Word Pirates Hosts Fiction & Beer Pairings

Filed under: News — joy at 12:50 pm on Thursday, March 1, 2012

Come enjoy a round (or two) of lively fiction and craft beer at one of the Bay Area’s premier beer bars.

Join us March 13 as the writing group Word Pirates puts a new twist on the old art of telling a good story over a round of beers. Accompanied by thirty craft beers on tap (plus cider!), the five Bay Area writers will read works of short fiction at TAPS Restaurant & Tasting Room in Petaluma. The event is free and open to the public.

When: Tuesday, March 13, 7 p.m.- 8:30 p.m.

Where: TAPS Restaurant & Tasting Room
205 Kentucky St.
Petaluma, CA 94952

For more information:
[email protected]
(707) 364-3746

About Word Pirates:

Word Pirates is a professional writing group in Petaluma founded by Joy Lanzendorfer and Marcia Simmons. The group meets twice a month to practice the art of creative writing, and members have published short stories, nonfiction, illustrated stories, poetry, and books.

Word Pirates In New Orleans

Filed under: News — joy at 5:57 pm on Sunday, July 24, 2011

Come See Joy Read

Filed under: News — joy at 7:21 am on Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Saturday, I am going to be reading a short story for the BANG OUT Reading Series in San Francisco. The theme is HEAT. I will be reading with 6 other people, and I believe it is free. Bargain!

The reading will be at Amnesia Bar, 853 Valencia Street, from 7-9 p.m. I hope you can come.

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Buy Marcia’s Book … Once It Actually Comes Out in May

Filed under: News — marcia at 10:36 am on Monday, August 9, 2010

I’m writing a book about cocktails! The working title is DIY Cocktails, so it will be a very hands-on book about how to create your own cocktails using fresh and homemade ingredients. Adams Media is the publisher. Look for it in stores and through online booksellers in May! In the mean time, I still have a little bit of drinking and writing to do. I see a Word Pirates cocktail party in our future.

Photo by wickenden

AWP Conference, Part II

Filed under: News — marcia at 9:19 am on Monday, April 19, 2010

AWP conference Besides learning and inspiration, another thing I gained at AWP was the worldwide beard game championship title. (At least, I think I was the winner of the beard game.) If you think yelling beard in a public place is strange, you haven’t attended a dance for writers. Now that is strange. When we saw this on the agenda, we didn’t think anyone would show up. But the place was hoppin’, and writers actually had some pretty sweet dance moves. Most of them also had social skills. A few of them did not … to the point of creepiness. Giving socially maladjusted people free alcohol may not be a good idea.

Speaking of ideas, one thing Michael Chabon said in his keynote that I really liked: Why would you try to be a writer if you weren’t full of ideas? The panels sparked so many ideas for me, but one of the reasons is that they weren’t trying to. The panelists all seemed to assume we were full of ideas and wanted to hear more about how to get those ideas out and arrange, share, and perfect them.

(Read on …)

AWP Conference Part I

Filed under: News — joy at 9:43 am on Friday, April 16, 2010

I had never been to an AWP Conference before, but I enjoyed it. It was held in the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, which has a statue of a giant blue bear trying to get inside the building:

word pirates awp denver

Roughly 9,000 people attended AWP this year. Even factoring in that many of those people are academics or wannabes, that’s a lot of writers. While some panels were standing-room-only, I was able to see everything I wanted to see.

There’s something for every type of writer at AWP–panels on fiction, poetry, nonfiction, publishing, teaching creative writing, playwriting, young adult writing, literary readings, etc. In my typical gung-ho style, I went to lots and lots of panels, pretty much non-stop panel hopping every day. The first day, we went to seven panels and the keynote speech, plus we found time to tramp all over downtown Denver. I later learned that many people only go to one or two panels a day. One woman said that she would be exhausted if she went to as many panels as we did. Why is sitting in a room listening to people talk exhausting, exactly?

There were a lot of men with beards at this conference. Marcia and I started playing a game where we said the word “beard” every time we saw one. Whoever said “beard” last was winning. A typical conversation went like this:

“I liked that panel–beard–especially the second speaker–beard. Did you catch his name? Beard.”

I can’t remember who won the game overall. I think it was Marcia?

The panels were run by intelligent folks who knew what they were talking about. It’s not so much that I learned that much–although I did learn some things, like how to put together a poetry book or the benefits of the 10 minute play form–as that the conference generated inspiration for me. I came away with a notebook full of ideas for short stories, articles, poem, Word Pirates prompts, and so on. That alone was worth the trip.

At the end of each panel, there was the Question and Answer period, which are always painful to sit through. Does anyone like Q&As? Here is Marcia’s breakdown of a typical question people tended to ask:

word pirates awp writer's conference

I was relieved that Michael Chabon, who gave the keynote speech, did not hold a Q&A because of the size of the audience. I don’t know how many people were packed into the ballroom at the Hilton, but it looked like hundreds, maybe even a thousand people. To appease those who love asking questions, Michael Chabon wrote the speech in Q&A form, where he asked questions of himself and then answered them. It was pretty funny.

word pirates awp writer's conference

Michael Chabon is so charming.

End of Part I. Over and out.

Baseball Jane Austen style

Filed under: Fun,News — marcia at 7:53 pm on Friday, November 14, 2008

The book “Can We Have Our Balls Back, Please” asserts that the British invented baseball, and cites the opening pages of Jane Austen’s “Northanger Abbey” as proof.

On the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert did a great riff on what Austen baseball would be like. Here is an excerpt: (The video is also below, with the Austen bit as the second segment)

“Austen wasn’t writing about American baseball. It was a Jane Austen version, where the ball is not hurled about rudely, but introduced to the bat through proper channels at a society function. And one does not steal bases like a commoner; one sends word ahead to the next base by messenger, requesting permission to approach at the base’s leisure. Of course, what the bat cannot reveal is that though he loves the ball desperately, he has sworn an oath of loyalty to the glove to whom the ball was promised. So the bat must pretend he hates the ball, swatting at it, though he wishes nothing more than to profess his undying affection, but he can’t, he mustn’t, he shan’t! And so, the bat must retreat to the gardens of his estate and… pine.”

Writer of the future!

Filed under: News — marcia at 12:34 pm on Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Writer inspiration! Watch this video of an adorable French child improvising a strange and imaginative story. I guarantee it will make you a better writer. Do it!

Once upon a time… from Capucha on Vimeo.

(I think “chicken box” = “chicken pox”)


via Boing Boing

High school librarian fined $500 being proud of his daughter, giving free books to students

Filed under: News — marcia at 7:35 pm on Thursday, October 23, 2008

A high school librarian’s daughter illustrated a graphic-novel version of Macbeth. You know, the Scottish play. By that Shakespeare guy. He mentioned it as his pick in the library’s newsletter and put some copies on a library display table (giving free copies to some students). An ethics board decided he had abused his position as a civil servant, fining him $500 and making him sign a three-page admission of guilt.

“There are so many things going on they could investigate,” he said in an interview, “and they had nothing better to do than allege that my daughter would have gotten 20 cents in royalties if someone bought the book. But nobody did. I gave out free copies. I was just so proud of my daughter for writing it.”

(Read on …)

Authonomy: the slush pile goes online

Filed under: News — marcia at 5:58 pm on Monday, October 20, 2008

authonomy.gif HarperCollins has tossed another vegetable into the social networking salad with Authonomy. Here’s how it works: Take your unpublished or self-published book (or part thereof) and upload it to the site. Then other members read, rate and comment upon your work. HarperCollins says once the site is running full speed, it will read the most highly rated manuscripts in search of “talented writers we can sign up for our traditional book publishing programmes.”

My immediate reaction was cynicism and an audible “ick” noise. I don’t know. I just don’t buy that HarperCollins takes these submissions seriously or that anyone of merit is on there. Also, it seems like it is a way to publicize ideas that may be safer left private or shared with trusted professionals rather than shared with the possibly desperate competition. Also also, I sometimes get all anti-Kumbaya at the prospect of social networking, reality-TV-style competitions and online “communities.” But I am kind of a grump.

Pretending I’m not a grump, I came up with this list of reasons why other people might like it: (Read on …)

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