Enjoy a bit from The Bard for Burns Night!
August 1, 2009
For immediate release
1 August 2009
Contact: Lisa Kastner, Founder
Philadelphia Writers Make Room to Run Wild
Running Wild Writers, LLC debuts as Philadelphia’s newest writers’ community with its first Fiction Workshop beginning September 2009. Founded by Philadelphia-based writer Lisa Diane Kastner, Running Wild provides a venue for writers of all forms and all genres to learn and succeed in the craft. Kastner is a fiction writer, former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theater Review, freelance journalist for the Delaware County Times, Features Editor for the Picolata Review, and President of Pennwriters, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit writers’ organization.
“In my years with the creative writing community, I have repeatedly been asked to provide writers a venue to more thoroughly explore the craft of writing. Running Wild Writers is the answer to that request.”
The inaugural Fiction Workshop will begin September 24 and will run once a week for ten weeks through December 2009. Attendees will have two opportunities to submit up to 5,000 words of original material to be reviewed by participants and to receive a detailed assessment from Kastner.
“What makes Running Wild Writers unique is that we believe all forms and genres are valuable. Most workshops specialize in a specific genre such as literary, thriller, mystery, romance and so forth. At Running Wild, we believe that writers can learn and grow by reading and writing across genres,” said Kastner. “The same is true for form. Writers need to experiment in creative non-fiction, poetry, and fiction writing to hone their skills and discover who they are as writers.”
Running Wild Writers Community will hold a 10-week Fiction Writers Workshop from September 24 – December 3, 2009. The group will meet on Thursdays at 7 PM.
Participants will have the opportunity to workshop two pieces, maximum of 5,000 words each, during the sessions. Each work will be given thorough written feedback by the instructor as well as feedback from fellow attendees. In addition, the instructor will select elements of the craft to discuss during the sessions. Craft discussions will be based on the pieces workshopped that evening. Workshops will be held at 1241 Carpenter St., Philadelphia, PA 19147, in the heart of a thriving Philadelphia arts community.
Lisa Diane Kastner, fiction writer, creative non-fiction explorer, and former journalist writes fiction from Philadelphia and draws inspiration from her local experience. Kastner promises that her flaming red head tendencies will neither detract nor overly add to the commentary. If anything, it will bring a bit of flavor, like cinnamon.
A former correspondent for the Philadelphia Theatre Review and Features Editor for the Picolata Review, Kastner currently writes freelance and by invitation in literature and the arts. Her literary interviews include Charles Baxter (Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature 1997) and Lee Martin (Pulitzer Prize Nominee 2006).
Kastner is the Founder of Running Wild Writers Community, LLC and President of Pennwriters, Inc. (www.pennwriters.com) , a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting the novice to the award winning and multipublished writers to learn and succeed in the craft. She is the founder of the Pennwriters King of Prussia and Philadelphia Critique Groups, and can be found throughout the region leading workshops on business communications, and occasionally performing on the local stage with theater companies such as CelebrationTheater. Her short stories have been published in 63 Channels Journal and The StraightJackets Magazine.
For more information go to www.runningwildwriters.org or contact Kastner via email at lisa[at]runningwildwriters[dot]org.
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Please allow another artist to express the joy I feel today: “Obama Be Thy Name” by Makadem. May we all continue to rise to the occasion.
I’m never current on the new music scene, but a Seattle Times interview tipped me off to musician Kaz Nomura of PWRFL Power. Kaz is headed for the East Coast to perform this summer in addition to his Seattle performances. Check out the PWRFL Power MySpace page to hear his music and see his tour schedule – I dig his poetry.
When it comes to the “traditional” or “expressive” arts, the end product is often a form of reflection. The art may be a reflection of the creators themselves, a mirror they’ve held up to their own inner self. For those of us in the audience, the art becomes a mirror again as we look into a work and try to find a piece of ourselves.
We haven’t explored the kinetic arts with much depth at Brainripples, but it’s not for lack of interest. One of my favorite arts is dance, regardless of how ungraceful I might be.
Dancers, thespians, and other performing artists interact with their audience through physical space. In the kinetic arts, the mirror takes on a very physical, almost tangible identity: we look at other people, and see ourselves.
Some healing arts involve touch therapy, such as massage or acupressure. Healers tend to be artists who enjoy working with others; touch, movement, placement, and physical interaction are all important elements of their art.
One branch of kinetic art that I don’t often interact with would be the “beauty arts”: cosmetology and esthetics. These arts connect with human emotions via the perception of self-image. The mirror they evoke with their art is sometimes as literal as it is metaphorical.
A couple weeks ago I decided to chop off my nice, long, 10-year-old braid to the tune of 22-inches. I sent my braid to Locks of Love so it could have another life, and went with a short cut near my chin.
Apart from the pleasant change in perspective that a new hairstyle affords (and a rather unnerving feeling of “naked neck”) I also had the opportunity to learn from stylist Patti Hill at the Maryanne Christopher Spa and Salon in Newtown Square, PA. Patti brought a fresh perspective not only to my image, but to my understanding of the beauty arts as well.
[Side note: Now, for a woman such as myself whose idea of hair care is shampoo, comb, and braid, it surprises me that I’m even familiar with the term “stylist.” I’d never even been in a spa before. Why did I choose to go there? Because when I googled “hair cut in Newtown Square” I came up with 15 different locations, but Maryanne Christopher was the only one with a website. Let that be a lesson to ya. ;)]
Patti Hill is an artist. Her many interests include jewelry design, and she likes to overlay sacred symbols on precious stones. Some of her work can be found at Earthspeak near Phoenixville, PA. Patti and I discussed jewelry, art, and jobs, which led us to discuss what had attracted Patti to her career as a stylist.
As she tells it, Patti learned about hair dressing in her high school years, but it didn’t really click for her until she took a course in Salon Psychology.
Yes, you heard that right – Salon Psychology. While I’d never heard the term before, I have read various articles discussing the important social function of hairdressers and barbershops. The concepts of salon psychology were documented by an observant psychologist, who noticed that people in barbershops often seemed to share intimate details of their lives with their hair dressers.
This psychologist (whose name I cannot remember) realized that the topics and feelings being shared were the very things he often tried to coax from his patients. He realized that there was more than a haircut going on at the local salon.
Patti explained that besides doctors, stylists and similar professionals are among the only other service providers who actually TOUCH their clients. In this way, the stylist’s role extends beyond a snappy hair cut: stylists can fulfill an important human (animal) need for physical interaction. This physical connection through grooming, in conjunction with regular conversations among familiar people, means that most stylists aren’t just cutting hair; they are fulfilling the role which many psychologists perform: supporting people.
This more meaningful connection is what really made the whole thing “click” for Patti, and she has been happily working as a stylist for over 20 years (and she’s darn good at it too). Recently I shared this discussion with a friend of mine, and he called out yet another key aspect of salon psychology: the mirror.
Stylists, in addition to all the hats above, also wear the artist’s cap with the intention of altering another person’s appearance. Appearance and self-image affect how we perceive and interact with our world. The beauty arts physically modify the reflection in the mirror, which in turn can help us generate a new conceptual image of ourselves.
Artists of all media frequently draw on the tools of introspection, self-reflection, and personal experience to provide some substance, theme, or form in their art. After its creation, art “breathes” when it is shared with an audience, and we the viewers look into the “mirror” of that work to see what of ourselves reflects back.
How do you use the mirror in your art? What do you choose to reflect? If you engage with the kinetic arts, how, if at all, do you see the mirror as an important tool in your craft?
[Image above is from one of my high school sketchbooks.]
Update: I meant to include the following links, just because they were rattling around in my mind when I was writing up this post. Mirrors, divination, and all that jazz…
From Mother Angel’s Life of a Mother Artist blog: