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"Working with Anya has forever changed my relationship to writing, pulling it from deep in my unconscious up into the light of inquiry." -- Annie Lewis

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Fiction Writer; Poet; Teacher of Creative Writing; Manuscript Consultant; Writing Coach; Founder of the Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshops; Writing Workshop Leader.

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An invitation to join me in the work of writing

Dear Writers,

Take a deep breath, and enter a serious discussion of the craft and issues of writing. This blog is not a daily report of events in my life, though it will certainly let you know what I am up to as a teacher and writer. It is not a regular response to the writing or publishing world, but rather aims to help open the borders that would contain that "world".

But since language is the most collective creation we have, a portal to the worlds outside of us and within us, there is much to be said in community about how it works, and how to access it fully.

Here's how this blog will work: writers at any level of experience and desire are welcome to send in questions about the craft and issues of writing.... [read more]

Critique Classes for Writers, Online, beginning November 9, 2010

Dear Friends,

Do you have a book in progress? A project developing that you are writing in fairly regularly? A manuscript that is sitting and wanting to be brought back to life, developed, finished?

I have been doing this work with writers in many formats for a very long time! A session of my online class —Claiming and Polishing the Power of Our Stories: Intensive critique classes online in fiction and memoir—will begin November 9th.

I will be teaching this directly from my own site, not any other organization. Please send this news on to anyone who might be interested.

Some of the writers participating have already chosen the option of doing this work with the 10 sessions spread over a 20-week period, where you submit work and comment every 2 weeks instead of every week, giving more time to the process.

If there are writers who want to do the 10 sessions in 10 weeks, I should be able to accommodate them as well—let me know your preference.

See the class description below.

Many thanks.
Peace,
Anya Achtenberg

Claiming and Polishing the Power of Our Stories: Intensive critique classes online in fiction and memoir. (10 sessions)

This is an advanced writers’ workshop open both to writers who have studied or worked with me, or those who have not but are invited to participate after sending a 3-page sample of your work in fiction or memoir, and a paragraph describing the project you are working on, or aim to develop. The workshop focuses on your work-in-progress and the questions you pose about craft, which will be addressed specifically in relationship to your work. This intensive critique class will respond to each individual’s needs as they continue to develop and revise their work toward the completion of a memoir, novel, collection of short stories, or collection of memoiristic essays.
Many of the fiction writers in the class may have an autobiographical
connection to their work; this connection may be direct, or may be subtle,
internal, roundabout, and not absolutely necessary or identifiable.

This course means hard work, following your own strong impulses and
directions, and receiving and giving helpful, extensive feedback.
Participants in the group who have studied with me previously have shown themselves to be insightful and constructive in their responses, and I aim in my feedback to you to illuminate in large and in detailed ways the deeper subject matter, language and structure of your project.

The course will begin November 9, 2010.
Fee: 340$ payable in full before the start of class.
Please contact me at aachtenberg@gmail.com or 651-214-9248 to register.

Remember, if you have not studied with me before, please email, within the
body of your email and NOT as an attachment, a paragraph or one page project description, and a 3-page writing sample from your project.

If you are looking for another kind of online workshop with regular
lectures posted each week, I will continue to teach Claiming Our Stories… Parts One and Two with writers.com

See:  http://www.writers.com/achtenberg.html#story

I look forward to working with you,

Anya Achtenberg

Online classes start September 14, 2010, Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction

Just a quick announcement to let you know that I will again be teaching 2 classes online for writers.com/writers on the net, beginning September 14, 2010:  Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction. Part One and Part Two.

These are both 10 week courses for writers of both memoir/creative nonfiction and fiction. For full descriptions and registration, please go to http://www.writers.com/achtenberg.html#story and for questions, email me at aachtenberg@gmail.com .

I am currently accepting clients for one to one  work, long distance and in person, on large projects in progress, shorter works, and work to bring forward your writing, jump  over roadblocks, and develop a deeper understanding of story and language and the tools to work with them.

Much to report from the Albuquerque Cultural Conference.

Please check Facebook as well.

Soon! Running! Anya

Writing for Social Change: Re-Dream a Just World Workshop, at Leaven Retreat Center in Michigan, Aug. 5-9!

Dear Writers,

I will be teaching, in partnership with Demetria Martinez, this August at the Leaven Center in Michigan, as every summer for the last 6 years. Ah, heaven.

August 5-9. Re-Dream a Just World: Writing and Social Change, with Anya Achtenberg and Demetria Martinez.

For information and registration, please see:  http://www.leaven.org/upcoming.htm#redream

I am extremely pleased to be teaching writing for social change again at Leaven. I am still aiming to write a book on the work I have developed, and believe it is even more urgent than when I began these workshops about 12 years ago (though they have been in development for a much longer time).

Think about it.

Register, even.

A different kind of course,  as fertile as they come.

Peace,

Anya

Classes online; workshop this summer; facebook?

June 13, 2010

Just a quick announcement to let you know that I will again be teaching online for writers.com/writers on the net, session  for Part One beginning June 15, 2010, and session for Part Two beginning June 22nd, 2010:  Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction. Part One and Part Two.

These are both 10 week courses for writers of both memoir/creative nonfiction and fiction. For full descriptions and registration, please go tohttp://www.writers.com/achtenberg.html#story and for questions, email me at aachtenberg@gmail.com .

I am currently accepting clients for one to one  work, long distance and in person, on large projects in progress, shorter works, and work to bring forward your writing, jump  over roadblocks, and develop a deeper understanding of story and language and the tools to work with them.

I will be teaching, in partnership with Demetria Martinez, this August at the Leaven Center in Michigan, as every summer for the last 6 years. Ah, heaven.

August 5-9. Re-Dream a Just World: Writing and Social Change, with Anya Achtenberg and Demetria Martinez.

For information and registration, please see:  http://www.leaven.org/upcoming.htm#redream

I am extremely pleased to be teaching writing for social change again at Leaven. I am still aiming to write a book on the work I have developed, and believe it is even more urgent than when I began these workshops about 12 years ago (though they have been in development for a much longer time).

I am threatening to go on Facebook. I will do even that, to bring forward my work as teacher, consultant, writer, and organizer of writers/artists trips to Cuba.

There you have it.

Write me. Let me know what you have been doing with your writing. Give me a good writing question, and I will address it here, with pleasure, with excitement.

Till soon,

Peace,

Anya

Overwhelming. This year. In its watery infancy of March….Story is powerful.

Dear Writers,

If I asked you to list the 10 events that have affected you most deeply in the past months since the new year entered or we entered the new year, in your immediate sphere, in your family, in this country, in another, in your love life, in your children’s lives, in your art, down the street, in your body, at the poles, under the sea, in your dreams, in your immense solitude, in your bed, in your classroom wherever that may be, in your vision, in your computer, in your hand, in your yard, in your bankbook, in your imagination, in this ocean of language, you might say Haiti, Honduras, murder, birth, you might say betrayal or Afghanistan or love or corn or hope or Cuba or New Orleans or New York or you might just go to your corner and start to write.

 

Overwhelming. This year. In its watery infancy of March. In its loss of the familiar blanket of Minnesota snow. In its grief and its promise. Budding.

 

I am aiming to go back into the world of the story I had been working on. All this which is indeed overwhelming and pushes me to action which then takes away the very hours to look at this list and its context, can no longer, for me, be a poem. I can only go back to the world of the story, in this case a novel, not about these things on my 10-item list specifically. But, in that world of my current novel, is a way to focus as I write, and bring forward an immensity which I cannot bring forward when I am flooded by even the 10 things on my two-month list.

 

Story is powerful. Story can hold what we need held.

 

Just a quick announcement to let you know that I will again be teaching online for writers.com/writers on the net, sessions beginning April 6, 2010:  Claiming Our Stories: Working with the Power of Autobiography and Autobiographical Fiction. Part One and Part Two.

These are both 10 week courses for writers of both memoir/creative nonfiction and fiction. For full descriptions and registration, please go to http://www.writers.com/achtenberg.html#story and for questions, email me at aachtenberg@gmail.com .

 

I am continually amazed by the community, characterized by artistic excellence and insightful feedback, support and connection, that is developing online. Much more than I ever imagined could happen online. A lot at stake, perhaps. We know how to reach each other in this community of words. I look forward to this continuing to grow and serve writers around the world. 

 

Story is powerful. Story can hold what we need held.

 

Consider story and its way of bringing forward more stories. Bringing forward what has not had a place to be told. I see it everywhere.

 

An abstract posting, at an overwhelming time. Needs, perhaps, story, perhaps about the January 2010 Writers and Artists Delegation to Cuba, or about the ones coming. (I am, by the way, beginning to hatch dates for the next 2 writers and artists journeys to Cuba. Contact me if you are interested.) 

Story? Next time.

 

Peace,

Anya

Announcing online critique groups for developed writers in fiction and memoir, with Anya Achtenberg

Claiming and Polishing the Power of Our Stories: Intensive critique classes online in fiction and memoir.  (10 weeks) Begins February 2, 2010! Classes every other week for 10 weeks.

This is an advanced writers’ workshop open both to writers who have studied with me, or those who have not but are invited to participate after sending a 3-page sample of your work in fiction or memoir, and a paragraph describing the project you are working on, or aim to develop. The workshop focuses on your work-in-progress and the questions you pose about craft, which will be addressed specifically in relationship to your work. This intensive critique class will respond to each individual’s needs as they continue to develop and revise their work toward the completion of a memoir, novel, collection of short stories, or collection of memoiristic essays. Many of the fiction writers in the class may have an autobiographical connection to their work; this connection may be direct, or may be subtle, internal, roundabout, and not absolutely necessary or identifiable.

This course means hard work, following your own strong impulses and directions, and receiving and giving helpful, extensive feedback. Participants in the group who have studied with me previously have shown themselves to be insightful and constructive in their responses, and I aim in my feedback to you to illuminate in large and in detailed ways the deeper subject matter, language and structure of your project.

Please contact me at aachtenberg@gmail.com or 651-214-9248 for more information and for registration.
 
Remember, if you have not studied with me before, please email, within the body of your email and NOT as an attachment, a paragraph or one page project description, and a 3-page writing sample from your project.
 
***If you are looking for another kind of online workshop with regular lectures posted each week, I will continue to teach with writers.com — see http://www.writers.com/achtenberg.html#story for Claiming Our Stories… Parts One and Two. Part One begins January 19, and Part 2 begins late January or early February, weekly for 10 weeks. Register through writers.com.

Peace,

Anya Achtenberg

Cuba Trip: One life-changing, art-opening, mind-opening, announcement.

2010 Writers and Artists Research Delegation to Cuba! January 3-11, 2010.

A group of writers, visual artists, educators and others will be going to Cuba January 3-11. We will stay in Old Havana, as well as visit nearby Matanzas province and Varadero Beach. We will meet with Cuban writers, artists, filmmakers, architects and others, and individual research can be arranged. Our group is coming from all over the United States. Join us! Please send this information around widely, and as soon as possible. There are just a few spots left.

For more information and to register, contact writer Anya Achtenberg at aachtenberg@gmail.com or 651.214.9248.

Story classes beginning in Minneapolis, October 7! Writers and Artists Trip to Cuba in January.

Dear Writers,

I want to let people know that the story class I announced previously at this site will be starting this Wednesday, October 7. I am very excited about these classes. I taught these story classes, and developed an extensive series of these classes, throughout New Mexico. Stunning writing came forward. And there are, some years after the fact, groups that developed through the classes who still meet and work with each other, very effectively.

 

I have been doing a lot of teaching online – with writers around the country and around the world – very exciting – not what I thought online teaching would be. And I have been teaching elsewhere, not in Minnesota. Well, time to get back to teaching here in Minnesota, face to face, with all that writing energy zinging around the room, with that profound experience of working together to bring forward the power of story sitting within us, and to reveal further the story we have in pieces of writing, or in a draft of a novel, story, or memoir.

 

Let’s get to work. Details below. Call for more information. Join us.

 

Finding the Real Story: an exploration of the essential elements of story

for both fiction and nonfiction writers, beginning Wednesday October 7, 2009

 

Join us for 10 sessions of intensive exploration of the essential elements of writing story, and for work on shaping these elements to embody the deeper truths and powerful emotions which move us into writing. We will work to explore the mystery of human behavior in story form, and develop ways to deepen characterization. We will work to discover plot—rather than be constricted by it. We will tap into the power of the visions and voices of our narrators and characters, and the mix of truth and fiction that creates a world both imagined and deeply real. We will explore narrative summary, active scene and dialogue, the workings of subtext; the power of your story’s context, the technique of simultaneity; dialogue; the music of prose; the story’s metaphor; revision. Begin new stories and discover ways to complete old ones in an atmosphere both supportive and challenging, with in-class and at-home writing explorations, and feedback aimed at helping each participant understand the scope of their own work. 

*   10 Wednesdays, beginning early fall, 7:00-9:30 pm.

*    Lake Street and 39th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, above the Blue Moon Cafe.

*     For registration and more information:   contact Anya at aachtenberg@gmail.com or 651.214.9248.

Anya is a master teacher. Her grasp of world writers and of craft allows her to liberate this knowledge…, so that we can learn to wield the pen with power.”                                                                                                —Demetria Martinez, novelist, poet, memoirist, journalist

 

I also want to announce,  and will be writing more about it on the next posting, The 2010 Writers and Artists Delegation to Cuba, January 3-11. I have been organizing this trip for some time, and, believe me, US restrictions on travel to Cuba have made the work quite complicated, though the result will be a great joy and a great inspiration. The majority of people in the U.S., Cuban-Americans as well as all Americans (in the U.S. sense) support an end to the travel ban to Cuba and to the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Restrictions have been eased for Cuban-Americans, which is wonderful, since so many families have been profoundly affected by the travel ban, but for the rest of us in the United States, we still cannot travel freely to Cuba. It is much easier for “academics” to go than the rest of of the population, which doesn’t seem quite fair! Securing licenses to go legally is a complicated process at times. Groups like Pastors for Peace and the Venceremos Brigade go “illegally”, challenging the travel ban, bringing humanitarian aid, contributing labor, etc.

 

What you can do now is contact your Senators and Representatives to urge them to co-sponsor the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, S.428 (Senate bill) or HR 874 (House bill), or to thank them if they have already done so. This Act would restore our constitutional right to travel to Cuba. We are the only country banning travel there. Indeed, our neighbor to the north, Canada, finds 800,000 of its citizens traveling to Cuba a year!

 
We have a great group going in January. Contact me if you are interested, at aachtenberg@gmail.com.  More information in a further posting.
 
My online folks are waiting…better go!
 

Enjoy your work, and remember to play.

Peace,

Anya Achtenberg 

 

 

 

 

 

A great workshop in the Twin Cities area from Sherry Quan Lee and Kris Frykman

Bookmaking:  a six hour writing intensive workshop to jumpstart and/or revitalize your book project

Hosted by TRUE COLORS BOOKSTORE
   
 In this workshop we will explore creating your book, no matter what genre you have chosen—fiction (short stories/novel), memoir (prose/poetry).  We will examine the stories you need to tell in order to discover the theme of your project.  Emphasis will be on overall theme and how it affects organization, format, and production.  Discussion will also include the healing power of bookmaking.  This workshop is for writers who are interested in creating a book (chapbook, art book, literary book) no matter where you may be in the process (not yet begun, started, first draft, etc.).
 
Participants should bring with them their book in progress if they have one (poems, chapters, ideas, etc.).  Also any visual items that might enhance the book (possible cover art, documents or photos, etc.)  
 
$50 cash or check due the day of the workshop:
Saturday, September 26th, 10:00 am-4:00 pm
Register today by emailing squanlee@msn.com, limit twelve
Workshop location: True Colors Bookstore / 4755 Chicago Avenue / Minneapolis /MN /55407
 
Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic.  Author How to Write a Suicide Note:  serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008 and Chinese Blackbird (Asian American Renaissance 2002/reprinted Loving Healing Press 2008).  www.SherryQuanLee.com
 
Kris Frykman is an artist, educator, healing arts counselor, writer and creativity coach. Community Faculty at Metropolitan State University since 2001 teaching Written and Visual Communication, Written and Visual Storytelling as Healing Arts, Writing II: Focus on Visual Communications, and Writing in Your Major. She’s currently coauthoring and editing a healthcare book.

Where have I been? Now, there is a question which could lead to story.

Dear Friends,

I won’t tell you know where I have been. But I will tell you where I am going to be. And what I will be doing in relation to teaching writing, right here in the Twin Cities in Minnesota.

Here we go, classes first, then news of a workshop, locally in Minneapolis:

Finding the Real Story: an exploration of the essential elements of story

for both fiction and nonfiction writers

 

Join us for 10 sessions of intensive exploration of the essential elements of writing story, and for work on shaping these elements to embody the deeper truths and powerful emotions which move us into writing. We will work to explore the mystery of human behavior in story form, and develop ways to deepen characterization. We will work to discover plot—rather than be constricted by it. We will tap into the power of the visions and voices of our narrators and characters, and the mix of truth and fiction that creates a world both imagined and deeply real. We will explore narrative summary, active scene and dialogue, the workings of subtext; the power of your story’s context, the technique of simultaneity; dialogue; the music of prose; the story’s metaphor; revision. Begin new stories and discover ways to complete old ones in an atmosphere both supportive and challenging, with in-class and at-home writing explorations, and feedback aimed at helping each participant understand the scope of their own work.

*   10 Wednesdays, beginning early fall, 7:00-9:30 pm.

*    Lake Street and 39th Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota, above the Blue Moon Cafe.

*     For registration and more information:

                                       contact Anya at aachtenberg@gmail.com or 651.214.9248.

*     See her website at www.anyaachtenberg.com

Anya is a master teacher. Her grasp of world writers and of craft allows her to liberate this knowledge…, so that we can learn to wield the pen with power.”       —Demetria Martinez, novelist, poet, memoirist, journalist

_____________________________________________________________

The Eye of the Storm/The Eye of the Storyteller:

Locating and developing a narrator whose consciousness can hold—and whose voice can tell—the story pushing at you to be written.

October 18 and 25 (two Sundays), 10 am – 4 pm in Saint Paul, Minnesota

For writers with experience. You may be in the middle of a project, or searching for one.

This October, I hope you can join us for two very full Sundays in writing story, whether fiction or creative nonfiction, to give you a boost to help get you through the cold writing months to come.

Have you wondered why, since you have a great plot, compelling characters, and a deeply felt story, the results of your work are not as vital as you feel they should be? Or there seem to be many pieces of a book, but nothing that makes a coherent claim to story? Perhaps you get a sense that something beyond your busy life is standing in the way of your continuing to write a story you value?

Locating and developing a narrator who is up to your story and your concerns — large enough, mobile enough, interesting enough, specific enough — is very often at the heart of what is needed to free a story and its writer into full power and vision, into an original flow of language, and into a way to make creative decisions and revise one’s writing to hold and reveal the depth of meaning and emotion that make a story unforgettable.

In this intensive workshop we will explore various of the essential elements of writing story for both fiction and creative nonfiction writers. Whether you are in the middle of a writing project or ready for new writing, we aim to discover ways in which these elements embody the deeper truths and powerful emotions which move us into writing.

But our focus on narration will help each writer bring forth narrators who can fully hold, shape, and tell the story, and lend fundamental perspective for the work of revision.

These days will include a mix of discussion, writing in class to open story ideas and ways of using craft, and intensive critique of writing you bring in. Each participant will receive time for comments from other participants, and, from me: manuscript critique; guidance for developing, revising and finishing your work; and suggestions for explorations to open and deepen your writing process, and help you work past obstacles in your creative work.

Please join us as we explore individual and shared issues in craft and story development, and bring forth custom-made roads into “solutions” for your story, novel, or memoir.

2 Sundays, intensive workshop. In Saint Paul, Minnesota

For registration and more information:

            contact Anya Achtenberg at aachtenberg@gmail.com or 651.214.9248.

See www.anyaachtenberg.com:

            for articles about the craft and issues of good writing; and for more information about Anya’s workshops, individual writer’s services, publications and awards, and more.

______________________________________________________________

As we used to say, playing telephone, pass it on.

With my thanks!

Anya Achtenberg