Jersey City Writers at Art House Productions

imgjcwsuperTonight I will be reading short fiction written by Sarah T. Jewell as part of the Jersey City Writers and Art House Productions genre event series. The event Zap! Pow! Bam! Superheroes & Supervillains: A night of dynamic dare-do-well & dastardly deeds features work by local writers read by actors.

The evening will feature author, Keith R.A. DeCandido, American science fiction and fantasy writer, and local writers: David Boyle, Rachel Poy, Jonathan Huang, Jim DeAngelis, Beth Bentley, Stephen Weber, Mike Purfield, Sarah T. Jewell, and E.M. Kobrin/Mercedes Perez Kobrin.

Readings begin at 7pm at the Art House Productions space on Magnolia in Jersey City.

Poem selected for publication

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I’m happy to share that my poem, “Anoche,” was selected as the top poem for a National Poetry Month contest held by the Jersey City Independent (JCI) and Jersey City Writers. The poem is one of three that will be featured and published by the JCI during the month of April.

I’ll also have the opportunity to read the poem on April 13, 2016 at a literary reading being held at Barrow Mansion at 7 p.m. The event is being hosted by JCW, JCI, and Art House.

The event will also feature Claudia Cortese whose first full-length book, “Wasp Queen,” will be published by Black Lawrence Press in 2016.

Other poets selected to have their poems read that evening include: Abigail Pillitteri, Rachel Poy, Kevin Singer, Simon Pereira Shorey, Holly Smith, John Trigonis, Beth Bentley, Carol Lester, Joe Del Priore, Aileen Bassis, and Kay Dominguez.

This April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

 

 

Celebrating a growing community of writers

During a morning stretch of quiet hours, writers work on their respective projects.

During a retreat in Mount Vernon, writers work on their respective projects.

When you stumble upon fellow scribes who share a similar passion and joy for writing, hold on fast. Don’t let go of opportunities to connect and get out of your cave to practice, share, and collaborate.

In the past few years Jersey City Writers (JCW) has provided ongoing support to local writers through regular workshops, marathons, and special events. It is wonderful to be a member of a community that keeps me writing.

Take a moment to read some of JCW’s highlights from 2014.

If you haven’t found your community, keep up the search! It takes time to find the right group of people who are willing to offer constructive and honest feedback.

Allow space to create

Rustic Writers' Retreat Hike

A cow stands guard at a clearing in the woods in Mount Vernon, New Jersey.

I noticed the cow standing guard at a clearing in the woods. He had wandered into the forest and watched as we trekked to an area of moss-covered rocks. It was sometime after 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I had led a group on a hike during a recent Jersey City Writers rustic retreat in Mount Vernon, New Jersey. About 11 of us were staying in a farmhouse for a weekend writing immersion.

Could we be as diligent and disciplined with our writing as the cows were with their grass chewing and grazing? Could we return to the same field day after day? What these cows had was incredible amounts of space to go about their work and that’s what we were attempting to create for ourselves. But creating space to write requires more than just showing up to a retreat, your chair, laptop, or notebook for that matter. Landing in a scenic, quiet setting doesn’t instantly bring words to the page.

You have to allow for the space that comes from just being. You have to let go of all the distractions that keep your mind cluttered and allow for that clearing in the woods to manifest inside. I found that the moments I spent hiking through the woods, observing the night sky, or just listening and watching the cows as they pretended to be busy were just as valuable to creating space as sitting down in front of a blank screen.

Yoga and writing: ignite your creative fire

Yoga and writing

Spark the imagination. Invite your muse. Listen for your authentic voice in a state of inner stillness.

I look forward to guiding a workshop this weekend, “Yoga and Writing: Ignite Your Creative Fire,” which is being held in collaboration with Jersey City Writers. The workshop brings together my two favorite worlds. It will offer writers a chance to step away from the keyboard and take an extended break to unblock stagnant energy through gentle movement. It will also help get their creative juices flowing through basic yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Finally, I’m going to teach a few poses writers can do at home to soothe tight shoulders and tense wrists.

The workshop will be held Saturday, May 17 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Yoga Shunya, which is located at 275 Grove St., 3rd Fl, Jersey City.

This is beginner-level workshop. Open to all levels and new and/or experienced writers. Wear comfortable clothing. Bring a pen and a notepad. Bring a yoga mat, if you have one. $10 cash at door

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Workshop hosted by Adriana Rambay Fernández, RYT-200. A Kripalu-certified teacher, Adriana offers gentle and moderate classes that support the process of self-discovery and healing through guided meditation, asana, and pranayama. Through an open, receptive, and steady approach she guides students to a place of inner balance, harmony, and union. She believes yoga can unlock inner creativity, healing, and a deepened sense of awareness.

To register, email: AdrianaRambayFernandez [at] gmail.com. Or sign-up on MeetUp.

Capturing loss and uncertainty

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Artwork by Narciso Espiritu of Instigatorzine for the play, “Dissecting Lily.”

Through words, film, and artwork, the play “Dissecting Lily,” captures the sense of loss and uncertainty that invades a community after a teenage suicide. A fellow classmate—somewhat obsessed with her—interviews friends and family in an effort to make a tribute video. Along the way, details begin to unfold, and the scenes begin to unlock the mystery behind her death. Footage of Lily during and in between the scenes reveals more pieces of the puzzle including a surprise turn at the end.

Narciso Espiritu of Instigatorzine did an amazing job with the artwork. In his ethereal depiction, he managed to evoke the essence that is Lily.

As a collaborative effort among Jersey City Writers, “Dissecting Lily,” presents a unique attempt to bring the diverse skills, perspectives, and styles of various writers into one cohesive story. The project grew out of a writing exercise where each writer responded to the suicide in the form of a character. The characters manifested a range of emotions that usually accompanies death from blame to guilt to anger to sadness. For Shane, the obsessed classmate, he begins with the fundamental question, “why?”

“Dissecting Lily,” is currently being performed at StageFest in Jersey City at Loew’s Theatre. It was wonderful to see it manifest in front of a standing room only audience last night. As a contributing writer and a cast member, I was happy to see some of the reactions. I played the role of Vicki Neruda, a reporter who introduces the tragedy in a brief video clip at the beginning.

I wrote the scene for Ms. Alvarez, the biology teacher. She is filled with blame and guilt because she didn’t pick up on the bullying that was taking place in her classroom. For Ms. Alvarez, Lily faded into the background after she became disengaged, after began to retreat from the world.

“Dissecting Lily,” will be performed again tonight. For ticket information, visit: http://loewsstagefest.brownpapertickets.com/.