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Inside Look

First Words

By Kristen Roach, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     It takes newborns about a year of listening to others and playing with sound before they speak a few words with an understanding of their use and meaning. At first they coo happily, then babble a few fun syllables. Later they play with alphabet sounds and tones of voice, really getting to know the range of their volume, and they entertain themselves to pieces. Finally they begin to vocalize the sounds they associate with the things closest to them, often ma or da. Imagine the new synapses that must fly across their brains the first time they enunciate “ba” when they want milk and subsequently are provided with a bottle full of milk. Absolute magic. They have just become conjurers, and they are awesome, powerful creatures that can change the world with their voices.

Working Class

By Kristen Roach, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

Getting Metaphysical

By Kristen Roach, Associate Coordinator, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     There's a famous quote from William Faulkner that always resonates with me: "Don't be 'a writer.' Be writing." It's a motivator, a call to action. More than that, it's a prompt to answer the age-old question, "What do you do?" with a verb instead of a noun. To conceive of ourselves in motion. It's so simple. How could all of us English buffs have missed it? Why do we answer the question of "do"  with, "I am..."? More importantly, when will we stop doing it? Now is as good a time as any. "What do you do?" "I write." 

Composing Yourself When You'd Really Rather Not

By Kelley Davidson, Graduate Assistant, Bluegrass Writers Studio

            One of the most concurrently beautiful and annoying things about having depression and being a writer is that I can put words to all my feelings, man. I’ve got all these feels, and writing (along with regular doses of antidepressants, hanging out with dogs, and lots of chillin’) gives me a way to manage them.  However, when I was in the deepest throes of my depression I didn’t write anything for almost a year. It was awful. Consequently, I’ve developed a regimen for battling my self-sabotaging depression funk and I’d like to share it with you just in case any of my readers have a chemical imbalance, too, and need a pick-me-up.

Snake Hands and Consequence

By Rebecca Daff, Bluegrass Writers Studio

Follow Your Muse

By Kelsey Weber, Bluegrass Writers Studio

Just Shy of Splitting Hairs

By Joey Elizabeth, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     Having been accepted to the MFA program in creative writing, I am now learning the fine art of dissection.

     We have entire anthologies of specimens to choose from as well as our own creations. We are opening up each writing sample to determine what important piece is connected to another important part.

     We are asked to consider what is integral and how each element supports the whole.

     We must identify: Where is the heart?

     We are asked, in our dissection, to follow the path to see how this piece takes in air and then lets it go. We reveal a detail, and ask, “what comes next?" Reveal another detail, and the reader anxiously waits for the next “and then”….

BGWS Student Readings: About Timing

By Michael Jernigan, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     Part of the experience at the 2015 Winter Residency is to hear the work of other writers.  From faculty to guest writers, there is so much to learn from seeing people already in the business perform their work.  An equally good experience, in my opinion, is hearing the work from fellow students and alumni.  You get to see what everyone else is up to.  Often, we are so focused on our classes and workshops we forget that our circle expands beyond our particular focus, be it fiction, nonfiction or poetry. 

     The student readings are a chance to be exposed to the work of people we may not get to workshop with, not to mention a chance to meet them and perhaps form lifelong professional or personal relationships.  Or to seethe with jealousy and hate them forever.  Either way, at least you know where you stand. 

What You Don't Know Can Kill Someone

By Deri Ross Pryor, Bluegrass Writers Studio

     You never know what you don’t know, you know?

     My entire life, I’ve been obsessed with knowing. Like truly, maniacally obsessed. I never let my parents get away with the whole “because” answer to all my “why’s.” When I got old enough to find the answers myself, I did so doggedly. One of my fondest memories was at about age five or six, yanking down volumes of our Encyclopedia Britannica, each almost as big as me, and methodically going over each entry. I just wanted to know all there was to know.

Kicking the Bucket With Authority

By Kelley Davidson, Graduate Assistant, Bluegrass Writers Studio

How To Get Out of The Slush Pile and Into My Heart

     During Winter Residency 2k15, Ty Franck (one half of the genre titan James S.A. Corey) had this to say about the success rate of submitting work to journals and other publications: “Slush readers are typically poor grad students or interns who are tired and swamped with homework. They’re dying for a reason to throw your manuscript in the garbage. If you don’t have them hooked by the first few sentences, you’re doomed.” He couldn’t have said it better.

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