THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT LIFE BEFORE THE VIRUS

[First appeared in New Verse News]

By Lesléa Newman, Writing for Children & Young Adults Faculty, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

I.
I remember shaking hands:
damp, sweaty hands and dry, scratchy hands,
bone-crushing handshakes and dead-fish handshakes,
two-handed handshakes, my hand sandwiched
between a pair of big beefy palms.
I remember hairy hands and freckled hands,
young smooth hands and old wrinkled hands,
red polished fingernails and bitten jagged fingernails,
stained hands of hairdressers who had spent all day dying,
dirty hands of gardeners who dug down deep into the good earth.

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Writing in Times of Uncertainty

By Kathleen Driskell, Chair, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

This post originally appeared as a Facebook post on March 21, 2020.

Spalding students, I hear some of you are having a hard time writing in this time of uncertainty. Me, too. And this is exacerbated by the fact that your worksheet submissions are due April 22. But here’s something I know you’ve learned in Spalding’s program: All writing is born from other writing. The other thing I know you’ve gained from this program is at least one writing friend.

Reach out to that friend and reawaken the lost art and appreciation for letter writing. What would the world of writing be like—what would the world be like—if we didn’t have the letters of Virginia Woolf, Rilke, Keats, Audre Lorde, Flannery O’Connor, Dickinson?

Connect with at least one writing friend (maybe create a circle of three or four) and begin a serious correspondence. Ask each other open-ended questions about the art of writing, your own writing, the world around us—focus on asking questions surrounding our senses or about experiences we are having or remembering in this time of isolation. Commit to meaningful challenging conversation in letters. Hold each other accountable. Encourage one another to spin off into other writing when these letters surprise us with wonderful ideas and observations.

Remember, all writing, every aspect of it, is about connection.


Award-winning poet and teacher Kathleen Driskell is the MFA Chair and Professor of Creative Writing at Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing, Home of the Low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program. Her newest poetry collection Blue Etiquette is available from Red Hen Press. Next Door to the Dead, winner of the 2018 Judy Gaines Young Book Award is available from UPKY. Follow her @kathdriskell or visit her blog at kathleendriskell.blogspot.com.


It’s National Poetry Month! Have you got your poem for today?

By Lynnell Edwards, Associate Program Director, Spalding’s School of Creative & Professional Writing

The first time I tried a “poem-a-day” challenge in April for National Poetry Month I had already blown it before I even started.  From my journal that year, I see the first entry is Monday, April 3.  But I had given myself a few rules to make the whole endeavor slightly more humane and if maybe I actually didn’t remember it was April until the 3rd, then okay.  Monday is still kind of like a first day so I went forward.

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A new live storytelling series in Eastern Kentucky has Spalding roots. Here’s how to get involved.

By Natalie Axton, Spalding MFA alum

I remember the first time I heard a story told for a live audience. I was a young girl, maybe ten or eleven, not yet in charge of my logistical destiny. It was fall. My parents had packed me and my brother into the car to head to some kind of Halloween happening.

Continue reading “A new live storytelling series in Eastern Kentucky has Spalding roots. Here’s how to get involved.”

The Way We Live Now

By Robin Lippincott, Spalding School of Writing Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Faculty

One of the benches overlooking Spy Pond, Arlington.

Here is my third attempt at writing this blog post, which gives you some context for what follows. The first two efforts were completely different and unrelated, on subjects having nothing to do with this one. Finally, I realized there was really only one thing I wanted to write about here; it was so obvious that I’d missed it entirely.

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Setting Your Place, Sitting in Place

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.

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A Cornucopia of Riches for Our Spalding Writing Community: Fall 2019 Residency Overview

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.

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Strutting Adventure on the Page

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.

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The ups & downs of creating a micro-budget feature film

By Sam Zalutsky, Spalding School of Writing Dramatic Writing Faculty

This week, my “new” movie, Seaside (@seasidemovie on Instagram and Facebook), a revenge thriller set on the Oregon Coast, was released by Gravitas Ventures (@gravitasVOD) on multiple streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play, and Vimeo. For a while I wondered if Seaside would ever see the light of day so I am really excited and grateful to be able to share it with you.

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