Time For A Writing Class with Terry Wilson

Terry says:
My approach as a teacher is to encourage my students to do as much freewriting as possible, and to create a supportive atmosphere in the class so students can break through their writing blocks. For our text, we use Natalie Goldberg’s book, Writing Down the Bones; I feel that every student has important stories to share. The group is quite varied; some are new writers, and many are writers who just want to maintain a discipline so they keep going with their craft. We write memoir, fiction, and poetry, and sometimes students even pen songs and rap tunes during the class. I employ different exercises while we’re together so the time we spend is enjoyable: one example is a scavenger hunt where we use “found objects” to write about. We also go to Blue Corn for one class during the semester, and during this session, we blend non-fiction and fiction by writing about the food in front of us and its smell, taste, etc. as well as the noise and music we hear around us. Then we mix that into the creation of a fictional story about one of the customers in the restaurant and something that we imagine happening to that person, good or bad. We do “color walks” in one of the first weeks, so students are focusing on the sense details around them. Sometimes we also put a costume on and become a character that we then write about! In general, though, we generate a lot of new writing material, especially during the first 8 weeks of the class. During the second 8 weeks we continue to freewrite, but we focus more on character, plot, setting, and dialogue. We also critique pieces if students choose to do that. At the end of the semester, we often create a class book of stories, poems, and memoir pieces. We have done public readings at the end of the term, too.

In terms of my background as a writer, I’ve had about thirty pieces published in literary magazines, newspapers, and journals throughout the US. I’ve done stand up comedy in Los Angeles, and I also wrote and performed my own one woman show at El Museo a few years ago. I recently published a memoir called Confessions of a Failed Saint which I am now marketing.

I run the class workshop style, so students often get to know each other quite well. Many of my students have had their essays, stories, poems, and even books published. Writing Creatively is a perfect class to take to enter into SFCC’s Creative Writing Program because in it, you can experience many different types of writing and begin to develop a discipline. Or if you’re a more seasoned wordsmith, you can use the class to keep writing, keep getting feedback, and keep developing your skills!

Terry is teaching a free introductory creative writing class this coming Saturday, June 10 at the Downtown Library from 3:30-5:30 pm.
English 120 class starting Aug. 23 for fall–www.sfcc.edu

Miriam’s Well Is Hungry for Your Work

It feels like an odd time to me–long warm autumn, election approaching, some of my life in stasis. And how are YOU?

My blog Miriam’s Well is a bit hungry for your work. Send me a short piece, a poem, a prose musing, an image, a haiku, just a bit of how you are, what you long for, what you appreciate…
I’m also happy to feature PUBLISHED work of yours with credit & links, so if you have a poem you like that deserves more audience–send it along.
msagan1035@aol.com–send submissions both as attachment and in body of email.

Call for Submissions: Cherita

Note to readers–this form was new to me, and I was dubious. Was it some kind of overgrown tanka or stanzaic free verse? I started writing and wrote a long sequence I like a lot. It’s super narrative yet surprisingly tight. Check it out!


Please share with any appropriate venue.

The Special Features section of the Atlas Poetica web site is seeking submissions for a collection of ‘25 Cherita’ edited by ai li. The Cherita guidelines are concise as is the form. It is a linked short poem of three stanzas of one, two and three lines.The Cherita [pronounced CHAIR-rita] tells a story and is the Malay word for story or tale. It is a flexible form, capable of being imagist, lyrical, surreal, anecdotal and concrete.

It is your story. You can write about life: births, deaths, anniversaries, betrayals, disappointments, abortions, bankruptcies, joblessness, vendettas, suicides et al. Your stories can also include : travel, work, hobbies, passions both light and dark, eating disorders, night shifts, cross dressing, the erotic and everything else that makes us who we are in the universe. Do not be afraid to let us hear your authentic voice, and to allow us to share the vision of who you really are or can be. Your words will bring all your stories to life. It will be a rich shared experience that will benefit us all.

The Cherita has grown enormously since its inception in 1997 and will continue to grow as your stories unfold over the years. Our ancestors over smoky fires in caves, told stories and these have been passed down over the centuries. Many were in the oral tradition whilst others survived as cave drawings or murals, and more importantly as written records. M Kei has generously given Cherita poets and writers this splendid opportunity to continue with this age-old tradition of story telling but with contemporary influences, and so I hope you will embrace his kind gesture with as much enthusiasm as you can muster. I wait in eager anticipation to receive and read your Cherita.

For further inspiration, do read cherita by Larry Kimmel, Sheila Windsor, ai li and other Cherita poets on ATPO, their respective websites and on Twitter.

The general Atlas Poetica guidelines apply, therefore poets must be 16 or older. Please visit for complete guidelines and to view previous Special Features. Poems should be contained in the body of an email. Please query before sending attachments.

Submissions: Poets are invited to send up to twenty poems each, but only one poem will be chosen by each poet, in keeping with the theme and format of the ‘25 Poems’ features on the Atlas Poetica website. Reprints and socially published are acceptable, as long as they include previous publication information.

Deadline: Deadline for submitting to ‘25 Cherita’ is December 31, 2016. The planned publication date is Spring 2017. Special Features are published on an irregular schedule.

Email address for submissions: findme (at) aili (dot) uk — subject line: Cherita