Greenwich Pen Women is a non-profit organization of professional artists, writers, and composers. The members participate in writers’ workshops and artists’ critique sessions as well as educational programs during the year. The members offer mutual support and encouragement to each other during the creative process. The Greenwich Pen Women, founded in 1955, is a branch of the National League of American Pen Women.
Spotlight: Roberta Seret
When I was a college student in France, my greatest pleasure was Wednesday evenings when the University of Nice turned out its lights and became a ciné club. From the projector’s magic lantern came images from filmmakers around the globe, and I was transposed to worlds far beyond my imagination. For the first time, my mind opened to unknown languages and various subjects in law, medicine, science, politics and so much more. I was excited to learn and travel far from my limits.
Upon returning to the United States, I promised myself that I would one day try to recreate the same experience for other students. For what better medium is there than film to teach visual learners about the world and human feelings?
That opportunity came to me strangely on the morning of 9/11 when I was starting a new job – teaching English to foreign diplomats at the United Nations. On that fateful day, I was traumatized but also determined to create a “Global Classroom” where students could ask questions about hotspots around the world. What could be a better classroom than the U.N. where Ambassadors could become professors and foreign film could become the catalyst? For the past twenty years, I have been hosting students to learn about global issues as human rights, cross cultural affairs and current events. The goal is to offer a multi-faceted approach, a hybrid form of education to encourage analysis, synthesis and discussion.
For a picture is worth a thousand words.
As I was screening films for my students, I wondered if I could transpose what I was doing with film to the written word and create another hybrid form of storytelling. Could I make facts more exciting by mixing fictional elements? Could I make fiction more meaningful by blending political events into the narrative?
Inspired by my students, I went on to fuse politics and real people with fictitious characters. I blended facts with fiction and used storytelling techniques from journalism, drama, satire, thriller, history, and romance. I included maps and photos into the narrative to clarify up-to-date international intrigue. Under the guise of fiction, I asked questions of why and how and put the answers into the dialogue of fictitious characters. My goal was to reveal truths by using poetic license – a deliberate ruse.
This hybrid approach offers a genre fluidity that moves and changes, leading the reader from one chapter to the next as the narrative flows. The reader travels along and becomes part of the narrative’s freedom.