Thursday, June 9, 2016

AuTHor Thursday: Heather Talma

Today's featured writer is Heather Talma, a recent high school graduate from Fargo North. She recently earned a gold medal for her flash fiction story "The Water Prince" in the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. 
Heather grew up in Fargo. She has lived in the same house on the same one-way street her entire life. She has had what she terms a basically typical life with her family--she is the older of two--and their cats. A few years ago, Heather published Out of the Silver Worldavailable as an ebook. She finished high school this year and does not plan to attend college.

Heather graciously answered some questions for the readers of the blog. 
Why do you write?
I write because I have stories. They start to form themselves in my head and I’m quick to get them put down in words. It’s been really nice these past few years because I’ve had my school tablet always with me, so I can write in spare moments in school, or at home when my sibling’s using the desktop computer, without having to worry about transferring it to type later. But mostly, it’s the stories. I write because I like to, because I always have. I write because it’s what I do. Because the stories are there and I want to put them down. 
Who encouraged you to be a writer?
My mother, Trina L. Talma. She’s an author herself of several books (the ones I’ve read are quite good), and growing up I looked up to her, so I started writing to be like her. And then I just kept writing. She also introduced me to the publishing service I’ve used for my book, and will use for others in the future. And she’s also the reason that my name on the cover reads “Heather R. Talma” in copy of hers. But she’s read a lot of my writing and helped me out a lot over the years, and that’s really nice.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The RRVWP and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards: A Trip to the National Awards Ceremony


Last week, I, Kelly Sassi, traveled to New York City to attend the affiliate conference for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and to see the national ceremony at Carnegie Hall. 
Each of these portfolio winners received a $10,000 cash award.
 Established in 1923 by Maurice R. Robinson, the founder of Scholastic Inc., the Awards program was designed “to give those high school students who demonstrate superior talent and achievement in things of the spirit and of the mind at least a fraction of the honors and rewards accorded to their athletic classmates.”  A bold idea at the time, this mission is still relevant today, as proven by the more than 300,000 works of art and writing  submitted this year for adjudication at the regional level in the Awards’ 28 categories, which include poetry, painting, architecture, short story, fashion design and more.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Weekend Writing: A Year-Long Trip

If you could take three people with you on a year-long trip around the world (all expenses paid, of course) who would they be and why?

Where would you go?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekend Writing: Childhood Literacy

Think back to your childhood. List as many literacy (reading and writing) moments you can think of. Choose one moment and tell a story about it.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weekend Writing: Last Reading

What is the last thing you read? It could be a sign or a book or an assignment sheet. How will that reading affect your life? Or will it not?

Alternative: Imagine that the last thing that you read is going to change the direction of your life forever. Tell that story.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Teacher Feature - Kelsey Johnson

This week's featured teacher is Kelsey Johnson. Currently, Kelsey is teaching sophomore English at West Fargo High School and coaching speech at West Fargo Sheyenne. Before becoming a Packer/Mustang, she taught, coached, and directed at LaMoure High School for four years. She holds her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Washington State and her B.S. in English Education from NDSU. Additionally, she is currently serving as the Northeast Rep for the ND Council of Teachers of English and on the ND Roughrider District Committee for the National Speech and Debate Association. Kelsey became a Red River Valley Writing Project fellow in 2012.
 
Why do you read?
A lot of my reading is done for speech and/or theatre work, honestly. I rarely will read a fiction novel unless a cover or title really pops out at me (yep, I judge a book by its cover). I love reading titles out of the Barnes and Noble business and self-help aisles, especially those related to leadership and habit formation. Simon Sinek's Start With Why was a

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Weekend Writing: "Do Over"

If you had one "do over" for your life, what would it be? Explain.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Weekend Writing: To Exaggerate a Tale

Think about an incident that happened to you and exaggerate in the telling. Make it into a tall tale.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

AuTHor Thursday: Nancy Devine

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Nancy Devine, a three time Pushcart Prize nominee, is a writer, whose poetry, short fiction and essays have appeared in a number of online and print literary magazines and journals, including Bellevue Literary ReviewMidwestern Gothic-A Literary JournalStirring-A Literary CollectionBerfoisReferential Magazine and Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. She loves to cook, garden and figure things out. She teaches high school English in Grand Forks, North Dakota, where she lives with her husband and their rambunctious rescue collie.

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Nancy Devine is not only a dedicated writer, but her involvement in the Red River Valley Writing Project has helped to encourage other teachers to write and to share their writing as well. Thus, we join with her in celebrating the forthcoming publication of her poetry chapbook, The Dreamed. A chapbook is a short collection of writings, which might be poems, prose or even a combination of both.

Pam Fisher provides a glimpse into Nancy's chapbook:
 "In this haunting and heart-rending series of interconnected poems, Nancy Devine’s readers accompany the narrator after her brother drowns himself. Tightly phrased evocative lyrics move each poem to explore the “questions unanswered” as together reader and narrator inhabit the family’s tragedies." 

Nancy's chapbook is being published by Finishing Line Press, and pre-orders can be purchased here. Advanced sales are April 18, 2016-June 17, 2016. The pre-orders affect the press run, so if you are intrigued by Nancy's poetry, consider pre-ordering a copy! The official release date is August 12, and pre-orders are slated to be shipped August 22, 2016. 


In celebration of her upcoming publication, Nancy graciously shared a glimpse into her writing world by answering a few questions for the blog. 

Why do you write?
Sometimes I write because some thought nudges me. Other times, especially if I'm reading around, I come across an idea or term that I want to consider, so I write about it. For me, playing around with language is pure delight. Quite often, the sheer pleasure of hanging out with words makes me write. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: Check out Pose, Wobble, Flow program on NWP Radio

I was introduced to the book Pose, Wobble, Flow as I learned about the College-Ready Writers Program. NWP radio has done a show with the authors of the book, Cindy O'Donnell Allen and Antero Garcia. If you are looking for a little "Wednesday Wisdom," check out this show at the following link: Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction