Tag Archives: Jessica Bram

Roundup: Jazz, Food, Black History, More


Outdoor entertainment returned to MoCA Westport last night. A socially distanced crowd enjoyed Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Alexa Tarantino Quartet.

More concerts will be announced soon.

Outdoors at MoCA.

With food insecurity still a serious issue, the Westport Woman’s Club Food Closet is grateful for a nice donation from Westport National Bank.

Any organizations or family can donate food to neighbors in need. Bring non-perishable donations to the WWC 44 Imperial Avenue) from 9 a.m. to onoon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If the clubhouse is locked, call 203-227-4240.

Monetary donations are also welcome. Click here, or send a check made out to Westport Woman’s Club to WWC, 44 Imperial Avenue, Westport, CT  06880.

At the Westport Woman’s Club food pantry (from left); Wendy McKeon, WWC food closet co-chair; Robin Clark, WWC member and Westport National Bank vice president; Selma Blue, WNB head teller.


The “hidden history of Black Westport” will be visible to Westporters next Saturday (September 12, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.)

As a follow-up to the Westport Museum of History & Culture’s “Remembered: The History of African Americans in Westport” exhibit, guides will lead tour groups (maximum of 10 people) throughout downtown.

They’ll describe local history, from enslaved people to soldiers, sailors, activists, artists, and respected residents, through existing buildings and long destroyed sites.

Tickets are $10. Reservations are required; click here to register. Foe moew information, email programs@westporthistory.org.


Aarti Khosla needs help in providing chocolate hearts to every Westport and Weston educator, as a show of thanks for all they do. 10% of all proceeds benefit another educational institution: Mercy Learning Center.

Click here to purchase hearts ($8 each). You can also stop by Aarti’s store, Le Rouge Chocolates (190 Main Street).

 


The final (and 15th) #FridayFlowers are on display at the Compo Beach lifeguard station. The Westport Garden Club — sponsor of the summer-long floral project — is grateful to the guards, and everyone at Westport Parks & Rec — for keeping our beaches safe and fun.

Pictured below (from left): David Levy, Noah Ross, Mia Parkes, Ella Thompson and Avery Tucker.

(Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

RTM representative and Westport Writers Workshop founder Jessica Bram undergoes brain surgery at Yale University Hospital this morning.

Doctors will drain excess hydration to reverse motor, cognitive and memory impairment resulting from a recent fall.

Jessica sends affection and high regard to the Westport community, past and current writing students, RTM colleagues, and Webb Road neighbors.


And finally … today is National Be Late for Something Day. I’ll have a song for you later. Maybe.

Roundup: Poet Laureates; Jessica Bram; More


A new video called Connecticut Poets Respond features current and past town poet laureates reading their works online. They’re “responding” to the current state of the world (pandemic, the environment … you get the idea.)

Westport’s own laureate, Diane Lowman, is one of the featured poets.

Fellow laureate David Bibbey of Woodbury produced it. Westporters know him through his video work at the Westport Library. Click below to see:


Rozanne Gates reports that Jessica Bram — Westport’s much-loved author/writing teacher/NPR commentator — needs our support.

She is recovering from an almost-fatal fall. Cards of encouragement will help her see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Her address is 32 Webb Road, Westport, CT 06880. Let’s all write to our writer!

Jessica Bram


And finally … of course:

 

Christine Pakkala’s Nightmare, Prize-Winning Trip

There’s a lot to learn at the Westport Writers’ Workshop. But it’s not all about the words.

Christine Pakkala has taken workshops, and been mentored, at the Sylvan Road center since 2008. Beyond important writing skills, she’s gained confidence. And learned to put herself waaay out there.

She did it so well that her essay — “The Vacation Nightmare That Changed My Life” — won 1st place in the prestigious Ladies’ Home  Journal writing contest. Chosen from thousands of submission, it earned her $3,000 — plus publication in the June issue.

Christine Pakkala (Photo by Kristin Hoebermann)

Christine Pakkala (Photo by Kristin Hoebermann)

Christine wrote grippingly about her fear of flying. She finally overcame it in order to spend Christmas in Costa Rica with her husband, attorney and author Cameron Stracher, and their kids (Simon, then 13, and Lulu, 10).

The vacation turned grim when Cam collapsed after a run. The only CAT-scan machine in the country was in San Jose — and the only way to get there was on a tiny plane.

Back in Westport — after a long commercial flight — the couple learned that a major artery was 90 percent blocked. He had survived only because his runner’s heart was so strong.

After a stent and medication, he’s back running. Christine has flown half a dozen times since then. And, of course, she writes.

A former Fulbright Scholar who received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she says, “I’ve had Pulitzer Prize-winning writing teachers. But the best advice came from Jessica Bram and Suzanne Hoover” — 2 of her Westport Writers’ Workshop teachers. “They taught me to first listen to myself, then listen to others.”

Now others are listening to Christine. Last month she taught students how to break into children’s books. She should know: She’s got a multi-book publishing deal.

Christine got interested in writing for kids when Simon was in kindergarten. Her tales incorporated his classmates as characters. She read them aloud, and teachers encouraged her to do more.

She listened. She wrote. She branched out from kindergarten to middle grade fiction, and now to a harrowing but healing account of her terrible trip to Costa Rica.

Which — thanks to confidence gained through the Westport Writers’ Workshop — is a prize-winning essay, shared with Ladies’ Home Journal readers everywhere.

Westport Writers Workshop

(To read Christine’s essay, click here.)

Avoid The Internet!

It may seem counter-intuitive to post a notice of this event here in cyberspace, but we live in weird world.

So here goes:

The Westport Writers’ Workshop has announced “Writing Hours Unplugged.”  Called “a nurturing program for writers who seek a quiet space in a setting conducive to creativity, free of the distractions of the Internet,” it takes place at the Workshop (3 Sylvan Road South) most days of the week, beginning at 8 a.m.  (Check email early!)

Writers can unplug when workshops are not in session — including Sundays, the traditional day of rest.

Not a workspace the Westport Writers' Workshop wants to see.

In addition to no whirring computers or chirping cellphones, the facility offers overflowing bookshelves, bright windows and stacks of resources.  (Plus a kitchen.)

The lack of internet access includes wireless.  Westport Writers’ Workshop founder Jessica Bram says “the single greatest impediment to productive writing is the distraction provided by access to the Internet.”

Of course, there is no such thing as free non-internet access.  Writing Hours Unplugged is available only to Workshop members ($150 per year; includes program discounts and free admission to speaker events).  Memberships are available to “any writer or would-be writer in the community.”

“06880” likes the theory of unplugging, and writing in glorious, undistracted, quiet, contemplative, sylvan solitude.

But how would we know when The Dude, Jeffxs or any of our other fans readers comments on this post?

(For more information about the Westport Writers’ Workshop and Writing Hours Unplugged, click on www.westportwritersworkshop.com, or call 203-227-3250.)