Literary Citizenship

This brought tears to my eyes.

Experiences with Language

I’ve been waiting for the right time to make this post, because it means a lot to me.  I chose tonight because today I visited my college for the first time since graduating. I caught a glimpse of who I was, right as I was leaving the college. I saw myself full of emotion and excitement for the world.

One of the biggest reasons I became this person was due to learning the wonderful phrase: Literary Citizenship. 

For those of you who have never heard the phrase before, I’ll say that it’s more of a vague philosophy than a concrete definition, and that many writers you meet will have slightly different interpretations. My beginner’s description might be something like: One part of living as a self-identified writer is trying your best, whenever possible, to help make this world a better place for readers and writers. It involves becoming a part…

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Literary Citizen-and why you should be one #litcitizen

THANK YOU SO MUCH Cheryl Russell for talking about Literary Citizenship and for inviting my students to contribute to your blog.

Why The Writing Works

Lit Citizen-literary citizen. Loose definition—promoting others’ work over your own.

It’s a concept worth practicing—share others’ work instead of relentlessly promoting your own. But not just anyone’s work; share work you believe in.

*Read books and share the good stories, across all genres. Read, and then promote the work that you believe needs shared with the literary world.

*Support literary magazines through subscriptions if you can; but at the very least track down issues at a library, read, and then share the stories that resonated with you with others.

*Buy books and post reviews of the ones you believe need more readers.

*Support authors you enjoy by sharing their work and sending them a note of encouragement/appreciation.

Read more about literary citizenship at the Literary Citizenship blog.

Cathy Day teaches a class on literary citizenship at Ball State University. Check out their website and follow them on twitter.

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New Age Book Reviews

New Age Book Reviews

Liz Winks talks about whether GIFs and memes should be used to review books. 

Acts of Literary Citizenship: A Twitter Adventure

Here’s what happened when I put my students in charge of the @LitCitizen account.

White Pages

For the past week, Haley Muench and I were put in charge (yikes) of the @LitCitizen twitter account.

Running social media for myself is one thing. Running a Twitter account for a broad concept which has a strong community is quite another. We needed a plan. We needed to figure out what the community wanted to know about, what they wanted to know from us.

Have you ever tried to figure out what people you haven’t even met want from you? It’s some pretty difficult stuff.

Then, we thought of Acts of Literary Citizenship. These are actions that people can take to show their dedication and passion for the literary world. After all, what good is a passion for something if it isn’t shared?

As our professor, Cathy Day‘s, class has evolved,  a list of about 40 Literary Citizenship Acts were already compiled. We added about 10 more due to…

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Becoming a Literary Citizen, Facing Munro

The essence of literary citizenship is to shine a light on others. Very happy to see that Alison Barker found her way to for this post for the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop. Very happy to be mentioned and shine a little light on Lighthouse. They do great things there.

The Lighthouse Writers Top-Secret Blog

Sometimes a Lighthouse craft experience shows its great value after a bit of time has passed. Lauren Groff brought a lot of game to the Lighthouse Grotto last month. Since her visit, my writerly engines have put-putted along on the fuel of inspiration and literary compassion she emanated.

I had intended to use two blog posts to cover the goodness that flowed from the Groff Fly-By Writers’ weekend. I thought I would try to pluck several activities and gems from her two craft tribunals, Narrative Structure and the Art of Narrative Time to  provide practical advice and exercises for those Lighthouse members who weren’t able to attend the weekend. And then I let a lot of time pass after my first post, a hurried, enthusiastic summary of her teaching approach, the aura-stamp left on my notebook from her teacher vibe, if you will.

As I returned to my Groff notes…

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Organizing a Literary Event (I did this)

When you put students in charge of organizing a literary event, their whole outlook changes. It’s pretty fascinating.

Medley of Mo

A couple of weeks ago, I helped four of my classmates, along with our professor Cathy Day, plan an event called “What’s Next: Graduate School for Creative Writers.”

(You may have seen the poster I shared for it) event poster
Cathy, myself, and my classmates Lindsey, Stephanie, Rachael, and Kayla worked together to get a group of Ball State University writing faculty sit on a panel and tell students about their experiences with going to grad school, the different types of graduate programs offered, and the different jobs available to you with these degrees. Sounds interesting, right? It was. The amount of information that the attendees walked away with was borderline overwhelming, in a good way. So what’s the problem? The amount of attendees! (The turnout was a bit disappointing.)

What did we do wrong? Well, I’m not entirely sure so let me tell you…

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It’s Not Just Posters: Advice for Promoting Your Next Local Event

My students were required to help organize a literary event. Madison was in the group assigned to promote our campus literary festival OFF-CAMPUS. Anyone who teaches knows that’s it’s really hard to bring “Town and Gown” together. Here are some great ideas about how to make that happen–and the most important thing is that students have to leave campus.

Call Me Marv

Recently I was a part of the promotional team for Ball State’s In Print Festival of First Books. Throughout the process of trying to gain attendees for this literary festival, I learned that there are a 3 key steps for anyone that hopes to promote a local event in a small town and I thought I’d share them with you all.

applestore  Step 1 – Window Shop – Yep that’s right, you have to walk. Go to the most high  traffic business area in your town and window shop. You are not shopping for merchandise though, you are shopping for windows. Windows to hang up your posters/advertisements for your event. Go in and ask the owner/manager if they are interested in hanging your advertisement. I recommend doing this before you actually have the posters made. This way it allows you to have a conversation with the owner and explain your…

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Livestock and Book Reviews

John Carter uses livestock judging as a metaphor to talk about reviewing books. This is Indiana, folks.

John E.K. Carter

Want to know my opinion on book reviews? Of course you do. That’s why you’re here.

After reading all the links on the topic over at Literary Citizenship, I realized that a lot of people have a lot different opinions on what makes a good book review.


I think there’s a common one: explanation.

It seems like everyone agrees that a good book review shouldn’t say just how the reviewer feels, but why they feel that way. In one article, Charles Baxter calls this unexplained kind of reviewing “Owl Criticism,” saying,

…quite a few book reviews are worthless. They are made up of what I call Owl Criticism. With Owl Criticism, you have statements like, ‘This book has an owl in it, and I don’t like owls.’

Because I am who I am, and I have trouble NOT linking a topic to agriculture, let me provide a…

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Let’s Talk About Book Reviews

My students are realizing that being “friends” with writers on FB and Twitter does effect how free they feel to be honest in their book reviews. It was great to see them begin to grapple with this conundrum this week.

A great example of how blogging/ “covering”/reviewing the readings you attend is one way to be a literary citizen.

Dakota R. Garilli

Last night, I had the privilege of hearing Aubrey Hirsch read from her debut story collection “Why We Never Talk About Sugar.”  The book is the second title published by Braddock Avenue Books, a small press here in Pittsburgh.  You should definitely check them out by clicking on their names!

The event was held at East End Book Exchange—a charming, cozy, unique used book store on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield.  This is not a bookstore for the faint of literary-heart.  From the great art on the walls to the amazing stock of new and classic titles, EEBX will keep your adrenaline pumping as long as you’re within its walls.  (It’s a good thing they balance this out with mood lighting and a calming ambience, or I would’ve gone HAM and bought everything.)

After an introduction by Jeffrey Condran, one of BAB’s publishers, Hirsch made sure to wish everyone…

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