top 10 most beautiful but untranslatable words. 侘寂, wabi-sabi, beautiful imperfection in Japanese. Tartle, Scottish for the hesitation caused by forgetting someone’s name when in the middle of introducing them. The German word Verschlimmbessern, making something worse while trying to fix it. These lists go on and on.
By Julie Brickman, Spalding School of Writing Fiction Faculty
Years ago, when I was writing my first novel, I got into a new relationship. For the first few weeks, it colonized my mind and I parsed every word, gesture and intuition for meaning. One night, deep in dreamland, I got a phone call. It was Kendra Quillan, my protagonist. “Where are you?” she said, and hung up.