Tag Archives: Community

Sticking Together: Literary Citizenship and the Writing Community

Posted by Emily Warnken, GD Creative Nonfiction Reader for 5.1literary citizenship - community

It’s no secret that the writing community is much different from other professional realms; our work is endless, unsure, and often, thankless. There’s truly nothing to be done for these faults, every one of us signs up for possible rejection and feelings of failure when we decide to share our work with the world. One thing about the community of writers, readers, and editors that I have come to truly appreciate is the sense of literary citizenship. In a world that values competition over collaboration, the idea of literary citizenship offers a sense of warmth and comfort and, in my personal opinion, should be shared with as many members of the community as possible. Continue reading

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Our Small Universe Expands: Literature & Ice Cream at the Rochester Fringe Festival

Posted by Evan Goldstein, former contributor and Poetry Editor for Issue 4.1

The Rochester Fringe Festival is an annual ten-day multi-disciplinary arts festival, with performances and visual installments spread throughout Rochester, featuring “fringe” arts outside of the mainstream. Fringe festivals like that in Rochester and many others around the world give audiences to many isolated and otherwise cut off artists. Like a large, dispersed literary journal, fringe festivals provide a community for artists and audiences to come together and experience arts on the fringe of the mainstream community. Today was Geneseo’s day at the Lyric theatre, an old church recently converted into an opera house for performances and readings. Geneseo’s day at the Lyric theatre was the first ever reading that Geneseo students have given as part of the Fringe festival, and the first strong showing of Geneseo talent as a whole at Rochester Fringe. We had performances ranging from a capella to improv, to film poems and, here at the “Stories a la Mode” event, a fiction reading complete with ice cream.

The usher was French, and I know that because I heard the soft throaty nasal vowel—ahhsss—and one hard choked consonant—krèm—as he, quietly insistent, led me to the far chamber door and held it open, gesturing to a bar in the


Maya Bergamasco reads at the Lyric theatre. Pictured in the background: ice cream bar.

back of the small hall. Maybe he was French-Canadian. I, playing reporter (press pass and all), got my camera out and crouched in front of the bar, watching the audience, cups of ice cream and little spoons in their hands, watch the writer read her story. A glance up at the barman’s shirt: Hedonist Ice Cream. Yes, I thought: the perfect blog post story. The hands at the tables holding the little cups of ice cream, I’ll take their photographs and interview them about free ice cream, our community hub, come up with a clever “Gandy Dancer as Ice Cream of SUNY System” blog post title, make it home in time for dinner, maybe a night cap—ice cream for dessert, yes. Good plan, delicious plan. The audience leaned toward the stage at the front of the room. Continue reading

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Community and Stories: My Week at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute

Posted by Ethan Keeley, Fiction Editor for issue 3.2, contributor for issues 2.1 and 3.1

Four days into the week I spent at the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, novelist, essayist, and journalist, Okey Ndibe gave a reading—but it wasn’t the kind of reading I’d come to expect. Before he dove into an excerpt from his latest novel Foreign Gods, Inc., he just spoke. He wasn’t merely prefacing the work he was about to read; he was simply telling a story, talking to us, a crowd of adult writers and young writers gathered for a week of intensive reading, writing, and listening. His tone was conversational as he talked about the power of storytelling and community in his own life. It was as if he knew us, and we knew him on a personal level. He spoke of the conflict he faced, and which all writers eventually face, of wishing to experience the world while also needing the solitude to write about and make sense of it.

Ndibe’s conversation really summed up the essence of my seven days in Amherst, Massachusetts. Writers are constantly hammered with the mantra, “Write what you know,” yet seem doomed to live and work in isolation. And what can one really know locked in a room for hours a day? Juniper unlocked that room and challenged the notion of what it means to be a writer, stressing the importance of community that Ndibe addressed. Here were a few hundred individuals of all ages and backgrounds assembled at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to improve their own writing and also experience the work of others. We had different goals, styles, and opinions, yet we shared the common bond of language.

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Wake Up and Smell the Coffee…or Tea: Exploring Writers’ Obsessions

Posted by Cortney Linnecke, GD Fiction Reader for 3.2

What is it about coffee and tea that so tickles writers’ fancies? Is it the sharp, earthy smell of freshly roasted beans? Is it the almost poetic way steam tendrils roll off a hot cup of tea like dragon’s breath? Or perhaps it’s the way baristas etch cliché but secretly satisfying designs into marbled latte foam?

No matter the reason, it can’t be argued that writers and hot beverages go together like Shakespeare and iambic pentameter. It’s a fact, as basic and fundamental as the knowledge that Dr. Seuss enjoyed a good rhyme or the consensus that Mark Twain rocked a mean mustache. If you need proof, just look at the world around you: there’s the popularization of mom-and-pop coffee shops, the increasing preference for foreign coffees and specialty teas, and the creeping and steadily escalating price of coffee (which hit an all-time high in late 2014). And let’s not forget the gargantuan size of the menu at Starbucks, which itself is a multi-billion dollar industry funded almost entirely by sleep-deprived artists, hipsters with drink orders the length of small novels, and of course, the occasional, bumbling tourist just looking for free wifi. Continue reading

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Muddied Waters

Posted by Sarah Diaz, GD editor for 3.1

Muddy Waters old Menu

The town of Geneseo is pretty much what any flatlander imagines when thinking of a small college town in rural New York: a quaint Main street decorated with a fountain, a couple of bars, pizza joints, a book shop and music store, even a bike shop. It used to have the classic college coffee house, Muddy Waters, where one might sink into a worn couch and enjoy a latte and a book or catch up and laugh with good company. Muddy’s was filled to capacity during their weekly open mics and on gloomy Saturday afternoons. Different from the Starbucks in the College Union, it existed as a place for off- and on-campus students to collide. Muddy’s often played the college’s local radio station WGSU as background coffeehouse tunes. The ambiance provided a stress-free atmosphere in which to do schoolwork but also allowed people to mingle and chat without having to yell or show up at seven a.m. just to snag a table.

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