"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Announcing our guest authors for the Submissions and Publication workshop series 1/30, 2/13 & 2/27

Online Workshop Series: Take action now on Literary Submissions and Publication (with Guest Authors)

January 30, February 13th & 27

Tuesday nights 6-8 pm
Guest Authors: Suzanne Roberts, Shaun Griffin, Lindsay Wilson, Marianne Porter, Bridey Thelen-Heidel, Sue Norman, Diana Whitney, Kim Culbertson, and maybe a surprise : )
Over the next two weeks, I'll be sharing juicy details about these writers' books and publications, in many genres, from YA to fiction to memoir to poetry to freelance to craft. They'll share tips on their process including submitting manuscripts, working with an editor, choosing a publisher (University Press, Hybrid, mainstream, self-publish, Indie?) Bring your questions for the Q&A!

I offer this workshop series the beginning of each new year to refresh and revive our submission goals and process. If you took this workshop last year, all the more reason to take it again and pick up right where you left off. If you haven't yet taken it, get started now! We will share the latest news in the world of publishing in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Reassess your goals or set publishing goals for the first time in your writing life. Learn new tips for editing, researching, tracking submissions, publications. Strengthen your professional presence as a writer. $160 for all three workshops. Online.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

New 2024 Workshop Schedule is now open for registration!

Poet Aaron Abeyta in his letter In Praise of Books, says of writers:

"We broker in what we see on a daily basis and also that which we imagine. We fuse the two constantly, alchemists that work at new meaning, new vision, new understanding. We must see differently; it is, perhaps, the only requirement of the job."

Reading, writing, joining in community to study and explore other writers' work is how we continue to see differently, to explore meaning and deepen understanding of each other.

Winter 2024 Writing Workshops

Submissions and Publication: a workshop series online with guest authors
3 Tuesday evenings 6-8 pm

January 30th, February 13th & 27th

Successful authors will share the latest news in the world of publishing in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Reassess your goals or set publishing goals for the first time in your writing life. Guest authors each week share their tips and experience.  $160

Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop 6 wk Series In-person and on zoom with chocolate and tea: January 8, 15, 29, February 5, 12, 19 6:30-8 pm

A fun and generative workshop for beginners and experienced writers alike. Do you wish you wrote more? Want to feel a sense of community when you write? Craft, technique, and prompts for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. A kick in the butt for your writing life! $180.

Revision Workshop for Memoir, Fiction and Non-fiction - call me for details

I try to leave out the parts that people skip.   - Elmore Leonard
In this intimate workshop, the goal is to develop and revise your first draft by pushing further to the next level, strengthening your writing skills and exploring meaning in your writing. This workshop is deadline- and goal-oriented to complete the next draft of a project for publication.

I am always available for manuscript review and developmental editing in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Happy writing!
Karen Terrey

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Looking ahead to April 13th, 2024: Sierra Poetry Festival in Grass Valley

Sierra Poetry Festival’s mainstage event will take place on April 13, 2024 at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, CA. Attended by some of the most exciting local, national and international poets and performers, it is the highlight of a month-long festival, taking place in venues across Nevada County and its two California Cultural Districts. 

Keynote Jane Hirshfield will kick off the day. I'm still finding inspiration from a workshop I participated in many years ago Sierra Nevada College led by her. I recommend reading Nine Gates, a collection of essays on creative process along with any of her poetry. 

This poem in particular speaks to my curiosity about the unknowable in poetry:

The Supple Deer by Jane Hirshfield, 1953

The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.

Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.

No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.

I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.

Not of the deer:

To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

Poet and essayist Ross Gay will be our closing highlight. Gay is author of four books of poetry, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is a New York Times bestseller, and his newest collection, The Book of (More) Delights was released in September of 2023. The Book of Delights is a collection of short essays I give as a gift to friends and that is always on my desk for me to read through, reminding me of how many ways exist to discover delight in the everyday.

Luis Alberto Urrea, another author I met at SNC and author most recently of the wonderful novel Goodnight, Irene, writes, “Ross Gay is a writer perfectly suited to find delight. His eye is so brilliant, it seems to glow from within. When I need hope, I turn to his words. And this collection will remind you how beautiful it is to be alive.” 

I'll see you there!

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.sierrapoetryfestival.org.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

November skies and January workshops


That's the November sky clouding up across Lake Tahoe. How quickly I am preparing myself for winter again. I gathered up the brown-purple leaves from the Chokecherry trees in my backyard that covered the stonework like discarded drafts. I tipped the flower containers sideways along the fence, just in case they will succeed in their second chance next spring. I planted all perennials in the garden this summer, even the containers. About half grow will grow back, mint and lemon-thyme and chive, as the snow melts in springtime. Using dull, rusted clippers I cut back the Water Birch branches that crowded my shoveling all last winter in front of the studio door. And I bought my Nordic pass for myself and Towhee. 

I'm grateful for this past year, as invisibly as it flew past us. More on the opportunities and accomplishments, personally and professionally, in December's posts.  

I even added new lights to my living room and front porch to allay the darkness of being buried for months. So whether writers are zooming into workshop or joining the community in a circle around the fire warming my home, we'll be able to read what we write.

So I'm ready for what comes next.  Tangled Roots Writing will offer a new line-up of workshops in 2024,  beginning with the next 6 week series of Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop on January 8th. This series meets for 6 Monday nights and is the kick in the ass you need to jump start your writing life. 

Here are the dates: January 8, 15, 29 and February 5, 12, 19. We meet on Zoom and in-person, your choice 6:30 - 8 pm. In a supportive and intellectually curious writing community you will generate new writing, develop a work in progress, begin a new project!


Monday, November 13, 2023

From memoir to autobiographical fiction: another writing prompt


“Memoir is the report to others from foreign territory, the territory of the writer, of the self, of an I.” - Bill Roorbach, Writing Life Stories
This writing prompt is adapted from our second workshop in the Monday night creative writing workshop series.
Writing prompt: Make a list of moments when you were faced with a choice or making a decision that would change the direction of your life. Make another list of moments in your life when you were aware of a ticking clock, or limited time frame, or looming deadline. 
Choose one of these moments to write about, beginning with a description of an image, a picture in your mind, that captures that moment. Imagine your writing is a report to others from the foreign country of your own life, your own body. The territory of your self is foreign to others, and so the details that you add will help the reader connect and imagine.
Want to write fiction? Let your imagination range beyond what happened to try writing autobiographical fiction. Allow your story to venture into the realm of imagination, fiction, other possibilities.


Tuesday, October 31, 2023

From our first session of the new Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop: a writing prompt


I discovered this interview guided by Padraig O Tuama with Henri Cole while listening to Poetry Unbound podcast driving to the American River last weekend. If you haven't listened yet to this podcast, give it a try asap. 

Three hours of driving disappeared while I listened in awe.

Henri Cole describing the context for this next poem: 

"So this poem is from, it’s set in Japan, in a town just north in the outskirts of Kyoto, where I lived when I was 45. I was born in Japan and this was the first time back. And in this apartment I lived in two tatami mat rooms, and it had a tiny backyard, but the backyard was just full of praying mantises, of all things. So that was really the context. My father had died and my mother was quite sick."

Pillowcase With Praying Mantis

I found a praying mantis on my pillow.
‘What are you praying for?’ I asked. ‘Can you pray
for my father’s soul, grasping after Mother?’
Swaying back and forth, mimicking the color
of my sheets, raising her head like a dragon’s,
she seemed to view me with deep feeling, as if I were
St. Sebastian bound to a Corinthian column
instead of just Henri lying around reading.
I envied her crisp linearity, as she galloped
slow motion onto my chest, but then she started
mimicking me, lifting her arms in an attitude
of a scholar thinking or romantic suffering.
‘Stop!’ I sighed, and she did, flying in a wide arc,
like a tiny god-horse hunting for her throne room.

Writing Prompt: In this prompt we can mimic one or two techniques from Cole in this last poem. 

One, he has chosen a small moment of an animal encounter to focus on and describe. He has chosen to write the encounter as a conversation. 

Two, he projects his own problems into the life of the mantis, asking it to pray for his parents. The mantis allows him to share this problem and his own situation indirectly while the encounter and the conversation are the direct subject of his writing. 

Choose an animal encounter of your own. Write about it, as a conversation if you’d like. Try to project somehow your own human situation into this encounter. Write without an agenda and without stopping or correcting for 20 minutes. This writing may become a poem, or a story, or part of a bigger writing project.

Happy writing!