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2020 // October 18, October 11, October 4, September 27, September 20September 13, September 6, August 30 

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"I never feel lonely." Also, daily writing links, Aug 31 - Sept 4. | Flodesk
  August 30, 2020

Dear writers, 


Real talk: have you ever felt lonely? One week before the community at Louis Place opens up, we're meditating on the paradoxes of solitude, community, and kinship. We present to you, “I NEVER FEEL LONELY: a road trip conversation” (soundtrack note: the new Brandy album, B7 ).


Quincy : To be honest, I never feel lonely, as in sad. It's more that I waver between being alone and being social and enjoying both. I love compromising. I love countering. I love producing something—conversation—that, on my own, wouldn't be possible.  


Now I'm looking up “loneliness" in the dictionary, trying to get a handle on what it is. The Oxford English Dictionary links loneliness and solitude: “having no companionship or society; unaccompanied, solitary, lone.”


Steffani : And then there's Claudia Rankine, who writes, 


Define loneliness? 



But seriously, have I felt lonely? I wonder. I do love being alone. I love that feeling of being drunk on my work, of living and sleeping and waking and writing without ever leaving. Sometimes I feel like I can eat my work and breathe it, like I can create for myself everything that I need, like the way parents say they can eat their babies, a little cannibalistic. But I agree with you: I get tired of myself. I need freshness. I don't know if I would ever say that “I love compromising,” but I do welcome some friction.


Q : I think many writers are like me. We love studying people. We love watching what happens when people come together. I think that's why I love to host. I like reading the room. I can scan and hear and remember. I want everyone to feel seen and taken care of, and to do for them what they need. 


S : In her poem “The President's Wife,” Morgan Parker asks, “Is loneliness cultural?” I think a lot about the relationship between Blackness and solitude and anxiety and difference, what it means to feel seen, or to feel like you are getting what you need, what it means to be apart / “a part”? Have I ever been seen? Sometimes I feel as though I can barely remember what it feels like to be physically among friends. Six months into the isolation of the pandemic, I have been alarmed to find myself struggling to write about those parts of social life that I haven't experienced in a while.


Q : Yes—when I rejoin society after being solitary for some time, I find living in language challenging. I so easily forget what people have been experiencing in community, thinking about in community, exchanging conversation in community, when I am operating only by and for myself. My writing feels impoverished when I'm alone for too long. 


The first monthly Orbit workshop for at Louis Place members will be held on September 16 from 6:30-8:00pm EST, and we'll be focusing specifically on what it means to be in dialogue —on strategies for building polyphony and friction through the collision of multiple voices in our work . Our Orbit generative writing workshops are a quick series of exercises—we think of these as tools for staying flexy and limber and strong, whether you're searching for new resources and directions in a current project or building something new or just playing around. Like all at Louis Place workshops, this follow-along session is open to all members, and will be available after the fact for those who can't make it live (audio or captioned video for those who'd like to follow along, and a text PDF for those who prefer to read).


So if you're planning to join us, why not apply now ? We're sending a series of notes and a complete September calendar this week to help our members prepare, including details about our orientation event on September 7 at 2pm EST—you'll be added to the list when you complete your registration. 


(By the way, thanks to all of you who let us know about the wonkiness in our form. If you had trouble, please know that an alternate link has also been provided.)


Write with us: this week's Zoom links

We're writing every weekday morning this week - we'd love to see you.


If you haven't joined us before, here's what to expect:

  • Zoom registration. We now require Zoom registration. It takes a few seconds and will help us keep this space safe for us to welcome new visitors.
  • Joining us : I'll open the meeting room a few minutes before we begin—8am EST.
  • Latecomers are welcome. Please be patient in the waiting room. I will let you in.
  • No RSVP required : No need to email if you oversleep or get busy or can’t make it. Just join us if and when you can.
  • Questions? Respond to this message.

Zoom link for this week's sessions

Monday, Aug 31, 2020 through Friday, September 4, 2020

8:00 AM New York / 5:00AM Los Angeles / 1PM London / 2PM Berlin


Meeting ID: 993 1454 3513
Passcode: 247943


What we're reading

👉🏾 Teju Cole, master of literary introspection, recommends his ten favorite novels of solitude .  In his introduction, he writes: 


It all began with Crusoe. But it intensified in our time: this is the age of loneliness. The canonical texts are Notes from the Underground, Hunger, L'Etranger, and The Catcher in the Rye. Other presiding spirits are those of Kafka and Beckett. But in my own reading, I'm drawn not only to extreme isolation but to apparently well-integrated individuals who, nevertheless, spend most of their time in their own thoughts. Many of these novels are narrated in the first person, but I hadn't noticed before how many of them are by anonymous narrators, unaccompanied even by their names. Julius, in Open City, is named, but what he shares with all the protagonists below is a shifting, and shifty, relationship with his author. In writing him, I invented situations, attitudes, beliefs and actions, but a great deal of his solitude came out of mine. 


Have you read his novel Open City ?


👉🏾 A. H. Jerriod Avant recently curated a special series of Poem-a-Day featuring Black writers from the southern United States. Check out the trippy poem WHO REAL by Marwa Helal (“the return of poem to be read from right to left.”). Here's an excerpt:


asks poem this of draft shorter a see to professor first the

device stylistic this sustain could i long how

think you do long how ،prof dunno i ،w counter i

™ pneumoic hegemonic demonic heteronormative khwhite the

؟itself sustain can

rage road and clown class the all and american im now

be never could i


You can hear an audio recording at the link, or listen to all of the recent Poem-a-day poems curated by Jerriod—August 14 - August 28—through your favorite podcast software here .


👉🏾 Amy Long's unconventional “novel in essays” about living with chronic pain, Codependence , uses the present tense to create a sense of instability. "About half the book consists of Bluets-style braided essays with numbered paragraphs, all of which are named after some recovery- or addiction-related term that I use ironically to make readers question their assumptions about drugs and pain. The braided essays have a present-tense narrative that’s punctuated by past-tense scenes or ruminations, and the present-tense story was often unfolding as I wrote the essay," she tells us in an interview about her craft. Read an interview with her here .


👉🏾 We're really looking forward to poet and multimedia artist Rachel Eliza Griffiths' next book Seeing the Body . She reads her poem “Chronology” and speaks about its relationship to the Italian painter Alberto Burri in this 20 minute episode of Poet's House Presents . Note: I love how the Poet's House Presents series enables you to hear the poet's voice, see the poet reading, and see the text of the poem itself scrolling alongside.


👉🏾 Here's a roundup of horror stories by Black writers, including novels and graphic novels by Victor LaValle, Ayize Jama-Everett, Rusty Cundieff, and Micheline Hess.


Wendy’s Subway The Carolyn Bush Award  

Deadline: September 7, 2020. 

The Carolyn Bush Award aims to support innovative, hybrid, and cross-genre work that contributes to expanding the discourses and practices of poetry. The award honors the life and work of Wendy’s Subway Co-Founder Carolyn Bush by providing in-depth support to an early-career and emerging female-identifying writer. The winner will author a publication with Wendy’s Subway, receive an honorarium of $1,000, a standard royalty contract, and 25 author copies. Crucial to the award is the editorial support provided to complete the manuscript for publication. Wendy’s Subway is committed to a publishing practice that amplifies marginalized and underrepresented writers. 

Full details and application: 



Red Bull Arts Microgrants

Deadline: Rolling

In response to the current socio-political climate, Red Bull Arts is expanding the Detroit Microgrant Program nationally. This initiative directly supports our community of artists through providing unrestricted aid. The adapted Microgrant program will award two $1000 grants each month to artists in the following 20 cities across the United States: Atlanta, Austin/San Antonio, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Hudson Valley (NY), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Providence, St Louis, and the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St.Paul). These funds are meant to support artists in continuing their work however they see fit in this difficult moment.

Full details and application: https://redbullarts.com/detroit/red-bull-arts-detroit-micro-grant-program/  

Questions? Thoughts? Ideas? Let us know.


As ever,


Quincy and Steffani


PS: Yes, please do feel free to share this e-mail with anyone who might want to join us. Thank you.