So, the turnout wasn’t the best, but there was a lot going on that day. There was a last-minute post-election discussion in the auditorium and a union meeting, both at the same exact time as my talk. It went pretty well, though. I was way less nervous once I got started, and I even got a few laughs during the talk portion (it’s not all that easy to hear in the video).
The first 15 minutes of the video are me reading a prepared speech that includes a story from my childhood and a plea for everyone to stay creative and flex their imaginations often. This is the more entertaining part and could be enjoyed by anyone. The last 35-40mins apply more to teachers and writers, but I’d recommend anything I talk about to anyone interested in storytelling.
After the prepared speech, I demonstrate a few creative writing techniques and exercises. I walk the audience through my evolution from basic character building exercises to using Rory’s Story Cubes in the classroom to my own narrative building cards (which I call CopyWrite). I end with a quick demonstration of the pen-and-paper role-playing game Fiasco.
Hello, world. It’s been a really long time since I updated my own personal blog. I’ve been writing for Nerd Much?, Pop Culture Beast, and BuddyTV a lot as well as teaching 3 classes and a weekly writing workshop, so I’ve been very busy. Anyway, the reason I’m writing this blog post today is to share the news that I will be presenting a TED talk-esque lecture on the SUNY Adirondack campus called “Roll Your Role: Writing With Cards & Dice.”
The lecture will be in the Miller Auditorium at 12pm on November 16, and I would really appreciate anybody coming. I’ve just recently been told that refreshments (including wine, I believe) will be served. I’m really hoping to not have to look out into the crowd and just see my fiancée, Loreal, and my mom sitting there—and nobody else. Well, I’m bribing my students with extra credit if they go, so maybe that will help. Also, I’ve bugged Loreal into recording the event with the brand new HD camera she won. I plan to upload a video of the talk to my website, and anywhere else that will have it, after the event.
Lastly, I just want to give a little info on what I will be talking about in case anybody is interested. “Roll Your Role” is a name I came up with that is inspired by pen & paper RPGs, specifically one called Fiasco. These games are great interactive tools for writing and teaching how to write. I use several different types of interactive writing games from Rory’s Story Cubes to the aforementioned Fiasco to my own 5 deck system of cards that I created. I’ve made over 100 cards with creative writing elements that fall into categories such as plot, setting, character, etc. I will demo the story cubes, Fiasco, and my own writing game—which I call “CopyWrite”—as well as talk about how these things can be used to generate ideas for one’s own writing or to teach otherwise disinterested students how to love creative writing.
Wish me luck. And please feel free to contact me with any questions and let me know if you’ll be attending. I’d love to see you there!
I figured I would re-share this YouTube video of my reading from 2013. I read this in the Haybarn Theatre at Goddard college as part of my graduating student reading. The story is called “One for the Money, Two for the Show” and is a humorous PG-13 tale with characters based loosely on my parents. The story follows Charlie & Ginny’s (yes, they share my parents’ names) quest to find an Elvis impersonator for their Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation BBQ event in Lake George, New York.
Readings were limited to ~15 minutes so I decided to take little vignette excerpts from throughout to give the audience a full idea of the narrative. You can get a good sense of the whole story based on these excerpts, and I thought that was more beneficial than just taking the first few pages. Notes: 1) The first 30 seconds, including my dedication to my parents, is cut off and 2) there is some mature language and themes. Enjoy!
So, I know I just started my website… but it has moved already. This is my new, official JoePortes.com website. I originally signed up for a WordPress.com site because it was free, and I thought it would be too costly to get JoePortes.com. What I discovered was that it would only be $11.99 for the year for the domain name and about $4.50 a month to have the site hosted by HostGator; however, I found coupon codes and promos for both and got MyName.com for $1/yr and 1 month of hosting at HostGator for .01! I figured I would test it out first, then if I don’t like their service or think it’s not worth the $4.50 I could switch to 000webhost who host sites for free.