As part of the Professional Development Series, the Place for Writers is working with faculty members Cynthia Scheinberg, Kim Magowan, Kirsten Saxton, Tarah Demant, Truong Tran (and one other creative writing faculty member TBA) who will offer students the opportunity to practice interview skills for teaching positions in higher education.
These “mock interviews” will take place on Friday, April 11, between 12-2:30.
Students can sign up to practice a variety of interviews. Pending available space, you are welcome to sign up for more than one interview. Interviews are available in:
- general English faculty positions teaching across the curriculum
- creative writing lecturer positions
Contact Cynthia Pinto for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we introduce you to Heidi Cooper, a senior majoring in English with a focus on creative writing.
Q: What are your creative talents or areas of interest?
A: I move back and forth between poetry and creative non-fiction. I also enjoy working with photography and video to explore the visual elements of my reoccurring themes.
I generally focus on personal relationships and histories. I like writing about my Mom or the state of Virginia. Childhood and adolescence. Cats. Personal histories. Food. The color blue. Sometimes friends or lovers. I like to have some years to reflect before approaching an experience.
Q: How do you start a project? (is there a lot of planning beforehand, or do you start when it just strikes your fancy?)
A: I usually have a lot of little ideas brewing in my head that just get put down on a sticky note or lost in my notebook. It is hard for me to start a project without a push - an assignment, or collaboration. Somebody else to make me feel obligated to start and finish. I need a deadline. At times I’ve felt overwhelmed with an an idea and feel compelled to write immediately. But lately I just harvest potential projects in the back of my mind, not acting upon them unless I have to.
Q: Where do you like to do your work? Why?
A: Some kind of neutral space with a table top to scatter my belongings. I like to start off writing everything down by hand, drafts or ideas or important details before I work with any technology. My kitchen table or a cafe or bar during dead hours. At home I get distracted by my cat or wanting to clean little things up.
Q: Do you like to work alone or with others? Why?
A: Usually I like to work alone but often I am working with an individual as my subject. It is important to have consent for the project to really unfold, so in a way that is collaborative. I guess like an artist/muse relationship. Also I like brainstorming with other people, and of course sharing/seeing work of my peers is inspiring and enlightening. But when it comes down to getting things done and editing, I like to be alone - to have total control over what I’m doing.
Q: Do you listen to music as you work? If so, what lends to your process.
A: Yeah, usually I like to get real jazzed with some coffee and listen to music I guess based on my mood. Sometimes ambient stuff like Brian Eno or Phillip Glass. Ethiopian jazz. Other times heavy metal or Prince on repeat. It helps create a headspace that seems to reflect in whatever I may be working on.
It’s time, once again, for a Professional Development panel. On tap this time is the Publishing Panel. Tomorrow, March 18th, agents Marry C. Moore and April Eberhardt, novelist Laleh Khadivi, and poet Teresa K. Miller will be discussing all things publishing.
This event will take place in the Bender Room, from 5:15-6:35.
Refreshments will be served.
TNS Thursday Night Special: First of the Spring Semester
…For those who may not know, TNS is a FREE bi-weekly student run concert that is open to anyone who wishes to attend and/or perform. All mediums of artistic expression (musics, dances, writings, wordings, mime acts, vaudeville routines, etcetera, etcetera) and all stages of completion are acceptable.
Join us on Thursday at 9 pm in the Ensemble Room (the first archway next to the pond in the Music building)! We hope to see you there!
Amanda Meth is a junior and will be reading poetry at the event tomorrow night! Here’s a preview.
Elephant in the Ballroom
My grandfather was a member of the elephant army. He used to recite war stories like they were symphonies he composed in order to keep his past on the same page as his present. Used to talk about the shores of Normandy like he was an elephant lost at sea, trying to survive the stampede of high tides tugging at his leather skin, begging him to join their black sea brigade. Used to have satellite ears that would catch every whisper born from the love our teeth made to our tongues. Used to have a fire hose nose that could smell the sweat dripping off of ants nervous from the chatter of crows that had killed themselves mid-flight on their way home. He had the same memory as an elephant finding her father in an Indian Ocean graveyard guarded by dead doves that would let the wind move their white flag wings so that the soldier ghosts could rest in peace. My grandfather was an elephant with the wisdom of an owl clock, using both hands to guide the minutes like they were blind, ballroom dancing with time in his final hours, singing the songs he wrote to keep his present on the same page as his past.
Check out this excerpt from Manhattan’s short story It’s The Drifting That Kills You.
Her mouth was like a plum. This is what I want you to know, that her mouth was like a plum. And I could hold everything that she used to be in two moon-cupped hands. It was February.
When I found out, I tried to stay still. I tried not to focus on her lips and equate them to petals. I stopped looking at her naked, it felt sacrilegious. I could feel her body moving away from me in the night as I lay there, still. Once at breakfast I had tried to move closer towards her, I reached over an immeasurable distance and laid my hand on hers. The worst part was when moments later when she still hadn’t moved her hand away and just continued to stare at her soggy cereal. Flecks of almond coated the sides of the bowl and my forearm began to ache. We didn’t say anything when it happened, and when she finally moved to wash the cereal down the drain I slunk away to the bathroom to press my cheek up against the cold tiles. She left the apartment, without me realizing, and I sat in the bathroom in stillness.
Manhattan will be reading at The Creative Writer Showcase on Tuesday, 5:30pm in the Art Museum!
Here is a preview poem of senior Marguerite Saxton’s work! We’re getting excited for The Creative Writer Showcase!
I carry my sadness in a sack of watermelons on my back, tempting Spirit to slice me with the juicy release of a hyperglycemic heart attack. wedge me into weakness. come on, I say. weigh my rough- skinned questions with the wet toothed fruity commute of my heart’s real-time ruckus.
this supposed summer season feels heavy. there are seeded spaces tore from me because the tongues of ones slid in and bore them from me. the loss of so many people, as if life has been spitting them unsparingly on the field, to the dirt, to the earth, on the dust while I’ve just relinquished. while I’ve just gushed and gushed in red and green and black spots too.
like a sponge un-wrung, I am laden. but leaking. inside me are watering recollections like tributaries. why is it I am always sticking the sadness? why do I question the glue and brilliancy of life’s treacly residue?
I’m worn to rind from losing love. tell me no worries; inside my sturdy circle there pulses a pretty-pitted blood. and sometimes, even, I sparkle in ruby. sometimes even, I’m light hearted and cherry. sometimes, I’m exposing a cardinal core. and other times. well.
Junior prose writer Michele Kilmer will be reading at The Creative Writer Showcase this coming Tuesday! Here is an excerpt from Chapter 2, Among the Savages, in her novel. The novel’s working title is “Disgrace”.
“Dad’s in first.” Shelly was wall excited. She pushed her stepbrother Gary over and made a space for me next to her on the couch. “See there he is.” I watched the bright orange number 56 car blur by. “Folks, Swede Savage is taking the lead. What an exciting race this is shaping up to be,” the announcer said. I didn’t really like car racing, it was so noisy and all they did was go around in a circle, but I tried real hard to like it, for Shelly. “He’s doing so good,” Shelly said as she pulled me on her lap. She was squeezing me tight. “He’s gonna win Grace I just know it.” We all cheered and clapped the next time his car came around. S W E D E S AV A V G E spelled out in big black letters on the back. We were all so excited, and then all the sudden his car jerked just the tiniest bit. It went tumbling end over end, like it was doing somersaults. It smashed into the wall and then went flying back over the track as it burst into flames. It was the quietest moment I’d ever spent in that house. We all sat watching Shelly’s dad fly out of the car —he was on fire too. It felt like all the air got sucked out of the house. None of us could really breath. It seemed like everything was in slow motion. When I looked back at Shelly I saw big tears welling up and I slid off her lap. Everyone started to cry but nobody made a peep. Just big tears, no sounds. We all sat frozen, watching the yellow car circle the track, the ambulance and fire truck behind it, Swede’s car was exploding, and his body was in a weird lump on fire. When the phone rang it was so loud it felt like it broke us all a little. I heard Gary start sobbing first, then we all started sobbing—except Shelly. She just quietly handed me the phone.
The Creative Writer Showcase is featuring junior poet Mira Mason-Reader! Here’s one of her poems.
she wants to wear red she wants to let her pussy out name it let it grow she wants to look at boys with greasy black hair and let them feel she wants to she does but she doesn’t know where to buy anything red
5 Questions with Amanda Meth, President of the Mills Poetry Slam Club
1. Year and major?
I am a first-semester junior majoring in Creative Writing and planning for the +1 in Public Policy.
2. What’s something you like to do?
I really like to eat. I get really excited about traveling or leaving campus because of all of the different vegan eats I will get to try. I work at Whole Foods once a week in Berkeley and I actually look forward to it because of all the goodies I know I will get at work.
3. What kind of writing do you do? What inspires you to write?
Writing is a way for me to breathe. It is an outlet that I have grown to depend on through trying times in my life and as a Gemini, it is something that comes very naturally to me. I love the creation process—how things come to be—birth, existence, all of it. Writing is a process that I feel bridges the gap of the concrete and the abstract because, yes, you have words on a page but they were born from the writer’s mind.
I write mostly poetry and a little bit of fiction. I like to write about nature, but I will also write about things like domestic violence, death, and cities I’ve fallen in love with.
4. Can you tell us about The Mills Poetry Slam Club and why you decided to start the club?
The Mills Poetry Slam Club is a club that aims to highlight the talent that exists at Mills College and to bring the poems out of the poets here. We meet every Thursday in the Bender Room from 8:30-9:30. We are going to have bi-monthly poetry slams on campus and the first one is happening Thursday, November 21st in the Bender Room from 8:30-10:30!! The club is open to all in the Mills community and I encourage everyone to explore spoken word! It can be a very liberating experience and I think it is important to push ourselves outside of our comfort zones.
After the November 21st the club will hibernate until the Spring semester. There is also interest around forming a team for CUPSI (College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational), which would be a total dream to participate in. I’m really keen on focusing on growth and fun rather than competition because I don’t like seeing things as a contest. As I mentioned before, I’m all about process and I think spoken word is a great way to get creative while also getting brave.
Knowing how incredible the spoken word scene is in the Bay Area and knowing how many creative writers there are at Mills, I was hoping that I would find a lot of poetic action happening on campus and I saw an opportunity to bring some vibrancy to Mills.
5. Is there a book or other piece of writing that you’re currently reading or recently read that you enjoyed?
The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nercesian was the last book I read before the semester started, which I liked a lot but The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz was probably the best book I’ve read all year.
Thank you Amanda!!
Check out the Mills Poetry Slam Club on Thursdays in the Bender Room from 8:30-9:30!
And hope to see you at the first slam on Thursday, November 21st in the Bender Room from 8:30-10:30!
The Place for Writers is producing a reading on November 19th that will feature 8 creative writing English majors. The program will also feature music, dance and more to bring together creative departments on campus. We are hoping this event will support and build community for English majors!
This is a call for readers!
If you are interested in reading at this event, please email Olivia Mertz at email@example.com with the following:
1. Current class level
2. What kind of writing: poetry or prose
3. If you have interest in interdisciplinary collaboration
Please let Olivia know of your interest by Friday, November 1st.
While space is limited, there will be another reading in the spring semester.
Thank you so much and we look forward to hearing from you!