ellenkushner: (Default)
I'm delighted to announce that Delia & I will be returning to Hollins University to teach again in Summer 2015 for their MA/MFA Program in Children's Literature - and that Terri Windling joins us there as 2015 Writer-in-Residence!

Now, here's the catch:  In order to study with me, you need to be at least a second year student.  Which means you must apply now for this year's program - deadline March 15th, 2014 ** EXTENDED NOW TO APRIL 15th!** - so that you can begin classes this summer. (Terri & Delia will be available to everyone in 2015. This is just for people who want to take my Advanced Seminar.  And there's nothing to stop you from applying now for 2015!)

Now, don't get your knickers in a twist. You probably are "good enough." The program encourages all levels of students. Seriously.  And there is Financial Aid.  It's a 6-week summer semester, a chance to find out just what you're capable of; and during the year, you can acquire credits through on-line courses.

If you wait to start classes in 2015, you'll get to take Delia Sherman's amazing "Introduction to Fantasy Writing" class, aka "How to read (and think) like a writer!" I didn't think such writing could be taught . . . until I inherited some of her students last year, in my Writing Seminar, and saw how far they'd come since studying with her. Delia works with Fairy Tale, MG fiction, and with the inside of your head and the outside of your pages.

As 2015 Writer-in-Residence, Terri Windling will be lecturing, meeting individually with students to read mss. and give feedback . . . and, of course, hanging out in the Writers' Livingroom (which I founded back in 2011) for the first 2 weeks of this 6-week semester.

I will be teaching a 4-6 person Advanced Seminar again in 2015:  Essentially, a 6-week workshop on how to get your thesis - i.e. your novel - to move forward and keep going.  I work hard to create a supportive atmosphere, with an emphasis students helping each other, not "critiquing" to show off. Both Delia & I keep office hours, and really enjoy meeting one-on-one outside of class.

You also get to take academic classes with the likes of the truly amazing Karen Coats, Brian Attebery, and more - in fact, if you want an M.A. instead of an M.F.A., your primary classes will be with them.  But you still do some Creative Writing for your degree - and if you're an MFA, you still get to take some Academic classes.

And this year, for the first time, Hollins is offering a combined MFA in Children's Book Writing and Illustrating! Artist faculty Ruth Sanderson, Ashley Wolff & Elizabeth Dulemba have become very dear friends; you'll love studying with them.  In fact, much as we love teaching, our other reasons for returning again & again to Hollins are (a) It's in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an area rich with folklore & traditional music (Friday nights! at the Floyd Country Store!!); (b) the chance to hang out all summer with the above-mentioned colleagues, also including Hillary Homzie, Lisa Fraustino, Chip Sullivan, and many more……all creative, funny, charming & supportive teachers who have become dear friends.

Come join us?

Here's how.

**And - because one does not enter grad school lightly or precipitously: Say "Ellen sent me," and our fabulous Program Director will accept applications through April 15th!
ellenkushner: (Default)
So excited about this!

Hollins MFA Program is where
Delia Sherman & I teach every other summer. We'll be there next in 2015 - joined by Writer-in-Residence Terri Windling-Gayton!

I cannot recommend the place too highly:
Ruth Sanderson & her fellow Illustration instructors ashley wolff & Elizabeth O. Dulemba are creative, funny, charming & supportive teachers, and have become dear friends. Our academic and writing colleagues there (including in 2015 the amazing Karen Coats, hurray!!) have, too. This new program weaving together the 2 programs is the It if you want to illustrate!

If not, the Vanilla MA/MFA program is still available - and if you attend this year (2014), you'll be eligible for my 2nd year Seminar next yea (summer 2015).

Think about it. We're happy to answer any questions you might have. The fact that it's in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with Appalachian traditional music just down the road, doesn't hurt any either. Just sayin'.
ellenkushner: (Default)

To celebrate the completion of all three “Riverside” audiobooks for Neil Gaiman Presents, you’re invited to a special live performance of selections from all three novels, featuring the authors as narrators, along with members of the original audiobook cast.
When I teamed up with SueMedia Productions to narrate my own audiobook of Swordspoint, magic happened. Our audio version won a  2012 Audie Award, and we went on to do the next two in the same innovative “illuminated” style, featuring original SFX and all-new music for the series by exciting young composer Nathanael Tronerud.
Please join us
The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art
138 Sullivan Street  (between Houston & Prince St.)
New York City
Our CAST will feature multiple Audie-Award winning performers:
Barbara Rosenblat (Orange is the New Black, Elizabeth Peters’ “Amelia Peabody” series)
Katherine Kellgren (L.A. Meyer's “Bloody Jack” series)
Robert Fass
Bill Rogers (Pokemon!)
Doug Shapiro
Ryan McCabe
Jordan Smith
……in their original roles
with authors Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman narrating their own work!
Refreshments will be provided.  Come ready to celebrate a truly remarkable achievement, and to peek behind the scenes at a live audiobook performance!
Part of the NYRSF Reading Series:  "Admission free; $7 donation suggested.”
* * * * * *
Can’t make the show?  You can still hear Neil Gaiman’s own introductions to the three books here on my website … and then just click on each the titles to hear a sample clip from each book!
To download a FREE audiobook of Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword or The Fall of the Kings, try Audible.com free for 30 days here: Audible.com/exclusive ….or just order a copy on iTunes or Amazon.com
Have a great Thanksgiving!
ellenkushner: (Default)
EK: You're such a schmuck . . . I can't believe you killed [him]!

DS, calmly knitting a sweater for Holly & Theo's new baby: Can't go to jail for killing a character.  There's not a jury in the land would convict me.
ellenkushner: (EK/DS wedding band)
You probably didn't know me when I was single.

After all, it's coming up on twenty years since the night my longtime friend (and secret crush) Delia Sherman finally kissed me in the driveway of her huge Victorian house in Newton, MA, as we sat in the car together after a glorious night out at the Lowell Folk Festival, dancing and listening to music under the stars.  The car trip out had begun with my telling her all about the novel I was trying to write, the one about Alec's niece from Swordspoint coming to the city, but it was all such an incohate mess . . . and it continued through a dinner of Cambodian and Burmese street food at a little joint off the main plaza. Then we followed a New Orleans jazz band fresh off the train, through the streets to the park for the concert.  Who was playing? Well, the stars came out above and we lay chastely on the grass side by side, watching them.  That I remember.

And on the way home, we got lost and had to turn around while I poured out my heart to her on the cloverleaf about the two elegant, dangerous guys I'd been chasing, one of whom was suddenly chasing me.  She was always so good to pour out my heart to.  She never told me anything about herself:  I knew nothing about her family, her history . . . We talked a lot about books and writing. And my angst.  (And when she visited me in my apartment, sometimes she would look at the dishes piled high in my sink and say, "Look, it'll only take me a minute..."!)

As we neared Newton, we talked about what a wonderful evening it had been, and how great it would be to do more things like that together. And then she told me she'd be spending the rest of the summer with her partner at their house on Cape Cod.

"Well," I said disconsolately; "that's that, then."

And then we were in the driveway.  She said, "Can I at least kiss you?" 

And the whole story suddenly changed.

We had an illegal wedding in 1996, and a legal one in 2004 - but  we've always celebrated our Real Anniversary as a Moveable Feast:  the Lowell Folk Festival - and tried to visit it every year.  Since moving to New York, I don't think we've made it once; but this year we're going!

This was not the post I'd meant to write.  But it did start with a folksong:  John Gorka's "The Gypsy Life" just came on the radio (Boston's WUMB streaming live into my kitchen Logitech radio) . . . and I flashed back to our early days together, when we were having our hot affair while she tried to detach herself carefully from her partner, the woman who loved fixing up beautiful Victorian houses with her, and serving quality wines at their elaborate Christmas parties, and buying art and antiques -  but didn't much like her writing or her friends, and didn't like to travel or to taste food she didn't already know . . . And I was always running off to Europe to cover Early Music festivals or to San Francisco or New Orleans to attend public radio and SFF cons and hear music, or visiting Terri in her artists' village in Devon, and running down hole-in-the-wall Indian or Mexican restaurants, in the old Buick my parents had finally passed on to me because they couldn't stand the fact that I'd never owned a car and still trash-picked bookcases on the streets of NY and then Cambridge, in my beatup black leather jacket bought on that memorable trip to France with my two best college friends the year we turned 30, and my Borderland T-shirt from the movie that had never gotten made, and my endless mix tapes of heartbreak and Richard Thompson . . . . 

And there it was on the radio, in 1992, as I was driving my Buick to work at WGBH:

I know the whole truth there is horrible
It's better if you take a little at a time
Too much and you are not portable
Not enough and you'll be making happy rhymes

     You might like the gypsy life
     You judge your progress by the phases of the moon
     Get your compass and your sharpest knife
    People love you when they know you're leaving soon

That was it, I thought. That's what I was offering her. 

And I thought she knew she'd like it.
Almost twenty years later, Delia has helped me to make homes that are a lot more permanent.  We buy our bookcases, now - and my socks are not always from the Irregular bin.  It turns out Delia grew up traveling all over the world with her mother - the wife of a Pan Am jr. exec (and WW2  pilot), Opal Sherman thought nothing of snatching her daughter out of school a few days early to go standby to Istanbul or Berlin - so when I started saying, "Let's go to Brussels (or Amsterdam, or Dijon, or Venice....), you'll love it!" her usual answer was, "Yeah, I've been there." - quickly followed by:  "But I was 14. With my mother.  Let's go!"

We go.

This week, Delia's off teaching Clarion at UCSD, and I'm here in our apartment in NYC by myself.  The Gorka song comes on as I do the dishes, keeping up so she doesn't come home to a sinkful of them, because I have my pride!  I'm alone for now, and I will be again.  I think about that, sometimes.  That song will probably make me cry again. Every time.

You probably didn't know me when I was single.  I was a different person then.  And so was she.

You can hear Gorka singing "The Gypsy Life" on YouTube here.  I do know that "gypsy" can be used as a slur to refer to the Roma people.  I also think Gorka is a wonderful singer/songwriter, and you should support his work by buying his albums. He also has a great pierogi recipe (Delia & I subsisted our first 6 months on Mrs. Whatsit's Pierogis - coincidence??) . Full lyrics to the song are here.

October 2014

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