Wake up and write! Now you can subscribe to the Literary Kitchen for weekly writing prompts. You’ll get a new writing assignment / writing prompt emailed to you every Saturday morning. Easy and affordable way to keep your writing practice fresh. $5 a month. Cancel any time.
NEW CLASS! – ONE SPOT LEFT
ONE WEEK NOIR AND DYSTOPIAN FICTION INTENSIVE
Bring your cynicism and your twisted imagination to the page this winter to write one killer story in a week.
Appropriate for both new and experienced fictions writers.
With daily assignments and exercises, you’ll learn the tools of noir and dystopian fiction–classic genres that embrace a realistic fatalism.
Class size in super limited. Sign up early!
LIT STAR TRAINING – CLASS FULL
January 21 – March 20
A new session of Lit Star Training – the 8-week writing course taught by Ariel Gore – starts January 21st, 2017. Writers in Lit Star Training spend at least a few hours each week on their writing and online critiques. You can log in any time of the day or night. Writers in the group are new and seasoned, wanting to work on memoir or fiction. The class works as well for those writing to weekly assignments and for people who are beginning or working on longer projects.
The class is $295. You can pay a $95 deposit right here to save your spot.
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PERSONAL ESSAY INTENSIVE
Online Class Taught by Ariel Gore
March 20 – 31
The personal essay is one of the most enduring and adaptable literary forms, allowing for experimentation and a dissolution of the traditional boundaries between memoir and journalism. Over the 12-day intensive we’ll write every day, survey the form, complete five new essays, explore the market, and polish at least one personal essay for publication.
Workshop size is limited, so please sign up early.
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LIT STAR TRAINING
April 1 – May 28
A new session of Lit Star Training – the 8-week writing course taught by Ariel Gore – starts April 1st, 2017. Writers in Lit Star Training spend at least a few hours each week on their writing and online critiques. You can log in any time of the day or night. Writers in the group are new and seasoned, wanting to work on memoir or fiction. The class works as well for those writing to weekly assignments and for people who are beginning or working on longer projects.
The class is $295. You can pay a $95 deposit right here to save your spot.
Sometimes we get requests for scholarships for Ariel Gore’s online and in-person writing workshops. Use this button if you’d like to donate to the scholarship fund! Feel free to make a note if you want your donation to support a writer in a particular circumstance or community, or go toward a specific class, and note if you’d like your donation to be anonymous.
CLASS FULL – email arielfiona@gmail for waiting list
Online class taught by Ariel Gore
December 18 – January 1
You won’t have time for holiday stress & consumerist brain-suck. You’ll be writing. The Literary Kitchen’s most popular class — sign up early! — is the Winter Break Intensive taught by Ariel Gore. You’ll get 12 assignment in 14 days December 18th to January 1st. Replace the insanity of the holidays with pure creativity. You’ll generate lots of new material quickly & be ready for an amazingly productive new year.
The intensive costs $185.
AUSTIN IN OCTOBER - RETREAT FULL email arielfiona@gmail
Wayward Writers Retreat and Writing Workshop with Ariel Gore
October 21 – 24
This fall, we’re taking over author Spike Gillespie’s beautiful Tiny T Ranch outside Austin, Texas. Ten minutes from the Austin airport. Twenty minutes from downtown Austin.
Gather with your community, write, recharge, and write some more. We’ll create new stories & revise stories in progress, focusing on generating new material and pushing ourselves to new edges in our work. The Tiny T ranch is quiet, gorgeous, and recently renovated. The sky is amazing. All the fresh air you can breathe. The stars at night are big and bright.
Friday, October 21
Arrive and make your way to the Tiny T Ranch – some airport pick ups available!
Workshop starts at 5 p.m.
Saturday, October 22
Spend the morning writing, exploring the ranch, or checking out Austin.
Workshop Noon – 3 p.m.
Ariel Gore and Spike Gillespie reading at the Molly Ivins Pavillion back at the ranch – 6 p.m.
Sunday, October 23
Workshop 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Spend the afternoon writing, exploring the ranch, or checking out Austin.
Firepit storytelling at sunset.
Monday, October 24
Depart – some airport rides available!
Basic breakfasts will be provided. For lunches, snacks, and dinners, bring food to prepare for yourself or to share in the huge communal kitchen.
Only one room left! It’s a private room!
Workshop + single occupancy private room for the three nights $525
Group size is strictly limited, so please sign up early. Email arielfiona at gmail with any questions.
*Friendly dogs on the property.
“I think about how Anabelle seemed to believe that sex was wrong for girls like us–and how just about everyone agreed, even the bible. But I am that kind of girl. And somehow, deep inside–in a place that has survived the shame that sets my life on fire every day–I know that they are all just full of shit. I just know that sex is okay, even for girls. And if god and the bible don’t know that, well then god and the bible are full of shit, too.”
The God of Sluts
By Chanelle Gallant
“Well, then I guess there’s no God.”
I decide this as I walk home from my best friend Anabelle’s house in the suburbs of Ottawa. I’ve just told her about my first consensual blowjob, with a boy named Julius. After he came in my mouth, I spat it out and said “no offense.” He laughed. I told her that part, too–how I was accidentally funny. She looked down at the ground under the swings in the empty playground where we were slowly swaying, her perfectly highlighted strawberry blond waves hanging around her face and said, “I didn’t think you were that kind of girl.”
Oh. Shit. Maybe not so funny?
Hot shame rushes across my face, the shame that accompanies every waking moment of being a fifteen year old girl.
On my walk home I think about what kind of girl I am. I think about how Anabelle seemed to believe that sex was wrong for girls like us–and how just about everyone agreed, even the bible. But I am that kind of girl. And somehow, deep inside–in a place that has survived the shame that sets my life on fire every day–I know that they are all just full of shit. I just know that sex is okay, even for girls. And if god and the bible don’t know that, well then god and the bible are full of shit, too. I choose blowjobs and joking with boys about their come over a god that would hate girls like me.
Fifteen years later on a bright August afternoon I’m sitting at a Prisoners’ Justice Day vigil at the Don Jail in Toronto. I’ve been going to protests and vigils and actions for years. This one, though, was the first time I’d ever seen a preacher speak: a tall, thin Black man with warm eyes and a white collar. He stands on a little patch of grass and motions to the jail behind him as he says, “The lives of people locked up matter because all lives deserve dignity. All life is divine.” I feel something old crack and move in my chest.
I’d only even gone to the event because I was hoping to see an ex girlfriend who I’d broken up with in the spring. Our short romance ended when I slammed the phone down on her after she stood me up for the last time–but fuck I still missed her. And now here I was on this little patch of grass outside the city jail trying to look unaffected while my eyes welled up. Quiet down now, heart.
But whatever steel wall I’d erected at fifteen to protect my slutty queer self from god’s Army of Slut-Shamers started to crack. Here now was a different kind of god, a god that apparently saw the value in us all and had bigger things to worry about than what I did in bed. Still. “I am an atheist,” I reminded myself as I left the vigil, a little horrified and angry at my tears. I held my head high, my kitten heels digging into the grass, so the ex would fully appreciate that any tears I had were not for her.
I didn’t give it much more thought until a few years later when I was in Laos sitting in the passenger seat of a jeep barreling down a gravel road, windows open, dust blowing in my hair. I was living in Thailand working with a sex workers’ organization and needed to renew my visa so I popped across the border to Laos, figuring I’d see some of the country before returning to Bangkok. I stayed with a friendly Australian ex-pat who kept his lechery limited to discreetly glancing at my tits when he thought I wasn’t looking. He put me up on his couch and offered to show me around. So that’s how I came to be driving through the rural roads of southern Laos in his jeep with a small piece of bamboo in my hand. We bumped and shook over the rough roads and waved back at the kids in school uniforms piled into the back of a truck ahead of us. It had been months since I’d seen any of my too-radical-for-religion friends. I looked down at the bamboo, noticed its minute and exquisite symmetry and thought: “God.”
That night, alone in my bungalow room near the border, I looked at the book I was carrying. Good god, could I have been any more earnest? It was Wayne Dyer’s Your Sacred Self. “I’m not religious,” I’d reassured myself when I bought it at the second-hand book shop in Vientiane, “I’m just curious.”
Looking at the dorky yellow cover of that book, remembering the years I spent in Cathedrals (“I just find them comforting!”), and my original college major (religious studies) I realized two things: First, that I was a Christian and had been circling it for years, holding tight to my threads of denial as the evidence mounted.
Second, that I was a white woman from the Global North having a spiritual awakening in the Global South. The horror: I was Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. I’m an intersectional activist, an abortion-loving queer lady of the night. Surely if god had any mercy, she would make me anyone but Elizabeth Gilbert discovering anything but her Christianity. In a Buddhist country colonized by a Christian one, no less, all of this having started while listening to a Black Christian preacher whose faith communities were born in resistance to genocide and whiteness.
I whipped my copy of Your Sacred Self across the room in rage, crying as it smashed into the wall. I didn’t know what was more humiliating: being in my own personal Eat, Pray, Love or that I had been heading toward it for years and didn’t know it.
Chanelle Gallant is a writer, educator and long time activist in intersectional sex working and feminist communities. She has writing upcoming in Make/Shift and The Rumpus. You can find her at www.chanellegallant.com
Gather with your writing community to create new stories, revise stories in progress, and get kind and excellent feedback. Appropriate for writers at all levels working or desiring to work on short stories, memoirs, novels, or essays.
$250 for the writing workshop
*Limited Lodging available in the retreat house for an additional fee ($50 – $125 for both night depending on your bed/privacy preferences). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
$50 deposit saves your spot.
For a super-limited time . . .
Get free copies of both The End of Eve, Ariel Gore’s award-winning memoir, and The People’s Apocalypse, edited by Ariel Gore and Jenny Forrester, when you sign up for a Literary Kitchen writing class in October while supplies last.
Or get both book for $10 — postage included! Replace the copies your friends stole & stock up for Christmas.
by Lisbeth Coiman
Let life hit you in the face
And scar you.
Let it rip through your heart
And squeeze it.
Let it grab your brain
And melt it.
Let it shatter your expectations.
Let the way back disappear,
But follow the new path
Opened in front of you.
Let it take you to a wrong turn,
And miss the exit.
Left and right.
Let the road take you
Where you didn’t want to go,
But get there anyway.
And vice versa.
Let your soul
Heal on paper.