Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Link Corral: My Creative Muscle Class & Gatsby Ballet & the Etiquette of Letters of Rec

I discuss the benefits of writing exercises (and shamelessly shill for Saturday’s class at the Writer’s Center):

“I can’t say that writing exercises will burn calories (if only!), but writing exercises definitely will develop and stretch and build your writing muscles. That’s why I put together a one-day class composed entirely of guided writing exercises: Flex Your Creative Muscles.

“The idea is that these exercises will challenge your mind in a new and exciting way, pushing you to come up with a forgotten memory, perhaps, or an insight into the characters in the novel you’ve been working on, or the opening of a story that you can’t wait to finish at home, or a new way of viewing the familiar.”

Read on.  And register for the class here.


The Gatsby ballet returns to the Kennedy Center November 2-6!  Learn more and get tickets here.


Do you need a letter of recommendation, say, for grad school apps, colonies, fellowships, grants, job apps, and so on?  (I hope you’re getting my point that if you’re a modern-day writer, there will come a point where you WILL need a letter of rec!)

Then you must read writer Cathy Day’s FAQ about the etiquette of asking for a letter of recommendation and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what all goes into these letters:

“Don’t you just use a boilerplate letter?
“No, absolutely not. I spend at least 1-2 hours writing each of these letters. Remember: I’ve been on admission committees. I know my letters will be read by people in my profession. Unless they know me personally or by reputation, the only way my letter can truly help you is if I write it in such a way that I make a good case on your behalf. Of course, you have to make that case too—with your writing sample and statement of purpose. Seriously, these letters are not just some formality, some hoop I’m helping you jump through. When I vouch for you, I’m staking my reputation on you as a writer, scholar, and teacher (if it’s a program where you’ll be given the opportunity to teach). I’m saying to Schools A, B, and C that they won’t be sorry if they accept you. I’m saying you’re smart, talented, sane, mature.  If you turn out not to be those things, then the next letter School A gets from me will matter just a little bit less.”


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.