Bird Is the Word

Phoebe Rourke
IMG_5051-Edit
IMG_5051-Edit

When Miah Arnold was looking for a name for her new writing school in the Heights, she wanted something identifiably Texan, so she settled on … the grackle, the ubiquitous sleek-black sharp-beaked bird with a shrill song and the mentality of a scavenger. It’s kind of a perfect, if slightly unfair, symbolic analog for the typical aspiring writer.


“Actually, I think grackles are quite beautiful,” says Arnold, who has a PhD in creative writing and has taught in and around Houston for nearly 20 years, including at her alma mater UH, at Inprint and with Writers in the Schools. Together with her husband Raj Mankad, who is editor-in-chief of the Rice Design Alliance’s CITE magazine, Grackle and Grackle began offering writing classes out of the couple’s home last year. “We saw how classes at Inprint would sell out in a few hours and we knew that there was demand out there for people who were looking for positive, supporting writing lessons,” says Arnold, who is originally from rural Utah and published a debut novel, Sweet Land of Bigamy. “I believe that everybody needs to know how to tell a story, but a lot of people are intimidated, so we’re creating another space where people can feel safe and inspired.” Classes vary seasonally, but range in style from those who like to work in bite-sized chunks of poetry and song to people who want to tackle a full revision of their 700-page novel.

Grackle and Grackle is just one of several newish venues where you can exercise your creative imagination in Houston, which now include Writespace Writing Center in Silver Street Studios and Fig Writer’s Studio in Montrose. “We’re all contributing to the literary landscape in this great American city,” says Arnold, who herself has written eloquently about Houston in her essay “You Owe Me,” which chronicled her experiences working with kids at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. It seems, with all the literary activity around town these days, the only thing that is missing is a local literary book publisher to take full advantage of all the great writing that’s bound to blossom. “Oh, we have plans for that too,” says Arnold, a twinkle in her eye.

Top photo: Grackle and Grackle owners Miah Arnold and Raj Mankad in their Heights-area studio

Uncategorized

SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.

Keep Reading Show less
Style

Pastries at Cafe Leonelli

CAFE LEONELLI IS now open inside the MFAH's Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, the stunning new wing that first opened in November.

Keep Reading Show less
Food

Abbie Preston Edmonson gives a special presentation this weekend

DESPITE SOME APRIL showers, there's still plenty of fun to be had! From art-centric and Earth Day activities to family-friendly fests, check out a rundown of the weekend's best bets.

LEARN FROM AN ARTIST Tune in tonight for an hour-long talk by ceramicist and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft resident artist Abbie Preston Edmonson about her creative process. She'll give a virtual presentation about her work and a special demonstration in her studio space.

Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez (photo by Kimberly Park)

TAKE A VIRTUAL PAINTING LESSON OR COOKING CLASS Be inspired by the great state of Texas during a virtual painting lesson hosted by Honey Art Cafe on Friday night. For only $20, stream a two-hour virtual lesson and make a series of stylized mini paintings inspired by West Texas and Big Bend National Park. Honey Art Cafe also has supply kits available for purchase for beginners or artists low on supplies.

And if painting isn't quite your speed, see what you can cook up in the kitchen! Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez leads a "date night" cooking lesson for couples on Friday at 6:30pm. Hosted at the restaurant, the socially distanced demonstration, which costs $150, includes a reception, followed by an interactive demonstration and seated dinner.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY! Join the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center from 10am-4pm on Saturday for a fun- and information-filled day! Explore informative booths, nature hikes, fun displays in the Discovery Room, and Earth-friendly take-home activities. Or join Discovery Green on Sunday from 12-5pm, when the park will screen a series of short films about Houston's environment, host a panel about February's freeze, and showcase a live painting demo by local artists working on murals to decorate the park.

GO ON AN OUT-OF-THIS WORLD ADVENTURE Fifty-one years ago, the Apollo 13 crew splashed down safely back on Earth after their famously harrowing mission to the moon and back. Space Center Houston is celebrating that anniversary on Saturday, hosting two livestreamed panel discussions with current NASA experts as well as Apollo-era legends.And now through May 2, local NASA and Apollo 13 fans can check out the center's new spring exhibition, titled "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon," that looks at the legacy of the Apollo era through the lens of the engineers and astronauts who actually lived the experience.

FIND FUN AT THE INTERNATIONAL KIDS FEST Traders Village hosts Kids Fest on Sunday, with games, activities, interactive shows, live music, acrobats, magicians, clowns and more. Parking is $5, but the event itself is free, sure to keep the whole family entertained from 12-4pm.

People + Places