Today was the first day of the WITS Creative Writing Camp in Tetova on the border of Bosnia.  The camp was huge with 25 students here this afternoon and four “Best-So-Far” Awards for each group — the morning kids and the afternoon kids.  I am not really sure how these “Best-So-Far” Awards got started, but… Read more »

We just finished doing four plays this morning with the younger kids and two plays this afternoon, including a Vampire Summer Vacation, featuring a trip to the Castle of  Dracula.  Rather than start on my rant about Twilight, the novel, I will tell you that the plays were wonderful, even the Vampire play as we… Read more »

Yesterday, I left Skopje for the mountains of Macedonia (the word “Balkans” means mountains) and the hills of Stip, an ancient city in Macedonia where there is a new American Corner Library. It was a beautiful trip. The sun was shining and the purple summer thistles were interspersed with fabulous little red poppies that had… Read more »

  Today each of the Skopje students built a Haiku House out of small lego-like sticks and blocks, clay and beads.  The windows and roof were made of colored wooden ice-cream spoons and the walls were of cashier’s tape to make sure that the 5-7-5 syllable lines looked right on the narrow paper.  One group… Read more »

Beginnings are exciting, thrilling really, particularly when you know that they are filled with fun, energy, learning, reading, writing, and happy children.  This is my third year of WITS in Macedonia and the beginning of the third year on the Macedonian Express, and that express has more stops than it used to.  When we started,… Read more »

  For the third year in a row, Writers in the Schools is collaborating with the U.S. Department of State to provide creative writing summer programs to young people in Macedonia. WITS Writer Merrilee Cunningham will be spending five weeks in the Balkans this summer.  Her missives will begin tomorrow. Stay tuned! [photo by Jaime… Read more »

The children in the Creative Writing workshop in Skopje were ready to select their images for the Ekphrasis assignment and one of the masks that the teachers put on the board looked, from far away, like the famous Mask of Agamemnon, so, never the one to stand back timidly, I said, “Oh, the mask of… Read more »

Mere technology interrupted my transmittals from Macedonia. It seems that I was in line for a new computer at my university, and I knew that IT was going to take this time to get rid of my XP-powered bulky computer and arm me with my beloved Microsoft 2009 with all its many charms, templates, and … Read more »

Yesterday was the first day of the Creative Writing Camp at Bitola in Macedonia.   In the morning we had all the younger children show up to the camp and the American Corners was abuzz with life, energy, and joy — some of my favorite things. We did a really great lesson called “Put in a… Read more »

Who knew that when I bid a sad farewell to what I thought was my last entry in the Macedonian Express it would not be my last entry at all.  I left Macedonia last year hoping that the Creative Writing Workshops would continue, unaware that I would be invited back to the second year of… Read more »

My trip to see Baba Mundi and the Bektashi was one of the most amazing things that I have ever experienced. The wisdom of Baba Mundi and the poetry of his mind and conversation were truly inspiring. Today was much less poetic and much more Indiana Jones. At lunch, between classes, the group from the… Read more »

It is a good thing that I believe in words or words could not describe how much fun this is. My 7 to 9 year olds are writing a Bio-electronic play (the characters are bio-electronic) at one table while another table of young writers are getting all the heroines of fairy tales together for a… Read more »

Today was yet another amazingly beautiful, sunny day in Macedonia’s capital.  In fact, I haven ‘t seen a drop of rain since I got here.  This is given the fact that the flowers in the flower market are beautiful, the wheat crop is up 40% over last year, and Macedonia is willing to give up… Read more »

Every embassy sets up a number of American Corners in  Cultural Centers and Libraries. Both Serbia and Macedonia have around 7 American Corners apiece. The ones in the major cities can be very large and have many programs a day. Right now the American Corners in the main Library in Skopje is having a program… Read more »

[WITS Writer and UHD Professor Merrilee Cunningham is traveling in Eastern Europe for three weeks, teaching creative writing, primarily to school children.  Read the first two posts about this project here and here.} Today the Macedonian Express is still on the border in Serbia but getting closer to Kosovo and Macedonia. I just finished working… Read more »

I just got back from working with Creative Writing Workshops in Northern  Serbia, even on the Hungarian border.  I was in Novis Sad and Subotica and then  South, towards Macedonia at Nis. It was fantastic. We had between 23 and 33 kids in each group at each American Corners. In Subotica, I got to see… Read more »

  The Serbian Express  Did you miss the Macedonian Express last summer?  Are you ready for more reporting from the Beautiful Balkans?  This is a fair warning. I know last year you must have noticed the absence of blogging from the Balkans and must have wondered “what’s up?”  But here in the last days of… Read more »

I am in Bitola on the Macedonian border with Greece.  One of the wonderful things that happened my first year teaching in Macedonia was the students asking me if I was on facebook, although I had to tell them I was not.  Then I went home and joined facebook, partly on the advice of my… Read more »

I know that you think that it is hotter in Houston than anywhere, but I am so glad that I didn’t go to Sofia Bulgaria because the mayor is telling the cities of the city to stay in because it is so hot.  It is 31 degrees in Moscow. That is hot, hotter than it… Read more »

More from the Macedonian Express Yesterday, I had a great time in the WITS Creative Writing Camp in Stip, not that far from the Bulgarian border and near the ancient Roman city that we discussed in the last post.  Every morning I walk about 30 minutes to the American Corners away from the city center,… Read more »