“Transformations & Disobedience” – A Brooklyn Book Festival 2016 Reading

BBFReading2016-2

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is proud to announce our partnership with the Brooklyn Book Festival.  Join us our Brooklyn Book Festival 2016 Reading, “Transformations & Disobedience,” an evening of stories, poetry, and song, at Molasses Books (770 Hart Street, Brooklyn, NY 11237) on Saturday September 17!  The evening will kick off at 8 pm, and will feature readings from a wonderful array of talented writers such as Stephen AubreyRita BanerjeeMadeleine Barnes,Ellaraine LockieBen PeaseAnne Malin Ringwalt, Kate McMahonEmily SmithBianca Stone, and Diana Norma Szokolyai, along with a beautiful interludes of music from accomplished songwriters Erica Buettner and Elizabeth Devlin!

Stephen Aubrey descends from hardy New England stock. He is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, dramaturg, lecturer, storyteller and recovering medievalist. His writing has appeared in Publishing Genius, Commonweal, The Brooklyn Review, Pomp & Circumstance, Forté and The Outlet. He is a co-founder and the resident dramaturg and playwright of The Assembly Theater Company. His plays have been produced at The New Ohio Theater, The Living Theater, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, Wesleyan University, The Tank, The Brick Theater, Symphony Space, the Abingdon Theater Complex, UNDER St Marks, The Philly Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his original play, We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, was nominated for a 2006 Fringe First Award. He is also the editor of two ‘pataphysic books, Suspicious Anatomy and Suspicious Zoology, both published by the Hollow Earth Society. He has an MFA from Brooklyn College where he received the Himan Brown Prize and the Ross Feld Writing Award and a BA with Honors from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. He is an instructor of English at Brooklyn College and holds the dubious distinction of having coined the word “playlistism” in 2003.

ritabanerjee-smRita Banerjee is the Executive Director of Kundiman and the Creative Director of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. She received her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and her writing appears in The Rumpus, Los Angeles Review of BooksElectric Literature, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, AWP WC&C Quarterly, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Riot Grrrl Magazine, The Fiction Project, Objet d’Art, KBOO Radio’s APA Compass, and elsewhere. Her first collection of poems, Cracklers at Night (Finishing Line Press), received First Honorable Mention for Best Poetry Book of 2011-2012 at the Los Angeles Book Festival, and her novella, A Night with Kali (Spider Road Press), is forthcoming in October 2016. Finalist for the 2015 Red Hen Press Benjamin Saltman Award and the 2016 Aquarius Press Willow Books Literature Award, she is currently working on a novel and book of lyric essays.

Barnes_Headshot (1)Madeleine Barnes is a writer, visual artist, proud Pittsburgher, and graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at NYU. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in places like Pleiades, Jai-Alai Magazine, Rogue Agent, BOXCAR Poetry Review, The Rattling Wall, Yew Journal, Washington Square Review, Cordella Magazine, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. Her chapbook, The Mark My Body Draws in Light, was published in 2014. A New York State Summer Writers Institute Fellow, she was named an Emerging Writer by the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. Aside from poetry and art, she is very interested in cheese.

ellaraine-lockieEllaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded author of poetry, nonfiction books and essays.  Her chapbook, Where the Meadowlark Sings, won the 2014 Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest. Her newest collection, Love Me Tender in Midlife, has been released as an internal chapbook, in IDES from Silver Birch Press.  Other recent work has received the Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David’s Leg, the San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest win for Red for the Funeral and The Aurorean’s Chapbook Spring Pick for Wild as in Familiar. Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh. She is currently judging the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contests for Winning Writers.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.49.21 PMErica Buettner is an American singer-songwriter from New England who moved to Europe at the age of 19. She landed in Paris, France where she studied French and literature and wrote the songs on her debut album True Love and Water over the course of a four-year stay in the City of Lights. In 2010, seeking sunnier shores, Erica moved to Lisbon, Portugal, where she is currently based. Over the summer of 2015, Pierre and Erica recently reunited in Paris to record their second full-length album together, to be released in 2016.

Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 5.52.32 PMElizabeth Devlin, with her haunting combination of lilting voice and enchanting autoharp, is a self-produced NYC singer- songwriter. Devlin defies traditional musical structure with many of her songs, building miniature narratives and magical worlds where characters, fantasies and time collide. Devlin has toured nationally, internationally, & performs in venues throughout NYC’s five boroughs. 

IMG_2265 (1)Ben Pease is a board member of the Ruth Stone Foundation and an editor of Monk Books. His first full-length collection of poems, Chateau Wichman, is forthcoming from Big Lucks Books, and more work can be found online at fugitivesofspeech.tumblr.com/works. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, the poet and artist Bianca Stone.

AMR24Anne Malin Ringwalt is a writer and musician (Anne Malin) currently studying in Boston, Massachusetts. Her words appear in Vinyl, Talking River, Rogue Agent, The Grief Diaries and DUM DUM Zine: Punks and Scholars. Like Cleopatra, Ringwalt’s debut poetry chapbook, was published by dancing girl press in 2014. She has performed throughout Boston, New York and Miami, most notably via the YoungArts Foundation (2016) and Rookie Magazine’s Yearbook Two launch at the New Yorker Festival (2014).

kateKate McMahon is a fiction writer who also moonlights as a full-time attorney. Before law school, she was chosen to participate in the selective creative writing concentration at Boston College, where she won the Cardinal Cushing Award for best short fiction and also completed a novella. Most recently, her short story “Swapped” was published in Post Road Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two small sons.

 

EmilySmithPictureEmily Smith is a Managing Editing and Communications Intern for the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop. Originally from Sarasota, Florida, she holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the New Hampshire Institute. She writes for The Ploughshares Blog and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bustle, Brevity, Luna Luna and more.

black & white window 2 (1)Bianca Stone is a poet and visual artist, and the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, and Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours. She runs the Ruth Stone Foundation & Monk Books with her husband, the poet Ben Pease in Vermont and Brooklyn.

 

 

11193261_10102624354743941_8682467326975061659_n-2Diana Norma Szokolyai is a writer and Executive Artistic Director of Cambridge Writers’ Workshop.  She is author of the poetry collections Parallel Sparrows and Roses in the Snow.  She also records her poetry with musicians and has collaborated with several composers. Her poetry-music collaboration with Flux Without Pause led to their collaboration “Space Mothlight” hitting the Creative Commons Hot 100 list in 2015, and can be found in the curated WFMU Free Music Archive.  Szokolyai’s work has appeared in VIDA: Women in the Literary ArtsQuail Bell Magazine, Lyre Lyre, The Boston Globe, Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, as well as anthologized in The Highwaymen NYC #2, Other Countries: Contemporary Poets Rewiring History, Always Wondering and Teachers as Writers. 

Advertisements

5 Ways the Practice Of Yoga is Like the Art Of Writing: A Conversation Inspired by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

6169907365_6e87d5e1f7_oIn “5 Ways the Practice of Yoga is Like the Art of Writing,” writer Ko Im connects the two arts. The comparison came out of a conversation with the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, which often combines yoga and writing – two wonderfully creative, nourishing processes. The full article can be read here.

Ko Im is a freelance writer, lifestyle enthusiast, voice over artist and yoga instructor in New York City. She is author and narrator of Broke, not Broken — a digital travel memoir.

Happy New Year, Writers! -♥️- Cambridge Writers’ Workshop

HappyNewYear2016-CWW

Happy New Year 2016 from the directors, staff, and board of the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop!  We hope you’re all as excited for 2016 as we are!  We’re planning a delightful, productive year for our writers and artists with plenty of opportunities to travel, write, practice yoga, and network, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at our retreats, workshops, readings, and literary fest events in 2016!

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop had a wonderful year in 2015.  Over the last twelve months, we’ve had a chance to hold retreats and readings across America and the world, meet exciting writers, yoga practicioneers, and artists, and have found new ways to inspire our own writing.  Our year began with the Brooklyn Yoga, Aromatherapy, & Writing Workshop. We restored our minds with invigorating yoga, learned about Essential Oils, and inspired out writing. In February, we joined the 2015 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At AWP 2015, we got a chance to promote CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing, advertise our new literary internships, and discuss our Summer Writing Retreats in Granada, Spain and Paris, France, as well as our Spring Writing Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island. We also hosted our second AWP event at Boneshaker Books. At our Books & Bones event, there were featured readings from authors such as  Alex CarriganJonah KruvantDena Rash GuzmanLeah UmanskyAnca SzilagyiMicah Dean HicksMichele NereimBianca StoneJessica PiazzaJess BurnquistSheila McMullin, and Brenda Peynado.

After AWP 2015, we were off to our first annual Spring Writing Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island. We were joined by award-winning and internationally-renowned authors such as Kathleen Spivack and Stephen Aubrey, in addition to CWW directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, and CWW yoga instructor Elissa Lewis. The event was a chance for writers to spend a long weekend in historic Newport and near the beach, participating in writing workshops (such as Aubrey’s workshops on theater and Spivack’s workshops on developing manuscripts) and craft of writing seminars, yoga classes, and cultural tours of the historic Newport village. We liveblogged the entire event as well, sharing dozens of photos from our trip while also allowing our writers to share their thoughts on the experience.

During the summer we hosted our Summer in Granada and Summer in Paris Writing Retreats. In Paris, we explored the city and all of its historical, literary, and romantic charm. The retreat included craft of writing seminars and creative writing workshops, literary tours of Paris, daily yoga and meditation classes, and one-on-one manuscript consultations. We were also joined by Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and New York Times bestselling author David Shields, who taught workshops about collage, appropriation, and collaboration. CWW directors Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai taught workshops on stakes and building character, and also led workshops for participants to share their work and use the Liz Lerman method for critiquing writing. We live blogged our Paris retreat on our website, so feel free to check it out and see our workshops, as well as our excursions to Shakespeare and CompanyVersailles and Au Chat Noir. We were really happy to experience this with all of our participants, who traveled from all over the U.S, as well as England and Australia, to come write and explore Paris with us.

In Granada, wrote in the city’s winding streets, absorbed its Moorish history, and were inspired by its evocative landscapes. The retreat included craft of writing seminars and writing workshops and yoga classes. We were joined by Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and Pushcart Prize winner Peter Orner, who led a workshop on Spanish literature. Diana Norma Szokolyai led workshops on voice and stakes, while Rita Banerjee led a workshop on narrative development. We also live blogged this trip, so you can see all the exciting things we did on this trip, such as seeing Poeta in Nueva York and shopping for fans.

We hosted a Brooklyn Bookend Reading at Muchmore’s during The Brooklyn Book Festival. Some of the writers had emerged onto the literary scene with a bang, while others had recently published their first or second books, and had received prestigious awards in the past. The event was moderated by Diana Norma Szokolyai and included writers Rita Banerjee, Jonah Kruvant, Brandon Lewis, Elizabeth Devlin, Lisa Marie Basile, Jessica Reidy, Gregory Crosby, Matty Marks, and Emily Smith.

In November, we also hosted our annual Pre-Thanksgiving Writing & Yoga Cleanse. The two day event kicked off with yoga lessons from Elissa Lewis, followed by creative writing workshops and craft seminars from Jessica Reidy. Our Pre-Thanksgiving Writing & Yoga Cleanse was an opportunity for the participants to cleanse themselves mentally, spiritually, and creatively before the bustling holiday season.

In 2015, we continued our work on CREDO Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing. The collection will feature personal writer manifestos, essays on writing advice, and writing exercises to help spur creativity. Our staff has greatly enjoyed critiquing and conversing with writers on this publication, and more information about publication will be announced in the upcoming year.

In 2015, we welcomed our second round of interns to the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, and these interns include the wonderful Emily Smith, Casey Lynch, and Alyssa Goldstein, all of whom have helped the CWW greatly this year. They’ve helped manage our social media and written up posts about our events, shown their talent for graphic design and corresponding with writers and hosts in French, Spanish, and English, and have provided much valuable assistance on our retreats and literary events this year.  We’re excited to have Emily, Casey, and Alyssa, on our team, and we can’t wait to show you what they’ve helped us plan for 2016!

This was also a good year for our individual staff members getting published. CWW co-director Rita Banerjee had her poetry published in Quail Bell MagazineRiot Grrrl Magazine, and The Monarch Review. Her interview with CWW visiting professor and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient David Shields was published in Electric Literature. CWW co-director Diana Norma Szokolyai reported for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts on”The Defensive Male Writer.”  CWW Executive Board Member Jessica Reidy‘s “Why the Pyres are Unlit” was released in Drunken Boat’s Romani Folio and her poetry was nominated by The Poetry Blog for “Best of the Net.” Managing Intern Alex Carrigan had his work published in Strike! and Quail Bell Magazine and Managing Intern Emily Smith became a Contributing Blogger for Ploughshares.

While 2015 proved to be a very exciting year for all of us, our staff is quite ready to move on to our next round of exciting events. The CWW will once again table at AWP in Los Angeles from March 30-April 2, 2016, and will be announcing our AWP Reading in downtown Los Angeles shortly!

Join us April 21-24, 2016 for our second annual Spring in Newport, Rhode Island Writing Retreat. Our Newport retreat offers the opportunity for writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors & editors to hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects. In the past, faculty has included internationally renowned author and writing coach Kathleen SpivackStephen Aubrey, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Rita Banerjee, and Elissa Lewis.

The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Summer in Narbonne & Barcelona Writing Retreat will take place July 18-26, 2016. The retreat offers participating writers of all genres and levels to work alongside award-winning authors and editors. Participating writers will hone their craft and expand their writing skills, while working on new or existing projects.  There will also be time to explore the city of Barcelona, Spain and the beaches of Narbonne, France.  Our past France retreats have included David Shields, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Rita Banerjee, Jessica Reidy, and Elissa Lewis as faculty members.

And from July 28-August 5, 2016, join the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop on our summer writing retreat to the cultural oasis of Granada, Spain. Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Andalucía, Granada is one of the gems of Spain and has inspired writers from Washington Irving to Salman Rushdie to Ali Smith. Let the old city stimulate your writing with its winding streets, Moorish history, and evocative landscapes. Or, indulge in delicious Andalucían cuisine and traditional Arab baths. Work with world-renowned authors on your manuscript, or look to the beauty and warmth of Granada to inspire all-new projects.  In our past Granada retreat, faculty has included Peter Orner, Rita Banerjee, Diana Norma Szokolyai, and Elissa Lewis.

We hope you are all as excited for our 2016 events as we are.  Information on our upcoming 2016 retreats and readings will be going live in January 2016!  If you have any questions we may not have answered, you can email us at info@cambridgewritersworkshop.org, and for inquiries, please email the CWW Directors, Rita Banerjee and Diana Norma Szokolyai, at directors@cambridgewritersworkshop.org.  You can also follow us on FacebookTumblr, and Twitter for more information and updates on any of these events. We look forward to making 2016 a year full of creativity, writing, and renewal, so join us as we make 2016 rock!

— Emily Smith & Alex Carrigan, CWW Managing Interns

Brooklyn Yoga, Aromatherapy, & Writing Workshop – January 31, 2015

Jan 31 Creativity through the Senses Workshop copyapply YOGA &  AROMATHERAPY & WRITING Workshop

SPECIAL DISCOUNT: REGISTER BY FRIDAY 1/30/15 AT NOON FOR ONLY $60 (after, workshop fee is $85)

This workshop is intended to invigorate and relax the mind and body, as well as open the senses and creativity centers of the mind and body.  After the yoga and aromatherapy sessions, participants will learn specific tools to improve and shape their writing to make it irrestible to read (whether it is fiction, nonfiction or poetry).

Our “Winter Workshop For Creativity Through The Senses” offers a relaxing and inspiring triad of experiences and is open to all levels of yogis and writers.  Join CWW’s Diana Norma Szokolyai and Elissa Lewis for a day that will allow you to:

* Immerse yourself in Yoga Sequences that Invigorate & Restore.
* Learn about how Essential Oils can inspire you to create, heal the spirit, and open up the chakras for living in harmony with your surroundings.
* Inspire your writing (for all levels & genres of writers) with a workshop on Writing for the Senses, Making your Reader Feel.

More information:
In preparation for the workshop, please wear comfortable clothing, and bring materials to write with (paper, pen, or laptop if that is your preference).  The center provides yoga mats, blocks and cushions, but if you prefer to bring your own, you are welcome to.

Our schedule will be as follows:
12:00 invigorating yoga  (with Elissa Joi Lewis)
12:30 aromatherapy workshop: we will learn about the therapeutic & healing uses of essential oils, as well as sample and explore how they can open our creativity through the senses (With Diana Norma Szokolyai & Elissa Joi Lewis)
1:45 break
2:00 restorative yoga (with Elissa Joi Lewis)
2:30 “Writing for the Senses, Making Your Reader Feel” writing workshop and feedback session (with Diana Norma Szokolyai)
4:00 Workshop Ends

We are doing this workshop in partnership with the wonderful Family of Light Holistic Center in Ditmas Park.  Please register directly throughout Family of Light by calling, emailing or visiting their website. http://www.familyoflight.center. SEATS ARE LIMITED. CONTACT US TO PREREGISTER.  $85 ( $60 if you register by FRIDAY at noon) 717 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218.   (718)928.7771 (347)587.9344 support@familyoflight.center     www.familyoflight.center apply

CWW Interview with Stephen Aubrey, Newport, Rhode Island Instructor & Playwright

stephen AubreyThe Cambridge Writers’ Workshop is proud to introduce Stephen Aubrey, who will be teaching classes on theatre, performance, screenwriting, and playwriting at our Writing and Yoga Retreat in Newport, Rhode Island (April 2-5, 2015).  The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop’s Megan Tilley sat down to interview Stephen Aubrey.  Check out Megan’s interview with Stephen below, and be sure to apply for our Newport Retreat by February 20, 2015!

We-Cant-Reach-You-Hartford

MT: How did you get into playwriting?  What were some of the early plays or performances which inspired you to write?

SA: My life as a playwright owes more to serendipity than anything else. Growing up, theater had always interested me. I was obsessed with Spalding Gray and I hung out with a lot of the theater kids in high school, but my complete incompetence as an actor meant that I was usually an audience member rather than a performer (save for one disastrous turn as Francis Nurse in The Crucible in 11th grade). Playwriting (and writing in general) never exactly occurred to me as something I could do.

In college, I took a lot of philosophy and history courses, which exposed me to a wealth of interesting stories and ideas and very slowly, I became interested in writing short stories my senior year of college. About this time, I was approached by a director I knew from a fiction workshop I was taking. She was interested in developing a documentary play about a historical event and asked me if I knew of any good source material. After batting around a couple of ideas, I told her about the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944. She was hooked on the idea immediately and we decided to round up a couple of actors and co-write the play.

I thought this was going to be a one-shot deal. I really thought of myself as an academic and was seriously considering getting a PhD in history after I graduated college. Slowly, however, writing got its claws in me. We brought our play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that summer where it was well-received and nominated for a prestigious award. When I came back from Scotland, I moved to New York and started thinking seriously about writing plays. The group of people who traveled to Scotland asked me to write another play to perform the next summer and we slowly coalesced into a theater company.

Since I came to playwriting somewhat late, most of the formative plays in my life haven’t been ones I studied in a classroom (though I love some plays I happened to study in school, mostly the Greeks and Shakespeare) but rather, ones I saw performed when I first moved to New York. I didn’t have very much money when I first came to the city. All those big sexy expensive shows were out of the question so I ended up exposing myself to the weird, scrappy stuff you can find downtown where the tickets cost the same as a beer at one of the ritzy joints. When I had been at the Fringe Festival doing my show, I had seen the TEAM’s Particularly in the Heartland which really blew me away (I think I’ve ended up seeing it 5 times in total in a bunch of different theaters over the years) and showed me how adventurous and alive and surprising theater could be. Nearly 10 years later, it’s still one of the most amazing pieces I’ve seen. So when I was trying to acquaint myself with what was happening in the theater world, I sought out more people like the TEAM. After seeing a few shows that interested me, I started lurking around theaters that I thought were curating interesting work–The Ontological-Hysteric [R.I.P.], The Ohio, PS122–and becoming aware of groups like Elevator Repair Service, 13P, and Pig Iron that were doing things I found really interesting. I think I learned a lot from these groups, but above all, my downtown education taught me to take risks and embrace the idiosyncrasies of my voice, things that are in abundance downtown and less so once you get above 14th street.

Daguerrotype

MT: You’re the cofounder of The Assembly Theater Company in New York – what lead you to create the group, and how has it impacted your writing?

SA: The simplest explanation for why I created the group was that it was the easiest way to make theater in New York. Especially when you’re just starting out and have very limited resources, it really does take a village to make a play. Doing it alone is, well, lonely. It can be incredibly discouraging for the first few years as you try to break into the community and are dealing with expensive yet somehow filthy black boxes you can only half-fill with friends and loved ones you’ve coerced into buying a ticket. It helps to have comrades.

I was lucky enough to find a group of collaborators in college who have similar interests and aesthetic senses and whom I genuinely care about. We formed the company fresh out of college; there have been some personnel changes as we all learned what the life of a young theater artist entailed, but a core group has remained over the years which has been a wonderful resource to have as I tried to find my artistic identity.

As we’ve grown and developed as a company, we’ve worked towards a truly collaborative way of working together that has become fundamental to the way I think about my writing. After my first few plays, I became disenchanted with the way new plays were developed and also with the way that certain voices (namely straight white men like myself) were overrepresented. At the same time, I was being exposed to a lot of alternative ways of making work–chief among them devised theater–that seemed new and fresh. The Assembly’s four artistic directors are a director, a designer, an actor, and a writer (that’s me); the idea is that by working together as equal partners in series of development periods over the course of a year or two (rather than the typical new play process in which a playwright writes a script, a director decides to work on it and then hires a cast and crew who rehearses for a few weeks) we can create plays where every part of the production is realized in harmony. Even more recently, we’ve been working with group-writing where I write the script along with the actors so that as they get deeper into their characters and make interesting discoveries, we can integrate these into the script.

I’ve found that working this way has really opened up my writing. The plurality of voices and concerns you have to contend with when working in this way can be really overwhelming and intimidating, but it’s incredibly satisfying when it all comes together. It can get messy and heated sometimes in the rehearsal room, but the kind of work I’m creating now–where I’m a main voice, but by no means the primary one–seems important to me. I think we live in a complicated world, one where we need to be aware of and sensitive to alternative perspectives, especially ones that we don’t normally encounter on stage.

OntologicalHysteric

MT: You’ve written plays that have been performed at venues from The Ontological-Hysteric in Manhattan to The Brick Theater in Brooklyn. What was the process like for putting on plays at these venues?

SA: When I first started, my company had to work very hard to find theaters to do our plays in. Being curated by a theater was ideal, but more often than not, we had to rent the theater (which is a huge financial burden). I was very lucky to be able perform in venues like The Brick or The Ontological-Hysteric; both of those came about by applying to programs or festivals like the Short-Form Series or the Video Game Festival. In those instances, the theater was given to me free of charge (though I was financially responsible for everything else). There were a few other fortuitous opportunities like the year-long residency The Assembly had at Horse Trade Theater Group, but for the most part, putting on a play at a venue in New York requires producing it yourself. At least at the beginning, that’s going to be the case. But these things tend to snowball. If you produce a play yourself, and you invite the right people to come see it (or the right people wander into the theater on their own, which is a rare, but beautiful thing), it’s possible that you will be accepted to a festival or residency somewhere down the road. Making a career from theater is largely about using each opportunity to springboard to the next. Once you start generating interest in your work, things get a little easier.

But what has been true throughout is that, even if we were given the space, my company has always been responsible for making the play happen. We have been responsible for finding a cast and design team, for doing the brunt of the fundraising, grant writing and marketing (or paying for our own press agent if we had the money). I’m also forgetting a thousand other small, obnoxious tasks that also fall to us. It’s a DIY world. Making theater requires initiative and a bit of humility; you may be the Writer, but you also have to be The One Who Takes a Vacation Day to Drive the U-Haul to The Storage Unit in New Jersey and Sit in Traffic for the Better Part of the Afternoon. Unless you’re at a theater with a lot of money and resources, that’s the reality of theater.  

MT: How would you compare your writing process for fiction versus screenwriting?

SA: In my mind, the difference is about a visual language versus a written language. In fiction, you can get so much deeper into a character’s mind. You can linger or digress in a way that screenwriting or playwriting cannot. Fiction necessarily requires narration which is something that doesn’t usually work on the screen. A voice-over is so often the sign of an insecure screenwriter, someone who isn’t thinking about a visual language. Because when you’re writing for the screen, you need to be thinking about the audience’s gaze. “Show, don’t tell” is one of those writing cliches I hate throwing around, but it’s an essential tip for screenwriting. Whether it’s through sharp dialogue or a clever structure, you need to find a way to dazzle the senses.

MT: What kinds of workshops are you planning to offer at our Newport, Rhode Island Retreat, and what would you say is the most important part of the workshop experience?

SA: I’m offering three workshops at Newport: one on world-building and the importance of defining space in playwriting and screenwriting; one on “impossible theater,” which is all about pushing yourself away from Realism and thinking in terms of visual and symbolic gestures; and a third on Aristotelian and anti-Aristotelian narrative structures and the opportunities that each affords a writer.

I think the most important part of the workshop experience is meeting other writers. Writing can be a lonely pursuit at times and community is very important. It’s helpful to know that there are other people also sitting at their desks staring at a blinking cursor for hours at a time. Sharing your work with other writers also exposes you to a lot of different styles and perspectives; other writers can show you tricks and tactics and solutions that would never have occurred to you. Finding your co-travelers is an immensely important task and the workshop is a great place to do it.

MT: What advice do you have for budding playwrights and screenwriters?

SA: The most important piece of advice I can give is: Learn how to produce your own work. It’s very difficult to find people willing to take a chance on your writing, financially or artistically, if you’re untested. No one is going to believe in your work, in your words, more than you. You are your own best ambassador for your art, and you need to learn how to present it and talk about it. If you keep at it, people will begin to pay attention, but they need to see your work first. You can apply to contests and festivals (in fact, you should apply to contests and festivals), but it takes a lot of time and patience to work through the system. You could spend that time waiting for a response, or you can take the matter into your own hands and make the work you want to make.

Stephen Aubrey descends from hardy New England stock. He is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, dramaturg, lecturer, storyteller and recovering medievalist. His writing has appeared in Publishing Genius, Commonweal, The Brooklyn Review, Pomp & Circumstance, Forté and The Outlet. He is a co-founder and the resident dramaturg and playwright of The Assembly Theater Company. His plays have been produced at The New Ohio Theater, The Living Theater, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, The Flea Theater, The Collapsable Hole, Wesleyan University, The Tank, The Brick Theater, Symphony Space, the Abingdon Theater Complex, UNDER St Marks, The Philly Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his original play, We Can’t Reach You, Hartford, was nominated for a 2006 Fringe First Award. He is also the editor of two ‘pataphysic books, Suspicious Anatomy and Suspicious Zoology, both published by the Hollow Earth Society. He has an MFA from Brooklyn College where he received the Himan Brown Prize and the Ross Feld Writing Award and a BA with Honors from the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. He is an instructor of English at Brooklyn College and holds the dubious distinction of having coined the word “playlistism” in 2003.

CWW’s Diana Norma Szokolyai Performs with Parallel Sonic at Barbes

bbc_child1-617x1024Parallel Sonic (Diana Norma Szokolyai, Dennis Shafer Teerapat Gof Parnmongkol and Jessie Nelson) will be playing as part of the Bushwick Book Club at Barbes on June 25.  The Bushwick BookClub chooses a different book every month and invites performing artists to create a performance related to the work. Tonight, come hang out with us for and see the different experimental performances based on Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Wed. June 25, 2014 7p.m.
Parallel Sonic at Bushwick BookClub
Barbes, 376 9th St, Brooklyn, NY (at 6th ave and 9th st)

Digital Americana: The Missing Atomic Scientist

tumblr_mqn6rotnG41ris3y8o1_500The Cambridge Writers’ Workshop and Armchair/Shotgun, an excellent literary magazine from New York, were recently featured in the Summer 2013 “Consume” issue of Digital Americana for their radio-play performance of “Roy Rogers: The Missing Atomic Scientist”:

This double issue of includes much more content than 99¢ should allow—moving from the intimacy of boiling bones to a mother’s honey, to a series of visual poems from the prolifically avant-garde Richard Kostelanetz, and much more.  Included in this is also the second installment of our author self-interview series (made possible by the lovely and gracious novelist, Ashley Warlick), as a well as a Consumed series of original illustrations from contemporary Seattle artist, Levi Hastings. And we’re also proud to have published a new piece of multimedia: the audio to a full-length radio drama featuring American icon, Roy Rogers (which was performed brilliantly by a full ensemble cast).  We also continue our investigation into the convergence of literature and media with an interview with the winner of the 2013 Transmedia Project of the Year. And after seeing what this type of multimedia future holds, we can assure you that there will definitely be no shortage of things to consume or create—only the further blurring of the lines that separate the things we consume from the things that consume us.  Radio Drama Credits: Gregory Crosby, John Cusick, Cayla Buettner, Diana Norma Szokolyai, Jonah Kruvant, Max March Steinman, J.E. Reich, Dennis Shafer, Eck Sierra, Jake Rudin, Cambridge Writers’ Workshop, Armchair/Shotgun

http://thedigitalamericana.com/issues/index.html

Cambridge Writers’ Workshop Literary Circus (Brooklyn Lit Crawl 2013)

tumblr_mmzw8ceMze1ris3y8o1_1280Ladies and Gentlemen, step right up to the most end-defying literary event of the decade. Ringleaders Max March-Steinman and Diana Norma Szokolyai host a night of high-flying writing acrobatics drawing from literary treasure boxes of prompts, dialogue, and other surprises. See the incredible syllable juggling poet, whose tongue spits out sounds so quickly that they fly beyond the walls of the tent. Witness the amazing paragraph masquerade; you don’t know which character from which century will make the next appearance. Gasp at the sideshow of special guest story contortionists like the famed Gregory Crosby and more!  This event is interactive and volunteer readers/performers will be called up for interludes of poetry, rants, and character sketches about the circus throughout the ages.

CWW Brooklyn Literary Salon, Spring 2013

thumb_salonCome enjoy a cup of tea, some fine vegan cuisine, and literary talk. Meet other writers and people from the publishing & editing world. Discussion topics, writing prompts, literary games, and suggested reading lists will be provided by the Cambridge Writers’ Workshop facilitator. Participants will also be encouraged to share resources and writing with each other. Special guests will share their expertise from various sectors of the writing/publishing field. The salon is meant to be discussion-driven and is not meant to be ‘taught’ in the traditional sense. Participants in the literary salon will be encouraged to share their views, engage in lively debates, and contribute their own ideas on topics.