Submission Window is Open for the Journal!

Send us your best writing and artwork for our upcoming Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions!

Our editorial team looks forward to reading your fiction, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, memoir and poetry, as well as viewing your visual art. Visit the journal site for full submission guidelines, and read the most recent issue to get a sense of what we look for.

Submissions are accepted through April 15, 2015 from women of the greater Portland, Or. and Vancouver, Wa. area.

About Our Readers: March 28, 2015 Event

All are invited to hear these contributors to the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions read at the:

Multnomah County Central Library
U.S. Bank Room, 801 SW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205
Saturday, March 28, 2015
1:00-3:00 p.m.

Cathy Cain
Cathy Cain is a writer and artist living in Oregon. She is a fellow in the Attic Institute’s Atheneum Master’s Writing Program. Previously a two-year member of the Attic Poet’s Studio, Cathy has participated in numerous workshops hosted by Mountain Writers.

 

Jennifer KemnitzJennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist poet who writes from the tranquil edge of Portland, Oregon. She has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake and her work is forthcoming by We’Moon.

 

 

Margie LeeMargie Lee is a writer and artist living in Portland, Oregon. She grew up on a farm by Puget Sound surrounded by the forested mountains of Bellingham, Washington. She has exhibited her art in New York and has written several books and numerous short stories, as well as essays and poems. Her poetry has appeared in both Saturday Afternoons and Windfall.

 

Gypsy MartinA resident of Camas, Washington, Gypsy Martin is mom to two boys and has achieved minor fame as a lunch lady at their elementary school. Her short fiction has been published online  in the Journal of Microliterature. Her work has also appeared in print anthologies, including the forthcoming Flash in the Attic: 44 Very Short Stories from Fiction Attic Press. She also won a prize in the memoir category of the 2012 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition for a story about the indignities of homemade underwear.

 

Elizabeth MoscosoElizabeth Moscoso is a student at Marylhurst University, majoring in English literature. Her goal is to combine her love of writing, cooking and traveling and share her experiences through stories. She lives with her family and beloved furry pets. During her spare time she maintains a presence on her blog.

 

Meghana MysoreMeghana Mysore is a junior at Lake Oswego High School where she gravitates towards all things word: her school’s newspaper, the literary magazine, and the poetry reading event on the speech and debate eam. She is president of her school’s Literary and Poetry Club and has received several regional keys from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

 

Jennifer Pratt-WalterJennifer Pratt-Walter is a true product of the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband Craig on a small farm in Vancouver where she is out in nature as much as possible. A harpist, Jennifer is also drawn to writing poetry, exploring digital photography, singing and folk dancing. She has three grown children and one horse named Lady.

Here is the flyer for this event, for your own sharing and posting.

VoiceCatcher thanks the Multnomah County Central Library for hosting this event.

Catch These Voices and Visions!

Sarah FaganSunday, March 22, 11 a.m.
Blackfish Gallery: Artist Talk and Poetry Reading.
Includes Sarah Fagan, VoiceCatcher’s art editor. The journal’s managing editor Tiah Lindner Raphael, poetry co-editor Claudia F. Savage, and VC-published poet Geraldine Foote will read their poetry as well. Lasting about an hour, the artist talk and poetry reading will be followed by coffee and conversation.

 

"The Way a Woman Knows" by Carolyn MartinSunday, March 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Book launch for VoiceCatcher Carolyn Martin’s The Way a Woman Knows! Everyone is invited to join in the celebration:

TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97215

Reading will take place in the dining room on lower level. Light refreshments.

 

Penelope Scambly Schott

Writing That Matters: How to Make Other People Care, a workshop led VoiceCatcher poet Penelope Scambly Schott. It will begin with writing just for one’s self and then focus on how to adjust and expand your techniques in order to interest others.

Tuesday, March 24, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Write Around Portland office, 133 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 304, Portland, OR 97204

Fee: $35 per person. All proceeds will support Write Around Portland’s free writing workshops in hospitals, prisons, treatment centers and other social service agencies.
Writers of all levels welcome. Limited to 13 adults. Pre-registration is required. Call 503.796.9224 to register.

 

Willa SchnebergVoiceCatcher’s Willa Schneberg is the featured poet at Last Tuesdays Poetry, March 31. She will read from her book Rending the Garment. It is a narrative tapestry encompassing personal poems, prose poems, flash fiction, imagined meetings with historical figures, ancestral appearances, and ephemera. This series of linked poems explores the life and times of one Jewish family.

Tuesday, March 31, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble bookstore at 7700 NE Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98662
Open mic slots can be claimed on the night. If you want to do one, please rehearse a 2-3 minute presentation.

 

Sarah FaganVoiceCatcher’s art editor and contributor Sarah Fagan is teaming up with other artists and businesses in Portland this summer. They will offer budding artists half-day, themed camps in Portland. For more information see: Treasure Island: A Pirate and Explorers Camp, ages 5-7, July 20-24, and Pioneer Camp for Girls, ages 8-11, Aug. 10-14, 2015.

Click here for the updated calendar of readings from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

Let us know of other offerings VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!

Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities

Add to Your Artistic Toolbox
by Kari Pederson

Crayon Test 1 by Paul Stein, NJ, via Wikimedia CommonsWhen I was 6 years old, my favorite color crayons were periwinkle blue and burnt sienna. I loved the way the crayons looked and smelled, and how it felt to peel back the paper with my fingers. I even tested the brown crayons which, you should know, I sadly found did not taste like chocolate. I still remember my excitement as I opened each 64-count box.

The passion I felt for my magical crayons transferred to other artistic interests: drawing, painting and writing little books. I spent hours engrossed in my art and couldn’t wait to show off each and every masterpiece.

I didn’t worry about my skills or mastery of the craft. I made birds fly upside down, mixed tenses and metaphors, and  ignored the little I knew about punctuation. The real joy for me was creating the art and sharing it. My pictures and stories were already perfect. I was totally unconcerned about others’ opinions.

Along the journey of life, however, most of us lose our innocent faith in the value of our work or viewpoint. A well-meaning friend, teacher, boss or loved one shares his or her critique.

BAM!

Self-doubt can multiply like ants at a picnic. The apprehension or fear we feel can keep us from creating our art, finding our voice or sharing ourselves with the world.

Being an artist can make us feel exposed and vulnerable. We put a lot of ourselves into our work but don’t always receive admiration in return. Seriously, who wants to feel like we did navigating the 7th grade lunchroom? Although I might consider another try at adolescence if I could look like Cate Blanchett.

What if you had tips and techniques to help you feel better about putting your art into the world? Tools to use when you feel discouraged or scared about taking the next step. Tools to help you build your confidence as a writer/artist or to discover what inspires you. Tools as important to your artistry as a thesaurus, your favorite brushes or those magical crayons of childhood.

Voicecatcher’s mission is to connect, inspire and empower female writers and artists. I will be supporting that fabulous mission through this new column, “Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit – Limitless Possibilities.”  A new article will be posted every month – unless I win a free trip to Hawaii and forget to bring my laptop.

This column will highlight tips and techniques on topics designed to empower you, and information to help you get your message out to others and feel great doing it:

  • Expect to build your courage muscles.
  • Learn about positive psychology principles.
  • Get real about how to constructively deal with feedback or criticism.
  • Read inspirational stories of women who triumphed over incredible odds.
  • Laugh, reflect and rediscover what fuels and inspires you.

Oprah writes a successful column for O Magazine entitled “What I Know For Sure.” Allow me to recap what I know for sure about human potential:

  • People are incredibly strong and resilient.
  • Standing still is often the only difference between those who are successful and those who stay stuck.
  • Everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment and it’s enough.
  • Ordinary people are routinely capable of extraordinary things.
  • We are much stronger united together in community than apart.

Through my work with people over the last 25 years, I know we do not dream big enough. Opportunities are lost because we underestimate our own capabilities.

One of my favorite quotes is from the book Return to Love by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?

I hope to start a conversation about the amazing things we can achieve when we get out of our own way. What do you want to accomplish? Join in the conversation. Add to your artistic toolbox. Rediscover the joy of your 6-year-old artist. Come along on the journey to limitless possibilities.

 

Kari Pederson Age 6

Kari Pederson
Age 6

Kari Pederson, MSW, LCSW, is a writer, clinical social worker and wellness coach who has worked with children and adults for over 25 years. An avid student of positive psychology, she loves helping people live their best lives. Kari is a new writer to VoiceCatcher’s community website and thrilled to be part of its mission.

 

Meet the Journal Team Reviewing Your Submissions!

Send us your best work for our upcoming Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions! Visit the journal site for full submission guidelines, and read the most recent issue to get a sense of what we look for. Submissions are accepted through April 15, 2015 for the Summer 2015 issue.

Our Summer 2015 editorial team looks forward to reading your poetry and prose, and viewing your artwork!

Tiah Linder RaphaelManaging Editor Tiah Lindner Raphael also serves as president for VoiceCatcher. Tiah has spent over nine years in communications positions for public-service organizations such as Trillium Family Services, the University of Oregon and, most recently, Oregon Health & Science University.

Tiah’s poetry appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher and she has served as both a prose and a poetry editor for our publications. Her work has appeared in journals such as CutBank Literary Magazine and Paper Nautilus. When she is not playing with words, Tiah can be found indulging in her other creative obsessions including photography and urban gardening, or fighting an often losing battle with the travel bug.

Art

Sarah FaganSarah Fagan continues as the journal’s art editor. Sarah received a BA in Fine Arts and English Literature from Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts. She worked as an editor for a New England arts magazine before relocating to Portland, Oregon in 2009. Here she decided to concentrate on making her own artwork by attending a certificate program at the Oregon College of Art and Craft where she studied bookbinding and painting. In Portland, Sarah has developed a curriculum of arts classes that she teaches to children at schools, libraries and other venues. When not teaching, she is painting – her forté is the contemporary still life.

Poetry

Pattie Palmer-BakerPattie Palmer-Baker serves as a poetry co-editor, as she did for the Winter 2015 issue. She also was guest poetry co-editor for the Summer 2014 issue. An artist as well as a poet, she enhances her artwork with poetry in calligraphic form. Because so many people respond more strongly to the words than the images, she participates in workshops taught by several local well-known poets. To her surprise, she discovered her motivation to write poems surpassed her desire to create visual artwork. She started submitting her poems to journals and her work has appeared in Analeka, VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions, and Elohi Gadugi. Her poem “50,000 Bumblebees Die” was part of the “Unnatural Acts” exhibit at Artists’ Milepost Gallery 5 in Portland. She earned a 2014 Pushcart nomination from VoiceCatcher.

Jennifer DornerMeet first time journal Poetry Co-Editor Jennifer Dorner! Jennifer earned her BA in English at the University of Oregon where she was an intern poetry editor with Northwest Review. In 2014, Jennifer completed the Attic Institute’s nine-month Atheneum program in poetry. She now coordinates a monthly all-genre open in Portland called Fridays on the Boulevard. Her poem “Fighting Fire” received an honorable mention in the 2012 Willamette Writers Kay Snow Contest. Jennifer was published in the Summer 2013 issue of VoiceCatcher.

Claudia F. SavagePoetry Co-Editor Claudia F. Savage has been a chef for people recovering from illness, a book editor, and a teacher of poetry, but her most challenging job is as mother to her 2-year-old daughter, River Amira. Her poems and interviews have recently been in CutBank, The Denver Quarterly, Iron Horse Review, Nimrod, The Buddhist Poetry Review, Cordella and Bookslut. Her first book was a finalist for The New Issues Press Poetry Prize; she teaches poetry at The Attic in Portland.

Claudia has been awarded residencies at Ucross, Jentel, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts where she met her husband, an experimental jazz flutist and saxophonist. Their duo, THrum, creates and performs throughout the Pacific Northwest and is part of THrum Recordings, a label that promotes poets and musicians. She was recently awarded a grant by the Regional Arts and Culture Council in Portland, OR to support this work. Her bi-monthly VoiceCatcher column, “Leave the Dishes,” addresses balancing parenting and art-making.

Cindy Stewart-RinierPoetry Co-Editor Cindy Stewart-Rinier holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writing Workshop. Her work has appeared in journals such as Calyx, The Smoking Poet, Crab Creek Review, Ascent, Naugatuck River Review, VoiceCatcher, and New American Voices. Since 2011, four of her poems have been nominated for Pushcarts. By day, Cindy teaches pre-kindergarten, but she also periodically conducts evening poetry writing workshops for the Mountain Writers Series in Portland, Oregon. Cindy also served as poetry co-editor for the Winter 2015 and Winter 2014 issues. She lives in Portland with her younger son, her husband of 31 years, and a bandy-legged pit bull.

Prose

Helen SinoradzkiHelen Sinoradzki continues her role as prose co-editor from the last issue of VoiceCatcher. She also now serves as an officer – secretary – on VoiceCatcher’s board of directors. A bookseller for more than 20 years, Helen currently works for Powell’s Books. In previous lives, she taught English and was a writer/editor at a national laboratory. With the help of the amazing writers at Pinewood Table, she completed a memoir, Thursday’s Child, and is searching for a publisher. She has published narrative nonfiction and short stories. She moved to Portland 17 years ago and plans to stay for the rest of her life.

Christi R. SuzanneMeet first-time VoiceCatcheProse Co-Editor Christi R. Suzanne! The dry heat of the Arizona desert forced Christi’s move to the Pacific Northwest over twelve years ago for a mistier climate. She is a writer and sleeping dog enthusiast. By day she works at a university as a web & communications professional where she is the editor of the quarterly newsletter, Connections. She writes novels, short stories and personal essays and has been published in the anthologies Crack the Spine and Miles to Go, The Lit Pub blog, The National Center for Death with Dignity blog, and the online journals Wonder and Risk and The Splinter Generation.

Young Voices

Kris DemienKris Demien continues her role as the journal’s young voices editor. Kris has been known to go as far as free-falling 10,000 feet from a perfectly fine airplane to encourage a student to conquer the fear of making a speech. She is as likely to be found on an outdoor adventure with her grandkids as she is behind a keyboard. Her life-long fascination with story has inspired her search for new ones told by others wherever she goes. When home alone, she finds the stories she created for herself along the way.

Journal Web Design and Administration

A poet appearing in our Summer 2014 issue, Shawn Aveningo is globally published; her work has appeared in more than 80 literary journals and anthologies, as well as four solo collections. She is founder and co-owner of The Poetry Box® which specializes in custom poetry, art, and now book design and publishing. Shawn has a background in computer science and enjoys donning her “geek hat” to create custom websites for authors and small businesses. She is a proud mother of three who believes poetry – especially when read aloud – is the perfect literary art form for today’s fast-paced world due to its power to stir emotion in less than two minutes. Shawn is serving as president-elect of VoiceCatcher as well as the journal web designer and administrator.

 

The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing

Giving, Receiving, Promotional Items and Random Acts of Kindness
by Theresa Snyder

I have always been a giver. As a very young child, the arrival of company sent me scurrying off to my room for a crayon drawing, a toy repainted with mother’s newest color of nail polish or a short poem (which no doubt would have made any Hallmark Cards writer wince). I continue to be a giver. Hopefully, my gifts have improved.

If I give a gift of one Twitter follower’s work to another follower, both benefit. For example, I purchased a photo from a photographer follower (her first sale). I gave the photo to a musician follower. Now both remember me.

I adore music and could not live without it. I have found some great musicians on Twitter. Like the authors, they are all trying to get their work heard. I want to help promote them as much as I can, purchasing their music for myself and to give to other Twitter followers.

I gave a certificate for pizza to a follower who was kind enough to edit my tweets. It was a joke and we have been friends since.

When I first started on Twitter I was amazed at how many indie authors there were. I thought, “What do they need? How can I find a place among them?” As I mentioned earlier, indie authors will sell more books if they are reviewed. When choosing a book, the surfing reader looks at the genre first, the cover image second, the description third, and the reviews fourth.

Provided you have met the criteria of receiving 10 to 25 reviews of 4-to-5 stars, there are Twitter sites which will help you promote your books at no charge. Therefore, I choose to read and review. I do my best to be an honest reviewer and the process has brought me into contact with several helpful folks. It’s called “social media” for a reason.

My follows have become friends – very kind friends. I continue to marvel at the wonderful people I meet on Twitter. I have received tea, marmalade, and candy from the UK and New York; from Idaho, a lovely needlepoint of a pink dragon, which hangs in my bedroom; marketing material from Britain and a T-shirt from Alaska.

If you have a character like Farloft it is good to take advantage of him. Farloft’s fan wear site started from an idea I had to thank his followers on “Follow Farloft Friday.” I thought I would send them a shirt or a cap. Sarah, my graphic guru, whipped out a great logo and we printed some test shirts and a mug. Then I found out how much it costs to mail something to the UK or Singapore. A pin or button was all I could afford.

I decided to take a picture of Farloft, place it in fifty-cent buttons from Craft Warehouse and mail them out to the followers. The buttons became like traveling gnomes and continue to plague Twitter to this day. Farloft has given out books by the score. From Farloft’s personal hoard, I have given Dazzlers, sparkly chains of beads to be worn in the hair. The items are small, but one is remembered by these gifts.

For those who are interested, the shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs, and pins went up for sale in Farloft’s store. They are print-on-demand so the company that makes them gets the lion’s share of the profit, but if someone is walking around in one of Farloft’s sweatshirts, I receive the marketing benefits. Once you have a nice logo designed, setting up a shop on Zazzle or one of the other print-on-demand sites is relatively easy.

So in closing, remember you are trying to find a place for yourself in a community that has thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of folks trying to stand out in the crowd. Pick your corner, stake your claim and make a name for yourself in your area of the community.

 

Theresa SnyderTheresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the sixth installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.

Who’s Who at VoiceCatcher

Meet your 2015 VoiceCatcher leadership team! With a blend of faces both new and familiar, this team is excited to lead the organization in its 10th anniversary year. We hope to meet you at VoiceCatcher readings and events in the months ahead. Feel free to contact us anytime or interact with us on Facebook. ­­­­

Tiah Linder RaphaelTiah Lindner Raphael is the president for VoiceCatcher and also serves as managing editor for VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. Tiah has spent over nine years in communications positions for public-service organizations such as Trillium Family Services, the University of Oregon and, most recently, Oregon Health & Science University.

Tiah’s poetry appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of VoiceCatcher and she has served as both a prose and a poetry editor for our publications. Her work has appeared in journals such as CutBank Literary Magazine and Paper Nautilus. When she is not playing with words, Tiah can be found indulging in her other creative obsessions including photography and urban gardening, or fighting an often losing battle with the travel bug.

A poet appearing in our Summer 2014 issue, Shawn Aveningo is globally published; her work has appeared in more than 80 literary journals and anthologies, as well as four solo collections. She is founder and co-owner of The Poetry Box® which specializes in custom poetry, art, and now book design and publishing. Shawn has a background in computer science and enjoys donning her “geek hat” to create custom websites for authors and small businesses. She is a proud mother of three who believes poetry – especially when read aloud – is the perfect literary art form for today’s fast-paced world due to its power to stir emotion in less than two minutes. Shawn currently serves as president-elect of VoiceCatcher and the journal web designer.

Helen SinoradzkiHelen Sinoradzki was prose co-editor of the Winter 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher. She now serves as the board’s secretary, as well as the prose co-editor for the upcoming Summer 2015 issue. A bookseller for more than 20 years, she currently works for Powell’s Books. In previous lives, she taught English and was a writer/editor at a national laboratory. With the help of the amazing writers at Pinewood Table, she completed a memoir, Thursday’s Child, and is searching for a publisher. She has published narrative nonfiction and short stories. She moved to Portland 17 years ago and plans to stay for the rest of her life.

Marie Hallquist
Marie Hallquist is a business operations manager, MBA student and former business owner. Her favorite word is “indefatigable,” and she is always looking for a problem to solve or adventure to begin. A dabbling prose writer, she says she is humbled to be a part of VoiceCatcher by serving as its treasurer.

Barbara  E. BergerBarbara E. Berger is a Portland-based writer, editor and photographer. She specializes in government, business and other creative writing. Her introduction to the community was as a humorous essay contributor to VoiceCatcher 2. Barbara serves as this site’s managing and contributing editor, as well as a member at-large on the VoiceCatcher board of directors.

Ashley-Renee CribbinsDesigner Ashley-Renée Cribbins is an artist and fiction writer who is always juggling creative projects. She resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son, and enjoys the local creative communities. She also likes board games and tacos.

 

Kirsten RudburgAn avid cyclo-cross competitor, VoiceCatcher’s Readings Coordinator Kirsten Rudberg also enjoys hiking and backpacking. She walked the 500-mile route of the Camino de Santiago in France – from Arles to Bayonne – in 2013. Kirsten has had two essays published, one in a compilation on women’s health and their bikes (yet to be released), and another in Alive with Vigor!  In her first mini-documentary film, she interviewed local legend Curtis Salgado. Kirsten has signed a book contract with a local publishing house – Microcosm Publishing – and begins graduate school in fall 2015 to earn a Master of Divinity.

March Prompt: Just Making Conversation

By Carrie Conner

Oh, I could spend my life having this conversation –
look – please try to understand before one of us dies.

– John Cleese

What was the last piece of writing that seduced you?

You know, the one that hooked you late into the night until you fought to keep your eyes open and your partner again asked, “Could you turn out the light, for God’s sake?” and like a good junkie you said you would but were really thinking, just one more page.

It’s not your fault. You were lulled into the rhythm of brilliant narrative. Who of us hasn’t been there, longing to hold readers rapt with our own stories?

Well-crafted dialogue transports readers into the story. When it is working, we know it immediately. It goes undetected. When it’s not working … well, it’s like introducing your new date to crazy Aunt Agnes who shows up for dinner with smeared coral lipstick and her wig on backward.

The problem is, great dialogue is tricky. Knowing why or how great dialogue works is about as easy as predicting the weather in Topeka during tornado season. If we wrote the way we actually speak, our pages would be filled with “uhms,” grunts, incomplete sentences and random topic changes. So, we get to make our characters smarter than real-life people – or at least more succinct. Authentic dialogue walks the tightrope between reality and artistic license.

Fortunately, we have some guidelines. If you look back through any writing you love, you’ll see the dialogue shares at least three elements:

  • Moves the story forward
  • Reveals something about the character
  • Has a distinctive voice for each character

Seamless dialogue helps flesh out our characters. Their choice of words reveals where they live, their age, sex, personality, education, religion … so choose wisely.

Our characters never have to wake up with, “Why didn’t I think to say that?”  Or regret they had said anything. They get to say the perfect thing at the perfect time.

“My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” – The Princess Bride (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007).

In three short sentences we know who is speaking, a pivotal event in his history and his motivation. And we want more.

As we want, so do our characters. Unless you are as enlightened as the Dalai Lama, we thinking humans are natural wanting machines: wanting to be loved, understood and to feel safe is universal. Wanting creates tension. Tension creates conflict. Conflict creates a story you can’t put down.

Kurt Vonnegut knew this when he gave advice on writing dialogue. He said, “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.”

Now, think of two people you know well. They can be real, imaginary or even yourself. Give each a want. As fast as you can, write one full page using dialogue-only to create a scene of conflict between two characters. Don’t worry about quote attributions or any beats of action yet. Allow the conversation to flow stream-of-consciousness style. Just get it down on paper. When you have filled the page, reread your conversation and take out or rewrite any part that does not meet the three dialogue criteria. Finally, read it aloud.

See if you can distinguish who is speaking only from their words, keeping in mind the wise words of Mark Twain, “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”

*  *  *

An Invitation from VoiceCatcher
Willing to share what this prompt inspires you to write? Each month we might publish some responses to the VoiceCatcher prompts. Contact us to submit the writing the prompt elicits from you.

*  *  *

 Carrie ConnerA friend once asked Carrie Conner why she writes. “Because I have to,” she said. “You mean like publish or perish?” he asked. “No,” she said, “It’s more like … breathing.” Carrie has spent 20 years as a staff and features journalist and freelance copywriter for a variety of publications and companies. One day, while interviewing an emerging novelist about her new book release, she realized she was done writing about other people’s accomplishments. She’s currently putting together a yet-untitled collection of short stories and a screenplay.

Catch These Voices and Visions!

Sarah FaganAnnouncing VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions’ Art Editor Sarah Fagan’s show, “De Novo,” at the Blackfish Gallery in Portland, Mar. 3-28, 2015. First Thursday Mar. 5, 6-9 p.m.

Also at Blackfish Gallery: Artist Talk and Poetry Reading
Sunday, Mar. 22, 11 a.m., includes Sarah Fagan. The journal’s managing editor Tiah Lindner Raphael, poetry editor Claudia Savage, and VC-published poet Geraldine Foote will read their poetry as well. Lasting about an hour, the artist talk and poetry reading will be followed by coffee and conversation.

 

Barbara  E. BergerVoiceCatcher’s Barbara E. Berger’s mixed-media “Purim Collages” appear in the lobby exhibit of Mittleman’s Jewish Community Center, Sunday Mar. 1 through 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 6. The lobby exhibit is part of Jewish Arts Month at the center.

 

 

March 8 2015Several VoiceCatcher authors are among those who will read on International Women’s Day:

Of Course I’m a Feminist!
Hosted by Ellen Goldberg
Sunday, Mar. 8, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97215

Featuring: Frances Payne Adler, Judith Arcana, Shawn Aveningo, Gail Barker, Judith Barrington, Emily Carr, Brittney Corrigan, Pam Crow, Linda Ferguson, Andrea Hollander, Tricia Knoll, Elise Kuechle, Carter McKenzie, Penelope Schott, Marilyn Stablein, Ila Suzanne, Carlyn Syvanen, and Sharon Wood-Wortman.

 

"The Way a Woman Knows" by Carolyn MartinBook launch for The Way a Woman Knows, by VoiceCatcher’s Carolyn Martin! Everyone is invited to join in the celebration.

Sunday, Mar. 22, 2:00-4:00 p.m.
TaborSpace
5441 SE Belmont St.
Portland, OR 97215

Reading will take place in the dining room on lower level. Light refreshments.

 

Penelope Scambly SchottWriting That Matters: How to Make Other People Care, a workshop led by celebrated VoiceCatcher poet Penelope Scambly Schott. It will begin with writing just for one’s self and then focus on how to adjust and expand your techniques in order to interest others.

Tuesday, Mar. 24, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Write Around Portland office, 133 SW 2nd Ave, Suite 304

Fee: $35 per person. All proceeds will support Write Around Portland’s free writing workshops in hospitals, prisons, treatment centers and other social service agencies.
Writers of all levels welcome. Limited to 13 adults. Pre-registration is required. Call 503.796.9224 to register.

 

Willa SchnebergVoiceCatcher’s Willa Schneberg is the featured poet at Last Tuesdays Poetry, March 31. She will read from her book Rending the Garment. It is a narrative tapestry encompassing personal poems, prose poems, flash fiction, imagined meetings with historical figures, ancestral appearances, and ephemera. This series of linked poems explores the life and times of one Jewish family.

Tuesday, Mar. 31, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble bookstore at 7700 NE Fourth Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA 98662
Open mic slots can be claimed on the night. If you want to do one, please rehearse a 2-3 minute presentation.

 

Sarah FaganVoiceCatcher art editor and contributor Sarah Fagan is teaming up with other artists and businesses in Portland this summer. They will offer budding artists half-day, themed camps in Portland. For more information see: Treasure Island: A Pirate and Explorers Camp, ages 5-7, July 20-24, and Pioneer Camp for Girls, ages 8-11, Aug. 10-14, 2015.

Click here for the updated calendar of readings from VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

Let us know of other offerings VoiceCatcher members are making in the community!