Friday, October 21, 2011

Cynsations: Helen Hemphill to Serve as Director of Highlights ...


Cynsations: Helen Hemphill to Serve as Director of Highlights ...: Helen Hemphill is taking over the directorship of the Whole Novel Workshop for the Highlights Foundation in 2012 and has an amazing lineup...

I came across this posting today, and couldn't help but think about my time at Chautauqua last summer. I made so many connections with really special people, like-minded in a creative way. Helen Hemphill was my mentor that week and I was fortunate to learn a great deal from her. At the time, one of my point of view character's narrative was written largely in verse. Helen helped me to craft my writing  in short visual bursts, rather than stretching the narrative out in a thinner elongated way. She encouraged me to read and study Shark Girl, by Kelly Bingham, a colleague of hers from Vermont College. It's a wonderfully well-written novel, which apparently received a great deal of acclaim from the faculty there.

Since my time with Helen, I've come to gather all sorts of ideas and thoughts about my work. Over the course of the past year, I've taken all that I've learned and turned myself inside out for a bit. I've hunkered down and really tried to see what it is that I envision for my work. The character I'd written in verse, was not really resonating with me. I found she was sounding just a little too cryptic to me. So...back to the drawing board on that one. The good news is nothing in writing is ever lost. I know for sure that verse character has another home in another book that will inevitably have its day in the sun.

I highly recommend Chautauqua and the Highlights Foundation Whole Novel Workshops. The mentorship is strong, the workshops are deeply meaningful, and the food is beyond belief! 
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