Congratulations to a quarter-century of Deepdene Writers. (gulp) This website was created to applaud and inspire all you risk takers who set out to stare down, to discover, to invent, to find your way–and especially to those who see their work to completion.
“… black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.”
―Guy de Maupassant
updating now for 2019…
MAGGIE MASTER NYTIMES, “TIES” column, Oct. 25, 2019
JEAN-PIERRE WEILL’s new book, EVOLVE: A Children’s Book for Adults, is undergoing a final proofing before press, even as its author/illustrator assembles an exhibit of “constructions” based on 100 of Evolve’s vivid water colors. These artworks will appear in the 2019 Jerusalem Biennale, representing the work of 235 artists in 27 exhibitions. Jean-Pierre has been assigned a central space in the central building of the event—as a solo exhibit. The biennale opens Oct. 10th.
Weill on Weill (9/10/19): “On August 1st, I decided to present the paintings as 3-D constructions: 100 constructions in 50 days of work. Is it doable? I’ve just completed the 71st, constructing and painting two per day, sometimes three. It has to be ready October 1st, so I am working demonically. The result, in this tumult, is truly lovely. I’m tickled. After working for 3 years, forward and backwards, forwards and backwards again, I’ve opened up to a different space, not thinking much, just executing one hand movement after another without thought. …”
Evolve is a picture-book narrative about the pursuit of human freedom, employing a radical rereading of seminal stories from the Old Testament. …More to come on Weill’s new book.
RICHARD ANDERSON’s new documentary film, What About Auburn?, takes a critical look at how and why a formerly prosperous, self-sustaining and vibrant small town in eastern Ritchie County, Maryland, fell on hard times and, in just a few decades, lost most of its population and all of its commerce and industry. The film features a musical score by singer-songwriter Todd Burge of Parkersburg, with additional songs by noted musician Mike Morningstar. To see the film trailer and learn where the film is playing, go to http://whataboutauburn.com .
ANDREW BROWN, author of The Chugalug King, discusses his Native American heritage and survival–and reads an excerpt from his book. Video: http://www.passagerbooks.com .
JOHN ANDERSON has completed a 400-page draft of his mother’s South Pacific war story. It includes diary entries, letters, and photos from her three years as a US Army nurse during WWII as well as historical backdrop and the writer’s reflections. A prominent historian is helping with fact checks and John expects to have the book ready for publication in a year. …Since his retirement as a Hopkins nephrologist, John has become a regular contributor to The Journal of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum.
MARK SMITH, The Baltimore Sun, Sept. 4, 2019 https://www.baltimoresun.com/opinion/readers-respond/bs-ed-rr-trump-economy-letter-20190904-o2adzfft4vendf6zq5q4ruq7ka-story.html
DONNA SAUTER’s entry in this year’s Faulkner Wisdom Competition again made the short-list (one of the top 12 entries considered for this year’s prize). Donna’s entry was the first 6,000 words of her novel-in-progress, The Weight Of Color. (You may remember characters Rhoda and Nellie).
JESSICA HERIOT will be in Baltimore Thursday, July 19, to speak at the Village Learning Center, 2600 St. Paul St., 7:30 p.m. (The site is the former branch library next to Margaret Brent Elementary School.) Jessica will be reading from her recently published book, Riding the Second Wave: How Feminism Changed Women’s Psychology and Mine.
Jessica’s new book illuminates the pre-feminist world of psychotherapy and what that meant for many women who sought talk “therapy.” …In 1973, Jessica Heriot and four other women founded the Women’s Growth Center here in Baltimore. That center has continued for 45 years to offer psychotherapy rooted in a feminist perspective.
The intersections of Jessica’s personal stories with her role in helping to change the practices of psychotherapy for women are fascinating. Some of you may recognize the more personal of her writings from workshop.
JESSICA HERIOT, PhD, Village Learning Center: July 19, 7:30 p.m.
The following is from one of the rave reviews posted on Amazon: …well written and informative…inspirational. …As a woman of color, I often dismissed the feminist movement, as it didn’t seem to encompass my experiences as a black woman. I am gratefully [now] aware that the movement allowed me experiences as a woman that I would not have enjoyed had the wave not occurred. Inspired by Dr. Heriot to learn more about the feminism movement and psychology, I have now enjoyed several enlightened conversations with friends and former coworkers, most of whom are black therapists. …I would encourage therapists, child welfare workers, other human service professionals, and women of color to read this book…I found Riding the Second Wave to be a book of hope at a time when hope seems lost.
TERESA ELGUEZABAL’s essay, “Sleeveless, at Least,” chronicles her struggle to regain her ability to dance Argentine tango after a crippling accident. It is one of 11 essays included in Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities, edited by Belo Miguel Cipriani,Oleb Books,http://olebbooks.com/our-books , available in October on Amazon.
Excerpt: I had survived a stint in a Baltimore shock trauma unit and been moved out of ICU. Yet I was still nourished with a milkshake concoction plunged into a gastric tube. A catheter emptied my bladder. A ventilator breathed for me through a hole in my neck, making a roar that my three-year-old grandson said sounded “like Darth Vader.” An orthopedic brace hugged my left ankle. As I exercised, a young doctor walked in. Glancing at the exercise ball in my hand, she flashed me a smile. “Keep that up,” she said. “Upper-body strength will help you later to operate your wheelchair.” My jaw tightened. “I have to dance.” I was toning my arms to wear sleeveless at milongas.
JOSH PONS is writing a monthly installment for The Blood-Horse, a national weekly magazine devoted to the thoroughbred industry and thoroughbred lovers. The poetry of Josh’s writing is a departure from this magazine’s usual news fare. “Letters from Rockland Farm” chronicles the history of thoroughbred racing in this country through an archive of Pons family letters, records, and thoroughbred racing ephemera dating back to the 1880s, and includes Josh’s current reflections, with his memories of growing up in the 1960-70s as a member of one of Maryland’s premiere thoroughbred breeding and racing families. Ellen Pons, his wife and partner, illustrates the series with her photographs. It’s expected that the 12 installments will be further developed and published as a book, as were Josh’s diaries, which were first commissioned by the magazine: Country Life Diary: Three Years in the Life of a Horse Farm, and Merryland: Two Years in the Life of a Racing Stable, published in1999 and 2007, respectively, by Eclipse Press.
DONNA SAUTER’s Love and Other Losses is one of 15 shortlisted novel-in-progress entries in the 2018 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. The winning entry and the runner-up will be selected from the competition’s top 15 of 198 contenders. Stay tuned…
VIRGINIA MASSEY-BURZIO’s current project is a 20,000-word essay about her mother: “Sara Lamarche: An Ordinary Woman?” After Sara’s death, Virginia discovers her mother’s early- and late-life diaries and begins piecing together a picture she doesn’t quite recognize as her mother—or herself.
Excerpt: I only knew Sara Lamarche as my mother, a suffocating woman who incessantly hovered over my sister and me as if we were about to come to some bad end. I couldn’t wait to grow up and leave home. Not only was she after us all the time, but she had an endless list of what she herself had to do: cook, scrub floors, wash dishes, wash laundry, iron, grocery shop, balance the family budget to the last penny . I never saw her relax or go to lunch with a friend, or get a manicure, or go to the movies. Early on I decided I would not end up like her. . .
RICK SHELLEY, who has shared three of his Venetian tales with our workshop (and numerous other stories), is now about the work of writing a new play and revising an Oscar Wild short story for his Theatre Serenissima. The name, meaning the most serene, comes from La Serenissima, a name for the old Venetian Republic. Theatre Serenissima has played to sell-out crowds at both the Visionary Arts Museum and the Cultural Alliance. Watch this space for updates.
MARY PORTER has completed a first draft of her 250-page memoir, Swimming with the Current. Quick overview: Through open water swimming, talk therapy, and teachings of a real-life swami, Porter embarks on a journey to reconnect with herself when her 14-year-old daughter takes scores of pills in a suicide attempt.
Excerpt: Swimming became a spiritual activity. Swami teaches that every activity, when performed with right intention, has the potential to bridge the gap between our human self and our spiritual nature. Each time I entered the water—the pool at 5:30 in the morning or the Bay for an open water swim—my swim was a devotion, an expression of my commitment to experiencing the love of my Being. Doing so eased the chill of entry, and helped me focus on uplifting thoughts. …I practiced swimming to the rhythm of mantras, matching each syllable to my stroke. My favorite: Aum, Tat, Sat, which roughly translates to All that is the Truth. I liked the simplicity of those three syllables; I could repeat them a hundred times in open water or for several laps in the pool without being distracted. I also swam to Hong Swa, a mantra used to focus on the breath during meditation. Inhale on Hong, then stroke, stroke, stroke while exhaling. Inhale on Swa, then stroke, stroke, stroke while exhaling. The repetition emptied my mind and kept me in the present moment. Distance swimming became a meditative practice, a way of letting go of my worries, allowing me to connect with a sense of peace that eluded me on dry land.
CATHY LICKTEIG MAKOFSKI has returned to a book-length project, an informative and poignant memoir about resilience after the death of her husband and the day-to-day fortitude of her friends in the Camden, Maine, Parkinson group she’s been following and writing about for a number of years.
TODD HEBB is revising his collection of personal essays.
MACIE HALL is working on the backbone of her novel, A Murder of Crows, by writing a series of vignettes in order to psychoanalyze and better develop the character of surgical nurse and amateur ornithologist Annie Olsen. Olsen is the main character of this story. The question is how far will she go to survive in a dystopian U.S.-Canadian world–and how far and with whom has she gone already?
Excerpt: Annie couldn’t let go of the need for David to be enthusiastic. David had been the one to want his own child. Could she blame him? No, but. . . if David wasn’t ecstatic, then this pregnancy, with her weeks of nausea and vomiting, culminating in the next-quite-possible miscarriage–on top all the other miscarriages–seemed too much to endure. David had wanted to stop. He’d told her so. She and her twins were all he needed. It was Annie who couldn’t let go.
STEWART STACK says he’s learning to inhabit his characters by prewriting their thoughts via stream of consciousness. This technique may have something to do with his early training as an actor. More recently, Stewart has been either grip or gaffer (i.e., in charge of rigging or lighting) for such productions as Polyester, The Wire, Homicide: Life on The Streets, and King Gimp. The working title of his novel-in-progress is Luck’s Fault.
VICKI ENGLEMAN is at work on a collection of tales centered in a city neighborhood characterized by Old World expectations and post-WWII attempts at change.
Excerpt from “The Alteration”: Who wouldn’t notice that she [Phyllis] was wearing the infamous blue wedding dress–the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary’s version of the exact kind of punishment that had rained down on one Hester Prynne. Tillie beat a path to the front door and mumbled what sounded like, “Good luck and God bless.” And Phyllis thought, if you had one, why then would you need the other?–a dark thought for the bride-to-be who stood, silently, like a marble angel but grinding her teeth until they crunched like new snow under a truck’s tire.
JENNIE MARK is taking the summer to finish up a couple of delightfully strange short-short stories, one involving werewolves and the other a charismatic but evil grandfather!
HACKY CLARK has restarted his “Las Vegas novel” after a decade devoted to establishing a law practice. If there’s a rubric for Hacky’s writing process, it’s likely to follow along these lines: use your imagination and have fun. Hacky’s offbeat short story, “Wedding Present,” was a winner in a past City Paper annual fiction contest.
NECHIE KING has completed two collections of linked short stories and is at work on a third.
TRACIE GUY-DECKER notes that she can’t quit her job to focus on writing, but says, “I can take time off to give it professional-level attention, so that’s what I am doing.” Tracie’s arranged to take a week off from work and family the week of July 16, another week in August, and one in September to work on her YA novel.
Overview: The Letter-Journal of Rose Hollander is a coming-of-age tale set in 1960s Baltimore that weaves fictional letters and journal entries with historic newspaper articles from The Baltimore Sun and The Afro-American. The action centers around the desegregation of Baltimore’s Gwynn Oak Amusement Park while exploring the mother-daughter relationship, race, racism, and Jewish-black relations.
ANDY BROWN recently pulled a manuscript (seen in workshop years ago) from a tall stack and revised it. That personal essay, a medley about Vietnam, life, death, family, the Oklahoma farm has been accepted for publication by Prairie Schooner.
To read one of Andy’s short stories, “The Woman Who Wanted To Be Hemingway,” from The Chugalug King & Other Stories, Passager Books, 2016, go to this location https://wordpress.com/post/margaretosburnwebsite.com/464 on this website.
RICHARD ANDERSON began work in May on a new documentary film, “What About Auburn”: http://whataboutauburn.com. His “Mike Morningstar: Here’s to the Working Man” just finished its film festival tour with a visit to the Bare Bones International Film Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and is now available on DVD: https://www.herestotheworkingman.com
Richard also just finished teaching a course in video interviewing at Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College: https://www.commongroundonthehill.org/home.html. Ten interviews of founding members and contributors will be used on the Common Ground website. “My class learned about video production, but they also learned about the history and philosophy of the Common Ground program. One of the reasons to write, take photos, and make movies is that you learn so much about the world and the people in it.”
KAREN BENNETT‘s novel, The Farewell Tour, becomes available on Kindle August 4.
MARGARET OSBURN‘s short metafiction, “How Unlucky Are the Dead,” appears in the April 2018 issue of Raleigh Review. It is her fourth published story that draws upon the characters from her novel-in-progress.
MICHAEL WHELAN, author of After God (a memoir in poems), had three new poems accepted for publication during the month of June. First up: “Whatevuh,” online, June 20, in The Drabble.
SYLVIA FISCHBACH BRADEN most recently participated in a reading by 16 Passager -published poets. For the occasion Sylvia read her new poem, “Slipping,” inspired by Steven Millhauser’s 1997 novel Martin Dressler: Tale of an American Dreamer.
I Always Loved Bridges
I decided to be a
Joseph Chamberlin (1946 – 2017) Published essays in The Washington Post, Baltimore Urbanite, Baltimore Business Journal and elsewhere. His books include Life in the Breach: Poems; Bridges: Selected Poems; A Doctor Dies and Other Stories; and Our Father Frank, a novella based on the true story of how his life, literally, began.He completed his memoir, Joseph: Memoir of a Spurious and Sacrilegious Bastard shortly before his passing.
EVENT: “JoeRead” (a reading of Joe’s poetry), Zen West, Balt, 3/25/18
John Gregory Scott (1946 – 2017) Memoir, London Fog: Raincoats and AIDS.
MEMORIAL: Lewes, Del, 4/15/18
Joseph Chamberlin: Bridges: Selected Poems will be released March 2018 by Tintean Press, Washington, D.C. A reading from the collection will be celebrated Sunday, March 25, Zen West. Please CHECK BACK for news on the upcoming website and publication of Joseph: Memoir of a Spurious and Sacrilegious Bastard. Joe completed his timely (9/2017 Boston Globe Spotlighter series on children of priests), 300-page memoir shortly before his passing…
Karen Bennett is among the city writers invited to read their works at Charmington’s coffee shop, 2601 N. Howard St., Tuesday, March 13, 7 pm, 2018.
Maria Gariott published two commentaries she workshopped with us this fall. November 1: “The urbanite’s refrain after a smash-and-grab: It was just a purse” was published in The Baltimore Sun Op-Ed pages : //www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1103-the-robbery-20171101-story.html. October 2: “Immigrants in Our Midst: During a Refugee Crisis, American Christians Can Practice Hospitality–Not Hostility” was published in online and print versions of byFaith magazine: http://byfaithonline.com/?s=immigrants+in+our+midst
Maggie Master’s commentary, “Balancing Baltimore’s school budget on the backs of educators,” appeared in The Baltimore Sun Feb. 2017: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-teachers-backs-20170222-story.html. She also recently completed a novel for young adults and is seeking an agent. …Maggie is the parent of two future city school students and director of leadership development for Teach for America Baltimore.
Renee Boss: In addition to published medical articles, Renee’s personal essay, “Guarded,” appears in the July 5 issue of the Patient Education Counsel magazine. Earlier essays, “Flying” and “Saying No,” first published in the Readers Write column of The Sun literary magazine were requested for use by students at the Palmer College of Chiropractic in San Jose, CA. …As for Renee’s larger project–she’s working on a book-length memoir describing “the path that one doctor took in learning to help patients and families face serious medical decisions in the context of life-threatening illness.” Renee is a neonatologist at Hopkins.
Jessica Heriot: Riding the Second Wave: How Feminism Changed Women’s Psychology and Mine, CreateSpace, 2017. The first part of the book is a personal narrative about the effects of feminism on the author’s life. Part two relays the influence of a feminist perspective on psychotherapy. …Jessica is a retired psychotherapist, former University of Maryland professor, and co-editor of the anthology of essays, short stories, and poems: The Uses of Personal Narratives in the Helping Profession: A Teaching Casebook, Routledge, 2002.
Wendy Hoffman’s recently released fourth book with Karnac Publishers, London, is co-authored with her own therapist. From the Trenches: A Victim and Therapist Talk about Mind Control and Ritual Abuse can be purchased through the Karnac website: http://us.karnacbooks.com/product/from-the-trenches-a-victim-and-therapist-talk-about-mind-control-and-ritual-abuse/40435/. …Wendy is a psychotherapist who has worked for more than two decades in general practice and in the field of recovering dissociated memories. She holds a master’s degree in social work and two master’s of fine arts.
Samantha Buker reports on the arts for BMORE ART: OCT. 2: “Audiophonics Among the Saints”; June 23: “Baltimore Pride 2017 in Photos”; and May 27: “Preaching in the Church of New Music,” http://www.bmoreart.com/2017/05/the-year-of-yes-preaching-in-the-church-of-new-music.html. Her poem, “To be Vulnerable in a Safe Place,” appears in the spring issue of Energeia.
Arthur Houghton will be reading from his thriller, Dark Athena, Thursday, December 8, 1:30 pm, with “tea,” at the Carroll County Library. A Baltimore reading is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, 6:30 pm, at the Maryland State Library for the Blind, 415 Park Ave., an alternative, adjacent space to the Pratt while the central library is under renovation. Book signing events are scheduled to follow in these cities: Washinton, D.C., Philadelphia, Palm Beach, Pasadena, and Los Angeles, with more to come.
Arthur is a former US foreign service officer and former curator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum. Dark Athena centers on an ancient statue unearthed in Sicily. For more on Dark Athena, see February 2016 Writer Updates below, or go to http://www.Amazon.com. Reviews are pouring in–a critical component for book sales!
Richard Anderson has completed his second major documentary film, Mike Morningstar: Here’s to the Working Man. The documentary is the “2016 official selection” of the West Virginia International Film Festival and is up for consideration at numerous film festivals around the country. Treat yourself to the film trailer: http://www.herestotheworkingman.com.
Morningstar has been the opening act for many artists, including Doc Watson, Marshal Tucker Band, Vince Gill, “Spider John” Koerner, Paul Geremia, Pure Prairie League, Tom Wopat, Dan Seals, Mike Cross, John Hartford, and Goose Creek Symphony. The film includes 14 of singer/songwriter Morningstar’s songs commemorating the working people of West Virginia, their struggles in the coal fields, their battles for the union, the dangers to the natural beauty of West Virginia, and the belief that “mountaineers are always free.”
Tracie Guy Decker’s “Open Letter to God” appears on The Huffington Post: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/11761076 . Her essay responds to questions of justice, injustice, race, community, and imagining justice in Baltimore: Dear God, I have been asked to write an essay about how religion fits into imagining justice in Baltimore. I’ve decided to address it to you.
Debby Bors is a senior editor at the Hopkins Press. Her lively and illuminating essay about university presses, the variety of books they publish, and working at a university press can be read on the JHU Press blog: https://www.press.jhu.edu/news/blog/week-2016-why-i-work-university-press
Wendy Hoffman’s essay, “On Writing a Scary Memoir and Using My Own Name,” is included in a new anthology of essays titled Shattered but Unbroken: Voices of Triumph and Testimony, edited by van der Merwe and Sinason for Karnac Books, London, 2016.
John Anderson is back at it with this essay, “TV Doctors: Their Influence on the Public, Real Doctors, and Me.” John is a real doctor, a nephrologist. His essay is published in the current issue of the quarterly newsletter of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum.
Joseph Chamberlin published four poems this fall in the Galway Review, including
I lift words lightly
From the page
Beyond my grasp
Michael Whelan‘s most recently published poem, “Iatog in the Hills of Connemara” is included in the online Galway Review: https://thegalwayreview.com/2016/09/12/michael-whelan-iatog-in-the-hills-of-connemara/
Michael won first prize in The Leitrim Guardian 2012 Literary Awards. His poems have been published in The Coachella Review, The Eloquent Atheist, The Healing Muse, The Little Patuxent Review, and Innisfree Poetry Journal. His prose memoir pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and online on Irish Central. Whelan’s poem “Clay Feet,” included in After God, appeared first in the Martin Stannard August 1, 2013 Collection featured on The Best American Poetry blog. In 2015, eirways, a quarterly exploring the arts and culture of Ireland on both sides of the Atlantic, featured a selection from Whelan’s poems and prose remembering the late, acclaimed Dermot Healy, one of Ireland’s finest writers.
Sylvia Fischbach-Braden‘s translation of an excerpt from Claude Anet’s 1922 novella, Nadia, is included in Inkpress Productions’ October 2016 release, Infinity Ink: An Internet (http://www.inkpressproductions.com/papers). An upcoming issue of the Baltimore literary journal, The Avenue, focusing on the South, will feature her drawings from 1930s documentary photographs of North Carolina tobacco-bag stringers who did piecework from their homes.
A few remaining copies of Sylvia’s poetry collection, Karl Marx Imperial Dispensary and Himalayan Tea Garden (see dedicated post)–-along with a couple of free sample poems–are available at http://karlmarximperial.blogspot.com/.
Samantha Buker has a poem scheduled for publication in the spring 2017 issue of Energeia. Samantha’s most recent (spring 2016) publications include What Weekly, “World-Traveling Conductor Makes Baltimore a New Home Base,” www.whatweekly.com/2016/04/03/markus-stenz/ and The Peabody Post, “Fertile Ground,” https://peabodyinstitute.wordpress.com/fertile-ground/ .
David Eberhardt has poems to be published in an upcoming issue of a French lit magazine. Dave has translated his English to French.
Harriet Dopkin picked restaurateur/author Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business when approached by Crain’s Baltimore, an online business journal, to choose and review a book that inspired her. Harriet’s review, which was dropped into an interview format (“Classic Catering’s Dopkin finds recipe for success in restaurateur’s book”) includes this thought: One of Meyer’s ideas that I think is challenging and quite wonderful at the same time is working from the point of view of abundance even in the most difficult times, like Sept. 11, 2001, and recessions. Meyer has found that generosity and a confident sense of abundance could actually recharge and stimulate his top line. Many generous people know that in giving, we get back more than we give, but it can be easily forgotten in difficult times. Harriet’s entire review can be read at http://baltimore.crains.com/article/classic-catering%e2%80%99s-dopkin-finds-recipe-success-restaurateur%e2%80%99s-book.
December 2016, Harriet is “part of an exciting project with the artist Peter Bruun. Four stories about love [Harriet is telling one], a visual art piece created from the story, a song composed by Ellen Cherry, and a menu likewise inspired by the stories, served in corresponding courses.” Starting in 2017 she’ll be a new contributing writer for the online journal of CaterSource.
Jean-Pierre Weill‘s illustrated children’s book for adults, The Well of Being, was released November 1 by Flatiron Books, New York. Pan Macmillan purchased world rights for the self-published book spring 2015 and first released it fall 2015 through Bluebird Books, a London imprint of Macmillan, before releasing it in the U.S. through Flatiron. Foreign language versions are in the works.
Andy Brown has launched a lit zine, and he and his co-editor are accepting submissions. Check it out: Twomulepress.com
Andy’s first published collection of fiction and memoir, The Chugalug King & Other Stories, will be released later this month by Passager Books. To preorder a copy, go to http://www.passagerbooks.com/books/the-chugalug-king-other-stories/ .
(See Andy’s book jacket and letter in a separate, earlier blog post.)
Jean-Pierre Weill got a call last spring from the London acquisitions editor at Pan Macmillan just as he was selling out the very last copies of his self-published “children’s book for adults.” Pan Macmillan purchased international rights for The Well of Being, with a New York printing to come fall 2016, and a London printing fall 2015.
Books are available now at www.thewellofbeing.co
Saundra Murray Nettles earned a 2015 American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Book Award for Necessary Spaces: Experiences of African American Children in Southern Neighborhoods, Information Age Publishing, 2013. Available on Amazon.com
Teresa Elquezabal is published in the November 2015 Maryland Bar Journal. Her personal experience essay, “How I Rated,” chronicles her permanent disabilities evaluation for worker’s compensation. Teresa was an assistant attorney general for the State of Maryland, in the civil litigation unit when she was hit by a car while crossing the street to her bus stop. She is at work on a series of memoirs that cover her years-long physical and psychological adjustment and recovery.
Renee Boss has had a recent succession of short essays accepted by The Sun literary magazine’s “Readers Write” column:
- Noise 10/15
- Saying No 11/15
- Being Single 1/16
- At the Last Minute (planned for 9/16)
(For the current list of topics you might submit to The Sun “Readers Write,” see http://thesunmagazine.org/about/submission_guidelines/readers_write.)
Maggie Master published her commentary in The Baltimore Sun, October 24, 2015.
Opt-in: What middle class parents can do to help Baltimore’s schools — and their own kids My oldest daughter just turned three, and so practically every parent in my network of mostly white, mostly middle class parents is talking about schools. It feels like the academic equivalent of a biological clock. Conversations arise almost daily: Last week, it was a mom at the playground. …
Josh Pons of thoroughbred racing fame is polishing up his “interior monologues” and “narrative arcs” in a race to put together a collection of stories (some true, some not–all piercing, all poetic). Alternately, the workshop sometimes gets a first look at his monthly column for Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred. Josh’s early books, both diaries, Merryland: Two Years in the Life of a Racing Stable and Country Life Diary were published by Eclipse Press.
Samantha Buker has articles in upcoming issues of Peabody Magazine and an opera review that appeared in the June 14, 2015, Washington Post: “Wait, wait … It’s opera at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.”
Joseph Chamberlin reads from his book A Doctor Dies & Other Stories on this podcast from the Enoch Pratt Library. In 2014-15, Joe had readings at the Enoch Pratt, the McKees Rocks Historical Society, McKees Rocks, PA, and The Book Center, Cumberland, MD.
Jessica Heriot is massaging into shape a book manuscript on her experience as a feminist and therapist and the history of the development of woman-centered psychology and psychotherapy.
David Eberhardt’s commentary on prose poetry appeared in The Loch Raven Review, October 2015. …Dave has also completed his memoir about The Catonsville Four and the two years he spent in federal prison after his arrest alongside priest and Peace Movement activist Philip Berrigan, and two others, for their anti-Vietnam War protest: pouring blood (their own and that of poultry purchased at the Gay Street Market) onto draft board records.
Wendy Hoffman has two new books, White Witch in a Black Robe and Forceps: Poems about the Birth of the Self, scheduled for release this spring by Karnac Books, London. Karnac specializes in books on psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Wendy’s first book, The Enslaved Queen, was published by Karnac in 2014. Wendy is a therapist who writes about her recovered memories.
“The search for my true past came in distinct waves. This collection of poems includes some from the long period when I knew something was drastically wrong but didn’t consciously know what that was and some from the breakthrough when I discovered my never-bloomed self. The poems cover the outskirts of my awakening, my plowing through and arrival in the middle of awareness. When dissociated memories and emotions exploded inside, eventually they filtered into a poem. The horror transmuted itself. These poems are that record. …I have regained a real, not imposed, self.”
Jennifer Downs, acupuncturist, is blogging on such healthful topics as Tools and Tasks of the Second Half of Life, An Ordinary Day, Mindfulness on the New Jersey Turnpike, The Grace in Grief, and Why I Had A Steel Band at Mom’s Memorial. To read her reflections and ease your anxiety, go to http://www.PivotPointProjects.com/blog-2/.
Arthur Houghton’s recently completed thriller, Dark Athena, has aroused the interest of two movie producers who first want the book to be published. While I haven’t read Arthur’s book, judging from this draft of his jacket copy, it’s easy to imagine movie interest:
Dark Athena centers on an ancient statue that is unearthed in Sicily setting off a search to verify its provenance by Jason Connor, curator of a prestigious private museum in California. Jason’s CIA background and his native wits are pitted against a ruthless dealer who makes his living selling looted antiquities, the head of a Sicilian smuggling ring, and several contract killers who pursue him into the grounds of his own museum. Dark Athena is a story of stolen art, fakery, the tradecraft of intelligence, pursuit and death, with an underlying theme that questions who should own mankind’s cultural heritage. (Arthur Houghton is a former US foreign service officer and former curator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum.)
PLEASE DO KEEP ME POSTED ON WHAT YOU ARE WRITING! UNPUBLISHED OR PUBLISHED, COMPLETED OR NOT, WE ARE INTERESTED. I started these posts in 2010 as emails. Some have gone missing…Apologies to those who don’t see themselves archived below. ~m
John Anderson, M.D., assures me that he hasn’t given up on writing to do antique radio repair…In fact, he’s gotten two essays published: one in the February 2015 issue of the quarterly newsletter of the National Capital Radio and Television Museum, and the other on the website of the Alzheimer’s Society of the UK: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200366 If you were in the workshop last year with John, I’m sure you’ll remember this wry essay about his family. It’s entertaining, smart, and informative : “Tu sei pazzo” (You are crazy)
Jill Yesko asked, “Would you tell a complete stranger your darkest secret?” And twelve people did. Jill’s short documentary, Strangers & Secrets, premieres at the Creative Alliance in Fells Point on Wed., April 8 at 7:30 pm. Watch the Strangers & Secrets trailer. (The event is part of the Reel Independent Women’s 3rd Annual Female Filmmaker Showcase.)
Andy Brown has just signed a contract with Passager Books for publication of his short story collection. You can read his essay, “What I Would Tell My Son,” in Passager, winter 2015.
Sylvia Fischbach-Braden most recently published “Red Scare,” a poem, in the winter 2015 issue of Passager.
Samantha Buker says her essay published last fall in The Imaginative Conservative is about being made a free woman by the liberal arts…Letter to an Unknown Student by Samantha Buker: If there’s one thing I learned from seminar, it’s that saying what something is NOT, is not the same as saying positively what it IS. MORE: http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/10/letter-unknown-student-st-johns-college.html
Jean-Pierre Weill and his illustrated “children’s book for adults,” The Well of Being, is the lead article for the March 1 issue of Brain Pickings Weekly: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Well of Being: An Extraordinary Children’s Book for Grownups about the Art of Living with Openhearted Immediacy…Who are we, really, when we silence the ego’s shrill commands about who we should be, and simply listen to the song of life as it sings itself through us? …That’s what French-born, Baltimore-based artist Jean-Pierre Weill explores in The Well of Being (public library) – an extraordinary “children’s book for adults,” three years in the making, that peers into the depths of the human experience and the meaning of our existence, tracing how the stories we tell ourselves to construct our personae obscure the truth of our personhood, and how we can untell them in order to just be.
Succumbing neither to religiosity nor to scientism, neither to myth nor to materialism, Weill dances across the Big Bang, the teachings of the 18th-century Italian philosopher and mystic Ramchal, evolution, 9/11, and life’s most poetic and philosophical dimensions. He tells the lyrical story of a man – an androgynous being who “represents Everyman and also Everywoman,” as Weill explains in the endnotes – moving from the origin of the universe to the perplexities of growing up to the mystery of being alive. At the center of it is the unity of life and the connectedness of the universe, “our encounter with One, well-being.”
What emerges from Weill’s ethereal watercolors and enchanting words is a secular scripture, at once grounding and elevating – a gentle prod to awaken from the trance of our daily circumstances and live with openhearted immediacy, a message partway between Seneca’s exhortation to stop living in expectancy and Mary Oliver’s invitation to begin belonging to this world.
I see that you’re reading. As the train is late let me take you on an excursion to the place we long for. I ask of you one thing: bring attention to your thoughts, those that take you from this book, quiet them… and value this listening as if it were a mysterious gift yours for the taking. Let us string a bead of thought, an article of faith.
Our existence is not an accident but a mystery… We can entrust ourselves to this mystery, for we are part of it. Indeed we are it.
I don’t say there isn’t much work to do, for there is. And some tracks lead to excruciating darkness, where a person can tumble from the sky on a clear September morning. Yet is the world not whole? Is it not beautiful? For now, let’s consider well-being a choice, something you can try on and wear. When we put on the hat and coat of well-being we incline towards joy without special occasion.
At the heart of the lyrical story is the somewhat discomfiting yet necessary reminder that although our self-delusions are an adaptive crutch and the masks we wear are a protective survival mechanism, unless we learn to revise our inner storytelling andlet ourselves be seen, we will continue to keep ourselves small with the stories we tell ourselves.
We organize our circumstances into stories, stories we pick up along the way and carry with us. Stories that declare, I’m lacking. Why me? stories. I’m alone, stories. What will I amount to? stories. Stories about who we should be. Or think we are.
They are interior maps whose familiar roads we travel. Over and over. Yet when we apprehend these maps, these stories, these patterns … we awaken and rise, as it were, to a new perspective, to new possibilities.
Greg Scott has completed his lively 82,000-word memoir, Whatever Happened to London Fog?: Raincoats and AIDS, and is busy with query letters to agents. SYNOPSIS: On the eve of directing my first marketing campaign–a campaign for London Fog, Macy’s, and Princess Cruises–a campaign that I’m making up as I go along–I’m diagnosed HIV-positive. My hospital counselor advises me to go home to prepare to die. Instead, I flee to the airport where a dozen photographers, models and stylists–and 500 pieces of luggage–are curbed and waiting. And we’re off to Alaska! …During my decade with London Fog, we leave behind New York City photo shoots where mannequins with broken fingers and arms substitute for live models to climb actual mountains in search of settings that make raincoats sexy. London Fog becomes the third most recognized brand name in the world, just behind Coca-Cola and Levis. As marketing director, I fall under the spell of company spokespersons, actress Stefanie Powers and Olympian (pre-Kardashian) Bruce Jenner, and a host of other colorful characters with names like Big Bird and Ramona Daggers. There are also three real-life cows who become my confidants at company headquarters in Eldersburg, Maryland.
Constance Pohl has all but completed her nonfiction book on the French Resistance, Resisters from the First Hour … She’s at work on the book notes section and securing permission to use photos and will soon be looking for an agent/publisher. What follows is an excerpt from her book’s introduction:
In the early 1970s, I was teaching in a provincial city when The Sorrow and The Pity was released. The film shocked my students. They asked their parents why they had not learned of this earlier, and one student’s mother replied, “For 25 years we have not spoken of this. It is a relief to talk about it at last.” In truth, the film shocked me as well. Like my students, I had learned de Gaulle’s version of a nationalist mythic history. From that time, I began to study and collect information about what the French call les annees noirs, the dark years. Once in 1994 when I explained to a young French women the subject I was researching, she replied that this was a shameful period in French history. It was clear by then that a story of collaboration and cowardice had displaced the Gaullist myth. Yet neither simplification can possibly do justice to that complex period of French history.
As a teacher and amateur historian, I had the good fortune of establishing many relationships with firsthand sources as I gathered information for this book. Henri Segal’s daughter suggested that I contact her father for an interview about his life in resistance. Henri, in turn, gave me names of his comrades to be interviewed. It went like that from person to person, for the surviving resisters of all persuasions are a tight-knit group.
Through the eyes of Philippe Viannay, Helen Mordkovitch Viannay, Jacqueline Pardon, Genia Kobozieff Deschamps, Henri Segal, Eugene Kerbaul, Odette Moke, and Pierre and Genevieve Olmeta, we see what life was like for those who lived in resistance. We follow along as young resisters print their underground newspapers, print false passports, carry messages from one liaison agent to another, sabotage trains and bridges. We watch as Jacqueline Pardon runs from one subway train to another morning to night to evade a police agent in pursuit. We watch as Odette Moke is forced to kneel to the floor, her knees pressed onto a broom handle throughout an entire night, as she is interrogated by police. We watch as, month by month, bucket by bucket, Henri Segal tunnels an escape route from under the internment camp showers, under and beyond the prisoners’ barracks, under and past the barbed wire, and up, out into the open.
Could these French resisters have imagined they would live to grow old when the average lifespan of a French resister was six months?
Regina Buker will give a JHU Odyssey lecture on the Homewood campus, Thursday, NOVEMBER 6,6:30-8:30, “Skytrain Pilots: Unsung Heroes of D-Day.” Please spread the word. To register ($28), go tohttp://advanced.jhu.edu/academics/non-credit-programs/odyssey/
The lecture is based on Regina’s research for The Skytrain Pilot: Flying a C-47 into Combat. Regarding her prize-winning manuscript (see below: Nov. 2012), she’s busy typing the bibliography. She began her search for an agent this spring by sending out 20 query letters: so far, she’s received 3 responses: one agent has requested a look at the entire book. …Too, with daughter Samantha’s help, she’s established a Facebook presence: “The Skytrain Pilot is dedicated to information about the war. During the D-Day commemorations there were more than 1,000 views,” says Regina. “I’m also working on building ‘likes’ as potential agents are very interested in your numbers related to your existing platform. If you’re interested, please become a friend and like my site.” https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Skytrain-Pilot/652748498077938
Joseph Chamberlin will read from his book, A Doctor Dies AND OTHER STORIES, at the Enoch Pratt Library, downtown, OCTOBER 9. Joe has participated in a number of readings and/or signings over the past couple of years, including the City Lit Festival, Ivy Bookstore, Book Center (Cumberland, Maryland), and these notable taverns: Freddie’s, Liam’s and Grand Cru; he also had a reading in his hometown of McKees Rocks, PA.
Wendy Hoffman is finishing the writing of her second book of poetry, Forceps. …She invites us to join her for a reading by Baron Wormser in the Poe Room, main Pratt Library, Thursday, November 6, 6:30 p.m. Baron is Wendy’s mentor at Fairfield University and has Baltimore ties. She says that his novel, Teach Us That Peace (NH: Piscataqua Press, RiverRun Bookstore, 2013), “explores the tangled roots of Baltimore, fascinating characters who inhabited our city as it began its transformation, race relations, the March on Washington, public schools and the orthodox Jewish community. It is an experimental novel that tells many jokes. The author was born and raised in Baltimore, has published ten books of poetry, a memoir, teaching craft books, fiction and was poet Laureate of Maine. To read Baron Wormser is to improve one’s writing.
Molly Englund is about to begin the second year of her MFA in creative nonfiction at Hunter College, NYC. She reports that she had a “wonderful first year,” which included working as a research assistant to George Packer.
Nicola Payne just finished a summer job at the Columbia Publishing Course, a 6-week intensive program offered through Columbia University Journalism School where she begins her second year of an MFA. “This upcoming semester is the thesis workshop…Am mostly writing humorous personal essays that I hope to make a collection for my thesis, and one day ship around to literary agents…”
Macie Hall blogs by day as The Innovative Instructor [http://ii.library.jhu.edu/], offering tips on pedagogy, best teaching practices, and how to integrate technology into classroom activities. By night she toils on her novel, A Murder of Crows, which traces the life of protagonist Annie Olsen over a 30-year period starting when she is a young, single mother and ending with her perilous escape from Baltimore to her native Canada after the collapse of the United States government. The novel examines themes of survival, how moral/ethical decisions are made in an effort to survive, and how personal relationships affect our ability to move forward after loss.
Nechie King has completed 150,000 words–the first draft of her “story cycle” (linked stories that published together comprise a novel). Nechie says, “There is a main character and her sister (who gets her own story) and her daughters. It starts when she’s 15 years old, and I thought that it would end at her death, but now I think not. The last story, as things now stand, takes place in 1973 when the main character is 55 years old and it’s about the death of her mother-in-law and what that means in her life.”
Pat Sullivan is collaborating on a tomato cookbook with cookbook author Kerry Dunnington (This Book Cooks: A Caterer’s Secret Collection and Planet Kitchen Table: Recipes for a Sustainable Future in Food). Pat completed and submitted her chapters over the summer: “Preserving the Harvest” and “The Tomato Chronicles: Aphrodisiac or Poison?” She says that the tomato chronicles were “fun to write although it was pretty daunting to sort through all the tomato lore.” One of Pat’s earlier tomato essays, “Seeing Red”–about Pat’s life with tomatoes–was published in Style,August 2005.
Harriet Dopkin published her essay, “Wabi Sabi: A Culinary Professional’s Favorite Dish,” in B Woman Magazine. “Wabi Sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature. …It’s simple, slow and uncluttered, and it reveres authenticity above all.” To read more, go to http://issuu.com/bwomanmagazine/docs/b_woman_magazine_-_october_2013_iss
Harriet has also begun production of a digital newsletter for The Classic Catering People. It is vibrant!, with beautiful photos, great recipes, reviews and, like the above essay, wisdom. “The newsletter is my baby. I wanted to stay in communication with our community with a little whimsy, a bit of usefulness, gently teach, share our stories, our work, our passions and write about what the newsstand magazines don’t write about. The writing is a process and involves several people. Sometimes I talk, someone writes, I edit, someone rewrites, I squirm, I refine it, several people spell check and grammar check, I hope and so on. Occasionally, I ask someone to guest write a piece. Sometimes I write a piece…”
Richard Anderson is continuing to document the genius of pianist Michael Hersh. Richard’s short film about Hersh, The Sudden Pianist (see Oct. 2013), was featured at five major film festivals this past year and is available on Amazon. Work to complete a feature-length documentary, which includes a narrative about Hersh’s new opera, On the Threshold of Winter, continues. https://vimeo.com/93288788
David Eberhardt, veteran activist and member of the 1967 Baltimore 4, published a review of the documentary Hit and Run about the Catonsville 9. His essay appeared in the City Paper, June 14 this year: Member of “Baltimore Four” reviews “Hit & Stay” on 45th anniversary of Catonsville Nine action –
Ed Veit is co-authoring a book on the 1950 Philadelphia Phillies. The book will include 40 short bios of the baseball players who appeared on the team that year, with essays that focus on Philadelphia in the 1950s, the Philadelphia fans, the Phillies failure to sign black players, the 1950 World Series, etc. The book is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Cathy Lickteig became the first “featured contributor” to Maine Seniors Magazine this past year and has been assigned a number of cover stories, including the upcoming September issue, which looks back at the summer of 1957 when that salacious movie, Peyton Place, was filmed in Camden, Maine, where Cathy now lives. For her magazine column, “The Osprey’s View,” she’s written articles about window boxes, the holiday (Christmas) star on the top of MT Batte, (cover),a group of folks who gather every week to play their ukuleles (cover) and her latest about Bodacious the therapy dog (cover). The Bodacious issue, written in first person from the perspective of the dog, has brought in numerous magazine requests. Unfortunately, we can’t take a peak online. The magazine, now two years old, is available by subscription only.
Carole Langrall is a regular contributor to two New Mexico publications: ecotrendsource.com and trendmagazineglobal.com. Her blog, Neglected Beauty, about the environment, art, and horticulture (not about bad hair) dazzles the eyes…http://neglectedbeauty.blogspot.com/
Whitty Ransome, founder of the National Coalition of Girls School and our workshop authority on girls and education, has started writing her memoir about the Coalition and girls education in this country. The Baltimore Sun recently published her commentary, “Single-sex schooling cultivates confidance in Girls: Girls tend to underestimate their abilities, often because of a fear of failure.” Here’s a taste:
In their new book, “The Confidence Code,” Claire Shipman and Katty Kay draw on a broad spectrum of scientific research to support several of their hypotheses: Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions; predict they will do worse on tests than they actually do; and generally underestimate their abilities.
In other words, men tend to say “I can,” while women tend to say “I can’t.”
These attitudes develop long before adulthood, however, often on the playground.
Here’s the link to read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-self-confidence-20140605,0,7420584.story
Margaret Osburn’s short story, “When Desire Can’t Find Its Object,” was selected by novelist/short story writer Jennifer Haigh (2013 Best American Short Stories) as runner up in the 2014 Salamander Fiction Contest. Margaret will receive a little cash and her story will appear in the lit journal’s December 2014 issue. Margaret is pleased with herself. http://www.pw.org/content/salamander_8
Jim Sizemore’s “5 minute memoir” is the lead to his August 1, 2014 Doodlemeister blog. The memoir’s themes are Orioles baseball, cartooning (Jim’s profession), and a boy trying to reunite with his mother. See below. (BTW: Doodlemeister is an excellent blog–and Jim features a number of local writers.)
The Boys of Summer, 1954
by Jim Sizemore
I’m in my bedroom, lights off. It’s my mother’s third-floor two-bedroom apartment on Linden Avenue, just two blocks south of North Avenue. Ernie Harwell’s Georgia-accented words seem to come to me out of the glowing orange dial of my tabletop radio. The small fan next to it is set on high speed, but with scant effect in the humid heat. Ernie is telling me — play-by-play — that our new Baltimore Orioles are losing another game at Memorial Stadium. But that’s OK. The only thing that matters is that we finally have a team of pros in town. …
Mostly I remember forcing myself in between them, he and I spitting out blasts of profanity. Despite my bad case of the shakes, I somehow found the courage to pull my shirttail up to display the weapon, and the action slowed to a sweat-like trickle. Then my mother’s desperate pleas from the sidelines shut our little scene completely down. To read in between those paragraphs and through to the end, go to http://doodlemeister.com/
Jean-Pierre (Joel) Weill has published a “children’s book for adults.” His subject: our pursuit of well-being. THE WELL OF BEING is 216 pages with more than 100 water color illustrations. The writer/artist explains its physical size: “It is a large book (13″ x 11″ x 1.2″) for it’s an ambitious project. I made it so big for the power of the images and so that it can be shared by two people simultaneously. I want this book to be part of a shared conversation.”
The book got amazing advance reviews from Cynthia Ozick, Penn Nabokov Award; Ram Dass, international teacher/author; Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence; Simcha Frischling, founder of Call of the Shofar; and Kirkus Reviews: www.thewellofbeing.co/kickstarter Through Oct. 13, he has a KickStarter page to promote sales. Please take a look. www.thewellofbeing.co/kickstarter
Richard Anderson’s short documentary film, The Sudden Pianist, was accepted by the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs CA this past April and turned out to be an audience favorite. The Sudden Pianistwill be included in the Vancouver Biennial Film Festival this coming spring. From the Website: The Sudden Pianist is the remarkable story of composer and pianist Michael Hersch. While much has been written about Hersch’s gifts as a composer, his abilities at the piano have been witnessed by few, as he shuns most public performances. Filmmaker Richard Anderson has created an intimate portrait, shedding light on this aspect of Hersch’s music making with never before seen or heard footage of Hersch performing his own work at the piano – from his debut to the present day. There are also rare interviews throughout with Hersch. The film is a moving journey into the mind of one of America’s most unique artists.
TO SEE THE MOVIE TRAILER http://www.thesuddenpianist.com. Richard’s current project is a full-length documentary on Hersch.
Wendy Hoffman earned her MFA in creative writing this spring from Fairfield University.
Deidre Johnson earns her MFA in creative writing this year from Johns Hopkins University.
Sylvia Fischbach-Braden completed her first year of an MFA in creative writing/publishing arts at the University of Baltimore. A poem written by Sylvia will appear in an anthology to be released late September by student-run Plork Press. Another of Sylvia’s poems, “Imprecation,” received an honorable mention in Passager‘s 2013 poetry contest and appears in that journal’s most recent issue.
Maria Garriott’s poem, “Hands,” received an honorable mention in Passager’s 2013 poetry contest and appears in the current issue.
My daughter’s friend, fleeing the fiancée
who pulls her hair
and tells her she is fat
and that he can do better,
trembled last night.
The girls talked in low voices,
a sliver of light shining from under
my daughter’s closed bedroom door.
She is tired of broken dishes.
Her mind flails
like a trapped bird.
It’s not working.
But he’s good to me sometimes.
Today they changed the brake pads
in her car. I need to learn
To do this, she said,
her mouth a straight line.
I’m not rich.
Her soft hands,
the hands that had slapped him,
blackened with grease.
Laurie (L.C.) Curtis published an essay September 1 in the Maine Observer: “Versatile island neighbors lend needed guidance: From digging French drains to making homemade iced tea, Chebeague residents are happy to share their experience.” http://www.pressherald.com/opinion/versatile-island-neighbors-lend-needed-guidance_2013-09-01.html
Molly Englund has been accepted into the graduate writing program at Hunter College (NYC) beginning this fall;only six new creative nonfiction writers are accepted each year. Molly is working on a memoir about growing up in Russia as the child of journalist parents. AND, she’s just received a fellowship to work as a research assistant for an author–but doesn’t yet know who.
Joseph Chamberlin (author of Our Father Frank, a novella) has a new book available from lulu.com ($5 ebook, $10 paperback) Charming new book of stories says the editor (margaret). While loss is threaded throughout, at the core, each of these “love” stories uplifts. Life and death are spun to poetry in A DOCTOR DIES AND OTHER STORIES. A legless veteran leaves footprints in the snow. Boys carry the casket of a young friend up ice-covered church steps. A son asks to dress his deceased father in boots and jacket as he and his mother await the funeral director. For Evelyn and Smiley, a romantic taunt on a frigid night stops time between Ted’s Dairy and Vietnam. Within these 16 stories, Joseph Chamberlin, also author of OUR FATHER FRANK: The Story of a Priest, The Woman He Loved, and The Sons They Left Behind, builds a world of ordinary heroes.
Saundra Murray Nettles (author of Crazy Visitation, a memoir, Georgia Press) has a new book to release July 31, 2013
Necessary Spaces: Exploring the Richness of African American Childhood in the South,Information Age Publishing, Paperback. In Necessary Spaces: Exploring the Richness of African American Childhood in the South, Saundra Murray Nettles takes the reader on a journey into neighborhood networks of learning at different times and places. Using autobiographical accounts, Nettles discusses the informal instructional practices of community “coaches” from the perspective of African American adults who look back on their childhood learning experiences in homes, libraries, city blocks, schools, churches, places of business, and nature. These eyewitness accounts reveal “necessary spaces,” the metaphor Nettles uses to describe seven recurring experiences that converge with contemporary notions of optimal black child development: connection, exploration, design, empowerment, resistance, renewal, and practice.
$20,000 Aviation History Book Prize –REGINA HAS IT!
Regina Buker, Sky Train Pilot, a memoir/biography of her father’s WWII experience. Regina received her $20,000 National Aviation Hall of Fame’s Combs Gates Award this week (Oct.31) in Orlando, Florida. There were 25,000 conferees. Regina met aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker and had lunch with James Carville.
Listen for Whitty’s “Holiday Letters” on WYPR
Whitney Ransome is reading and recording her humor essay, “Holiday Letters,” at WYPR for air time at the end of November.
First Documentary Film: Sudden Pianist
Richard Anderson, after finishing a 3-year Library of Congress photography project (see http://www.dpbestflow.org), became interested in making films. He’s happy to report that his first documentary film is now finished. This is the website for the film: http://thesuddenpianist.com/
December issue of American Nurse Today
Pat Sullivan‘s article, “Grace under fire: Surviving and thriving in nursing by cultivating resilience” is scheduled for publication in the December 2012 issue of American Nurse Today.
Oct. 4 READING at the Ivy Bookstore
Joseph Chamberlin read from his novella, Our Father, Frank, at the Ivy Bookstore (Lake Ave. and Falls Road). Chairs for the reading were filled. Our Father Frank is the love story between a Roman Catholic priest and a married parishioner–Joe’s biological parents. Joe and his younger brother were placed in a Catholic orphanage, then adopted. The novella is based on interviews Joe had with his biological mother.
Wiley & Sons Publishers
Samantha Buker, The Little Book of the Shrinking Dollar: What You Can Do to Protect Your Money Now (May 2012 release). Samantha is financial series co-author for Agora Press.
Semifinalist, William Faulkner/William Wisdom Creative Writing Contest
Karen Bennett, Horseflesh, a novella (just announced)
Change of Geography
Susan McCallum Smith (recipient of NEA creative writing grant 2012, author Slipping the Moorings, Entasis Press, 2008)
Mountain View Lodge, Mullacash, Naas, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland
Personal Essay in United Doberman Club Magazine
Lyn Kargaard on Charlie Brown, her multi-talented, multiple-titled doberman. Visit http://www.uniteddobermanclub.com/focus/focus2q2012.pdf
Baltimore writer Mary Lacy Porter’s essay “The Transformative Power of Letting Go,” about the challenges of balancing helping her daughter through the teen years versus the need to let her child find her own, difficult way through them, is included in the sixth and latest volume of This I Believe: This I Believe: On Motherhood (Wiley, April 2012).
This I Believe, started in 2004, promotes writing and sharing brief essays about the values that guide the writers’ lives. Many essays are published online, and they’ve also been heard on NPR and bound into a series of six popular books. Porter’s essay is also available online here.
Samantha Buker reports: “So it’s official, The Washington Post wants me to keep writing! http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/baltimore-symphony-entertains-with-voices-of-light/2012/03/03/gIQALrHrrR_story.html Do keep a look out for more reviews… please comment away on the site. That’s what the editors are counting, clicks and comments. Keep arts covered in the Post!Thanks for reading.”
Phil Cooper is pleased to announce the publication of his book, Thursday’s Child: A Gay Man’s Memoir Told in Sessions of His Psychotherapy. The book is available at authorhouse.com,amazon.com, and bn.com.
…April is National Poetry Month, so I thought it would be fun to share the following poem and follow-up commentary by the poet.
Five Year Plan
by Sylvia Fischbach-Braden
‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves
And the mome raths outgrabe.
–Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky
Assemble Crazy Ann, the quilt
Explode the pomegranate fan
Address the salamandrine hilt
Disrobe the plump toucan.
Abolish every green constraint
Slice the Coffee Trader’s throat
Dilute the Goat’s Delight with paint
To seal its perforated coat.
Expel disheveled Tillicum
Refuse the Mill Wheel’s argument
Count the Broken Dishes, plumb
The folded lotus’ brunt.
Tease the whimbrel’s gauzy crest
Jimmy Elizabeth’s fat toucan
Skim blue heron’s Saturn breast
To still the apron man
X-ray Crazy Ann, that slut
Spit out the pomegranate’s core
Dress the salamandrine cut
And don’t forget the poor.
Salamandrine = like a salamander, lives in fire
Coffee Trader = a tan bearded iris
Goat’s Delight = a pastis-infused martini
Tillicum = gin, vermouth + a dash of Peychaud’s bitters; also a double-flowered form of Western trillium
Mill Wheel, Broken Dishes = quilt block names
Whimbrel = a kind of curlew
Well, I remember these things about devising this poem: 1) I compiled a list of around 70 words I liked, then drew from them (this exercise was a suggestion in one of our recommended reading books); so many of the more exotic names were pre-collected in the way you’d look at a range of lipstick colors and choose your favorites* 2) don’t remember why, but decided to take the rhyme/meter scheme from Jabberwocky (it did appear in one of my books about poetry) and 3) decided as I got started to give active verbs a prominent place, since I noticed I’d neglected them in my list.
Joseph Chamberlin will be at the City Lit Festival, Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Saturday, April 14 with copies of his novella Our Father, Frank and a collection of poems, Life in the Breach.
Note: Gail Johnson, children’s book author, Has Anybody Lost a Glove, Boyds Mills Press, won’t be at the festival this year (was there last year), but you can find her delightful book in bookstores as well as on Amazon. For more on the City Lit Festival, go to http://www.citylitproject.org/
Whitney Ransome’s commentary, “The Value of Single Sex Education,” appeared on the Op-Ed pages of The Baltimore Sun, Jan.23, 2012. To read it, click on this link: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-single-sex-20120123,0,7965584.story
Carole A. Langrall moved from Baltimore to Sante Fe, New Mexico, about a year ago. Recently she published her first article in the big local newspaper, The New Mexican. She’d set her sights on writing for them and now they’ve offered her her own column, “Santa Fe in Bloom”: she’ll be writing about local botanical gardens, beautification projects, floral cultures, sustainable gardening, and people making a difference in the environment. …I also want to mention her “green” blog (again): NeglectedBeauty@blogspot.com. If you like beautiful photographs and quirky off-beat subjects, it’s worth the visit. It also lists links to a number of other interesting green websites.
Rick Shelley won 2nd place in CityPaper’s 2011 fiction contest. His short story, which current workshop writers know well, “The Monkey Man Escapes,” appeared in the Nov. 30, 2011 issue. To read this zany, beautifully described story online, go to http://citypaper.com/special/fictionpoetry/the-monkey-man-escapes-1.1238509.
BTW: Rick is the second Deepdene Writer to win a CityPaper fiction award. Earlier CityPaper awards and publications: Hacky Clark’s “Wedding Present,” also won a 2nd place in the annual fiction contest; Lindsay Fleming’s short story, “Batman’s Girlfriend,” was published by CityPaper independently of the contest. There is a pattern with all three stories: they are offbeat and well crafted.
Deidre Johnson is starting her thesis this semester (spring 2012)–several chapters of a novel–to complete her MA in writing at Hopkins.
Mari Quint published three 150-word pieces in two daily reflection booklets published by Well for the Journey in 2011.
IN MEMORIAM 2011 Shirley Lupton
Susan McCallum-Smith (SLIPPING THE MOORINGS, Entasis Press, 2008) has been awarded a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (2012). Her note:
Thanks so much for keeping me up to date on everyone’s work and accomplishments, it’s so great to know. Sometimes it feels like we’re all striving away in the dark, why – we don’t know, nor for whom – a sense of community really helps. I haven’t published much this last year – too busy with the bairns, but I did get some nice news last week – a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (2012), which will help with the travel and expenses associated with the novel I’m supposed to be writing. Heck, I guess that means I’ll need to start it now…
Keep in touch, and best wishes,
Maria Garriott has a poem forthcoming in The Christian Century. She also edited two recent publications: Obama Prayer: Prayers for the 44th President and Beyond Duct Tape: Holding the Heart Together in a Life of Ministry.
Shirley Lupton’s vivid, smart, darkly humorous, slightly edgy collection of writing has been posthumously published. MURDER SHE SAID, is now available:
Carole A. Langrall writes a wonderful, quirky green blog about off-beat subjects, with beautiful photographs, and links to other interesting websites. NeglectedBeauty@blogspot.com has had more than 35,000 hits since 2009. Please check it out for yourself–and pass it along! Carole also writes for the Examiner; in the past year she’s done 10 articles (total) for Baltimore and Albuquerque. Her most recent examiner.com article was Aug.2011.
Caroline Orser (Caroline Castro), who now lives in Ann Arbor, MI, has a completed first draft of her memoir/novel, GIRL. You may remember the beginning of the story…a true account of her schoolmate’s kidnapping and murder on the campus of their exclusive D.C. area girls boarding school.
Whitney Ransome had two 150-word pieces appear in books published by Well for the Journey, as part of a summer and winter series of daily reflections. The Baltimore Sun also published her essay (April), “Parents: Time to sit your kids down for ‘the talk’ — the one about money.”
Teresa Elquezabel‘s essay on “forgiveness” is now posted on the Website for “This I Believe.” <http://thisibelieve.org/essay/92505/>
Mary Porter‘s essay on the This I Believe Website has been selected for inclusion in the upcoming anthology This I Believe: On Motherhood, John Wiley & Sons, publishers.
Earlier this year, that same essay on “letting go,” www.thisibelieve.org/essay/44880, was published in a regional (KY) woman’s magazine.
Cathy Lickteig (in addition to the earlier listing below) has been writing about a group of Parkinson’s disease patients and their caregivers. In October, this article and sidebar appeared in The Bangor Daily News: http://bangordailynews.com/2011/10/07/health/a-community-of-hope-camden-group-supports-those-with-parkinson%e2%80%99s-disease/
Samantha Buker continues to rack up bylines in City Paper and now Gay Life. Most of her pieces are on the Baltimore-D.C. music scene…”The Art of Dinner & Music: Salons from Paris 1880 to Baltimore Today” appeared very recently in Gay Life:
And now, I learn, Sam has co-authored a book set to go to press late January and she’s edited the one below (both for her employer, Agora Press); Wiley is the publishing house.
WORLD RIGHT SIDE UP: INVESTING ACROSS SIX CONTINENTS (Agora Series)
“God it would be great to get back to fiction!” says SAMANTHA BUKER
Katie Ryan is back to work on her Vietnam era epistolary novel, with the worthy goal of two hours of writing time per day.
Saundra Murray Nettles has two books coming out next year. We’ll save the juicy details for then….
Cathy Lickteig published a Memorial Day tribute to her father in The Camden Herald and the Village Soup (Maine) and a three-part article about her brother in The Bismarck Tribune (North Dakota). Online links are no longer available, but some of you may remember the essay (excerpts below) about her father, a fighter pilot during WWII, who each Memorial Day dropped a wreath from a biplane onto a Minnesota lake:
“My brothers and I grew up during the 1950’s and 60’s in Albert Lea, Minnesota. (Pop. 20,000.) Our family home, built in 1912, was a four-story rambling, wooden clapboard structure that proudly sat on a hill overlook Fountain Lake. The lake is 6 miles of bays, inlets, coves and channels, and old trees that grace the shoreline. Mom and Dad fell in love with this house because Fountain Lake was visible from every room. Conversely, from anywhere on the lake, the house was as prominent as a lighthouse, and served the same purpose: guiding our family home… As far back as I can remember Fountain Lake was the stage for important holidays….Every Memorial Dad would get up just as the sun was rising and drive—alone—to the small airport near our home…we would walk out and sit on the hill in our backyard and wait for the drone of an airplane engine. As it became louder, sounding like a baritone lawnmower grinding its way through grass that had grown too tall, we’d look up to locate Dad’s 1941 Stearman biplane in the sky. He was flying low, maybe 1000 feet. We could see the bright blue fuselage and sun yellow wings. The plane had an open cockpit so we could also see our father in his well-worn, dark brown leather cap with earflaps and chin strap…Dad would fly over our home, tip his wings to all of us waving to him from the hill, then nose the plane down, descend a couple of hundred feet, and head toward Fountain Lake. His mission: to drop a wreath of fresh flowers into the lake in memory of the men and women he served with in WWII. Dad had been a fighter pilot based in England, and considered himself fortunate to have survived his many missions…After the drop, we’d watch the red, white and blue chrysanthemums bob and float on the surface. Sometimes there was a slight breeze that, combined with the reflecting sun, produced a shimmer on the water that created a halo for the flowers. Boaters who used the lake on Memorial Day always steered around the wreath, water skiers made sure they avoided it. When it got close to the small dam at one end of the lake, someone would pull it back and reposition it in the middle of the lake…”
Wendy Hoffman has two poems in the 2011 JEWISH WOMEN’S LITERARY ANNUAL and a poem in BURNING BRIGHT, Passager Books, an anthology of the best writing from Passager’s first 21 years. Wendy started a low-residency MFA program at the University of Fairfield this year.
Maria Garriott’s memoir, A THOUSAND RESSURRECTIONS, 2006, is now in its second printing! Amazon Book Description: What would make a young, gifted college student well postured to achieve her place in the American dream decide to pursue an alternate dream—one that would force her to take food stamps and move into a violent urban community? What would sustain her for more than two decades while she raised five children in a context of failed educational systems, lead poisoning, and chronic theft? This is one woman’s story as she participates in the transformation of the inner city while being transformed herself.
Ed Veit is living his dream. He’s writing baseball. His profile on Del Ennis is published in the book GO GO TO GLORY: THE 1959 CHICAGO WHITE SOX and he has two additional profiles soon to be published: Stan Rojek, utility infielder, in a book on the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers, University of Nebraska Press, publisher, and Curt Simmons, an 80-year-old former pitcher for the Phillies and the Cardinals in a book on the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals. He published a piece on Dave Johnson for “Outside Pitch” and a piece online (Masters Golf Tournament) for the Press Box. He also writes preseason articles on the Central and Susquehanna adult baseball leagues for The York Dispatch newspaper–and a baseball blog for the Cockeysville Patch.com. …At an open mic session during Passager’s national writer’s conference in Baltimore this past summer, Ed read his personal experience essay, “Baton,” about a confrontation in a back alley, fear and contempt threatening to override control. Powerful. You may remember it… (Ed was a D.C. policeman before he became a high school English teacher.)
Leigh Barnes writes for patch.com. My favorite piece is “Murder in the Garden,” http://towson.patch.com/articles/murder-in-the-garden, but she has done several other garden pieces since then, including one about refitting downspouts to install rain barrels…She’s also doing a series of videos with Blue Water Baltimore people about rain gardens, compost piles, soil testing, etc..
Samantha Buker has been writing about music and music lovers for The City Paper since her NEA arts journalism fellowship last year.Latest review for City Paper, the Noise Blog: http://blogs.citypaper.com/noise/index.php/2011/09/the-jack-quartet-decodes-xenakis-at-mobtown-modern-season-opener/ Lead arts story for City Paper on music/art salons in Baltimore: http://citypaper.com/music/house-party-1.1155032
Nechie King is working on a series of linked stories; so far she has about 90,000 words on paper…
Tracie Guy is writing a book of essays based on her Jewish identity. The following is an excerpt from her blog entry titled, “Does this garment come in maternity sizes?”:
In House of Leaves…Heidegger wrote of this notion of not-at-home in Being and Time. I took a course in Heidegger in graduate school, but I remember this idea of feeling not-at-home from Danielewski. For whatever reason, in the context of the novel, the word, the notion, unheimlich, resonated with me. …I find that I often return to the word when trying to characterize my own Jewish identity. As a non-orthodox Jewish American (or American Jew – I struggle to decide which is modifier, which the modified), I liken myself to the American-born child of immigrant parents. Not unlike those first-generation Americans, I belong to two worlds but fit nowhere: in the secular world I’m perceived as exotic and “other,” yet I’m painfully aware that I speak the Jewish idiom with a thick American accent. I live my life not-at-home, and it often leaves me feeling inauthentic, or worse, inadequate. …I have recently decided that Judaism is not unlike a beautiful and ancient garment tht I have inherited…(to read the complete essay, go to chutzpahfiles.blogspot.com:)
Leight Johnson is managing editor of the Osher at JHU Journal, which publishes selected essays, poems and fiction of Osher members.
Phil Cooper is back to writing a personal blog: travelingwithphil.blogspot.com. Of potential interest: I learned (from one of you) that The New York Times will not consider a submission published on a blog, even on your own blog; conversely, some magazines may be looking for articles by trolling (or being referred to) blogs. That’s how Phil’s travel essay/photographs, “Waltzing Across the Atlantic,” ended up in Style Magazine, April 2010. Someone at the magazine saw his blog and contacted him. (see 2010 below).
Andrea Farnum moves with her husband to Santa Barbara this weekend and expects to devote a fair amount of time to writing her memoir. She was writing “a food column forSmart Woman magazine (now defunct) and also food and travel pieces for the Baltimore Examiner and then after that folded I wrote for the Washington Examiner.…not the highest caliber of newspaper (that’s my opinion here [Andrea’s words, her quote]) but it got me into the habit of writing on a regular basis.”
Kathy E. Ferguson (my close friend since fourth grade), published her 7th book this year, a text on Emma Goldman: EMMA GOLDMAN: POLITICAL THINKING IN THE STREETS, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. This study of Emma Goldman treats her not only as a revolutionary activist, sexual liberationist, anarchist or feminist, but as an original and provocative political thinker. You may want to visit the book’s website, http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/lists/emma-goldman/index.html.
“During the 15 years that I have been researching Goldman and the anarchist movement, I have made a number of remarkable finds. I began to make lists: radical women I knew nothing about; anarchist journals I had never heard of; violence against workers that has been neglected by all but the most determined labor historians. Past battles to organize workplaces, secure reproductive freedom, and oppose war come to life in these neglected histories. This website is dedicated to making these lists public. Some of these lists are included in my book, but the limitations of paper publishing made full inclusion impractical. Here you will find Emma Goldman’s Women: these are anarchists, feminists, and their fellow travelers in progressive circles who worked with Goldman, supported her, or worked in related political spaces to fight for birth control, freedom of speech, union rights, and an end to war.” KF
Richard Anderson published his textbook: DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY BEST PRACTICES AND WORKFLOW (Focal Press).
Greg Scott used his artistic and marketing genius (the same genius that took London Fog from dowdy to fabulous) to create a Website featuring bits of his memoir, INTO THE FOG. To get answers to “Whatever happened to London Fog? Whatever happened to Greg Scott?” VISIT http://www.intothefog.me/
Mary Porter just got word that a Louisville women’s magazine wants to publish her NPR “This I Believe” essay (same general subject as the book-length memoir she’s working on in our workshop). The essay is posted on the NPR Website ..www.thisibelieve.org/essay/44880
Teresa Elquezabel has put final touches on her memoir, YIELD RIGHT OF WAY: ONE PEDESTRIAN’S JOURNEY.
Rick Shelley has a new piece in the Urbanite’s “What You’re Writing” section: http://m.urbanitebaltimore.com/gyrobase/what-youre-writing/Content?oid=1287259 Rick has published four pieces in the Urbanite over the past year (or so). This is my favorite: http://www.urbanitebaltimore.com/baltimore/the-best-laid-plans-of-mice-and-men-often-go-awry/Content?oid=1262453
Phil Cooper published a travel essay/ photographs, “Waltzing Across the Atlantic,” in Style Magazine’s April issue. …
http://www.alteryourview.com/index.php/style/travel/travel_waltzing_across_the_atlantic_ma10/ To whet your appetite, here’s the first paragraph: During my 35 years in the corporate world, I encountered my share of job applications. But the one I filled out in June 2009 was the first that required a dance audition and a photograph of me in a tuxedo. This application wasn’t for a job per se, but for a gig as a “gentleman host,” where in exchange for free passage on a 30-day luxury cruise from Cape Town, South Africa, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., I would (mostly) dance with single ladies of a certain age.
Samantha Buker has been awarded an NEA arts journalism fellowship. (Anne Midgette of The Washington Post wrote a letter of recommendation.) Sam writes regularly for an online music review, “Aural States.” To read her latest review (6/26: Steve Hudson Chamber ensemble Debut: Galactic Diamonds) go to http://auralstates.com/ She promises to keep working on her novel over breakfast.
Regina Buker began publication of her own newsletter for World War II vets, as she continues work on her book, SKY TRAIN PILOT.
Wendy Hoffman has published three exquisite poems in the July online publication Spiritual Progressives. To read, visit http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/article.php/20100702135700751/print
Claudia Friddell published her first children’s story picture book, GOLIATH: HERO OF THE GREAT BALTIMORE FIRE (Sleeping Bear Press). http://www.amazon.com/Goliath-Hero-Great-Baltimore-Stories/dp/158536455X A reviewer for The School Library Journal has contacted Claudia to tell her that she’ll be getting a thumbs up review! Claudia will have a booth at the Baltimore Book Fair, last weekend of September.
Susan McCallum-Smith will be at Normals Books and Records, 425 East 31St., Baltimore, Wednesday, August 25, 8 pm. Susan will be reading one of her short stories that’s been included in a new anthology of writing by historic and contemporary Baltimore writers: CITY SAGES: BALTIMORE.
Jim Sizemore has just posted his latest (August 18, 2010) blog on writing, culture with cartoons, photography. Doodlemeister archives go back to May 2008. To visit, go to http://doodlemeister.com/