- So You Want To Be A Writer/Finishing School (Starts Jan. 14)-Only 2 spots left
- This LA Life: Writing for Solo Performance (Jan. 10)--Full/Waiting List available
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
BTW, Aaron Henne's second section of This Los Angeles Life: Writing for Solo Performance on Sunday, January 10th is now full! There is a waiting list available.
Writing Prompt: Look around your house or office for something with a warning label. Write the warning down and write whatever comes to mind for 10 minutes. Or use this warning label that I found on my Sunkist Fruit Snacks when I was rushing around my kitchen, shoving the gummy fruit shapes in my mouth:
"To avoid choking, give Fruit Flavored Snacks to children who can easily swallow chewy foods. Children should be seated and supervised while eating."
Maybe I should be seated and supervised. ;)
Comment on this blog! Write about a warning label. It can be a sentence or a mini story. I will respond with what I like and remember and you will be entered in the contest for a free class!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Cost: $30-$350 ($10 off sale on 1 day classes--$60)
2. “Book Smarts”
Aaron Henne’s writing exercise book, You Already Know is a fantastic inspiration tool for writers of all kinds. I have found its collection of 80 exercises to be super helpful for my own writing craft and practice (I write poetry and memoir).
3. “Pocket Sized Idea Catcher”
I love these colorful Moleskin journals—they look good and fit in your coat pocket or purse. You can personalize them by gluing your favorite photo or postcard onto them too or just leave them as is.
Cost: $5.95 to $12.00 plus shipping and handling
Be trendy AND comfortable when you sit down to write. Michael Crowe’s “Il Corvo” T-shirts are eye catching and buttery soft. Plus, he’s a Writing Pad student! I own the “woman getting oxygen” T-shirt and find the image to be humorous and calming when I wear it.
Cost: $21.49 (free shipping)
5. “Tea for Two”
Tea has magical powers to unblock one’s creativity. That's why I sip tea when I put pen to page. Carmelized pear is my favorite tea, but The Art of Tea has so many tasty choices. The silver tin and a writing buddy to share your tea with are optional.
Cost: $12 to $47 plus shipping and handling
6. “Wrap Up Your Words”
Short on cash? Wow your loved ones with an ode, a story, or a heartfelt letter. Print it out on nice paper and use a presentation envelope if you like. It’ll be a unique gift they’ll hold dear forever.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 behaviors/things/people that really annoy you at work (or at past jobs).
Here are some suggestions of things that could end up on that list: people eating stinky food at their desks that smells like warmed up dog food, loud phone talkers, irritating coworker behavior, etc.. Or if you have no beefs or work alone, make some items up!
Write whatever comes to mind about that one item for 10 minutes.
If you're concerned about trash talking about your job/coworkers, come up with a “code name.” Mine are “Happy Hugger” and “Toxic Teddy Bear Man.” You can also email your mini-story/rant to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for an anonymous post. We will treat everything as fiction (it could be a character from your book, ya know).
And there’s only one spot left in Aaron's class this Saturday! Email email@example.com or call 323-333-2954 to snatch it up! Aaron will unveil this crazy amazing dialogue exercise that he hasn’t used in his long classes:
- Delicious Dialogue (Dec. 5, 10:30 a.m.)--1 spot left
Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think, “this really annoys me at work (or annoyed me at a past job)?” Post a mini story or a sentence—it’s all good, Cookie! The best comment of December wins a free class!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Thank you, everyone who participated! Your comments have taken this blog to a whole new level. I encourage you to use the prompts to keep up your writing practice between classes and post your short writes here. You can comment as many times as you like—even if it is just a snarky Facebook style sentence fragment. Just like in class, I will tell you what I like and remember and treat everything as fiction.
Also, there is still just one spot left in Aaron's Saturday class. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-333-2954 to snatch it up! Aaron will be unveiling this crazy amazing dialogue exercise that he hasn’t used in his long classes:
- Delicious Dialogue (Dec. 5, 10:30 a.m.)--Only 1 spot left
OK, I know—get to it already, you are dying to know. The winner of the November Comment Contest is Carol Wyatt. Congrats, Carol! In response to the question, “What’s your favorite place to write?” Carol said, “I keep a pad of paper next to my computer so I can write down thoughts that pop into my head while I'm working. Writing in bed on a lazy weekend is my favorite way to get things down on paper, when I have the time.” Sounds good to me! Her comment/story is fab and is under the "Thanksgiving Writing Prompt."
You can check out all of the wonderful November comments/stories here:
I am holding another comment contest in the month of December. I will unveil a new weekly writing prompt by tomorrow. I hope you will keep commenting! :)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! December classes with the amazing teacher, the one and only, Aaron Henne are now almost completely full:
- Delicious Dialogue (Dec. 5)--Only 1 spot left
- This LA Life: Writing for Solo Performance (Dec. 12)--Full/Waiting List/Additional Section to be added
Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing email@example.com.
Here's a good one for the holiday. What comes to mind when you think of "Thanksgiving?" Make a list of 5 things that you associate with that word. Here are some suggestions of things that could end up on that list: cooking disasters, eating triumphs, family spats, what you are thankful for, favorite Thanksgiving foods or rituals, etc..
Pick one item off of your list and add a sensory description to it (e.g. smell, taste, touch, sound, sight). Write whatever comes to mind about that one item for 10 minutes. Include the sensory description in your writing.
Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of "Thanksgiving?" What are your cooking disasters, eating triumphs, family spats, what you are thankful for, favorite Thanksgiving foods or rituals, etc.. The best comment of November wins a free class!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
- Delicious Dialogue (Dec. 5)--Only 2 spots left
- This LA Life: Writing for Solo Performance (Dec. 12)--Only 2 spots left
Ahem, may I have a drum roll please? Anyone who has tried Adel's fantastic cooking and baking has become instantly addicted to it. Many of you have asked me time and time again if Adel will divulge her recipes. Now, she has agreed to share a recipe once a month with all of you.
This month, Adel is giving you a delicious dessert that you can use for Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread. Thanks, Adel! I might have to try making that for my in-laws--perhaps the bread will work magic and soothe family dinner table tensions. Chocolate always makes me feel more relaxed. ;)
"This recipe is adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. It's perfect for the holidays because it makes two loaves - one to give away and another to keep for yourself. Or you can do as I do and make mini-loaves for your friends, family, and co-workers. It is not too sweet or dense like some quickbreads and takes only minutes to throw together."
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups (1-15 oz. can) pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup (5 1/4 oz.) water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I use a mixture of milk and semisweet chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, mix together the sugars and oil. Beat in the eggs, then the pumpkin, water, and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices and stir in. Fold in the nuts and chips.
Pour into two 9x5 inch lightly greased loaf pans. Bake approximately 1 hour (less for smaller loaves) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool loaves in the pans on a rack. When completely cool, remove bread from the pans.
This bread tastes better when wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature overnight.
In the comments, tell us about your experience of baking the bread or tell us what your favorite Thanksgiving desserts are. Or, what is your favorite Adel dish or dessert from class? The best comment of November on this blog wins a free 2.5 hour class!
Thursday, November 19, 2009
There are only a couple of spots left in both classes. Sign up by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before they are full!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Now you've started a draft for the next "Chi Chi's Word Parlor."* I recommend this upcoming class at Writing Pad (see below) to help you take what you just wrote to the next level and make it excellent (for submission to Chi Chi's or a literary journal too!).
Call 323-333-2954 or go to http://www.writingpad.com to enroll!
This Los Angeles Life: Writing For Solo Performance
Have you dreamed of telling your story at “Chi Chi’s Word Parlor?”* This class will help you develop a kick ass, five minute piece to submit to the next “Chi Chi’s!” Class topics include: discovering a hook that works with the next show's theme (“Dirty”), finding the right tone, and crafting prose that flows nicely off the tongue. We’ll also show you how to tell a full story quickly and infuse it with humor and pathos. Post-class, you will also receive instructor feedback on a draft to help you polish it up for submission. Experienced and beginning writers welcome.
Instructor: Aaron Henne
Saturday, December 12, 2009
10:30 a.m. – 1 :00 p.m.
Cost: $80 ($70 for continuing students), includes instructor feedback on one draft post-class
Includes gourmet brunch tasting plates
*”Chi Chi’s Word Parlor” is a literary variety show at the Atwater Playhouse where writers read five minute long pieces based on a quarterly theme. The next theme is “Dirty,” and submissions are due on February 15 to email@example.com. Check http://www.myspace.com/chichiswordparlor for submission guidlines.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Don't forget to check out the new fall classes on the Writing Pad site! We have some great ones, including a fantastic character class:
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Also, check out our new fabulous classes for the fall! We'll help you make your writing dreams come true!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
One of the biggest perks to being an Angelino is LA’s temperate climate. It comes as no surprise that a few good folks decided to screen movies outdoors. Cinespia hosts movies from The Exorcist to McCabe and Mrs. Miller at the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery. After donating ten bucks (parking is five) lug your picnic gear along the gothic scenic trail. Recommendation: get there early.
Free Wine, Art & Eye Candy
The second Thursday of every month is the Downtown Art Walk, where a myriad of art galleries and museums show their finest artwork whilst offering patrons free wine and cheese. Maps and a full participating gallery listing are all online. They even have a shuttle named The Hippodrome so the ladies can wear heels and hide their inability to walk a straight line. You’ll get your cultural fix, and you’ll also get an excuse to end the night with nachos from Pete’s and a cold beer from Bar 107.
The last time I rode a bus it was a Greyhound, and it was snowing heavily. The bus driver claimed he was too sleepy so he wouldn’t turn the heat on. There I was: shaking in my shoes while my smelly neighbor’s head crashed on my shoulder. I thought that I’d never want to ride a bus again. But then I found Esotouric. Their drivers are funny, brainy, and eager to show you the old stomping grounds of Charles Bukowski or John Fante. Murder mystery aficionados will get their fix in The Black Dahlia bus tour. These tours are sure to satisfy both your inner nerd and rebel.
Trannies, Burlesque & Wrestling
Lucha Va Voom is one of my favorite LA insider events. Lucha is the only place where in one night, you can spend time with a masked man of superhero strength, a pasties adorned burlesque dancer, a midget dressed as a chicken, and an ambisexual hula hooper. Come in good spirits or the ear splitting, pants ripping, bodice busting action won’t be as exciting as it’s intended to be. Housed in the Mayan, Lucha is so thrilling that it will be painful when it’s your turn to get beers and you have to miss a mere five minutes of the show. Don’t be surprised if on the way out, you see patrons collapsed in a ball of sweat from hollering.
Listening to a Stranger’s Middle School Journal
No matter where you’re from, you probably spent your middle school years passing notes, signing yearbooks, and staying up late with friends dishing on your latest burning love. Mortified, a monthly show, allows the very brave to dig out their old journals and read them to an audience who is laughing with them and AT them. Highlighted in the This American Life series on NPR (listen on the Best of This American Life – 2006), Mortified will make you laugh and cringe as you relate to and gasp at others’ romantic catastrophes.
All Star Lanes
Melrose Trading Post http://losangeles.metromix.com/style/accessories/melrose-trading-post-hollywood/101884/content
Barnsdall Art Park
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
And, if you are craving more concentrated writing inspiration, check out Writing Pad's summer writing classes! There are just a couple of spots left in Tim Grierson's "Spice Up Your Settings Pt II"and Aaron Henne's "So You Want To Be A Writer" class. We will serve you tasty gourmet food like tuffled mac and cheese and blackberry crumble with home-made ginger ice-cream, not Cheez Whiz! :)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
We are very lucky to have the renowned film critic/freelance writer, Tim Grierson (pictured below), as the teacher for our Movie Club classes.
Below is a sample of what Noah Pohl wrote in our last Movie Club class: “From Crazy Love to Crazy Good Writing.” We watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and then Tim led some fab writing exercises and did a mini-craft lecture to help us to write our own love stories. Take one of the next Movie Club classes, “Spice Up Your Settings Pt. I and Pt II,” and you too will be inspired to write something as amazing. We'll be watching Metropolitan and Little Children. We'll learn to use setting to enhance our stories, characters and conflict, and feasting on decadent brunch tasting plates like the homemade croissants and waffles made by our talented chef, Adel.
“Every time someone mentions the brand, Hello Kitty, I am crushed. I remember how excited she got when she told me that she’d decorated her bathroom with Hello Kitty -- and that she thought I should too. I refused.
Listening to In Rainbows hurt for about eight months. The black mini fridge that smelled like ass and rotted, seeping onions until I scrubbed it clean and gave it to her, is now sitting in her room, forever, or until she sells it on Craigslist. BMW cars make me turn my head. If I see a bright green jacket, a black turtleneck, hoop earrings, or peach vodka, I get pangs in my stomach.
I will forever associate Michael Phelps winning the gold medals with cuddling on her lumpy, creaky bed. The turquoise lingerie she had. The smell of her neck. The magnets from New York on her fridge.
The way she angrily compared her co-workers to pieces of fruit: one was a pear. Now, I can't eat pears. I'm wrecked whenever I think of any of these things.”
Writing Prompt: Make a list of five very intense emotional moments that you associate with significant relationships from your past. Add a sensory detail (smell, taste, touch, sound, sight) to each moment. Pick your favorite and write about it for ten minutes.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Sunday, April 19th was a perfect day to mix my loves of hiking, writing, and eating at the Writing Pad Nature Walk class. At 10 a.m., a merry band of ten Writing Pad students gathered at Temescal Canyon Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades, an oasis of nature in our bustling city.
Marilyn, ever the gourmet food pusher, handed out delicious, freshly baked carrot/coconut muffins whipped up by Adel Aschenbrener, Writing Pad’s culinary genius. The muffins were a good energy boost for the two mile round trip hike in front of us. As the sun climbed, so did we. I told the group to keep all of their senses open; to pay attention to the sights, sounds, smells and touches of nature around us. I noticed the sweet scent of cedar rising from the trees, and I felt the sun’s heat sear my shoulders. Several fat lizards popped out into our path, offering themselves as fodder for future journal entries.
Pausing for a breath about ¾ of a mile in, our little party of explorers could see the Long Beach Peninsula through a crack between hills. It was a clear and gorgeous day, but it was the hottest April 19th in the past 35 years. We were all red-faced and sweaty.
Just when our quads and glutes started to burn, we reached our destination: the tiny waterfall and creek bed in the mountainside. Ready for a rest, we all perched on some rocks and wrote again. The water burbled, the shade dappled and small creek flies tried to take refuge up my nose. It was a very peaceful scene of 10 writers bent over journals, letting their imaginations meander over hill and dale of the Santa Monica mountain range.
After we completed our hike, we spread out picnic blankets under sweet shade in a quiet corner of the lower park. We feasted on Adel’s amazing, flavorful quinoa and kale salad and a scrumptious assortment of local and organic cheeses from The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills (including creamy goat cheese from a Paso Robles farm packed in its own bamboo cheese skirt (held by Marilyn below) and a nutty, mild Petit Basque from France).
We sipped on some Moroccan Vanilla iced tea and wrapped up the class with Adel’s killer brownies and one last free-write. One of my writing prompts was to invent a natural phenomena, give it a name, and describe how it occurs. Although Writing Pad confidentiality rules do not allow me to reveal the hilarious and fantastic stories that our class participants wrote, I will tell you that I wrote about a special wind that magically removed cellulite (picture a group of naked women standing on the beach, waiting for a storm to smooth thighs and bellies). Marilyn wrote about a penis rainstorm in the finance department of the large media corporation that she works at.
Everyone left the class rested from a healthy jaunt in nature and a brief respite from the noises and stresses of city life. I can’t wait for our next adventure hike (and more of Adel’s brownies)!
For other fun and productive short classes check out Writing Pad's One Night Stands/One Day Classes. The food is always yummy, and you'll get a lot of writing done.
Writing Prompt: If you controlled the weather, what would you do? Start by making a list of 10 natural phenomena (rain, wind, hail, etc.). Then add your own special touch to your favorite 2 phenomena--invent something special that happens when it rains, hails, etc. (ex. a special wind that removes cellulite, a rainstorm of penises). Give it a your natural phenomena a name, and describe how it occurs. Write for 10 minutes!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I throw on my oversized LA sunglasses and my Writing Pad tee. Add a cream colored silk scarf for extra flair and lend a hand to Marilyn. After passing out triple ginger mini-biscotti to fellow scribes at the Writing Pad table, I’m ready to hit the publishing short fiction seminar.
At this conference, I talk with other cool writers, agents and editors. I learn about the challenges of the publishing world in panels and seminars. Conference directors Michael Steven Gregory (with beard, below) Wes Albers (with glasses, below) and keep the weekend friendly and palatable, making the daunting idea of getting published seem very doable. The teddy bear sweet Albers, a cop who writes crime novels, and Gregory, a screenwriter who knows how to both party hardy and throw a conference, encourage mingling and fun. The seminars are intimate and informative.
As the weekend continues I fall in love with writing, over and over again. It is Valentine's Day Weekend after all. My heart becomes full as I complete a poem in Ed Decker’s “Poetry Cram” class. Ed is a bad ass poet/bartender and columnist for San Diego City Beat. He pushes us to consider poetry from different angles and squash the sap in our verse. Things nearly get romantic at 11 p.m. where Judy Reeves, author of A Writer’s Book of Days, leads a “Rogue Writing Workshop.” At the workshop, I get terrific feedback on my fiction from Judy and the ladies in the picture below. We feel alive by sharing our words and make a plan to meet again outside the conference.
SCWC continues to surprise me. Over nibbles of my 10th triple ginger biscotti of the weekend, I also meet a cute T-shirt maker/novelist named Michael (below) who has just moved to
Join Writing Pad at the Southern California Writer’s Conference on September 25-27 located at the Crown Plaza Irvine! For more info., go to www.writersconference.com/. Word is the
Tip: We recommend staying at the hotel, the conference is located in