Intro: For 33 years I was a professional journalist: reporter>editor>managing editor. I founded & ran, for 12 years, a nonprofit dedicated to helping young people write: https://youngwritersproject.org.
Now I focus on my own projects: a novel that has occupied my mind for 18 years; a journalism project: words, sound, images centered on a courageous opioid addict.
I provide editing support to several professionals & young people. I hope to give and receive feedback with you. https:geoffreygevalt.com
I have greatly appreciated the early response to my idea: https://geoffreygevalt.com/onwriting/an-idea-for-a-new-digital-community and I have written a quick follow-up post: https://geoffreygevalt.com/onwriting/digital-community-2
I'd love some feedback on the post -- a community is better with more heads in the game &, if you want to stay in loop and/or help in some low-intensity ways, sign up at https://geoffreygevalt.com/contact
Feedback has been that a space like this would work, would benefit. But it needs people, so boost to others you think might be interested. THANKS!
We zig-zagged up the steep trail early in the morning, too close to the edge in my mind. The sun was not yet up and our pace was steady and solid. Finally we reached the top, the mesa. It was filled with holly bushes and bright light and a monstrously gorgeous view of the canyon and river below.
We caught our breaths and walked the edges of the mesa, following the dusty animal tracks. I heard the deer before I saw her ...
#internationalwomensday #smallstories I was lucky to have as a friend and mentor Sarah Blanding: the- first woman dean at University of Kentucky, first woman dean at Columbia University, first woman president of Vassar College. I took care of her gardens. Often, at lunchtime, she would invite me onto her porch to eat, read and sometime talk. She didn't judge; she listened. Her observations, her responses, were direct, spot-on and given with respect. https://geoffreygevalt.com/portraits-essays/sarah-blanding Thanks, Sarah.
#smallstories Yesterday, January 64, 2019 on the official Vermont calendar, we had what is common for this time of year, a snow squall. They come out of nowhere and often pack a wallop and yesterday was no different. It also brought a wicked drop in temperature. Camera in hand, I got a quick shot of the storm heading our way across Lake Champlain and then a street lamp with some sort of special bulb. But by the time I got to my destination, I could not bend my fingers. That cold.
#onwriting I deeply admire Toni Morrison. Her writing opens a window to a world of which I am unfamiliar. She makes me feel like I am there, inside, invisible but respected. I sometimes feel like she's only writing for me, an intimate connection between two very different people and this host of unfamiliar characters. To me, that is the genius of her work.
She used to fit her writing in before and after her day job, editing, and being a Mom. All day she would think of her story, her words.
#smallstories I have begun to ready myself to slow down time: Sugaring -- what we call making maple syrup. It is a glacial occupation because you can't make a boiling liquid boil faster. And since it takes from 32-40 gallons of sap (depending on its sugar content) to make a gallon of syrup, you boil for a long, long time. But you see things. Like owls. And I'm glad my pal, a Bard, (pictured below) is back to join our ritual once again.
I will write more as the season gets underway. #sugaring
#smallstories Yesterday I drove up to Lake Memphremagog, a giant lake straddling the U.S./Canadian border in N.E. Vermont (The Kingdom) to watch a throng of slightly addled people who thought it fun to cut a two-lane, 25-meter swimming pool in the 28-inch ice and go for a dip. A friend was doing it for the first time. Before she jumped in, we witnessed this: Jaimie Monahan, who does this kind of thing all over the world, who decided to do the butterfly for her 200-meter race. Water: 33-degrees.
#onwriting Sometimes I don't know what to do about the fluctuation of moods and energy levels, one day so sure, the next, not. To what extent can we shape our writing routine to combat that, building a rhythm, a set of habits that work, that lead to writing, that lead to finding wherever your mind was when you wrote that the day before, the week before. It's called consistency. Yet we are not consistent beings. We are emotive, innovative, reactive creatures. Oh well. Part of the challenge.
#onwriting Today I had lunch with a friend, a writer, teacher, innovator. She has helped me take chances -- to go with ideas that I knew to be good. In return, I read her stories and tell her what I think; honestly; specifically. She writes a short story a month. With my critique of her, with my work at Young Writers Project, and in journalism it has been about reaching audience. I told her I didn't care anymore. Audience was of no matter. I am doing it for the enjoyment. And I feel freed.
#onwriting I have settled on a project to counterbalance my morning fiction work: Humans at Work, a series of photo explorations. I have started the orchardist (it’s heavy pruning time) and today I started with a farrier. See photos, taken in a 10-degree barn. It’s a great way to get out of my head, to refresh by just listening, watching. His hands tell me he is in control, confident, calm and, somehow, warm. More coming in weeks ahead. @lauraritchie @katebowles
Today, February 19, I celebrate the birthday of my uncle, Frank Glazer, a world-class pianist still performing just weeks before his death in 2015 at 99. His persistence, consistent hard work & deep appreciation of others inspired me & my family, particularly my oldest, also a performing musician. It's important to mark such occasions & keep our ancestors in our hearts. More here: https://geoffreygevalt.com The photo: Frank performing with aunt Ruth, a soprano & love of his life in 1960.
@jane @katebowles @Tdorey @dogtrax @wion #smallstories Last night, I received an email from an Instagram follower, someone I did not know personally, who said she went to my website, read my stories and essays and was deeply moved by them. In her email, she summarized her own stories/experiences stirred from reading my posts.A high honor. It warmed my heart. And reminded me of the initial lure/potential/power of the Web (1990's) to help creatives and the potential of #writingexchange
As inspiration for today I want to share this video made by some slam poets in Chicago who I admire. If there is a better video about writing, please share. @duck_errant @maer #writing #writingexchange
And see these young people's responses:
#smallstories Dawn is clear and cold, but quickly gives way to clouds, then snow, then heavy snow. A good day to be beside the fire, at least to have coffee and read. Something catches the corner of my eye, brown-yellowish motion. I look out the window. Oh, hello there. Perched on the back deck, a few feet from the window, a bard owl, a neighbor, stares, first at me through the window, then, head pivoting, looking for the foolish mole or squirrel or mouse that dares to venture out on this day.
#writingexchange Wanted to pass along a link given to me by @udell_games https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/snowflake-method/ ... As I was getting a little lost in the enormity of my fiction project, this helped me to pull back, define the story and structure and characters give me a much firmer foundation. I feel much more confident and directed. Great help. I incorporated the process into Scrivener, an inexpensive tool for novel writing that I also recommend. Peace to all writers out there.
#smallstories I find the U.S. political/cultural turmoil too much sometimes: the instant backlash to, well, whatever; viral videos, viral vitriol, viral ... aarrgghh Over the last few days, with temps fluttering between 10 and -11 F and new snowfall of 20+ inches, I have taken solace in skiing & snowshoeing in the woods. At dawn today, awoken by an unsettling dream, I took to the forest & at the crest of a ridge was given a spectacular reminder of the power of nature to bring balance and peace.
#smallstories It is 1971, I am snowshoeing in the woods near a neighbor, Wilts Stevens. It is -14F. Wilts is 92 & has lived on the farm all his life. Suddenly, we see him ahead on the trail, looking at us, leaning on his walking stick, waiting. He smiles. We say hello. He nods in silence, surveying the trees. Turning his walking stick in the snow making it squeak, he says: "'Spect this stick will squeak for another two days, & then it'll warm up.'" We walk on.
To expand on: https://writing.exchange/web/statuses/101394722579078935 I have chosen to dive into this enormous project a) to help the addicts express themselves, b) to help people understand their expression as a form of art, c) to help the community see, by engaging in their stories, that what they are missing is hope and that is a different way of looking at the issue. It also part of my #practices to enhance my other writing, that is, to observe and connect with people whose lives I don't experience. It's all about details
@matt & other Writing.exchange folks: I have a plan: regularly post #practices -- things I do to to expand my writing. I'd love to have others jump in. Here's one: I am embarking on a novel. (First time; my specialty has been non-fiction.) As I go more deeply into it, the more massive it seems. I go bite size: Each day I explore a character, writing a snippet of her/his backstory -- moods, interests, relationships, likes, etc. Often I delete what I write. I'm just trying to get to know them.
#smallstories A year ago Christmas, my oldest daughter, a musician (& more), gave me this for a present: "A project together." We've yet to do it.
We near an idea: Go to the bayous for Mardi Gras, away from the maddening drunks, in the heart of it all. We record sounds. We shoot pictures. We eat, laugh & listen to stories & music. Maybe she joins in. Maybe I tell stories.
Our main purpose: To start a story just by doing. With no idea of what we may do with what we capture. It will come to us.
writer | editor | photographer
also here: @GeoffreyGevalt https://mastodon.social/web/accounts/163208