We recently posted an interview with our very own and very charming Jaclyn Perlmutter, who leads our writing workshop for women incarcerated in Bayview Correctional Facility.
Jaclyn asked readers of The Narrator to help her by sending in postcards she could bring to Bayview to inspire writing. We got a whole bunch of very cool postcards (including some from my father — thanks Dad!), so thanks for sending them in! Feel free to keep them coming!
I thought it would be fun to share a small sampling of the postcards here so everyone could use them for inspiration. It is a simple exercise. Just scroll through the photos of the cards, pick one or more that catch your attention for any reason, and then write. You could describe a card, write in the voice of anyone in one or more of the cards, pick an image that speaks to you, or write anything else that comes to you. I have conveniently placed the read more thingee here so that you can click it when you are ready to try the prompt so I don’t ruin the surprise. (more…)
Michele Gilliam brings The Narrator’s first theater review! Michele is a former NY Writers Coalition intern and continues to volunteer for the organization. She’s also a budding playwright, a blogger, and a Facebook-status-updater.
Often discussed in a sociological context, poverty is a distant phenomenon for many of us. It is what we critique in our college classes, lament among friends, and romanticize in rap lyrics. But at times, too many of us choose to dismiss it.
In her current off-Broadway play, Hurt Village, accomplished playwright Katori Hall compels our attention with characters whose struggles are profound, yet common. Through their stories, the alienating nature of poor people’s lives is eliminated, at least temporarily. With dynamic performances from the actors, we cannot help but feel for people who live with unimaginable pain, even if we do not particularly identify with their issues. The combination of great storytelling and acting makes for a good theater experience, even when our connection to the characters is made by empathizing with their misery, their hurt.
I find one of the more difficult things to describe on the page to be a party or other type of gathering where there are scores of people simultaneously engaged in various activities such as eating, drinking, talking, walking, smoking, dancing, slipping, falling, singing, listening, standing, watching, wandering, wallowing, etc. And so, quite often, as a prompt, I like to first read aloud a certain passage detailing such an event from the excellent and very hilarious French writer Grégoire Bouillier’s nonfiction book entitled The Mystery Guest (also known as, en français, L’invité mystère). (more…)
I have a lot of respect for the brave souls who attempt to strike crossover gold on the silver screen — and a little bit of envy for producers whose job it is to pore over novels, plays, and comic books and watch hours of television in search of that next box office hit. Although seemingly the best job ever, the producer’s job of determining material for film adaptations can’t be an easy one with so much material to turn to.
Once a project is established, though, the only person who might have it “worse,” is the screenwriter faced with a crisis of faith and translation: What aspects of the material should they stick to? Where might they take creative license? What translates well on the big screen? In other words, how do we make everyone happy?
Remember her? Sacheen Littlefeather caused a crapstorm of controversy in 1973 when she declined the Best Actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando at the 45th Annual Academy Awards. Brando had won for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather – one of the most iconic performances in movie history, and to protest the unfair treatment of Native Americans in Hollywood, he recruited Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather to speak for him at the awards ceremony. It is a moment that lives in Oscar infamy, regarded by more than a few film buffs and Oscar Party armchair critics as a strong indication of Brando’s sanctimony and his growing reputation as an eccentric Hollywood outsider. (more…)