Friday, August 10, 2018

Prompt! writing workshop back by popular demand

Whether one is experiencing writer’s block, looking for ways to hone in on their prose or recently considering putting pen to paper, the Prompt! workshop might be the perfect option to get the imagination into overdrive.

Join other writers on Saturday, August 18 at the Hawthorne House in Raymond from 2 to 4 p.m. for an opportunity to dive into your imagination and let the words fly onto paper (or laptop) with ease. The workshop will be facilitated by Diana Altman, author of “Hollywood East: Louis B. Mayer and the Origins of the Studio System.”

Altman conducted this workshop last year as a fund raiser for the Raymond Hill Community Center and it was such a hit, she was asked to do it again. Comments from previous participants included:

"Thanks!  This really gave my writing the jumpstart it needed!"
"I'm not even a writer, but this workshop really sparked my creativity!"
"I only came to support my friend, but I had such a good time!"
"I was so surprised by what we were all writing!"

For those who may be intimidated, Altman tries to put minds at ease, “Any creative endeavor requires confidence and it’s my job to help students gain that confidence,” she said. “This workshop is designed to increase the participant’s awareness of their own voice and confidence that what they wish to express is worth saying.” 

Altman has a long history in both writing and fine art – specifically in film. A graduate of Connecticut College and Harvard University, Altman is an independent film historian whose father was Al Altman, a well-known MGM talent scout who discovered Joan Crawford, Ava Gardner, Jimmy Stewart and Bob Hope – to name only a few.

Her first non-fiction novel, “Hollywood East: Louis B. Mayer and the Origins of the Studio System” tells the story of how the movies evolved. The book expels the popular misconception that the film industry was the innovative evolution of Hollywood, when in fact New York was where the real innovation began and where the stars of the early industry were discovered.

Her second book, “In Theda Bara’s Tent” is a work of fiction that delves into the life of a young boy who loses his parents in a factory fire. Yearning for love and prosperity, the boy takes solace at the movies. He befriends the theater’s owner who one day becomes a Hollywood legend.

Altman will not be accepting any reimbursement for teaching the workshop and there is a special reason for that. “I live in both New York City and Raymond,” said Altman. “I’ve had a house in Raymond for about twenty years and spend the entire summer here as well as time in the winter and fall. I feel a strong connection to Raymond and that’s why I am contributing my time.

Registration for the workshop is not required. A suggested donation for the workshop is $7. Funds from the workshop will go toward the Raymond Arts Alliance, which is hosting the event. For more information about the Raymond Arts Alliance, visit

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