Monthly Archives: March 2012

Great news! We are offering four new workshops, free and open to the public, in conjunction with the Providence Public Library. Come join us as we use local history as creative inspiration. Through a series of four writing workshops, we will explore 19th century photographs, newspaper clippings, and other historic ephemera to reassemble and imagine a past that might otherwise be lost.

Starting on April 7, themed workshops will be held every weekend at Providence Public Library (150 Empire Street, Providence — Trustees Room, 3rd Floor).

Archives — Saturday, April 7, 12:30 – 2 pm
Place — Sunday, April 15, 3 – 4:30 pm
Memory — Sunday, April 22, 3 – 4:30 pm
Illusion — Sunday, April 29, 3 – 4:30 pm

Writers of all levels are welcome to attend one or all. There will be an opportunity for resulting work to be archived and exhibited at the library. Capacity is limited to 12 participants per session. Please register by emailing with the workshop(s) you would like to attend.

More detailed information on the themes of each workshops is forthcoming. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at


The workshops usually begin the same way. Somewhere, deep in the Elmwood Public Library’s archives, a collection of over a thousand glass negatives was discovered. The photos documented life in Providence at the turn of the century: living rooms, gardens, games, portraits, street scenes. And yet, we can only guess who might have taken them and for what reason. We believe that they were part of the survey work of James Arnold, the great “documentarian of the peoples of Rhode Island,” according to Rhode Island Historical Society librarian Jim DaMico, but we can’t be sure. The photographs remain uncaptioned, storyless. So how do we go about imagining narratives for them?

Last night, we had the help of the ladies of Tockwotton Home.

From left: Bunny, Carolyn, Joan (sitting), Selma, Judy, Wanda (sitting), and Liza. Not pictured: Joanne, Lanelle, Anya.

These women are incredibly inspiring. We had stories about astronauts, lonely trees, couples looking for their first homes, and the seductions of hard apple cider. With their permission, we will try to post some of the work later on. But for now, you can read some of Wanda Rickerby’s writing on her blog: