Leading a Literate Life in Lexington Kentucky

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning Lexington Kentucky, known as the Horse Capital of the World, is also the tenth most educated city in United States.

Lexington has a fantastic public library system, in addition to tourist attractions like Kentucky Horse Park and Keeneland.

Central Library

I recommend the main branch, Central Library, on Main Street, where you can query my favorite reference librarians, and watch a Foucalt pendulum powering the world’s largest ceiling clock.

Central Library was built in 1987, and designed to permit expansion for 20-30 years. It replaced a 1904 building (shown), which was leased to The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning for ten dollars a year.

Lexington Kentucky Writers Meet at The Carnegie Center

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning offers many courses for writers. See their schedule (PDF) for more information.

I take a two mile walk to The Carnegie Center, twice a week. I attend a non-fiction writing class led by writer-in-residence, Neil Chethik, on Tuesday afternoons. I return on Friday at noon, for Gail Koehler’s Writing Practice.

Writing Practice

From Carnegie’s Course Catalog:

Designed as an opportunity to practice creative expression without judgment. Develop your natural story-telling instinct or refresh writing skills from word prompts or personal experiences. Recommended reading: Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg (not required). Class may be entered on any day it is held; it is not necessary to commit to the full duration of the course.

In Writing Down the Bones, Ms. Goldberg exhorts readers to keep their pen moving, which is the essence of this course.

Ms. Koehler selects three random words or phrases to keep our pens moving for 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of the class. My writing is simply stream of consciousness, but some students write actual stories. I transcribed my output from our last two classes, about 500 words each, so you can read examples.

Our teacher begins the next segment by reading what she has written about her random subjects. The rest of the class follows. Classmates often laugh while I am reading, but I am really not trying to be funny. I write in a relaxed setting, with familiar classmates, and enjoy this opportunity to express myself.

If there is enough time, a ”call around” follows each reading, when writers recite their favorite quotes to the reader.

Do Not Attend Afternoon Writing Practice!

Seriously, we have a nice group; let’s keep it that way. Try the evening class, on Monday at 5:30 — visit The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning on the Web for more information on their programs and activities.

The Carnegie Center almost closed in June 2003, after former Mayor Teresa Isaac removed it from her budget. Please send a tax-deductible contribution to keep this vital institution open.