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Inside Look

Jen Parks Writes a Novel

By Jen Parks, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     Misery loves company. I probably shouldn’t imply, with the first sentence of my blog post, that writing is misery, because, of course, that isn’t always how I feel about it. Writing can be joyous, terrifying, exhilarating, maddening, and yes, sometimes, it can be miserable.

     You may not think this, at first, though. Especially not when you sit down to the computer that first time, armed with a steaming cup of morning coffee and the story that’s lived inside your head for days or months or even years. Misery is the furthest thing from your mind. That story, you say? It has been begging you to write it. Inspired and caffeinated, you set down the coffee cup, crack your knuckles, and begin to type.

All In, All Out

By Kristen Roach Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     Writers aren't usually famous for their fitness routines. At least, I don't know of any (besides our very own Jen Parks). But, before I committed myself to my thesis and  this corner of the couch with pen, paper, and laptop, I used to run. My longest distance was a half marathon, and after that I swore I would never do a whole one. It was probably an empty promise from my ego; my body would not have cooperated anyway.

Tricks and Treats of the Trade

Louboutins and corndogs

By Kristen Roach Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     I am in the throes of first-draft-thesis-deadlinedom. I've adopted an I-can't-possibly-because-I-have-a-deadline persona. You know, like Carrie Bradshaw after a lunch at a cafe, a stroll around a museum, and shoe shopping. "I can't possibly." Then she goes up to her apartment, cranks out a fable-turned-newspaper-column on her Mac and is back in action having a Cosmopolitan and late-night window-shopping for Jimmy Choos lickety-split. No sweat.

     Guys - let me translate. You're enjoying your afternoon, having a few beers with the guys, watching golf and chucking mini corndogs in a boiling pot of oil in the yard. Suddenly, you have to go, because of y'know, responsibility. Shoot. You run home, mow the grass, and are back before Tiger Woods drops out of the tournament. And there's still plenty of chips and dip.

Editing for One Element

By Kristen Roach Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     As we come to the close of Week Three of the fall semester, most Bluegrass Writers Studio participants have experienced the thrill of having their writing workshopped. They've sat quietly as their class talked about their words - what was memorable and what was questionable. They've gotten written feedback from their peers on what was inspired and what should be retired. And they've gotten comments from their professor, with praise, prescriptions, and potential outlined.

     The list of everything they've learned from critiquing others and being critiqued is starting to grow - so many things to consider! Dialogue, point of view, action, sense of place, pacing, voice, figures of speech, audience. And kaplooey! their brains split wide open.


All for One: for You

By Kristen Roach Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     I was talking on the phone the other day with a prospective student, Carlos. One of the questions he asked was: "MFA - why do so many people say to get one, and why do so many others say don't bother?"

Downton Apocalypse

By Kristen Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

The only thing better than announcing that your visiting faculty for the spring semester is Maureen McHugh, and that James S. A. Corey is her special guest in workshop, is being able to announce that she's returning for the fall semester.

So it's my lucky day: Maureen McHugh is back for the fall semester and leading another workshop! 

In addition to being an award-winning speculative fiction novelist and short story writer (China Mountain Zhang, After the Apocalypse, The Lincoln Train), Maureen has also speculated things right out of fiction and into the world.

Uncle Walt

By Kristen Roach Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

"Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded, I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no, And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be shaken away." ~Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

There is a pen one holds, which stabs at the heart of another and lets it know that it is alive and wanting. And there is a pen which, upon puncturing a new vein, finds it cold. Let me be the pen, always, the sharp stab, and never the congealed blood.

Hashtag: Writing the Center Square

By Kristen Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

Truth, Justice, and the Poetic Way

By Kristen Thompson, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio


    In my writing, I often explore injustice, oppression, and the brackish waters of human rights and resilience. Not only major events, but the smaller things, times when things just don’t go right. There are exceptions, of course, poems with more tender sentiments, but most have to do with loss on some level.  I guess that’s the soul of my poems; then I craft the bodies. I’m very concerned with accuracy of form and sound, and making the poem work on multiple levels. I guess you could say I want to do justice to the subject. 

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