New Faces

Frequency is very happy to welcome two new volunteer staff-people to the team: our new Programming Coordinator, Christena Carollo and our Writer in Residence, Craig Demi. Christena will help organize our class calendar, working closely with current and new instructors, while Craig will build on the work of our previous Artistic Director by cultivating strong partnerships between Frequency and other individuals and organizations in and around Providence, helping us serve the community and grow. Read on to learn more about each of them.

Christena Carollo is a Florida native who moved to the Ocean State two years ago to experience the seasons and New England’s undeniable charm. She is a graduate of the University of Florida and studied journalism with an outside concentration in creative writing. By day, Christena works as a marketing associate for Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, a non-profit in Providence that provides services for immigrants and refugees in the community, and by night, she devotes her time to family, her dog Rosie, her cat Shia, sporadic episodes of writing and painting, and watching Netflix. She enjoys traveling, collecting books (more than she can even keep up with), meeting new people, and discovering new vegetarian-friendly restaurants. Christena is a Frequency Writers alumna and is passionate about fiction writing and connecting with those who love the craft. She aspires to one day work in the publishing industry.   

Craig Demi has called Providence his home for over a decade. He is a graduate of Bennington College, where he had the great fortune to study creative writing under the guidance of writers such as April Bernard and Mary Oliver. He has been a baker, a flower delivery driver, and a stable mucker, and currently is the Director of Operations at Southside Community Land Trust. Craig served as student editor of the Wildwood Journal. He is a Frequency Writers alumnus and has been a member of the HiFi Collaborative—Rhode Island’s historical fiction writers’ group. He also received the honor of being named for a 2016 Fellowship Award in fiction by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. His writing has appeared in American Fiction 17 published by New Rivers Press (2019), and Meat for Tea; The Valley Review and Missing Providence; A Frequency Anthology.

Peeking through the Gaps: an Interview with Victoria Dalpe

Author Victoria Dalpe (Parasite Life) will be teaching The Beautiful Grotesque: Exploring the Beauty and Monstrousness of Horror for Frequency this fall. We spoke a bit about why she chose horror, her thoughts about the genre, and her hopes for the class. (Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for space.)
 

What drew you to horror as a writer? Is it something particular to the type of stories you want to tell, to the way you want to tell stories, or something else entirely?

Pretty much as far back as I can remember, I’d been attracted to the darker things in life. My personality always had me covering my eyes then peeking through gaps in my fingers. That place is where horror lovers live.I think horror is a genre that allows you to play in the what-if scenarios: what if I were in danger, what if I had to fight my way out, what if the worst thing that I could imagine happened… how would you react? Who would you be afterward? There is a catharsis that comes after the movie ends, or the book closes when you remember you are safe. Like roller coasters or haunted houses, it’s almost like we crave being frightened in controlled environments. It helps us stay grounded I think. It’s healthy. 

This class will look specifically at the female experience of horror. Many of us are familiar with the image of the final girl in slasher films. Are there other roles, relationships, and contexts connecting women and horror that we’re less familiar with?

The final girl is super important to a certain type of horror, specifically slasher horror, and there is some wonderful film theory on her, and why she exists, like Men, Women, and Chainsaws by Carol J. Clover which came out way back in 1992. But the discussions about her are often about male viewers. The final girl is less about women’s empowerment and more about men being able to comfortably sympathize and identify with a woman character.

What my class aims to focus on is totally different. Essentially, I want to look at horror stories written by women about women. The stories I’ve chosen are themselves more domestic, more surreal, more psychological. Is the danger coming from the outside or inside the main characters themselves? The stories I’ve chosen deal with the role of the husband or male character as part of the threat. They also deal with women and their relationships to their homes and the perceived safety or threat therein. 

As an author in New England working within the weird fiction genre, how do you grapple with H. P. Lovecraft’s complicated legacy in your work and personally?

Lovecraft had some heinous views. There is no denying that. His work is oft-cited as extremely influential for its blending of genres (sci-fi, horror, fantasy, etc.) but refusal to be any one of them. He was a lover of science and did not feel his audience was owed easy resolutions at the end of his tales. He was also a racist in his personal life, which we know from his exhaustive letters.

I love the genre of weird fiction and its ability to blend with other genres and to be its own thing, I love the huge and mysterious worlds and monsters Lovecraft created in his fiction. In my own work, just by being a woman, I am bringing something different to his work. My mythos stories are about giving birth, about outsider characters encountering the fantastical, about dealing with grief and loss. Lovecraft’s work was dry, there were few women characters, his male characters had little depth, and most stories were told from a distance. So, when I write mythos, I like to bring women and emotion in. In life, he was an eccentric, frail man who held in him a lot of fear. I can appreciate the work he put out and also frame him as a flawed figure, for his time and for ours. 

Could you recommend a story, essay or poem for people who are interested in taking your class that relates to its content in some way? 

There are so many amazing women writing horror/weird fiction these days. There have also ALWAYS been women writing horror, in fact, if you consider Mary Shelley essentially invented the genre with Frankenstein. Women have always been writing and reading the scary stuff, and ghost stories especially have often been the territory of women. 

An awesome story that is disturbing and surreal, would be “The Specialist’s Hat” by Kelly Link, available to read free. Some further reading: Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hill House; Tananarive Due’s books are incredible and terrifying, including The Good HouseMy Soul to Keep and The Between; Joyce Carol Oates’ collection; Helen Oyeyemi’s White is For Witching; Gemma Files’ Experimental FilmAnd Her Smile Will Untether the Universe by Gwendolyn Kiste. My novel, Parasite Life, fits in as well.    

There are still seats available for The Beautiful Grotesque. Register here!

Fall Classes Are Here

The days get a little shorter, the air a little crisper. The quality of sunlight changes from white hot to golden everything. Come September, Autumn saunters back to New England like an unrepentant house cat returned from raising hell and settles around your ankles, cozy and crackling, all mild-mannered again. But just as the season settles in, I start to get an itch: to go back to school, to learn something new, and to gather with other people who want to do the same, to read and talk about reading, and to write. Do you ever grow out of that feeling?

I hope not.

If you’re feeling that itch, too, then you need to check out our upcoming multi-week classes and one-day workshops where you can stretch your imagination, sharpen those skills, and engage your creativity with others in our community.

A Statement Regarding NecronomiCon

To our community members:

Frequency will no longer be co-hosting NecronomiCon 2019’s opening night reading. We did not exercise due diligence before involving ourselves with this event and, having heard objections from members of our community, we agree that our participation isn’t compatible with maintaining Frequency as an accessible, welcoming, and safe writing community. We are sorry.

Sincerely,

Frequency’s Board of Directors and Staff

Frequency Receives RISCA Support

Frequency is thrilled and grateful to announce that we are a 2019 recipient of a RISCA Investment in Arts & Culture grant (IAC). Frequency Writers is proud to serve our community by advocating for adult creative writers and offering creative writing courses for writers at any point in their journey. RISCA’s continued generosity allows Frequency to continue to grow and thrive.

RISCA_ID_full.jpgFrom the bottom of our hearts and with sincere gratitude, we thank the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for their support as well as the work they do to help keep our local arts community one of the richest and most dynamic around. 

The Rhode Island State Arts Council provides funding, technical assistance, and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations, and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.  For more information about the work done by RISCA, or to learn more about the other recipients, visit https://risca.online/category/grants/recipients/

 

 

Walker Mettling on the Art of Everyday Life

Upcoming Intro to Comics instructor, Walker Mettling took some time out to chat with Frequency about his approach to making.
Frequency:  I see this course as a chance for students to unlock their own creativity or even their own blocks and fears and be adventurous or experimental. When you begin a class do you have an intention or a desire for your students? 
Walker Mettling:  Well, I think there are a couple of distinct parts of the class. The first half is about drawing games, getting loose, and mind-melding as a group, so folks need to be ready to be relatively open and game. And I think that sets the vibe for the rest of the class which is a more focused on the solitary brain labor of laying out pages and a story… And I kinda tailor the second half to the needs of the group. 
FW:  Can you tell us a little bit about Providence Comics Consortium?
WM:  I co-created the PCC in 2010 for a series of free comics-making workshops at the Providence Community Libraries, and the first 6 libraries produced a 200 page book called “A Guy Fighting a Monster Out of Nowhere.” It’s long out of print but you can find it at most of the libraries. Since then we’ve made tons of books, zines, trading cards and have dipped our legs into spectacle with parades, advice booths and all sorts of other kinds of stuff. A bunch of the PCC kids have grown up to be artists and own weird art businesses in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and other places. But since comics started as a printed medium, publishing has always been a big component of the project. Lately along with perpetual workshops at the libraries for kids, I’ve been hosting a sunday morning drawing project called, perhaps ill-advisedly, “Sketchbook Church.”

FW:  I really love your egalitarian approach to drawing—it really meshes with Frequency’s own ethos. Do you remember if you always advocated for this playful, inclusive approach or if it was something you had to learn as you grew as an artist and an educator?
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WM:  Thanks! Yeah, that vibe preceded art or teaching for me.
The d.i.y. “art of everyday life” philosophy is probably the main reason I’m interested in improvisation, group drawing games, and weird publishing projects and the stuff that grows out of those.

FW:  You casually dropped into one of our conversations reading comics for the blind—I am dying to hear about that and how /if it influenced your own reading or drawing of work?
WM:  WRBH 88.3 FM is a radio station in New Orleans, colloquially called “Radio for the Blind” and they read the entire Times Picayune newspaper aloud everyday, along with the television listings, serialized readings of kids books and old time radio shows at night. When I lived down there, I would tune in because I love the radio and it was so unique. For a while, I did a stint reading a few of the “Dr. Dolittle” novels that got chopped up for the afternoon kids book slot and the guy who had read the Sunday Comics Section (for years and years) got sick so I covered for him for a few weeks. And reading comic strips on the radio is maybe the only stranger experience than listening to them. You are taking comics a super-visual medium and translating it verbally into aural radio form, which is also a strangely visual medium. But most comics are sight gags and it’s like taking a standup comedian routine and explaining the jokes. I was instructed by the engineer to laugh or approximate laughter at the end of each strip to signal to the audience that the strip ended. It probably influenced me philosophically… it’s such a strange assignment.

FW:  Comics you’d recommend to our audience?
WM:  Some might not know the alt-weekly cartoonist titan turned Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lynda Barry.
She wrote a killer memoir/writing prompt book called What It Is that was a brilliant meditation on what images are and how our brains access, store and use them.
Also, I love the book Conditions on the Ground by Kevin Hooyman. It’s a collection of monthly comics he did for a few years, of the same name, that is heavy with philosophical questions, creatures, fatherhood, and taxonomies of various things from types of whales to space vehicles.