Ten Reasons to Retreat

This morning, I was thinking about the list concept and the Ian & the Blockheads song, “Reasons to be Cheerful, part 3” came to my mind. I loved Punk and New Wave in the late 70s, and so this song was frequently played in alternative clubs, as well as their other massive hit, “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.” Anyway, I digress.

Here is a Top Ten Reasons to Attend a 2021 Bending Genres Retreat:

  1. You have never been to the Southwest, or if you have, never been to the high desert.
  2. You’d like a break from emails, cell phones, business memos, ZOOM readings or conferences, monotony.
  3. It’s been tough to write lately. Nothing like actual 2020, but still.
  4. You miss your tribe. Or you want a new one. And gourmet food prepared by a highly skilled chef.
  5. The last trip you took, you had to bump elbows “hello.”
  6. You’ve never seen a roadrunner, or stayed in a room of same name.
  7. You like to bend genres, but you’re not quite sure how.
  8. The only retreat you ever took, there were a bunch of people in yoga pants who shouldn’t have been wearing them.
  9. You consider yourself the sort of person who is an outsider.
  10. You want exposure to writers you don’t even know exist.

If you have ticked off any of these boxes, then visit our website, and look over the information. We’re roughly 1/2 full at both locations. Don’t wait! Every day another person contacts us asking questions and considering the possibilities.

Workshops & Retreats

Hi friends! We wrapped our third 2021 Bending Genres weekend workshop with Freesia McKee on March 19- 21. Her course, “Crustacean Adaptation: Writing Hermit Crab Forms” was so much fun! Many of the writers wrote abstract and unusual pieces. What I love so much about these weekends is the freedom to take off, try new ideas and forms, and this weekend did not disappoint. Thanks, Freesia and participants. Also Meg for producing, and Corey for the IT support. Next, in April, we welcome Wendy Oleson back. She will be teaching “Big Characters.” More information here:

https://bendinggenres.com/writing-groups/

Meg Tuite and I have made our deposits for our two week long Bending Genres 2021 Retreats. Our dates are August 24- 30 at Synergia Ranch, in Santa Fe: and September 11- 17 at Cedar Valley in Wisconsin. We have already approached the writers who were all set for our 2020 retreats before the pandemic hit. We had to cancel both last year. Our hopes are that with vaccinations picking up speed, and Meg already received hers; I have my first shot on Monday, March 29. These spots are going to go quickly. There is more information on our website:

https://bendinggenres.com/retreats/

Our next issue of Bending Genres Journal, March/ April will be forthcoming on April 6. It’s going to be fantastic!

Been reading a lot of good books lately: David Tromblay’s As You Were; Nicholas Jennings Lightfoot; Jess Bruder’s Nomadland, and William Walsh’s forty-five american boys. What are you reading? Would you recommend it?

A Couple of Busy Weeks

Two weeks ago, from Wednesday, March 3 through Sunday, March 7, my company, Bending Genres was a sponsor of an event called @SMOLfair. It was complete great fortune that I came across this event online, in lieu of not attending my first AWP in ten years. Six writers got together (I knew 1/2 of them) and decided to host an alternative to AWP, even though both were to be held virtually. I reached out to Jason Teal, EIC of Heavy Feather Review on TW: “Is there still time to get Bending Genres involved?” Jason said, “SURE! Here is what you need to do,” and he put me in contact with Jesi Bender, EIC of whiskeytitbooks. She got immediately back to me, and Bending Genres was added to the virtual BookFair! Then, through several conversations with Meg, and Adam and many others on our team, we created a flyer:

https://twitter.com/rgvaughan/status/1367845506299363329/photo/1

And decided to host our very first Bending Genres reading, Friday, March 5 at 9:00 pm EST.

Dominique Christina was our featured reader. She transformed the entire zoom room of all 60 of us!!! DC read three fearless, gut-wrenching poems.

Aimee Parkison read “The Renovation,” a fantastic flash piece!

And Sara Lippmann pinch-hit well beyond the park, reading “Neighbors,” from her upcoming collection, JERKS.

Three fantastic bending poems were shared by Despy Boutris.

Kaj Tanaka read a sad, hilarious, dark flash piece.
Tommy Dean read his stormy flash. Everyone was mesmerized.
Kim Magowan read her exceptional flash piece, “Rascaly Rabbit.”
Nancy Stohlman read her exotic and enthralling flash, “The Butterfly Children.”

We also had four OPEN MIKE readers and all were exceptional: Kona Morris, Ben Woodard, David Byron Queen, and Rogan Kelly. OH WHAT A NIGHT!!!

In addition, we gave away Bending Genres merch: John Steines won a BG mug! Victoria Buitron won our BG journal, pen and bookmark! Yunya Yang won our BG Anthology! Brittany Terwilliger won our Ron Kibble tee! Jason Teal won our BG Logo tee! And our GRAND PRIZE was the winner gets to select his/her free Bending Genres weekend workshop. Amy Q. Scott took that prize.

I want to thank Meg Tuite for co-hosting, and helping to envision and make this event happen. Also, to the readers and guests who made that Friday reading so spectacular! And to SMOLfair for providing the backdrop and support.

Two more things: Bending Genres found out recently that Leah Christianson has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her “Strawberry Jackknife” which we published in Nov/Dec 2020, Issue 18: https://bendinggenres.com/strawberry-jackknife/ Huge Congratulations, Leah! We are rooting for you.

And on a personal note, on March 1, I sent my latest manuscript to a publisher. Fingers and toes crossed. It’s a good month. Hope yours has been the same.

It’s a Wrap

Hi friends! We held our February Bending Genres weekend workshop over last weekend. Sara Lippmann returned for her second time, and taught “Rattling the Bars: limits, pushback, and possibilities of language.” Her course was superb, with multiple teaching examples from diverse, complex writers. And her prompts were magnificent! Here is a cross-section of what some of our feedback was:

“I was dazzled all weekend by the writing produced in this workshop.”

“I love the freedom of language and the possibilities it opens in me.”

“This workshop has been nothing less than stellar, what a transformative experience.”

As merely an observer, I have to agree. Watching the course manifest into so many deep, resourceful, risky materials. Then the soft touch of tremendously helpful feedback, not only from Sara, but from all 22 writers who showed up. In a time of much doubt, and dubious realities, to have a weekend like this feels like such hope, and such tenderness.

In March (19-21) we are excited to host Freesia McKee. Her course is Crustacean Adaptation: Writing Hermit Crab Forms. (A more in-depth description is on our BG website): https://bendinggenres.com/writing-groups/

Also, on a personal note, I had a rather bizarro piece published at Daily Drunk Mag on Valentine’s Day. It’s “This Long Day” and you can find it here: https://dailydrunkmag.com/2021/02/13/this-long-day/

I’ve been writing and submitting again, and it feels so, so good! I have two other pieces coming soon from Unpublishable Zine, and more out on the horizon. It’s been a few years since I have felt like I am back “at it,” and for whatever reason(s), I am so grateful that the floodgates are open!

We are also currently open for poetry, fiction and CNF submissions at Bending Genres. Information about our Submittable page is on our website: www.bendinggenres.com. Click on the About tab.

I’m reading As You Were by David Tromblay (Dzanc Books) and So Fast, So Close by William R. Soldan. They are both fantastic! More to come on these. What are you reading lately?

See you on the WWW!!!

New Publications

New Publication

Hi friends! It’s always a good day, deep into Winter, to mention my first publication of 2021. I have two short hybrid pieces up at No Contact Magazine, issue 17: https://www.nocontactmag.com/issue-seventeen. I’m so grateful to editors, Guaraa & Elliott.

I also want to link back to a piece I had published last September, “Illusions,” at Pioneertown Lit: https://www.pioneertownlit.com/robert-vaughan. Thanks for this, EIC Brenna Kischuk.

Next week, my experimental piece, “This Long Day,” will be published at Daily Drunk Magazine.

I’m grateful for several things of late, but to be back in the submission game is truly among the top. It’s great to be writing again, also. Working on my first all poetry collection. More on that to come.

In case you missed it, Bending Genres Issue 19 is live: www.bendinggenres.com.

Also, the wondrous Sara Lippmann is teaching our February Bending Genres weekend workshop, and it’s full. In March, we host Freesia McKee, and in April we welcome Wendy Oleson who taught her “Found in the Forest” in April 2020. More information here: https://bendinggenres.com/writing-groups/

Take care. Stay safe. Be well. See you on the webs.

Spring into Summer

Hi friends! In Wisconsin, we look forward to the longest day of sunlight during each year, which arrives this week, on the Summer Solstice. We’ve had stunning days of searing sunlight, but cooler temps and this makes for frolicking outside a tad easier than holing up in one’s basement.

I’m also excited for my upcoming Bending Genres weekend workshop- Stop Making Sense, June 19- 21. It’s filled up, with 20 writers total, and many older and new friends have signed aboard. I look forward to a variety of innovative explorations. Here is a course description: https://bendinggenres.com/product/robert-vaughan-stop-making-sense-writing-the-absurd-meaningless-whimsical-and-silly-june-19-21/

In July, Meg Tuite will be leading our BG weekend workshop with something to do with violence in writing. More to come on that, and the dates!

Jonathan Cardew, our Microviews Editor, asked Leonora Desar to choose her Fave Five pieces from May and her selections are here: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/06/15/leonora-desar-my-fave-five/

Recently, Michael Maxwell wrote a lovely and creative review of our first Bending Genres Anthology. He notes ten particular pieces, some of which have been read in Jonathan Cardew’s new series, Bending Genres Presents: https://bendinggenres.com/2020/06/17/bending-genres-anthology-review-by-michael-gillan-maxwell/

Soon, we will have our Bending Genres t-shirts available for sale on our Merch page: https://bendinggenres.com/bg-store/

And that, my friends, is a wrap. Stay safe, and love each other.

 

 

 

Bending Genres Issue 15

Hi Friends!

It’s hard to believe we launched our 15th issue of Bending Genres yesterday! With over 35 pieces, hybrid in style: poetry, flash fiction and creative non-fiction. This is a superb issue and I have to thank our excellent, devoted editors: Jonathan Cardew, Emily Bertholf, Corey Holzman, Connie Malloy, Sara Comito, Davon Loeb, Samuel Fox, Len Kuntz, David O’ Connor, and Meg Tuite. Also huge thanks to KJ for the upload, and to Adam Robinson for that and so much more. We are a fortunate team, indeed.

Also, when our Wisconsin BG Retreat location, Cedar Valley, had to close until September 4th, this left us without a location. Within ten days, we secured French Country Inn in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Same dates as originally planned: August 16- 22. A perfect time to create, to generate new work and ideas, to be with like-minded writers and artists.

Our second BG retreat at Synergia, on the high desert outside of Santa Fe, will be September 1- 7. Meg Tuite and I plan to practice all of the safety aspects: distancing, working 6 feet apart, even our meals will be practiced with safety in mind. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have these plans. Especially now. There are only a couple of spots open. Join us, and if you have any questions, just email Meg or me. Or both:

Robert- rguyvaugh5003@gmail.com

Meg- mfetuit@earthlink.net

I will be leading the June 19- 21 Bending Genres online weekend workshop, “Stop Making Sense.” More information is here: https://bendinggenres.com/product/robert-vaughan-stop-making-sense-writing-the-absurd-meaningless-whimsical-and-silly-june-19-21/

This is a great time to say thanks, to everyone who has made me a better person. To all of my friends and family. To anyone who thinks change is still possible. You are important. Your life has meaning.