An Interview with Collaborations Instructor Sarah Tourjee

Lydia Whiteford speaks with Sarah Tourjee about her upcoming course Collaborations.. The course will be collaboratively taught by Sarah and Ren Evans, and will feature guest artists from the Providence community. It all starts next Sunday, March 22.

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 L: In your opinion, what is the best thing about doing collaborations vs. individual work?

S: As humans, our individual perspective can only get us so far. Sometimes we have to let some air in. We do this through education, through reading (the news, poetry, cereal boxes, bar walls, science articles), through talking with others, through being alive and moving in the world. Our artwork is no different. Whether we know it or not, anything we create is a collaboration with a hundred experiences, conversations, memories that we have had. Nothing is made solely from ourselves. Once we realize this, we can collaborate with the world in more intentional ways. It’s exciting to work with another entity (be that an object, artwork, or person) that/who offers us something we could not create on our own. Our work becomes larger than it could have been, and we learn more from it.

L: Who would you recommend this class for?

S: I think anyone could take this class. You need only have an interest in art-making and be open to working with text. The more diversity of perspectives, the better. So please come!

L: What are some challenges of collaborating?

S: Collaborating requires a loosening of control. When you work with another artist, you trust that the thing you create will be different than what you can envision on your own, and you allow that to be OK. You do your part of it, and then trust the process. This is difficult, for sure, and also liberating. The work takes on its own life.

L: What is your favorite thing about teaching for Frequency?

The people, absolutely. I love working with this community. It continues to change and grow, and everyone is always so open and willing to try new things, and to support each other. We are lucky.

L: Have you two ever collaborated on something together?

S: This class has been a really fun collaboration. We have not collaborated formally (yet) on a creative project but Ren’s work has absolutely influenced my own, and the conversations we’ve had make their way into my projects. We’re in an eternal friendship/artist collaboration. I recommend them.

L: If you could have any talent besides writing, what would you want it to be?

S: I think I’d be a neuroscientist.

L: What is the best piece of advice you would give to budding writers?

S: Notice every weird and beautiful thing that happens. Make that noticing a part of your creative practice and soon you’ll find you’re writing no matter what you’re doing. And take this class! Seriously, we’re going to have so much fun. By the end, art might be an organ inside you.

WANT TO COLLABORATE SOMETHING WITH ME?

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Sign up for Sarah Tourjee and Ren Evans‘s Collaborations course!

This is a course for writers of all genres and levels of experience who are interested in collaborating with other artistic mediums. Visiting local artists will lead collaborations with writers in the course in different artistic fields. In-class and out-of-class exercises will guide writers in an interdisciplinary conversation with each other, with existing works, and with new ways of generating work outside of their primary form. The class will conclude in celebration with a public performance of created work.

INSTRUCTORS: Sarah Tourjee and Ren Evans
DATES: Sundays, March 22-April 26, 2015
TIME: 1:00pm-3:30pm
WHERE: 186 Carpenter Street
Tuition: $175  **Thanks to a grant from RISCA, we are able to offer this course at a significantly reduced rate. Thank you, RISCA!**
Click here to register

Open House This Saturday

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This SATURDAY Feb 21st 4-6:00pm at 186 Carpenter is Frequency’s Open house and instructor readings! Free and open to all. Sarah Tourjee, Kate Schapira, Nick Rattner, and Victor Wildman will be reading from their recent works and talking about the upcoming classes! Bring your friends. Come have some snacks and listen to great writing!

Hey Writers! FREE Sunday Morning Workshop!

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I’m hosting a Free Writing Workshop Sunday, March 1st, from 12:00am-2:00pm at 186 Carpenter Street in Providence!

Bring a few copies of your in-progress poems, stories, nonfiction essays, and multi-media art. We’ll share the work, then offer informal group critique/advice/support. I will emphasize technical elements of craft, but this is meant to be flexible and open, so we’ll meet you wherever you’re at. I’m not sure the turn-out, so if numbers are too high to review everyone, we’ll draw names from a hat or split into groups. No sign-up is necessary!

Never been to a workshop? What to expect: You’ll read your piece aloud and other’s will comment. This is meant to be a safe, respectful place where members offer constructive criticism, craft advice, and support. Having your work examined can be intimidating and sometimes painful, so we’ll strive to make this space encouraging as well as challenging. If you are not comfortable having your writing reviewed (and engaged with on a deep level), this is not the right place for you. (If you are nervous about sharing your work, contact frequenyprovidence@gmail.com with your concerns for more pointed support).

Also, I’ll be hosting the Sunday Morning Free Write from 10:00am-12:00pm beforehand, so come to both if you want to generate and then share!

Sign up for a One Day Writing Studio!

Only two spots left!

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Winter is the time to write inward rather than outward, to draw on what we’ve already gathered, to keep warm and close to home and dream. In this one-day workshop, we’ll work on writing that divines what sustains us through dark times; through poetry and prose exercises, both intuitive and formal, and some visualizations and tactile exercises, we’ll identify our resources and storehouses, our shelters and our warm cores. For shivering writers in any genre; poets should be prepared to try a little prose, and vice versa.

INSTRUCTOR: Kate Schapira
DATE: Sunday, February 8, 2015
TIME: 10am-2pm
WHERE: 186 Carpenter Street
Tuition: Sliding scale $25-$60
Click here to register

A One Question Interview with Victor Wildman

Victor is currently teaching Everybody’s Autobiography. Recently we asked Victor, “What have you discovered about autobiographical or biographical writing?” Here’s his response:

Lives cannot be documented, only made—somehow constructed. Even if the subject is yourself, there is an awareness from “outside”—an inability to penetrate the core, a realization of its absence—it intrudes. You are never identical with yourself. We are, at best, but tourists with a view to every life. So when engaged in biographical or autobiographical writing, I know before I start that I am making something; it is a construction built from the materials of someone’s life. This, however, does not mean that anything can “go,” but there’s a range, an honest way of working through your materials that over time enforces certain limits on the way that this gets done; these, however, are not factual, but formal limits. Like any work of art, the material you use will start to come together in a way that makes demands, that must be followed if the piece—albeit essay, poem, book—is to be itself, is to “work.” And ironically, the more you work with facts, the more the research tends to pull you out of what you’re making, into something merely anecdotal, accidental, quite unnecessary—just a pile of “stuff.” There is a tension between the things you know about your subject and the things that over time become the meaning of the work. This is why an artist must be willing to sacrifice the facts—even if these facts are supposed to be your own—if they impede the inner workings of the text. In the end, a life—as all things passing—fades, but if you do your job “correctly”—passionately, honestly—there is the work. And that (one hopes) will be enough.