Saturday, October 22, 2016

Weekend Writing Prompt

This month kicked off a new season of the RRVWP writing group gatherings. To celebrate, our weekend writing prompt is inspired by the October 15th writing exercise, which was inspired by an article called "A Sense of Place" by Donald Maass (Writer's Digest's Writer's Workbook Fall 2013).

Think back to an important setting in your past. Describe the setting using a combination of sensory details and emotions that the scene invokes. If you are currently working on a narrative, this combination of details and emotions could be used to describe the setting of your story.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Visit to the New Elk River Writing Project Site in Billings, Montana

We have a new writing project neighbor in Eastern Montana. I had the privilege of accompanying Rachel Bear of the National Writing Project on a visit to the proposed Elk River Writing Project Site in Billings, Montana September 30-October 1st.  We arrived on a beautiful day—the leaves were changing color in the valley of the Yellowstone River, and the sun shown on the beautiful rimrock along the edge of the canyon. First, we met in the English department of Montana State University in Billings.  University Director, Tami Haaland, a poet, met us on campus and brought us to the top floor of the building, where we met with faculty members, the press, teachers from the local schools, and Reno Charette, the American Indian Outreach Director. Rachel gave an overview of the National Writing Project, and I contributed my perspective as Director of the Red River Valley Writing Project.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Steve Stark to lead Editorial Cartoon Workshop for Local Teens

Steve Stark will lead an editorial cartoon workshop for teens on October 20, 2016 (The National Day on Writing) on the NDSU campus. His workshop will be offered during "The Write-In," an event to empower teens to express their views about issues in the coming election. Teens will be encouraged to submit their work to the the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and/or Letters to the Next President.

Steve Stark has thousands of published editorial cartoons and continues as a nearly 20-year cartoonist for The Forum of Fargo Moorhead.

He began political/editorial cartooning here on campus for The Spectrum as an undergraduate student and continued cartooning after graduate school at the University of Wisconsin/Superior, when he was named publisher of  the Lake County News Chronicle weekly newspaper in Two Harbors, Minnesota. During that time he also drew editorial cartoons for the Duluth News Tribune and the Hibbing Daily News in Minnesota. as well as some area weekly newspapers.

He and his family returned to Fargo in 1980 when he joined the NDSU Extension Service as a Communications Specialist with the  Agricultural Communications department. In addition to other duties, Steve produced cartoons and graphics that accompanied extension news features published statewide in North Dakota newspapers and NDSU Extension Service teaching materials.

Steve was named a North Dakota Council on  the Arts Artist-in-Residence teaching cartooning and has taught cartooning classes for The Plains Art Museum, West Fargo Park Department and Trollwood Performing Arts School.

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.