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http://www.nprberlin.de/
http://www.nprberlin.de/

Writing Retreats

Even if you are not being paid for your writing, even if you don’t have a publishing deal with your name on it, even if you are just like me — someone typing away in her bedroom — I think that you would probably love a writing retreat. Typically, if you enjoy to write, you would like to be able to do it for many hours each day. There are many daily interruptions, however, that are simply a part of life. Many of us have to go to work, or take care of children, or just have other work that is not writing. So to have a retreat or fellowship that would allow us to write would be quite an amazing thing.

Well, folks. We have a definitive list of the best writing fellowships and retreats in the US. The tumblr blog of Open Road Media — a digital publisher and multimedia content company — has compiled this list. Fellowships are typically grants that allow you to study and work on your writing in a professional capacity. Retreats, on the other hand, offer you a place to stay and draw inspiration from while you work on a project. Either one, I think, would be a great boon to anyone’s career, and a great opportunity to get some real writing done.

There are some great opportunities listed here, and the best part is that this list is nowhere near exhaustive. If you do a Google search for either writing retreats or writing fellowships you come up with an almost endless supply of sites to check out.

What would your ideal writing retreat look like? Personally, I love the United States, but I think it would be amazing to have a writing retreat somewhere in the English countryside. I’ve always wanted to visit anyway, so why not do some writing while I’m there? I can just imagine a retreat in some great English manor, pretending to be either Jane Eyre or someone on Downtown Abbey, and working on a novel.

Where would you most like to have a writing retreat? Would you want other writers to be around, so you could all bounce ideas off each other? Describe your ideal writing retreat in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Jet Fuel Contributor, Virginia Smith Rice, Publishes First Book

Virginia Smith Rice publishes her first book, When I Wake It Will Be Forever.wheniwake

Virginia Smith Rice writes poetry and teaches art in Woodstock, Illinois.

She earned her MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University and is co-editor of Kettle Blue Review, an online poetry journal.

When I Wake It Will Be Forever, is now available from Sundress Publications. Some of her individually published poems can be found on the Poems page.

Virginia can be contacted through Kettle Blue Review.

“Both shimmering and seething, haunted and haunting, the complex, dazzling contours of When I Wake It Will Be Forever beckon the reader with the imperative of ‘listen’; and we do, because Rice’s poems vibrate with a ‘voice thorned and singing / but not human.’ Like her poetic parentage—Desnos, Szymborska, Tranströmer and Csoóri—there is a wisdom contained in this work that transcends a singular being’s experience; ultimately elegiac, yet ‘lit by inner, hidden suns,’ this book is a stellate network of memory, loss, longing, silence, and voice. Often serving as witness (to an aunt’s suicide, a stranger’s suicide, ‘the suicide in my voice’) Rice pays tribute to the manifold ghosts that clamor inside us. This is one of the most solidly exquisite and lingering first books I’ve had the honor of reading.”
-Simone Muench

“Virginia Smith Rice has created a tremblingly precise, intricate, bright-edged evocation of a world both ecstatic and ominous, grieving and vital, broken and mending, but rarely mended. Her poems are richly colored and intensely focused on the shapes and forms of the world and of inner life and relationships. They are crowded with living plants and creatures and intense feeling, and Rice can even describe the color of solitude. Her language is sensuously complex, her angle of vision is oblique and finds the memorable touch of reality off-cenvsmithter, at the edges, just this side of perceptibility. She has created a delicate yet vivid response to what she calls the ‘percussed absence’ that haunts human life. This is a marvelous first book.”
-Reginald Gibbons

“A Virginia Smith Rice poem is naked, like a bulb, although, unlike a bulb in the dark, it does not want to be seen dangling by and for itself, it does not want to be interpreted as the centre of its universe, even as a frame does not. Her poems say instead their warm color of incandescence to some still life hanging from a wall. When a Virginia Smith Rice poem says, ‘Autumn laps gently as a well-fed dog: each pale / branch remembers leaves as essential things, / and how easy it is to let things go,’ it at once frames a scene of plenty, of longing, and of regret. In this way, the poems in When I Wake It Will Be Forever are always pleasurable, colorful and sincere in and to every sense.”
-Rethabile Masilo, author of Things That Are Silent

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http://en.paperblog.com/cozy-nooks-29673/
http://en.paperblog.com/cozy-nooks-29673/

Cozy Reading Nooks

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all had a pretty rough winter. The sad news is that it isn’t even over yet! I have come home from work on many evenings and have wanted nothing more than to curl up with a good book and keep warm in a heavy cardigan. The only thing that could make that scenario even more appealing is my own personal reading nook.

As a quick disclaimer, I will say that it’s possible I’ve already posted about reading nooks for an Awesome Literary Things post. In fact, it’s more than possible. But sometimes, when it’s freezing cold outside, you just need to look at some pictures of reading nooks on a Tuesday morning. Do you agree? If so, read on!

This time, the cozy, aspirational reading nooks are coming to us courtesy of the Design Sponge website, which is a design blog. A little while ago they posted a wonderful list of 10 Cozy Reading Nooks. As readers of this blog will know, I love looking at pictures of other people’s bookshelves. My second favorite thing to look at is reading nooks. As you can imagine, this list was very fun for me to look at.

So many of these reading nooks are adorable and I wish I could transplant them directly into my house with just a click of my mouse. Some are cramped and block out all other distractions so that you can read in peace, like the first one on the list (I would also like the house surrounding this particular reading nook). But others are light, airy, and open, such as the fifth one down on the list. I love the variety displayed on this list. That makes me wonder what you would like to see in your own, personal reading nook?

What would your ideal reading nook look like? What would be included? What would be excluded? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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http://cnn.it/189aq7y
http://cnn.it/189aq7y

Exquisite Libraries

Once again, I am assuming that we’re all book lovers here. Am I correct in that assumption? Excellent, then we shall press on. Are you feeling tired already and it’s only Tuesday? Are you freezing in the middle of this Polar Vortex? We here at the Jet Fuel blog understand you, and we’d like to offer you something cozy and simple on this Tuesday morning. After all, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from serious-ish, advice type posts and just look at some pretty pictures of libraries. In that vein, I bring you exquisite libraries around the world, courtesy of the CNN website.

There are large, opulent libraries with lots of gold embellishment on the shelves on this list. There is also the ancient library in the Haeinsa Temple in South Korea. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the truly grandiose libraries, and the libraries that are far more subdued. It might be said that the two kinds of libraries are completely equal, despite their difference in decoration. When it comes down to it, libraries exist to catalog and dispense knowledge. It doesn’t matter what they look like, as long as they house the annals of knowledge. All that being said, it is quite nice to look at these exquisite libraries, don’t you think?

My favorite library on the list has to be the Merton College Library in Oxford, UK (pictured above). It seems to be the perfect mixture of grandiosity and coziness. There are some lovely decorative windows, but it seems to be mostly made of wood. It’s the library that I could most see myself studying in.

Which library do you like best? Which one would you transplant into your home, if that was possible? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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http://www.thewritingnut.com
http://www.thewritingnut.com

Holiday Gifts for Writers

Last week, I profiled some gifts for the bookish people in your life. But as well as being readers, I’m going to assume that we’re all writers here. And, as such, we’re sure to have some fellow writerly friends who will needs gifts around the holiday season. Readers and writers are, I think, extremely easy to shop for. As I said in my post last week, you can very easily buy a bookish person a gift card to their favorite bookstore and be done with it. Likewise, you could easily get your writer friends a new notebook or pen, or some kind of book full of writing prompts. These are the easy way out, though. There are so many more interesting and just as applicable gifts you can get for the writers in your life.

Chuck Wendig (whom I have been referencing a lot — sorry, Chuck) has made a really awesome post of gifts you can get for a writer. These gifts go beyond the obvious notebook-and-pen choice and into even more practical territory. Included on the list is a corkboard, which I think is a great gift for anyone who needs to organize their thoughts, but especially for writers. Corkboards can be used to lay out plot points, plan out when chapters or scenes appear in a book, or different characters in your story. This list also includes some external storage for a computer. Speaking as someone who has lost her writing before due to a failure to backup, I would highly endorse this gift.

If you are a writer shopping for another writer, think of what helps you or inspires you the most when you need to write. Is that something you can buy for your writer friend? If nothing seems to catch your fancy, try your hand at making a homemade gift. You can create some handy character development worksheets or write different prompts on small pieces of cardstock and put them on a decorative keychain. There are plenty of fun ideas out there, just use your imagination!

What are you getting for the readers and writers in your life? Share in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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http://www.buzzfeed.com/
http://www.buzzfeed.com/

Gifts for the Bookish in Your Life

The holidays are upon us once again, and that means gift giving and receiving. I think that we, as book lovers, are some of the easiest people to shop for. If you know someone loves to read, then it’s only logical to get them a bookstore gift card. If you know someone a bit more, then you might even be able to pick out a specific book for them. But if you don’t know what they’re into right now, and you want to give something more creative than a gift card, then you might want to check out this list of clever gifts for book lovers.

Now, I know, BuzzFeed is not exactly my favorite source of information either. But you can’t deny that they know what they’re doing when it comes to compiling lists. And the bookish gift list has some really interesting bits and bobs on it. There’s an innovative bookmark that will point to the actual line where you left off reading. There’s an awesome transparent book weight that you can put on top of your pages to keep them from flipping. That’s something I would really be able to use, especially when reading while eating.

There’s also a MacBook sleeve that looks like an old book. This is something I recently saw in real life and it’s amazing! This upside-down bookcase is like nothing I’ve ever seen and any book lover would appreciate it to change up their personal library.

There are some really awesome bookish gift ideas on this list and I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’re shopping for a bibliophile.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

Discuss: Awesome Literary Things

http://www.simplymaggie.com/autumnthanksgiving-decor-ideas
http://www.simplymaggie.com/autumnthanksgiving-decor-ideas

Bookish Thanksgiving Decor

This week is Thanksgiving, a holiday which never seems to get the due it deserves. More often than not, Thanksgiving is swept away in a wave of post-Halloween, pre-Christmas advertising that seems to start earlier and earlier each year. For what it’s worth, I really enjoy Thanksgiving. There’s good food, the weather is just chilly enough to feel cozy indoors, and it’s a reason to have some days off in the month of November. What’s not to love? Thanksgiving also comes with a great opportunity for crafty and interesting decor for when your guests come over. And no, I’m not talking about tracing your hand to make a turkey.

Recently, the folks over at Book Riot posted some bookish Thanksgiving decor, which I think is just awesome. If you happen to be of the crafty persuasion as well as the bookish persuasion, then some of these might be right up your alley. All of the crafts on this list do, however, entail destroying some books. So, if you don’t mind that sort of thing, these are some really cute ideas.

There is a centerpiece made from old books and some leaves, there is a Thanksgiving bunting made from old book pages, and there’s an adorable turkey place setting made from rolled up book pages! The turkey might be my favorite. But I’m also fond of the book pumpkin (pictured above), which involves a pumpkin being wrapped up in book pages. That’s such an interesting way to decorate a pumpkin and it lends a certain autumn-y mood to any room.

So, even though it’s short notice, I hope this post at Book Riot gives you some ideas for bookish Thanksgiving decor. Do you know of any bookish Christmas decorations? Share them in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan