A few reports from the field…

This week, my eight-year-old Creative Nonfiction workshop observed a milestone: our one-thousandth essay crossing the workshop table.

Congratulations, all–that number belongs to all of us.

I get questions all the time from folks wondering what’s going on with all of us, and thought this was an appropriate moment to collect some current(ish) news. Here are a few tidbits from a handful of the many delicious people who have called themselves CNFers over the years:

Lyra Halprin’s essay “The Sequoia in the Storm” (which, yes, some of us saw in workshop last fall) appears in the current issue of California Northern.

Kate Washington’s essay “Marrow” (which, yes, some of us saw in workshop last summer) was a finalist for the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction, and will appear in the next issue of the Bellingham Review. She has also recently finished a draft of her novel, The Energy Crisis.

Mark Willett has an essay in the brand-new anthology Animal Companions, Animal Doctors, Animal People: Poems, Essays, and Stories on our Essential Connections.

Adam Russ just landed a book contract with Lyons Press for Bloodhound in Blue: The True Tales of Police Dog JJ and His Two-Legged Partner, which he’s now got to finish by the end of the summer!

Jerry White had his essay “Names Etched In Stone” published in the Forum section of the Sacramento Bee on May 27th for Memorial Day.

Denise Hoffner performs some live nonfiction with Porchlight: A Storytelling Series at San Francisco’s Verdi Club this coming Monday, June 18th. Her story “Concensus” also appeared last year in Gotta Have It, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

Anne Hoffmann has been busy writing a play about Gertrude Stein.

After writing a 33-chapter memoir in a single year, Melanie Madden is “taking a pause (for approximately 40 days and 40 nights) to read and write and relax in the humble burg of Victorville, California” before launching into the creative nonfiction MFA at University of Arizona this August.

Jamaica Ritcher is in Moscow, Idaho, finishing up her MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of Idaho. Come the fall she’ll be lecturing in creative nonfiction and technical writing, and continues working on a book-length piece about, among other things, identity, pregnancy, and historically illegal abortion called (tentatively) A Context for Dying.

Karma Waltonen’s book The Simpsons in the Classroom is out. She’s also got a short piece from workshop in the anthology She’s Shameless, a chapter from her diss in a journal, and a piece on time travel and Star Trek about to come out in a book. This summer she’ll be writing a chapter on Dr Who for another book, and editing like crazy, since she’s now editor of both Prized Writing and Margaret Atwood Studies.

Kathryn Palmieri writes that she is experimenting with the combination of creative writing and process painting: “I do this with Cheryl McVey, who has a lovely website with a good sample of my work (although it is not labeled for privacy): www.yourcreativejourney.com. The one I most love is under the “About” section—the woman sitting under the magical blue tree.”

Jon Turner notes: “Though working as a full-time criminal defense attorney I am (slowly) working on a collection of memoir-related essays revolving around baseball heroes of my youth. As I continue to participate in Rae’s wonderful workshops I truly feel like I’m finding my writing ‘voice,’ and I hope to soon start trying to get my work out there to the public.”

Stevie Taylor approaches the first anniversary of her ‘California Sketches’ column in the Sacramento Bee. She notes: “This last year has been like some kind of miracle. I’ve asked for what I want to do and most often someone says yes… While I have a degree in history from UCLA, and a Masters in sculpture that required a lot of theory-reading and -writing, I’m not trained as a writer. Now I have a list of issues to explore, from solar feasibility to water management. It’s the best way ever for me to satisfy my endless curiosity. And at some point soon, I’ll make progress on the book concepts that have been piling.”

Ann Kanter has been traveling in Japan, and says: “The Japanese are showing me how to speedily and gracefully move into a global world without cutting off our roots. All of it is influencing my writing on themes of migration and the transformation of my own family culture.”

Shannon Masvidal just came out of a writing slump and wrote six new poems that she’s going to take the leap and submit. She also continues blogging about fun stuff at inkandmaple.blogspot.com.

Rebecca Mercer Leduc spent some time in the Côte d’Ivoire this winter, and just moved to Paso Robles. She continues blogging at california49.wordpress.com.

Julialicia Case’s fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in journals including Quarterly West, Descant, and Carolina Quarterly, and a recent essay was included in the Prompted anthology published by Philadelphia Stories. She currently teaches at Millikin University in Illinois, and was the winner of The University of New Orleans’ Study Abroad Program in Arts and Writing/The Pinch’s nonfiction contest in 2011.

Naomi J. Williams’ fiction continues to appear in all kinds of great places, including A Public Space, Sycamore Review, and BOMB Magazine. Naomi’s blog: naomijwilliams.wordpress.com.

Jane Churchon’s essay “The Dead Book,” which first appeared in The Sun, was selected for Best American Essays 2010.

Jonathan Danielson finally has a home for his sports writing! Check out hittoleftfield.com.

Following the publication of Peach Farmer’s Daughter, Brenda Nakamoto has begun work on a second nonfiction project… “interviewing Japanese Americans connected with the Japanese internment and US military service during WW II. I am still searching to find my voice and a form in this writing subject—meanwhile I am experimenting in fiction and nonfiction, and toying with craft elements like point of view, scene and movement in time. I might somehow carve this into a memoir, but I don’t know yet. I continue failing in my drafts (but failing a little bit better each time). How I feel about my project?: enlightened, frustrated, overwhelmed and soothed.”

Indeed. To the next 1,000 new things.

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