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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) welcomes 2019’s October Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Jeffrey Lockwood, a Wyoming writer currently living and working in Laramie. Jeffrey Lockwood is an unusual fellow. He grew up in New Mexico and spent youthful afternoons enchanted by feeding grasshoppers to black widows in his backyard. This might account for both his scientific and literary affinities.
He earned a doctorate in entomology from Louisiana State University and worked for 15 years as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming, and became a world-renowned assassin, developing a method for efficiently killing billions of insects (mostly pests, but there is always the innocent bystander during a hit). This contact with death drew him into questions of justice, violence, and evil.
He metamorphosed into an appointment in the department of philosophy and the program in creative writing. Unable to escape his childhood, he’s written many award-winning works, including a collection of essays titled Grasshopper Dreaming: Reflections on Killing and Loving (Skinner House, 2002), along with several non-fiction books about the devastation of the West by locust swarms, the use of insects to wage biological warfare, and the terror humans experience when six-legged creatures invade their lives.
Pondering the dark side of humanity led him to the realm of the murder mystery. These days, he explores how the anti-hero of crime noir sheds existentialist light on the human condition: In the end, there are no excuses - we are ultimately responsible for our actions. The first two of his three-book noir mystery series featuring an ex-cop-turned-exterminator are titled: Poisoned Justice and Murder on the Fly (Pen-L; 2016, 2018); look for Lethal Fetish in 2019.
Mr. Lockwood will offer playful "short form" writing workshops for visitors on two Saturdays at the Phillip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire:
Saturday, October 12, 1:00 p. m.
The Waning Days of Summer: Wearing Shorts and Writings Shorts
Ernest Hemingway said the best story he ever wrote was just six words. Jeff Lockwood (Artist-in-Residence, if not quite Hemingway) will share some very short writings about his experiences at national parks. But he believes that what is really fun about art is not watching or hearing other people’s work, but making art. And so, he will lead participants through two playful exercises to craft a cinquain (a wonderfully short form of poetry that does not feel like writing a poem–promise!) and a message to a person who does not exist, but you already know (weird, but true) about your time at Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Saturday, October 19, 1:00 p.m.
The Soul of Wit: Brief Writings about an Expansive Place
Here are three things that should not be short: summer vacations, visits to the national parklands, naps after long hikes. And here are three things that should be short: political speeches, instruction manuals, and writing about your experiences at Sleeping Bear Dunes. In this workshop, Jeff Lockwood will share a few of his very short writings about the natural world and then lead participants through a couple of creative, playful, and memorable writing exercises that will involve micro-memoirs and brief bird sounds. Really!
Come and join in the fun!
The National Lakeshore has sponsored the AIR program since 1993, and it is open, through competition, to American writers, composers, and visual artists, whose work can be influenced and enhanced by the outstanding features that are protected by the National Park Service and enjoyed by millions of visitors year after year. In exchange for the opportunity to live in the park for a short period, Artists-in-Residence donate an original piece of art to the park, interact with visitors while conducting their craft, and offer at least one public presentation of their work in a formal setting. There are only two sessions (September and October) available each year. For more details, please go to www.nps.gov/slbe/parkmgmt/artistinresidence.htm.
Last updated: October 3, 2019