In May of 2013, Erica Eichelkraut Zilbauer, owner of Main Studios in Buffalo, New York, asked me if I wished to hold Creative Writing Workshops at her studio. I have never taught any workshops, hold no degree in writing or education, yet I agreed, hoping there were a way I were able to bring something different to the workshops instead of the typical courses that really do not teach you about what being a writer is like, let alone the creative process as a whole. Most classes based upon writing focus on literary giants throughout history and works of immense international praise, leaving out the various styles of writing, as well as the diverse ways one creates in their everyday lives.
Everyone can write creatively, even you!
BUFFALO, NY (Blog) - Immediately, I started contacting organizations and writers and artists in my city for their experience and assistance and what occurred as a result blew me away.
Starting with the support of Poets & Writers.org, Just Buffalo Literary Center, Delizon Publishers, Think Twice Radio, Publish America, and Big Marker, six different entities provided continuous free books, magazines, web space, and audio production. Locally, people began donating supplies, and most importantly, their own experience as writers and educators. The literary community of Western New York is immense and supportive, yet the response I received was something I did not expect.
Through the organizations and people, I were able to provide not only a forum for creativity, but full print journals, personal books, memoirs, supplies, print magazines, and quarterly publications and hand them to the attendees once a month. It felt great to be able to give to those who took the time to be interested in even one workshop.
The ideas overflowed as to what I wished to present that will be interesting, fun and useful to share for all people and ages. I put together a quick syllabus based upon my writing experience and what I have learned through the guidance of those who helped me through the years. It was extremely difficult to bring the most essential information to people in only three workshops, spaced out monthly, so I focused on what is most important in my everyday life as a writer.
Three words: To simply create.
Every workshop was an open forum for discussion, there were no rules, everyone had a chance to voice what they learned, accomplished, and to share their work and experience. My only hope was that I were able to guide correctly without being boring. My greatest hope for an end result was that people created something, anything, that they were happy with and to record their work as a publishing credit for spoken word.
As I began promotion for the workshops, nationally and globally, people were interested and wished they were able to attend. From that point, I made the workshops virtual. This way anyone in the entire world can attend and be a part of creating something they can be proud of. Once again, the response received from holding a virtual classroom was astonishing. From New York to Peru to Pakistan to Tunisia, people were interested. Before I knew it, these little workshops were turning into much more than creative writing lessons.
Instead of having people sit for hours watching video, I audio recorded the workshops, took photos, and created an online virtual network that includes over 70 free books, audio from each workshop, photos, and the same information used in Buffalo. As a radio producer, audio is easier to download, stream, and listen to when ever one had the time. I asked the virtual attendees if that was okay and it was and off we went on a journey where all involved taught me so much more about writing.
Each workshop, I invited a guest speaker, everyone of them different. Jim Petretta spoke about storytelling, Kenneth Feltges about poetry and education, and Janna Willoughby-Lohr about speaking your work and finding that creative place inside. Every week I received emails from people telling me how they had never written before until now, have never spoken their work, never recorded their voice, and how they had a piece published. People were actually enjoying the workshops and feeling good about what they were doing!
Although this began with Erica and myself, what ensued is due to the people who created and gave to the workshops. Through their continuous emails, support, suggestions, in class insights and online correspondence, I became enlightened and understood that these workshops never belonged to me. We created them together and in turn, created pieces of work that I am proud to display to the world.
To those who attended, to those who have written, to those who have recorded their work and to those who have donated their time, guidance and assistance, it is due to all of you that I am able to sit here and know in my heart that there is indeed so much beauty in our world.
To everyone reading, please, create . . .
Discover the true meaning of Christmas!
By Norm LeDonne
In the Lenten season, we are called to reflect on our sins, and on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the redemption of those sins. The song Lamb of God, by Twila Paris, provides a powerful focus for our reflection. Twila uses the song to tell the story of Jesus, though ... continue reading
By Kathy Farrell
So, who am I? I am a Catholic, a Special Education Teacher, and a Boomer, although some rough edges of these features have been smoothed. I have not always been a Catholic, although I did graduate from the Catholic University of America. Theologically, I believe I am ... continue reading
By Norm LeDonne
As Christians, we all know that we are sinners. And, as sinners, we all would like to be forgiven of our sins. Some of us (most of us?) have at one time or another done some pretty awful things, making it hard to believe that we can be forgiven. However, the Bible ... continue reading
By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN
Imagine having someone standing in wait for you to hand over to them all your fears, pain and anxieties. Someone who can and will pave the way for you simply for the asking. Someone who will relieve you from every burden, and accompany you through every trial you could ... continue reading
By Michael Seagriff
The answers to the problems facing our nation and world will not be solved by any of our political parties or politicians. These issues are spiritual in nature and beyond the ability of mere mortal men and women to rectify. CANASTOTA, NY - Unfortunately, far too ... continue reading
By Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC
Today I have a personal story to share about growing up Catholic. I have many memories of Sundays spent as a young girl going to church and trying hard to keep the Sabbath holy. I'm sure you've heard many half believable stories from your grandparents about how tough ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
In this next election cycle one thing is clear. This nation must return to law and order. Law and order are the only safeguards against the law of the jungle. Over the centuries, there was a striving for freedom which culminated in the American Revolution. ... continue reading
By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC
This week, Hillary Clinton picked her VP running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a Jesuit-taught Catholic. Media pundits are touting his strong Pro-life personal views. However, a closer look reveals his political beliefs on vital social issues, such as the death ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
In spite of the desperate times in which we live, there has been a certain indulgence in bitterness among conservatives. There are those who wanted a "different" candidate to be nominated and rather than looking at the bigger picture, of the threats to liberty, ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
There is a thought in modern day society that "newer is better". To some extent, that is true. Who does not appreciate plumbing, sanitation, refrigeration, modern construction and transportation? And then of course there are electronics. We can instantly ... continue reading