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TSW Process Talks • Spring 2022

Welcome to our Spring 2022 Process Talks, facilitated by TSW artists, writers, and designers.

These ten 60- to 90-minute sessions focus on specific aspects of the writing process and creative practice. Some are toolkit-oriented, like how to pitch your work, how to interview, the do’s and don’ts of author photos, and how to find and build yourself a creative library. Others are guided sessions meant to give you new in-roads into your own work, like drawing out your voice though zines, performance as a way to revise your rough drafts, and leaning into the blank space of your voice. And others are conversational in nature, like the art of gossip, writing afraid, and dreams and the subconscious in our art. See the descriptions below. You can now sign up for them on our Online Store.

What I’m Talking About When I Talk About Writing
Joyce Chen, TSW Executive Director
March 16 at 5:30-7pm PST, $15

Why does the question “So what are you writing about?” elicit such feelings of dread, defensiveness, and embarrassment? How do we navigate talking about what we’re trying to write toward without getting in our own way or over-explaining the elusive nature of our art? In this process talk, we’ll dig into how to talk about our own writing in a way that feels true to the spirit of our work, in a generative, collaborative setting. The hope is that you can take what you learn from this talk and apply it to future cover letters, pitches, and awkward conference conversations, all.

Joyce Chen is a writer, editor, and community builder who draws inspiration from many coastal cities. She has covered entertainment and human interest stories for Rolling Stone, Refinery29, Architectural Digest, the New York Daily News, and People, among others, and her creative writing credits include Poets & Writers, Lit Hub, Narratively, and Slant’d, among others. She contributes op-eds to Paste, and writes book reviews for Orion and Hyphen magazines. She is a proud VONA alum (studying essay writing with Kiese Laymon in 2018) and was a 2019-2020 Hugo House fellow. 

Bone Maps: The Blank Space of Voice
Bretty Rawson, TSW Director of Programs
March 19, 2022 at 3-4:30pm PST, $15

Where does your voice disappear? What is the difference between a shape and a sound? Is there a vocabulary you were not supplied while growing up? If you don’t speak up, do you exist less in your mind? What visual cues do you not know you’re looking for when reading a room? What’s the difference between a pattern and a narrative? What’s your relationship to silence, and do you have any silent relationships currently? In this process talk, we’ll be creating bone maps, ink on paper drawings that give shape to memories, emotions, and the soft but everlasting architecturing of preverbal experiences. Similar to grief maps, this form of emotional forecasting encourages us to center healing in our creativity, improve our relationship to mistakes, and summon up all the forces that float around in our heads, hearts, and hallways. Or in a question, as Alexander Chee put it in his talk The Thief of Lives, “What shaped you at a time that you didn’t know you were being shaped?” Bring a few blank sheets of something—journal, napkin, Kitakana paper, etc—and your favorite ink. Nothing against them, but no pencils allowed.

Bretty Rawson is a digital storyteller, editing and curating at the intersection of technology and culture. He is the Digital Strategist at the Washington State Wine Commission, where he builds with and for the (grape) farming community. Bretty has an MFA in nonfiction from The New School for Public Engagement, and his writing has been published in PANK, The Rumpus, Nowhere Magazine, Narratively, and more. His platforms and projects have been featured in, among others, The New York Times, Heritage Radio Network, Real Simple, and LitHub, and he was awarded a 2020 Artist Residency from the Banff Center for Arts & Creativity for his manuscript, Shadow Boys, a collection of stories for the boys we abandon. He is a 2022 Teaching Artist for Write Doe Bay.

The Art of Gossip
Stuti Pachisia, Contributing Editor (poetry)
April 16, 2022, 11:00am-12:30pm PST, $15 (proceeds benefiting a non-profit TBD)

A secret is urgently whispered, magnified, frantically discussed, communally altered, scrutinized, overheard and oversold, and passed on in perpetuity: gossip is a form of telling stories that precedes storytelling. This process talk is interested in analyzing why gossip makes for such provocative story telling, by breaking down the form and looking at how it can be used in creating. I also hope to bring to the fore questions of ethics, investigation and unreliability that gossip tosses up. 

Stuti Pachisia is a doctoral candidate and poet from Cambridge, UK and Calcutta, India. Her previous work has been featured in Plainsongs, Rigorous, Soliloquies, Sheepshead Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, MOIDA, Claw & Blossom, The Rialto, Capsule Stories, The Seventh Wave, Cleaver and The Alipore Post. Currently, she is a Contributing Poetry Editor at The Seventh Wave. In 2020, she was a finalist for the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, a national award for Indian poets. She can be found tweeting @steewtweets.

Writing Afraid
Avi-Yona Israel, Director of Advocacy
April 24, 2022 at 2-3:30pm PST, free 

We will spotlight common concerns encountered by writers exploring controversial or sensitive topics, and work on navigating a path past uncertainty and into artistic and personal confidence.

Avi Israel is a tutor living in Chicago, IL and Director of Advocacy for The Seventh Wave. She is loved, trusted, experienced, educated, and open to change.

Author Headshots: Putting your best face forward
Meg Sykes, Art Director
April 25, 2022, 6-7:30pm PST, $15

In this session we will consider the dreaded — but essential! — author headshot, looking at a variety of examples to identify what makes one image more successful than another. We’ll talk about how to prepare for a shoot (be it DIY or professional) to ensure that the final product is not only usable but cohesive with your unique brand. Participants will leave with a checklist of dos and don’ts, a better understanding of how to land on a headshot that represents their best selves, and a super bonus discount code for a specially priced headshot session with Meg.

Meg Sykes has been photographing people since she got her first camera in middle school. In addition to working on projects in portrait, food, and fine art photography, Meg is Art Director for The Seventh Wave magazine and serves as data visualization specialist for the King County Auditor’s Office. Her coping mechanism for any stressful situation is to take more photos. She has so many photos. Meg has a master’s degree in Museology (museum collections management) and an extensive background in graphic art and design.

Drawing Out Your Voice
Bianca Ng, TSW Facilitator
April 29, 2022 at 5:30-7pm PST, $10

For this session, we’ll be utilizing a different part of our brains to think about our pieces and our process by refocusing our attention off the screen. We’ll each be making a mini zine about our piece or work at large, so be sure to have some printer paper (8”x11”), scissors, and any writing/drawing utensils you’d like to use handy (pens, markers, crayons, colored pens, highlighters). For anyone who hasn’t made a zine before, you’re in for a treat — and a brand new way of thinking about your work.

Bianca Ng (she/her) is a Cantonese American visual storyteller and facilitator, creating brave spaces for BIPOC folks to affirm their intersectional identities and creative voices. She began her career in NYC as a designer working at an award-winning branding studio and a fortune 500 company before becoming the Creative Director for The Cosmos, an intentional online & offline community for Asian women. With The Cosmos, she helped produce the first large-scale summit and curated marketplace celebrating local Asian women artists, brands, and small businesses in the tri-state area. Her work has been recognized by the Type Directors Club and featured in People of Craft, Ladies, Wine & Design, and more. 

Dreams and the Subconscious in Our Art
Teri Vela, Managing Editor (Poetry)
April 30, 2022, 9-10am PST, free

How does your subconscious feature in your art? Does it? What role do dreams play in your waking life? In this group discussion we will explore the dreamscapes of ourselves in the hopes of returning to them with our art. Time permitting, we will also do a meditative exercise for generating new work. Cozy jammies optional. 

Teri Vela (she/her) is a latinx queer poet, witch, mother, and former lawyer, born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada (Southern Paiute traditional lands). Her publications include poetry in Honey Literary Journal, Gordon Square Review, Witch Craft Magazine, The Seventh Wave Magazine and others. She is a reader for Split Lip Magazine and a managing editor for The Seventh Wave. Her poetry explores motherhood, reality, mental health, and leaving an unleavable place. She recently started Warren Wilson’s low residency MFA program in January of 2022. She loves the smell of tree sap stuck on clothes.

Embodied Processes
Patrycja Humienik, Director of Events
May 7, 2022 at 10-11:30am PST, $15 

In this interactive process talk, we’ll be experimenting with embodied approaches to our writing practice(s). We’ll try a few visualization and simple movement exercises for both generating new work and revising. We’ll also experiment with bringing a past self into the process, as a way of meditating on this Jenny Xie passage from “Tending” in Eye Level: “One self prunes violently/ at all the others/ thinking she’s the gardener.”

Patrycja Humienik, daughter of Polish immigrants, is a writer, editor, teaching artist, and performer based in Seattle, WA. She serves as Assistant Poetry Editor with Newfound and Events Director for The Seventh Wave, and works for the University of Washington’s Office of Equity & Justice in Graduate Programs. Patrycja has developed writing and movement workshops for the Henry Art Gallery, Write Doe Bay, Puksta Civic Engagement Foundation, in prisons, and elsewhere. Her poetry is featured/forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Waxwing, TriQuarterly, Poetry Northwest, Southeast Review, Columbia Journal, Passages North, and elsewhere. Patrycja is currently working on her first book of poems, Anchor Baby.

The Art of the Question
Sarah Neilson, Interviews Editor
May 9, 2022, 3-4:30pm PST, free

We will discuss how to ask open-ended questions, balancing presence, and steps to create a comfortable and open space that encourages creative, and ultimately interesting, interviews.

Sarah Neilson is a freelance culture writer, interviewer, and creative based in Seattle. They are the interviews editor at The Seventh Wave. They write about and report on all kinds of queer art, local literary culture, the ways in which creative people work and live, and sometimes even agriculture (which was their first career).

Finding Creative Libraries
Emilie Menzel, Managing Editor (poetry)
May 10, 2022, 5-6pm PST, free

Where do you go when actively seeking artistic inspiration? How do you look for the creatively spontaneous? In this session, Seventh Wave’s librarian-in-residence Emilie Menzel will share favorite resources for creative research. We will explore how to use libraries to support creative practice, digital creative libraries to follow, and a curation of open access resources for prompting and supporting writing.

Emilie Menzel is the librarian-in-residence and a managing poetry editor for The Seventh Wave. She is the curator of the gently haunted library The Gretel, a writer of poetry hybridities, and an art and humanities librarian studying intersections between the library and creativity. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MSLS (August 2022) from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.