Wanna write some essays?

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Come one, come all. Please join my essay class on May 15th. More info and signup here.

After the last class I taught at LitReactor, my students placed essays in The Rumpus, The Nervous Breakdown, and Hobart.

Email me with any questions! cocomonet@gmail.com

 

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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CLASS:

There’s power in words.

A personal essay can entertain or teach, warn or admonish. It can hold the whole of your life experience, or just generate a good laugh. There’s more than one way to write an essay—­­which is what makes the discipline so fun and versatile.

But writing personally can be difficult and questions like these often come up:

  • What will my family and friends think?
  • Why would anyone care what I have to say?
  • Where will I publish something so personal?

In Polish & Publish Your Personal Essay, you’ll study both contemporary and timeless essays, and why personal essays are vital. Students will learn how to engage, move, and connect with their readers, by reading essays and experimenting with their own. Throughout class, students will be given prompts related to creative nonfiction publications and encouraged to submit. And there will be an ongoing conversation regarding the emotions that are often triggered when writing hyper­personally.

The instructor, Chloe Caldwell, knows a lot about writing personal essays—and placing them for publication. Her work has been published in venues like Salon, The Rumpus, Thought Catalog, Nylon, The Nervous Breakdown, xoJane, The Frisky, The Sun Magazine, SMITH, Jewcy, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Freerange Nonfiction, The Faster Times, The Fix, and Men’s Health. She also has a piece in the anthology Goodbye To All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NYC, alongside writers like Roxane Gay and Cheryl Strayed.

In the first half of the class, you’ll study the art of the personal essay—where to start and how to make it effective. In the second half, Chloe will help you nail down your voice, and find venues that would be best suited for your work.

Along the way, Chloe will be critiquing your work and answering your questions in a collaborative, judgment-free environment. All skill levels welcome!

Oh, and in case you were wondering how effective the class is, some of Chloe’s students from the last round of this class are already placing work. Angela Giles Patel published “Drifting Beyond The Pale” at The Nervous Breakdown. Ray Shea published “Fat Guy” at Hobart. Another student got a piece picked up by TheRumpus.net. Another student is a finalist for a prestigious journal prize.

Spread the word or sign on up! I would love to have you.

Love,

Chloe

The Greatest/Literati

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Save the date for March 29th–I’ll be reading at Literati Bookstore (in Ann Arbor, Michigan) for  Independent Press Day. Along with tons of independent presses and authors including Elizabeth Ellen, D. Foy, and Russ Woods.

 

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The Goodbye To All That reading last weekend was super fun.

My mom and post reading at Hudson Opera House

My mom and post reading at Hudson Opera House

Saw Cat Power live in Brooklyn two nights ago. Pretty beautiful.

 

Hudson—>New York

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On Saturday morning in Hudson, we buried Maggie between two trees at the cemetery she liked walking her dog in. Sondra Loring, owner of Sadhana yoga studio said some words. It was snowing. We put rose petals on her casket. Afterwards, we went to Club Helsinki for the memorial.

Stephanie Monseu breathing and eating fire. Apparently Maggie had a fascination with fire-eating.

Stephanie Monseu breathing and eating fire. Apparently Maggie had a fascination with fire-eating.

Stephen Merritt of Magnetic Fields played "The Book of Love"

Stephen Merritt of Magnetic Fields played “The Book of Love”

Steve Buscemi showed up and read his last email received from Maggie.

Steve Buscemi showed up and read his last email received from Maggie.

Laura The Hot Farmer

Laura The Hot Farmer

Then I had to get out of Hudson, so Matt, Cynthia, and I drove into New York City.

On Monday night I read at The Strand Bookstore for The Goodbye To All That anthology. I was honored to read with Dani Shapio and Emily Gould. Instead of reading my own essay, Sari Botton (editor of GTAT) had me read Maggie’s essay: Think Of This As  Window.

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The death of Maggie

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Novelist and poet Maggie Estep died unexpectedly early Tuesday morning. I had just been getting close to Maggie, and it’s safe to say I loved her. We were immediate and fast friends. We met through both yoga and writing here in Hudson, New York. (Read the NYT obituary here)

We had a reading together last Friday at Oblong Bookstore in Rhinebeck, NY, and I didn’t want to go because my acne looked bad. Here is an example of Maggie’s beautiful and Buddhist-like, dead pan funny, soul:

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Maggie wasn’t old or fat or stupid. She was stick thin and smart and just 50 years old. But that’s why she was so great–she’d happily throw herself under the bus to make someone else feel better. She picked me up and we drove to the bookstore where Dana Kinstler took this photograph of us.

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We had a FANTASTIC time at the reading. Laughed our heads off. Made the audience laugh. Drank coffee. Ate chocolate kisses. We were both in black jeans and black boots. In the car when I said, “What the eff” and at another point, “Biatch” Maggie said, “You know you can say ‘fuck’ and ‘bitch’ in my car.” We talked a mile a minute. About pornography, eating disorders, the various relationships in her life and mine, and how we were going to put new books out at the same time and go on book tour together. We were going to get an apartment together and it would be the Seinfeld of 2014.  I still have 2 Dominoe sugar packets in my coat pocket from when she asked me to bring her a “fuck ton” of sugar when I went into the gas station for our coffees.

Angsty Maggie

Angsty Maggie

The next morning, 6 days ago, I went to her Saturday morning class at Sadhana Yoga Studio. “Long time no see,” I said when I walked in. I think I asked her if she’d gotten sleep. During class I was in Warrior 2, and she came up to me, took my hand, adjusted my pose. “Fix me,” I said. We looked into each others eyes and smiled. Later that day she texted me:

Maggie: “Am I stupid yoga jerk?”

Me: “No. What do you mean?”

Maggie: “When I teach yoga, do you think ‘what a moron’”?

Me: “No. You make people laugh, keep it real, and you’re challenging.”

Maggie: “God I love you.”

Me: “I love you too!”

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On Monday afternoon I was considering going to her yoga class (when I didn’t go, I could be sure to get verbal abuse: Get your ass to class, tramp!) and my phone rang with her calling. I answered, and it was Maggie’s partner, telling me she’d just had a heart attack.

I have many more things I’d like to say but I’m going to end here for now because it hurts. And there are dozens of lovely tributes to her on the internet you can find that articulate her beauty and strength and all around amazing-ness. Here is my favorite song that played on Maggie’s yoga mix each week. If I can live my life half as full of love and light as Maggie did, I will be glad.

The impermanence of life is a scary thing. Tell your friends you love them.

winter readings

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It’s freaking cold out. Maybe it will be warmer in February!?? I’ll be reading on February 7th at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck with Maggie Estep, Sari Botton, and Dana Kinstler for the book Goodbye To All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving NYC. 

On Feb 17th I’ll be reading for the same book at The Strand in NYC, with Emily Gould and Dani Shapiro. 

On Feb 18th—20th I am teaching a Creative Writing Intensive for teens at The Hudson Opera House. It’s FREE so please spread the word if you know any teenagers in upstate New York.

Feb 22nd is my FINAL reading for the Goodbye To All That at the Hudson Opera House. With Rebecca Wolff and Sari Botton.

Oh—I got my copy of True Tales of Lust and Love! 

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That’s all for now. Hope you’re warm, where ever you are.

Chloe

Dancing in France

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The first time I went to France I was sixteen. I stayed with a family in Toulouse. I was to shadow Agnes, a girl my age. Agnes and I became close.  One night we went to a party with a group of her highschool friends and we all danced like no one was watching.  The big song at the time (in France? Not sure if I’d heard it before I embarked on this adventure) was The Ketchup Song by Las Ketchup.  There was a special dance to go along to the song.  I’ve been to a healthy amount of parties since I was sixteen, but I think that party in a basement somewhere in France was the best one.  Agnes’s parents picked us up, as we’d been drinking.

Anyhoo–the scene I found most moving in BLUE is the dance party at Adele’s surprise birthday. Adele’s girlfriend isn’t even in it. Adele dances with her friends in her backyard in France while the sun sets. She looks happiest here than any other part of the movie. When you see this, it’s like you know she’s going to be okay. Like my friend Erika said, it’s the only part of the movie where she seems free. The girl loves to dance. Also, they used a song I loooove: “I Follow Rivers” by Lykke Li.  I’ve been listening to this song for years. It’s one of my faves. My dream job is to pick songs from emotional indie movies.

 

Some Kind Of Anthology Slut

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Got some cool stuff lined up this winter. Oh and look at the new sidebar to the right. It now includes the anthologies I’m in.

Monday, January 20th:  True Tales of Lust and Love book release party at Book Court in Brooklyn. Reading and signing with Anna David, Iris Smyles, Sacha Z. Schoblic, and moi. Also on deck is a panel and Q & A with the audience. 

January 23rd: My online class POLISH AND PUBLISH YOUR PERSONAL ESSAYS begins through Lit Reactor. Sign up here!

Friday, February 7th:  A reading/signing at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck for the Goodbye To All That Anthology. With Maggie Estep, Sari Botton, and more.

Maggie reading at Inquiring Minds bookstore last week, with her dog Mickey

Maggie Estep reading at Inquiring Minds bookstore last week with her dog Mickey

February 17th-19th: CREATIVE WRITING FOR TEENS  at The Hudson Opera House.  (More information TBA)

My essay “Getting Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable” is up on Thought Catalog. You may have read it in LGLA already. It’s also in the anthology GIRLS? which you can buy for $4.99. Fun anecdote: This essay was originally accepted by The New York Times for their “Townies” column and at the last minute they decided “Never mind.” I was devastated but got over it in like five minutes. Below is the photo to go along with the apartment I wrote about in the essay. This photo was taken 2 weeks ago and the essay was written in 2008. Almost 6 years later, my apartment remains condemned. Photo by Sean H Doyle. 

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Love,

Chloe

Personalized LGLAS

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Culture Map in Austin, Texas just posted their Holiday Gift Guide and suggest Legs Get Led Astray. 

“For the classic Austin lit-nerd/writer:

Indie-lit darling Chloe Caldwell’s collection of personal essays pull you into her world of being a 20-something writer trying to get it together while bouncing around Austin-like scenes in Brooklyn and Portland, painting equally compelling and honest portraits of her time spent babysitting and partying with Strand booksellers. Her writing is honest, often hilarious, and hits anyone who’s young, artistic — and wondering what the hell they’re doing with their life — hard in the face.”

(I don’t actually bounce around Portland or Austin in LGLA. But, I’ll take it. )

 If you’d like personalized  copy of LGLA for a gift, or for yourself,  paypal me ten dollars at cocomonet@gmail.com. I’ll sign it pretty for you and enclose a bonus essay!

Also on the list is the Write Like A Motherfucker mug of The Rumpus/Cheryl Strayed. I already have my Write Like A Motherfucker mug. If you don’t have one of these mugs, you might wanna question how serious a writer you are.

This is my desk below. Look at that old school cell phone far left!

Dazed Digital put LGLA on their list of  1ST BOOKS THAT DON’T SUCK, which I found touching. Alissa Nutting, Blake Butler, and Kate Zambreno are also on the list.

We got a foot of snow here in Hudson, N.Y. I’t’s pretty magical looking.

Love,

Chloe