2.27.2007

Meet the new WEGO Logo(s)!

Congratulations and thank you to Dana Clark and Rachel Tobie, both members of the MS in Publishing program.

The new full color, online WEGO logo-- designed by Dana--appears at the upper right of this web page. This was our voter's overwhelming favorite, and their choice to grace our WEGO blog.

But... many of you also pointed out that we needed a simpler black&white logo as well, for use on letterhead and official looking papers. Of the b&w logos offered, the favorite-- designed by Rachel--is shown at left. (I think it's kind of cool that it says "We go"!)

There they are: your official logos. Use them proudly!

2.22.2007

Why active verbs matter

(Thanks to Merilee Karr for this post.)

~~~~~~~~
The Brain's Word Act
Reading verbs revs up motor cortex areas

For more than 60 years, scientists have known that a strip of neural tissue that runs ear-to-ear along the brain's surface orchestrates most voluntary movement, from raising a fork to kicking a ball. A new brain-imaging study has revealed that parts of this so-called motor cortex also respond vigorously as people do nothing more than silently read words.

Not just any words get those neurons going, however. They have to be action words--active verbs.

As volunteers read a verb referring to a face, arm, or leg action--such as lick, pick, or kick--the motor cortex areas that control the specified action exhibit high rates of blood flow, a sign of intense neural activity, say neuroscientist Friedemann Pulverm├╝ller of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, and his colleagues. For instance, reading the word lick triggers pronounced blood flow in sites of the motor cortex associated with tongue and mouth movements.

At the same time, prominent activity also occurred in so-called premotor brain regions that influence learning of new actions and in two left-brain structures--Broca's area and Wernicke's area--that have long been linked to understanding language.

These results challenge the theory that isolated, language-specific brain structures discern word meanings, the scientists conclude in the Jan. 22 Neuron. Instead, they propose, word understanding hinges on activation of interconnected brain areas that pull together knowledge about that particular word and its associated actions and sensations.

"Brain areas that are used to perform an action are also needed to comprehend words related to that action," Victor de Lafuente and Ranulfo Romo of Mexico's National Autonomous University in Mexico City comment in an editorial in the same journal issue. "Remarkably, just the reading of feet-related action words such as dance makes [the motor cortex] move its 'feet'"

In its studies, Pulverm├╝ller's group administered functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to 14 adults, ages 20 to 30, as they viewed strings of meaningless hash marks on a computer screen and then read lists of arbitrary nouns and lists of face-, arm-, and leg-related verbs. Only the verbs elicited marked activity in the premotor cortex and relevant parts of the motor cortex.

Moreover, the same arm- and leg-related sections of motor cortex responded similarly when volunteers read verbs involving those body parts or when they responded to instructions to move their feet and fingers.

Motor cortex areas triggered by face-related words such as bite and chew showed little correspondence to those activated by voluntary tongue movements, however. That's probably because these words refer to complex jaw and head actions that involve many movements apart from the tongue, the researchers say.

To confirm the new findings, researchers need to show that verb comprehension suffers when critical parts of the motor cortex are temporarily shut down, remark de Lafuente and Romo. This procedure can be safely accomplished with a machine that delivers brief, intense magnetic pulses to patches of brain tissue, the researchers note.

Bower, B. Science News, 2/7/2004, Vol. 165 Issue 6, p83, 2p.

Jessica Machado in Willamette Week!

Jessica Machado, a student in PSU's MA in nonfiction program, has been contributing some of her free-lance work to Willamette Week's restaurant and bar reviews!

Check out her recent stories on....

* rontoms

* North 45

* Masu East

* Hammy's

Fellowships: Writing in Vermont (Deadline June 15)

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new Fellowship opportunity at the Vermont Studio Center for 2007.

Recipients for the award will be selected at both the winter (deadline: February 15) and summer (deadline: June 15) Fellowship competitions.

New for 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts will sponsor four Fellowships this year for outstanding painters, sculptors, writers, photographers, or printmakers who demonstrate clear financial need (applicants must submit their most recent tax return or other information that indicates financial status).

Each Fellowship comes with a $1,500 stipend to cover direct residency expenses (travel, materials, shipping, etc.) or related expenses (child care, lost job revenue, rent, etc.). Awards will be based on a combination of the caliber of the work presented, and on demonstrated financial need.

To apply, go to http://www.vermontstudiocenter.org/apply.html and check the Special Fellowships box under Fees, VSC Grants, Fellowships and list the name of the award.

All applicants who provide the necessary information will be considered for all awards for which they are eligible.

Feel free to forward this e-mail to any artist you feel would be interested; we look forward to receiving your application.

2.21.2007

Contest: Fiction & Nonfiction (Deadline: August 19)

Oregon Writer's Colony Writing Contest, 2007

Short Stories: Both True and Imagined
Deadline: Postmarked no later than Monday, August 19, 2007

CASH AWARDS!
1st Place in each category: $200
2nd Place in each category: $100
3rd Place in each category: $50
1st Honorable Mention/Certificate of Achievement.
Additional Honorable Mentions credited in Colonygram and on OWC
website
.

Deadline: Postmarked no later than August 19, 2007.

FUN FACTS
First place winners are featured on the cover of the Colonygram.
All winners are invited to read excepts from their stories at "OWC Presents" in October.
Several contest-winning stories have since been published!
For Writers of books, the contest deadline can goad you into creating a marketable short story from y our unpublished book.
Publishing a story from the book attracts agents and editors to your whole book.
Entering the contest supports the Oregon Writers Colony, whose mission is to support you.

Judging Criteria (not necessarily in order of importance):
  • Plot (hook, complications and satisfying resolution)
  • Sensory detail
  • Originality
  • Depth of character
  • Evokes emotion in reader (e.g. chuckle, sadness)
  • Tension
  • Theme (what story is about beyond the plot, e.g. duty, change)
  • Mechanics (grammar, point of view, showing/telling etc)
  • Follows the contest director's nit-picky Contest Rules!
Contest Rules
Original, unpublished submissions, postmarked and submitted now thru
August 14.
Word limit: 2500 max, fiction and nonfiction
Enter as many stories as you like.
One story, one entry, per submission packet
Fees per entry: $10/OWC member, $15/non-member, $6 optional fee for a brief, supportive critique.

Submission packet check off list:
SASP (Self addressed stamped postcard) for receipt/your peace of mind
Four stapled copies of one story.
Standard manuscript format (double-spaced, .5" paragraph indents, at least one-inch margins, 12 pt. Courier or Times New Roman font)
On first page, specify word count and category: fiction, nonfiction.
NO author information on story. This is an anonymous contest.
One business envelope labeled fiction or nonfiction, with the
following sealed inside: (1) Check for entry fee, can combine with optional critique fee; (2) 3x5 card (please, no odd-sized cards) with (a) Category (fiction, nonfiction), (b) Your name, address, email address, phone, (c) Title of entry, and (d) Where you found out about this contest; (3) #10 SASE for contest results and optional critique which will be mailed in early October

Mail to:
OWC Contest
C. Lill Ahrens
306 NW 32nd St.,
Corvallis OR
97330.

Questions? Contact: C. Lill Ahrens, contest coordinator at cclill@comcast.net.

Call for Submissions: Prose

The Cupboard, a pamphlet

The Cupboard is a free and anonymous pamphlet published once a month in Lincoln and distributed around the country by fair-minded people with time on their hands. We've just put out our ninth volume of creative prose writing, and are continually seeking submissions from serious writers interested in alternative publication methods.

In the spirit of pamphlets and their long, long history, The Cupboard is wholly anonymous---in both the people behind its production and the writers who fill its pages. As such, the writing itself is given the spotlight, and each volume becomes an ensemble of unnamed voices blended
together.
The Cupboard makes no editorial demands, other than that submissions be written in prose of no longer than 2000 words. Submissions are accepted year-round at cupboard@thecupboardpamphlet.org.

We have a mailing list through which you can be kept abreast of future theme issues. To sign up, or for more information, please visit our web site.

Thank you for your interest:
The Cupboard

Contest: All kinds of writing (Deadline: Nov. 15)

2008 Georgetown Review Contest

Prize: $1,000 and publication (in Georgetown Review) of the winning short story, poem, or essay on the subject of Redemption.

We’re very flexible about what satisfies our theme requirement. We’d be equally interested in stories, poems, and essays about folks who find redemption and those who don’t. If the situation where redemption is pursued is obviously spiritual in nature, that’s fine, but if it’s secular or legal or something else, we’re equally interested. The work can be about families or individuals or criminals or saints or those of us who are probably somewhere in between. It can be about dogs or cats or cows or fish, or for that matter, a situation in which redemption or the pursuit or avoidance of it plays a part.

Submissions must be postmarked by on or before November 15, 2007.

Entry fee is $10 for the first entry, $5 for each entry thereafter.

If you want your work returned or want to receive a notice about the winner and runners-up, you must send us a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

However, we will post a list of the work we choose on our website after the contest is judged, and we will do our best to have this list up by February 2008.

The magazine’s editors will judge.

Simultaneous and multiple submissions are okay. Your name can appear on your work as well, and in fact, we prefer that. We have a small editorial staff and would not award the prize to any colleagues, students, or friends.

All entries are considered for publication. In the 2007 contest, 22 runner-up works were selected for publication. If your work is published, Georgetown Review acquires first North American rights, which means that after we publish the piece the rights to it revert back to you.

Send entries to:
2008 Contest
Georgetown Review
400 East College Street
Box 227
Georgetown, KY 40324

2.20.2007

Meryl Lipman (non-fiction)

B.A., International Studies, with a minor in Russian language; The American University; Washington, DC; 1991

Writing interests: Memoir, personal essay, journalism (immersion, feature articles for magazines and newspapers, reporting), travel writing, political writing.

Graduation plans: Spring 2007

Other interests: Skydiving, travel, hiking, intercultural-international events, political discussions, lectures, movies.

Thesis/project idea: A personal memoir that uses skydiving as a metaphor for bravery, folly and the fine line between the two.

Abbreviated CV:

Dog Nose News, Portland, feature writer 2000-05, "Cat Calls" columnist
2003-05.

The Oregonian, "Parachutist Rides the Rush," Meet Your Neighbor, Clackamas
County Weekly, September 2003.

Parachutist Magazine, Washington DC, contributor/NW events reporter,
2003-present.

Windermere Northwest Homes & Lifestyles, Portland, contributor/feature
articles, Spring-Fall 2006 with assignment for Spring 2007.

Blue Oregon articles: "A New Progressive Revolution," guest column April
2005 and "Assassinating The Intelligensia," guest column May 2005.

Metroscape, The PSU Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies magazine.
"Displaced," December 2006.

Shannon Carson (poetry)

A.A., Liberal Arts - Multidisciplinary Studies; De Anza College, Cupertino, CA
B.A., English, minor in Creative Writing; Portland State University, Portland OR; 2006

Writing interests: Poetry, short stories, personal essays, the occasional theory related something or another, when I'm feeling wacky.

Other interests: Art, music, honey, wine, books, the ocean, not necessarily in that order and certainly not limited to this list.

Graduation plans: June 2008 or sooner.

Thesis/project idea: don't know yet exactly.

Kathy Haynie (non-fiction)

B.A., English; Lewis and Clark College; Portland, OR; 1994
M.A. Teaching; Lewis and Clark College; Portland, OR; 1995

haynieoregon@yahoo.com

Writing interests: Personal essay, memoir, poetry, fiction

Other interests: Family (5 children, 3 stepchildren, 7 grandchildren, 1 very patient husband), work (English teacher and Literacy Coach at Oregon City High School), hiking, church work with the children's program, reading.

Graduation plans: Not sure - I just started, and I can only take one class/term. I'm going to enjoy the journey.

Thesis/project idea: Not sure yet - probably some nonfiction writing with a family and/or nature theme.

Short CV:

Recently retired editor of Chalkboard, the quarterly newsletter of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English.

Regular articles about adoption stories for Decree, a national adoption-rights newsletter.

One recent article in the Oregon English Journal.

Please visit my teaching website link. It has some nice photos of my family, and I hope that it will soon have some samples of my students' writing.

Writing excerpt:

McLoughlin Promenade
Oregon City

Stroll, saunter, march, sprint, jog, push a stroller, or purposefully walk your dogs, in only half a mile you will complete the upper length of the McLoughlin Promenade. From the upper terminus of the Oregon City Municipal Elevator, the Promenade beckons gently on an April evening, threading its way between pastel Victorian cottages on the left, and on the right, the sheer drop of 90-foot basalt cliffs that loom above the Willamette River in the silver evening light. Benches mark the rolling path, each one a kindly invitation to sit, to stay, to contemplate the views: the river below, the fir-covered hills of West Linn across the river, or the best view of all—cumulus clouds all blue-gray-salmon-silver, piled cloud-on-cloud like an impossibly perfect painting. The clouds crowd the sky from Pete’s Mountain to the south, all the way to Portland’s skyscrapers to the north. Quite a view. It’s so pretty, so inviting.

Then again, it’s so noisy, for there below, on the flat between the base of the basalt cliffs and the silver river, a monstrosity sprawls across five acres. Clanging, roaring, thrumming, steaming, rattling, churning, belching: Blue Heron Paper Company. Look down into the chip yard, a mountain of sawdust forming below the long silver pipe that sucks chips from a train car parked at the side of the mill, chips rattling noisily through the tube. Over there, a long ringing sound, and a red light flashes. Steam rises straight into the still air from a dozen different stacks. A giant claw grabs a truck trailer, tips it up and up, emptying its contents, newspapers and more papers, sliding into the maw. The ringing again, and the red light again. Someone has parked a maroon minivan between two buildings in the complex, but it looks silly, like a child’s toy. The van cannot be that small; the mill cannot be that big.

It is an effort to look away, to resume walking. But it is such a lovely evening, and in spite of the noise from the mill, the surroundings are peaceful. Mossy outcroppings of basalt push up through the grass, rhododendrons are in bloom, purpled vinca thrives in the shade. Hemlock trees spread dark branches with soft green tips. I am quietly coveting the ferns and groundcovers for my own yard, when my husband points out the birds wheeling above, over toward the river. There are seven of them. They are birds of prey, but we cannot identify them. They are not as swift as hawks, nor as single-minded as turkey vultures. They are not hunting, not circling over death. They climb, drop, bank, circle lazily but without purpose: black against the softness of sky, they are playing in the updraft over the mill’s steam vents. We decide they must be ospreys, river fishers; we have never seen them together in this way.

Past the mill, almost to the VFW Hall, a narrow pedestrian catwalk takes the Promenade over Highway 99E. Clamber down the metal catwalk stairs, and you come face-to-face with a stunning piece of Oregon’s geographic history: Willamette Falls. They are the reason for the mills: saw mill, grist mill, woolen mill, brick mill, paper mill. Mills have occupied this site for over 150 years, and before that, Native Americans in ten cedar longhouses lived and fished beside the falls for millennia. Oregon City was settled, became the first U.S. seat of government west of the Mississippi River because of the falls and their potential for power. They are beautiful in this evening light, and I strain to hear the roar and rush of 700 tons of water dropping 40 feet over the falls every second. But the sounds of the falls are drowned out by the deep thrum of the mill. The mill, the wide river, the lovely walking park—they are bound together here by tradition and loveliness and industry. In this place, one does not exist without the other.

No breeze this evening, so we do not catch the usual woody scent of the chips, nor the yeasty-sour-milk fragrance of pulp. Car headlights glint through trees along I-205, across the river. A fresh coolness settles over the bluff. Steam will rise all night into the still air, but now only two birds climb and dip through the updrafts. The sky darkens. The chip tube rattles back to life, and the last two ospreys wheel apart, one east, and one north.