Friday, February 29, 2008

Mary Gaitskill Visits Chester College

Renowned author Mary Gaitskill was at Chester College on Thursday, February 28, 2008, to participate in Chris Anderson’s Advanced Fiction workshop. Aside from the normal gaggle of students, the workshop was opened to the public and was attended by a dozen spectators.

Gaitskill opened the workshop with a speech on various aspects of writing. She began by asking the students what they like about literature and responding to their answers, from “dialogue” to “conflict.” She discussed in great detail the parallels of style and content, and how fiction must always have “reasons” for being the way it is. To illustrate her point she read selections from Flannery O’Conner’s Good Country People, Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, and Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire.

After a short break, the workshop began. This workshop dealt with a piece of short fiction by student Marie Stern entitled “Confidence Men,” a story about two grifters, their thoughts and feelings on death, and how those thoughts and feelings affected their relationship with each other. A number of pertinent comments were made by Gaitskill, the students, and instructor, Chris Anderson.

After the workshop, Mary Gaitskill answered questions from the gathered gaggle. These questions ranged in subject from researching source material to the writing process to what it was like to experience a film adaptation of one of her works. The event was extremely successful.

Don’t forget, Gaitskill, along with student Kristen Koczarski, will be reading tonight in Powers 29 (the fireplace room) at 6:00pm. Gaitskill will be reading from an upcoming collection due to be released next year.

To all those who submitted:

Thank you! The SO Good staff is happy to report we have received a great batch of submissions and we really appreciate everyone who made the effort to put their work out there. The staff is now beginning the selection process and is looking forward to putting together an awesome collection thanks to everyone who contributed.

-Kristen Koczarski

Chester College explores the world of graphic novels

First part of a two part series

Christopher Anderson, a professor of writing at Chester College, is working side by side with Joel Christian Gill, a visual artist and professor at Chester, to bring the world of graphic novels into the classroom.

Graphic novels are finding themselves a niche in the art world these days. They are expanding beyond concepts of superheroes and fantastic situations and moving into the real world. Fiction is blurring together with visual art in such a way that the lines in between are non-existent.

Anderson thinks that graphic novels tell stories in a different language, but one that is still essentially a story, a fiction. Although he finds this hard to explain in some tangible way, he refers to the graphic novel Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and the scene of two siblings smiling at their fathers funeral. Although this may seem morbid, it is an intense scene of connection, which only illustration seems to convey.

Writers and visual artists are working together in this class. The class runs nine hours, three hours being devoted to creative writing aspect and six hours to the visual art side of the class. Each writer is paired with a visual artist with which they are to work with on a graphic project together. Although these artists may be pursuing their separate degrees in Creative Writing and Visual Art, Anderson says that they are not considered separate within the class; rather, they are encouraged to bolster and enhance each others work in a combination of visual and written art.

This class at Chester College signifies the interest in contemporary art forms and styles for both the visual and written artist. It concentrates on breaking the mold between studies and stressing interdisciplinary art and creativity. We should expect to see more classes like this in the future of Chester College, as well as a continuation of the graphic novel course.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Students React To Upcoming Visiting Author

As all at CCNE anxiously await the arrival of author Mary Gaitskill, no two are more eager than Seniors Kristen Koczarski and Marie Stern. Both look forward to work shopping their own writing with Gaitskill, and Koczarski will enjoy the pleasure of reading with the author she has admired for three years. Before their big day, SO Good interviews Kristen and Marie.

1. What was it in Gaitskill’s work that drew you to it?

K: I first read Bad Behavior as a freshman in my fiction class and was immediately drawn in by her casual treatment of such powerful subject matter. Her ability to capture the intensely personal aspects of her characters got me completely hooked.
M: I love the way her descriptions are filled with lush imagery without knocking you over the head with what she’s trying to say. Her subtlety of characterization, too. There’s something really beautiful about the complexity of her characters and the many levels they affect and are affected.

2. Have you found trends in your writing that are influences of Gaitskill? (Examples?)

K: I do know that she has been a huge influence on my work, especially in my courage to write about subjects I may have been too nervous to in the past, such as prostitution, porn, and my own involvement in the BDSM scene. Her characterization in Two Girls, Fat and Thin really drove me to want to dig in deep into my own characters' past and psychology.
M: I love the way she uses sexual undertones and sexuality to define and understand her characters, as well as the way it is used in her stories to get at deeper, very different issues. I strive to do that in a way. Also, her use of metaphor (especially in Veronica) is something I’ve used as an example for myself.

3. What are some trends in your work that differ from Gaitskill’s?

K: It's much better than mine? I think my work tends to involve more dark humor, I suppose.
M: Everything else? I’m not sure how to answer this one. Her work is amazing and I’m still just a student – so obviously her work is tremendously better. I guess I’m not really able to achieve the level of subtle removed-ness from my characters that she achieves in some of her short stories, and that’s one thing that stands out to me.

4. What was your immediate reaction when you learned you were to be reading/work shopping with one of your favorite authors?

K: be completely honest, my initial reaction was, I can't do this, I'd pee myself. It's a huge honor, one that I have a hard time believing I warrant. After having a month or so to think on it, I'm still nervous. Gaitskill has been my favorite fiction writer and a sort of idol for me since I first encountered her work three years ago and the idea of just meeting her is nerve racking- let alone opening for her reading. I'm excited to be sure; I just hope I don't have a heart attack.
M: When I heard I was going to be work-shopped by her, I believe my immediate reaction was “Oh shit, really? Are you kidding?” I’m totally excited - it’s such a great opportunity and I’m psyched and nervous as hell. Nervous is key. Very nervous.

5. Who are you other influences, or who are you reading currently?

K: My other biggest influence is definitely Edward Abbey, and I'm partial to Raymond Carver, Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, and Michelle Tea.
M: The answer to this one changes all the time, but right now I’m reading a lot of William Faulkner, Don Delillo, and Thomas Pynchon. I also really love Maxine Hong Kingston, Sherman Alexi, and Raymond Carver. But my influences hardly stop at fiction (or memoir as the case my be) – I also read a lot of philosophy (my favorites are Michel Foucault and Jaques Derrida) and academic work, which I enjoy immensely, and inevitably gets filtered into my writing as well. Oh, and I’m madly in love LOVE with Mark Z. Danielewski. He gets put at the top of the list.

6. What work will you be reading/work shopping?

K: I'll be reading a small excerpt from a larger piece of nonfiction about my plans to climb a mountain and short story called Red Eye, both of which I wrote last semester.

M: I actually wrote a new piece – a short story called Confidence Men about a pair of Gypsies who pull con jobs.

7. How/why did you choose that particular work?

K: The nonfiction piece shows where I'm going in my work at the moment, and Red Eye is my most recent piece of fiction that is closest to being done.

M: I chose to write a new piece because, well, it’s still for a workshop class, and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to have such a great writer look at some of my work and give me advice while it’s still in its earlier stages. It’s not exactly a first draft (I’m certainly happy with it), but it’s hasn’t been through several revisions yet either, and I didn’t want to hand in something I felt didn’t need a lot of work. It’s a good story, but the workshop is about finding and honing potential, so I wanted to take advantage of that.

8. What are some of your habits good/bad within your writing process?

K: I have to write things out by hand first. I don't know if that's good or bad- both I think. I can't get my thoughts together on a computer so I go back to pen and paper, and then when I do type it out, it goes through a quick revision in the typing process. So that's a plus, but writing it out is really time consuming and hard on my hands. Also my handwriting is practically illegible, even to me, which frequently becomes a problem.
M: Bourbon is probably the worst habit. Haha! But it’s the most fun! Honestly, the best thing for me to do is constantly read and re-read what I’ve written so far, and read it aloud. I always have to stop and read aloud, so I can get a sense of what sounds natural. Also, I always work to music – I like to imagine what the soundtrack to this story would sound like, and I pick music that suits the mood. I find it ridiculously inspiring.

9. How have you seen yourself grow as a writer through your years at CCNE?

K: I don't want to even think about what I first wrote in Intro to Fiction Writing. I sure hope I've come a long way since then. I've learned a great deal about subtlety, subtext, and probably most importantly, I've been exposed to many incredible authors from which I can draw inspiration.

M: I’ve improved so, so much over the years. It’s ridiculous looking back at some of the first things I wrote while I was here, and how bad they seem. Most importantly, I think I’ve grown to realize the importance of revision. And craft, too: how to really choose your words so they do the work, how to create complex, subtle characters, and how to experiment in form. Also, I’ve been exposed to so many great authors and books – and as a writer, I know that the more I read, the better my work is going to be.

10. What message have you learned from this opportunity (the reading) that you would like to share with other readers/writers?

K: I feel like I'll better be able to answer that one next week. I guess I can say, great opportunities always bring anxiety, but they're worth it.

M: Can I get back to you on that after the workshop?

A Writer: Grabbing this World by the Books

by Michelle Daugherty

In the giant chain bookstore world we live in, it is harder than ever to become a bestselling writer without forfeiting some dignity. Novelists follow the formula that worked for their last book to reduce the risk of losing the interest of anyone who may be reading their progression. Even poetry becomes a game of churning out the next book before the poet loses the connections they worked hard to make the first time. The truth at the heart of the issue: writing is hard work. Publishing is hard work. Taking the time to fully develop a new idea or body of writing means reestablishing your audience, as well as professional contacts to help you sell that book.

There are some skills any writer pursuing a career needs to develop. The first and most vital to success, is confidence. Many bestseller writers during interviews have said that to keep grounded and motivated, they have a small circle of friends that read their work as it is developing. The benefits of workshop are compelling enough that there are now tons of groups across our country where a writer goes to hear what a small sample group thinks of their writing so far. This allows for edits to clarify, as well as a dialogue on where a reader may want the writing to go. Workshops are so popular that there are now online groups that send feedback to your e-mail. Another hidden perk to workshops can be found in the other participants. These are other writers; some of them can serve as mentors. In most workshops, the participants are DOing things with their writing. You can meet editors of magazines, a bookstore events coordinator. If anything, you can meet someone who knows someone who may take an interest in your writing.

Publication itself can be a hurdle to jump. The big advice from most experts: have thick skin. The secret to publishing success is to submit, constantly. There is a huge amount of help available for that. Online submission searches are handy even straight from google. There is even a series of books to handhold through the process. The Writer’s Market books are around to prove a couple of things; one being that there are a ton of people trying to get their work published, enough to make money off of the hopeful writers. The other is how many options there are. Submitting to as many options as possible will secure your chances. The more small publishing credits you have, the more secure of an investment you will be for a company to publish your very own book.

Yes, some people get a book done without their bio filled with small steps. There are blind competitions where a judge selects work solely on its merit instead of the opinions of journals and other editors. Those contests are expensive. They are also entirely subjective and highly competitive. The top ones are constantly getting an overabundance of entries. Think of it as applying to Harvard, even with a 4.0 and excellent test scores there is no guarantee.

Another angle, for poets especially, are readings. Poetry Readings are found everywhere. Bookstores, schools, even bars can rely on groups of poets to show up on their slow night and spend money while reading their work to some of the same people most weeks. It can be a tough sport. There are clichés like there were in high school. There are several ex dating partners, some catty women and the inevitable really bad writer who takes themselves seriously (who most take as the bathroom break).

But the opportunities are there as well. It is here that writers hear of each other, develop their style and learn how a crowd of people respond to their writing. It is here also, that one builds a support group of other struggling writers and in general friendships. There is also that soft hope in the background, especially in a city, of a literary agent walking in while you are reading and liking what they hear enough to open a door for you. That hope turns writers into waitresses waiting tables until they are discovered. It is rare, but they are legends because it is possible.

The solid fact about becoming a successful writer is the hard work it entails. A tiny bit of the equation is raw talent, the rest is persistence.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Veronica: A Tale of Two More Girls

By Kristen Koczarski

Mary Gaitskill’s first three works, two collections of short stories and one novel, are full of dark underbellies and poignant themes and Veronica is no exception. This most recent novel, published in 2005 and nominated for the National Book Award, explores sickness, death, beauty, sex, and family to name only a few.

Veronica is the story of Alison Owen, a middle-aged woman with Hepatitis C and living off disability. As the reader follows her through the course of one day, Alison reflects on the events past and everything that led up to this point. The bulk of the novel is comprised of flashbacks and memories of events as told through a now grown Alison. These jumps in time are denoted by page breaks, and you would expect these to be jarring or disjointed, but they are not. Gaitskill’s transitions are as fluid and seamless as a fever dream—where everything intermingles in a confusing and enlightening way. As the novel progresses, we learn of Alison’s all but broken family, her teenage rebellions, and her venture into the European modeling world.

After being chewed up and spit out by her modeling agency, Alison gets a temp job working along side Veronica, a dignified but quirky woman over a decade her senior. The two strike up an unlikely friendship. When Veronica is infected with AIDS by her bisexual boyfriend Duncan, most of Veronica’s friends abandon her and Alison resolves to be the “brave” friend to the sick and dying woman. Many years later after Veronica’s death, Alison now has to live as the sick woman instead.

Gaitskill’s writing is breathtaking. Veronica is lyrical and sharp enough to cut the whole way through. Her blunt and casual treatment of societally deviant, usually sexual, behaviors like hard drug use and BDSM is refreshing in its clarity and candidness. The two running motifs in the novel, communicating through popular music and a mythic tale of a beautiful spoiled girl given to us on the first page, weave in and out throughout the entire work, tying each strand to the next in such a way as to leave the reader reeling. Veronica is a gripping read that haunts long after the last page has been turned.

Veronica and Gaitskill’s other books are available in the Wadleigh Library.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

SO Good Interview: Sérah Carter, Leah Guilmette, & Jenn Monroe

After the reading given by Jenn Monroe, Sérah Carter, and Leah Guilmette, on Monday, February 4th, SO Good interviewed these three talented writers.

SO Good: How did you make your decisions about what pieces to read tonight?

Sérah Carter: It wasn't easy. I'm my own worst critic, and to tell the truth I only picked my pieces about four hours before the reading. I went with what I thought best represented my writing style, and how I wanted to be viewed- after you read, people naturally make assumptions about what you write, and I didn't want to be stuck as a 'memoirist' or a 'short fiction writer' when I do a little bit of everything.

Leah Guilmette: Oh crap. Ok. I went with my most recent work, which was memoir and a piece which wasn’t really fully ready, but I felt I really needed to close things about where I’m headed. The memoir pieces really felt the most finished. I picked the ones I liked best – I figure either they suck or they don’t, so I went with the ones that didn’t.

Jenn Monroe: I picked my favorites first, and I picked the ones that I thought were probably most appropriate for the audience; I know that seems like a pat answer, but I can get away with reading poems at CCNE that I probably couldn’t anywhere else. For instance, I have other poems that I might read in front of strangers, but not colleagues and students. For instance, the "Drishti" poem, I couldn’t read just anywhere – it was the one poem I almost didn’t read. But it’s all on how you read something, too; I would read it differently for a single person than for a group – it can be a highly erotic poem, but it depends on how much I want the people to leave wanting a cigarette. I would read different poems differently for different audiences.

SG: What is your revision process like?

Carter: Long. As in the twenty-four hour wait before D-Day long. I'll write a piece and then stuff it somewhere for about two weeks- I won't look at it or think about it. When I look at it again, I immediately fix what flaws I see and force it on a friend or fellow writer, who finds what I can't. All told, my stuff goes through several sets of hands before I finally consider it finished. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and it's sort of my downfall.

Guilmette: I think my first step is usually to make myself a large alcoholic beverage. Then I’ll stare at the piece for, oh about ten days. Maybe twelve. Then, I like to develop a deep loathing for every single word I’ve written. I rip it apart, cut, paste, move everything around, cut, paste, move everything back. Repeat. Really, I just try to critique it the best that I can in that moment. And then go and make another drink.

Monroe: Revision is actually where I do most of my work – and I do consider it work. Occasionally torture. But it’s so necessary because almost none of my poems are gifts, maybe ever. Well of the ones that I read, one was a gift, and I’d been thinking about it for long time – Faultline basically wrote itself – it wanted to be written. I was reading a book at the time and it just wanted to be written; I was literally holding the book in one hand and writing the poem with the other. It went through very little revision – maybe some line breaks. But then The Chocolate Sampler has been revised probably 7 or 8 times, like major over-hauls. I guess in revision, the poem and I fight about when I’m actually going to let the poem say what it wants to say; how long I resist is how long the revision takes.

SG: Do you consider the pieces you read finished?

Carter: "Dear Valentine" is as finished as finished is going to be. "Bliss," my short story, is about at a middle ground—it might need some more additions before I can call it done. The Reading piece is in its infancy.

Guilmette: Most of the pieces I read were part of a memoir portfolio, and so they were labeled as finished as possible, for now [laughing]. They’re finished up until I can make myself go and revise them again.

Monroe: Yes. Yes. Those are done. I actually feel kind of bad that I didn’t have anything really new. I always like to read something that’s in progress, but because of the state of the manuscript right now, I didn’t have anything – the ones that still need to be done aren’t ready. I’ m happy with them, which is a weird thing to say.

SG: How do you determine when a piece is finished?

Carter: I call a piece finished, really, when I can look at it without cringing, or mentally making a note that that word there should be switched out.

Guilmette: I don’t think anything is ever really finished – I work in the now. A piece can be finished in the now.

Monroe: I don’t know how to say this and not make it sound corny. I guess there’s a sort of feeling of arrival, like if you’re in a car for several hours and then you stop and stand up –it’s that kind of feeling – “I’ve arrived.” It’s a much different feeling than “I need to leave this poem alone for a while.” It’s just a sense of arrival. It’s something writers understand, I think. You know when a piece is happy with itself. The poems are not mine; they do whatever they want to do. I think that’s when writers start to get into trouble: when they try to get too much control, it starts to get too formulaic. If you know exactly what your work is going to do – I think that’s a red flag, right there.

SG: Where did these stories (fiction or poetry) originate for you?

Carter: Most of my stories are from things I notice and catalogue. I carry around a little black notebook (no, not that kind of book) that holds all my ideas. The most random thing—a shirt someone is wearing, the posture of a person waiting for a bus, a license plate—can spark a whole litany of stories. In the case of Bliss, the driving force behind it was simply, "What if?"

Guilmette: The fiction piece I read tonight came out of a surrealism class and a project I was working on and struggling with. I find that the ones that make you struggle the most, stick with you the most. It’s still not fully there, but I’m working on it. I had a lot of help from people, especially around here (CCNE). I just liked the idea so much that I knew there was something there I wanted to keep. In general, though, I’ve been drawn to fairy tales, which have, unfortunately become Disney-fied and ridiculous. But if you look at their origins, there’s magic. There’s a magical aspect to every part of life, a story.

Monroe: So much of this manuscript comes from years of learning to be ok with the violence of my childhood, and really taking a look at that little girl who had to survive where there was always that threat. It came from trying to capture that need to control the things around you, as a defense – to detach yourself. It’s a study of that little girl and what it was really like for her, and really seeing her not so much as me, but taking a step away from the memories as mine, and seeing them as someone else’s. It’s very difficult to do. In a sense I’m not writing about myself – I’m writing about a child. I’m not that child now. I think the hardest part was getting enough distance.

SG: Who would you say you are most influenced or inspired by, which writers are you currently reading that inspire you?

Carter: You know, they always ask this question. I can't say I have a concrete answer. The entire time I've been at school I've been exposed to so many fantastic writers and novelists that it's hard to narrow it down to anyone in particular. I enjoy the short fiction of A.M. Holmes and Octavia Butler. Roddy Doyle's a favorite, and so is James Joyce, but don't tell Chris Anderson that. Hmm…Michael Ende, Truman Capote...geeze, this list could never end.

Guilmette: It’s funny. It seems everything I read influences me a little bit. I can’t pick a single one that always inspires. There’s so much good stuff, especially distributed in class curriculums. The more I learn, the more I’m fueled by everything. Hopefully, the more I manage to amass, the higher the chances that I might do something great.

Monroe: There’s a contemporary Serbian poet, Radmila Lazić. I also love Anna Swir. I’ve just read so much in the past two years, and much of it has been quite influential. I love Louise Glück. Who else to I dig? Jane Mead – she’s amazing. She rocked my world. But I don’t get my inspiration just from who I’m reading – I get a lot of it from music. I’m listening to Andrew Bird right now, and I can work very easily to Stereolab. That new Radiohead album is going to work its way into my writing, sometime soon, I’m sure, since I can’t stop listening to that. I also really like magical realism, which is so amazing. It’s really a collage of everything around me. And my students too – their energy is inspiration; if I wasn’t teaching here I don’t know that half of those poems would have gotten written.

Sérah Carter

Leah Guilmette

Jenn Monroe

Friday, February 8, 2008

SO Good Posters Cause Campus Stir

By Mistress Kris

A bit of campus controversy arose this past week over posters asking for submissions for SO Good, the Chester College Annual. The posters, designed by two female members of the SO Good staff, were distributed around the college grounds and employed a rather ironic and punny use of the word “submission.” Three pictures were featured, two small ones- one of a meek looking woman kneeling a corner and another of cows behind a fence- and one larger picture of a 50’s style pin-up girl dressed as a dominatrix wielding a riding crop. The title announced “Submission: It’s not just for livestock and women anymore,” while the bottom of the poster stated that the Chester College Annual was now accepting submissions of work of all kinds.

The two women who made the poster, and the rest of the staff, felt it was obviously meant in jest since one, it was just too absurdly objectionable to ever be taken as seriously misogynist and two, the largest picture depicted a woman in a sexually dominant and powerful role. Still, just a few days after being hung up, an anonymous counter-poster appeared. The response flyer utilized the same layout and color scheme as the SO Good poster, but its intention was quite different.

Featuring the heading “Domination: It’s not just for Fascists and CCNE [Chester College of New England] anymore,” the counter-poster also sported the Chester College logo, a clip art of an irate cartoon cow, and a large scanned photo of dictator Benito Mussolini.

The Annual staff regrets that anyone was offended by the posters.

Mary Gaitskill Set To Appear At Chester College

Fiction writer Mary Gaitskill will be visiting the Chester College campus at the end of this month. She will be leading a workshop in the Advanced Fiction class on Thursday, February 28 and will be reading from her own work on Friday, February 29 at 6 PM.

Gaitskill has released two collections of short stores, Bad Behavior and Because They Wanted To, and two novels, Two Girls, Fat and Thin and Veronica. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for fiction in 2002 and her most recent novel, Veronica, was nominated for the National Book Award in 2005. She is currently an associate professor of English at Syracuse University in New York.

COMPASS ROSE interviews Mary Gaitskill

Compass Rose:
Some specific images tend to recur in separate work, such as the ceramic poodle in "The Secretary" and "A Romantic Weekend." Are you trying to create your own modern-day iconography, and if so, how does this process work?

Mary Gaitskill:
I am not trying to create iconography.

Where do you see the line between tackling controversial issues and sensationalism? What advice would you give to someone who wants to tread that line?

I would advise that "someone" forget about "tackling controversial issues" and/or sensationalism. What is "controversial" is subjective and often fabricated. As for sensationalism, that term has always seemed crude to me in relation to art. People experience the world at least partially through their senses, and much of our intelligence is sensate; the strongest fiction is usually weighted with such puzzling, ambiguous intelligence. Critics seem to use the term "sensational" negatively for work that is blunt and very vivid, but life is often remarkably blunt and very, very vivid. I see nothing wrong with portraying it as such. However when people are going through life they rarely, if ever, think that what they are experiencing is "controversial." A real writer, in portraying a character, doesn't think that way either. Leave it to a reader to find it "controversial" or not. (more)

Compass Rose - Original Post

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Vagina Monologues Come To Chester College

Performance: February 15, 2008 7:00pm
Wadleigh Conference Room
Charge: $2.00 (Proceeds will go to helping women displaced by Hurricane Katrina and to the Sexual Assault Support Services for Rockingham County)

Directed by new Resident Director / Student Success Center Coordinator Jenna Gawne and co-directed by student Derek Laurendau, this spring’s production of The Vagina Monologues will be new to the Chester College of New England campus. The production, which features twenty-one monologues that all pertain in some way to the vagina, will be its first at Chester College.

“It’s a controversial play,” says Gawne. “It’s funny and it’s moving.” Despite – or perhaps aided by – its controversy, The Vagina Monologues has received an outstanding amount of support, from students, faculty, and the administration, all of whom have been attracted to the play’s purpose of raising awareness and funds for groups working to end violence against women and girls.

As of this publishing, one monologue remains uncast – the difficult “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” which reportedly deals with prostitution and involves the actress simulating orgasm onstage.

For Gawne, the most difficult part of putting the production together has been casting. Gawne describes the subject matter of the show, which stems from interviews conducted with women about their vaginas, as "touchy"; finding the right mix of understanding and comfort with the subject matter has been difficult. The Vagina Monologues, as tentatively scheduled as of this publishing, will feature the acting talents of students Amanda Adamcek, Dawn Coutu, Tiffany Etter, Krissie Gast, Vanessa Geary, Jackie Grande, Cassandra Korbey, Ashley Kreutter, Rachel Lieberman, Shannon Malloy, Linda McGriff, Maryann Stancizk, Anna Swass, faculty members Jenn Monroe, Monica O’Brien, Nannette Thrush, and staff members Jenna Gawne and Sarah Vogell.

This production of The Vagina Monologues is being run as part of the 2008 V-Day College Campaign. For more details, visit Chester’s V-Day webpage.

Reading Schedule

Is the initial urge to do all your homework over yet? Great. The first and third Sunday of each month there will be a Poetry Reading in Dal: five-minute slots, featured readers, and an open invitation to speak your mind as eloquently as possible. Sign ups 6:30pm, the Reading starts at 7pm.

CCNE Student and Faculty Member Exhibit in Lowell MA

Fine Arts student, Ramon Perez, and faculty member, Megan McNaught, are exhibiting work at the Revolving Museum in Lowell, MA. The opening reception for the exhibition, "Toys and Games", is on February 14, 2008 at 6:00PM-9:00PM.

The Toys and Games Exhibition is located at the Revolving Museum in Lowell, MA.