Current weather

  • Overcast
  • 41°
    Overcast
Home > Feed aggregator > Categories > Arts & Culture
  • Syndicate content

Katie Eberhart: Common Life

49 Writers - 5 hours 21 min ago
Tiger Swallowtail on lilac
“The principal object, then, proposed in these Poems was to choose incidents and situations from common life, and to relate or describe them, throughout, as far as was possible...”- William Wordsworth, “Preface to Lyrical Ballads”
For twenty-eight years, we lived in the same house a few miles from Palmer. The house was built in 1935 for a Matanuska Colonist family and had been the residence of several families before us. While we lived there, gradually we became acquainted with the house’s past and with changes that people had made—some thoughtful and well-planned, others ill-conceived and strange. We also left our own ideas and preferences behind, in colors and windows, walls and appliances, trees and shrubbery.
What triggers ideas for writing? As Wordsworth aptly mentioned “incidents and situations from common life” provide focus yet routine can make noticing difficult. Once, in a writing workshop, the instructor asked us to describe our morning using only scents. The words for smells eluded me, especially since I hadn’t been paying attention.
I wish now I had thought more often of words for aromas and smells. If I had written the smells, I might now have more nuanced memories of experiences, like picking tomatoes when the sour scent of foliage coated my hands and later the soapy wash-water turned green. If I had written scents and smells when we lived in our Alaska house, I might now have a more refined vocabulary for the heavy sweet aroma of the old lilac at the corner of the house that, one summer, attracted a flock of Tiger Swallowtail butterflies. The visual connection is stronger though and, now, seeing a Tiger Swallowtail brings to mind lilac blooms.
Being reminded of a smell can trigger memories but that writing workshop exercise could have had a second part, and even a third: after describing the smells, continue writing toward the place where the ephemeral and the gut-feeling meet. Follow each digressive or distractive memory or thought. Smells (whether real or remembered) might be strongly visceral like the late-autumn, pungent rotting of highbush cranberries; or lighter and harder to describe, like dry-cold mountain air.
One winter night, I convinced my husband Chuck to drive with me into the Talkeetna Mountains toward Hatcher Pass because I thought that, from the 16-mile pullout, I could  photograph the aurora. When I got out of the car lugging my camera and tripod, the snowy peaks were awash with moonlight, the aurora was inconsequential, and in a few minutes the subzero breeze chased me back into the idling (and warm) car. Driving home, we stopped where the constellation Orion hung above the canyon wall. Getting out of the car and standing beside the empty road, we inhaled an iciness that crackles nose hairs and smells like nothing words describe. Beside us, the flow of the Little Susitna gurgled beneath the moonlit ice.
This fragment omits part of the scene and thus story. Before getting back into the car at 16-mile, I turned my camera toward the Matanuska Valley which was framed by a vee of mountains. I clicked photos of a scattering of house lights and the flamboyant orange streetlights that extend for three miles along the Glenn Highway across the Hay Flats.
My only encounter with a moose had been on that stretch when the highway was still a two-lane road, unlit and built-up like a causeway, where suddenly a moose appeared in the fog at the edge of my low beams, standing still and licking the pavement. What I remember is the seemingly slow-motion arc of the car sliding, the interminable time between cranking the steering wheel and learning whether the auto would plunge over the edge or spin into a new skid. Again and again the car switched directions, as if zigzagging along a narrow icy highway was normal, until finally the engine died and the car stopped, as if that was normal, too.
Both moose and highway ended up anchoring a section of my poem Illumination:
Before the freeway was built across the hay flats, it was a two-lane road with high causeway shoulders and inky black winter nights.
Before the steep-sided highway was scraped to a moderate height with code-compliant edges, my fog-dimmed headlights gave little warning of a motionless moose, a glancing impact and long icy skid.
Now string-of-pearl street lamps slice the dark hay-flats night and moose stand in orange light pools like frozen dreams—that startled, plunge into the glowing stream.

Notes:
Illumination is in Unbound: Alaska Poems, published by Uttered Chaos Press (2013).
Our 1930s era house became a character in a number of my essays and poems, including Cabin Fever, an essay that appeared in Cirque Journal (Winter Solstice 2010, Vol. 2 No. 1).

Katie Eberhart's chapbook 'Unbound: Alaska Poems' was published in 2013 by Uttered Chaos Press. Her poems have appeared in Cirque Journal, Sand - Berlin’s English Literary Journal, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Crab Creek Review, and other places. Katie has an MFA in Creative Writing. She currently lives in Central Oregon where she blogs about nature and literature at http://solsticelight.wordpress.com/

Categories: Arts & Culture

Spotlight on Alaska Books: Dreaming Bears

49 Writers - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 7:00am

For a while we watched expectantly. Then Volk and Ted broke out fishing rods. I dozed in the afternoon sun on the bank of the East Fork of the Chandalar River, now fifty or sixty miles above the Arctic Circle. Ted and Volk were looking intently upriver when I awoke.
“Johnny Frank coming,” Stanley announced. Across the swift main channel, a small man stood in a little green canoe. He wore an old tweed coat, shirt, and tie. He paddled into the current and was propelled rapidly downstream, balancing as he ferried toward our bank. He swept past us, intently watching the water, a pipe clenched in his teeth, his dark face shaded by an old-style peaked Stetson hat. We rushed down to the river and caught the boat as it came to shore. A smile broke across the man’s face as he stepped onto the bank.(Dreaming Bears: A Gwich’in IndianStoryteller, a Southern Doctor, a Wild Corner of Alaska by J. Michael Holloway)
This is the true story of the rare friendship that develops between a young medical student with deep roots in the South and an elderly Indian couple in the wilds of northeast Alaska. In 1961, Mike Holloway, his brother Ted, and a college friend set out from South Carolina to spend the summer hiking in arctic Alaska, intending to live off the land. They end up in the homeland of the Gwich’in – the northernmost Indians in North America. The young men charter a small plane into the isolated village of Venetie, and are directed to the remote cabins of Johnny and Sarah Frank, an elderly Gwich’in couple who lived a thirty-five mile walk from the village. Johnny was a well-known storyteller and former medicine man. Sarah made their home welcoming with warm, calm kindness – her well-worn hands seldom idle.

Mike’s rich encounters in Gwich’in country deepen his love of wild land and his respect for those who depend upon it for their survival. The experience alters his life. He becomes the adopted grandson of Johnny and Sarah, returning to Alaska as a doctor and an advocate for the land and its people.

“We won’t be seeing stories like this anymore, this remarkable real-deal first-person account of two generous and wry Indian elders who were still living out in the Brooks Range wilderness in the 1960s.” Tom Kizzia.
“Reading Holloway is like a long talk around the campfire with a new friend.”Sharman Apt Russell, author of Hunger: An Unnatural History
“The next best thing to hunting bear … with an elderly Alaskan Gwich'in named Johnny Frank may be to read about it, and much more, in J. Michael Holloway's captivating Dreaming Bears.”  Alison Owings, author of Indian Voices: Listening to Native Americans 
Mike Holloway was born in South Carolina, but a trip to Alaska in 1961 and his introduction to two savvy Gwich’in elders redirected his life.  After completing medical studies in the South, he returned to Alaska, spending his professional career as an orthopedic surgeon with the Alaska Native Health Service. In 1977 Mike took a break from orthopedics to work as a subsistence advocate and Washington D.C.-village liaison for the Alaska Rural Community Action Program. He returned to work at the Native hospital and served some years as Chief of Orthopedics. He retired in 2001 when diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  In the next eight years he taught orthopedics, primarily in Africa with Health Volunteers Overseas. Mike and his wife Margie Gibson live in a cabin near Indian, Alaska. He is a member of 49 Writers. Dreaming Bears is published by Epicenter Press in a softcover edition with color photos.

Categories: Arts & Culture

Author Visit: John Straley

Juneau Public Library Blog - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:25pm
Downtown Public Library, Saturday April 26th, 8:00pm. Come meet Alaskan author John Straley who will be doing a reading and signing of his newest book, Cold Storage Alaska.  Straley, a Sitka resident, is the author of 9 books, including is the Shamus Award winning  Curious Eat Themselves and The Woman Who Married a Bear. He […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Fundraiser screening of Space Trucker Bruce for Planetarium

JUMP Society - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 10:49am
April 18 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Marie Drake Planetarium Admission will be $5 per person and proceeds will benefit the planetarium. Space Trucker Bruce is sci-fi comedy feature film. It was created over six years with a budget of $10,000. All the sets were built in the film maker’s house and back yard […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Alaska Shorts: The Tanana Chats

49 Writers - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:00am

The whishing snow over the frozen riverSends sastrugis marching to theIce boom drum. The wind chimeRhymes carry from houses on the Western bluff,Whose windows squint in the sinking sun.
The jet plane above the EasternBank flies silently, stalked by engine churn.A dog team, small and invisible, barksIn my ear.
Down river, white road runs.Up river, I lay parallel ski tracks,Blue in their own shadowsThrough the golden snow pack.
I have found where the starsRest during the day.Do we really share them?I have found where I would comeDay after day to look, move, and listen.
Kaiyuh Cornberg is a young writer from Fairbanks, Alaska. She spends as much time as she can outside.
Would you like to see your work published here? Check out our Alaska Shorts guidelines and submit!

Categories: Arts & Culture

Creating a Library

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 11:00pm

The beginning collection for a library…

A couple of weeks ago, I decided I would create a library for my team members in Worldventures, a network marketing company based in Dallas, Texas offering wholesale travel.  For the past couple of months, I have been in my own personal training to become a network marketing professional — I’m “Going Pro”.  I have read a number of books, listened to self-help CD’s, watched DVD’s and youtube videos — all quite inspiring and motivational with great trainings in techniques and personal development.

Before I begin inviting folks to take a look at our WV services, I want to provide a support system that would assist in the new member’s home-study course in network marketing and of course info on this specific company.  I hired my daughter to create a blog website specifically for WV members of the Four Corners area.  I typed out notes to my favorite network marketing professionals and xeroxed copies.  I also created a library of books whose topics range from financial advice to personal growth and spirituality to network marketing.  I collected most of these books from our local thrift shops at great deals, or in some cases, they were free!

Carving the book stamp…

Each book is stamped on the inside cover to provide identity and unity

 

Categories: Arts & Culture

Author Visit: Kim Heacox

Juneau Public Library Blog - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 5:14pm
Downtown Public Library, Monday, April 14th, 6:30pm. Come meet author, adventurer, and Alaskan Kim Heacox as he discusses his new book John Muir and the Ice That Started a Fire: How a Visionary and the Glaciers of Alaska Changed America.  This brisk and engaging biography discusses the famous conservationist, his impact on Alaska, and Alaska’s […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Help Bring Music Camp for Kids to Eagle, AK

Juneau Arts and Humanities Council - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 3:49pm
Music can bring joy, hope and love to villages struggling with alcoholism, drugs and suicide. Music builds confidence, self-esteem and the closeness of family–just what the community of rural Eagle, Alaska needs as they deal with the lingering flood damage from 2009. Belle Mickelson started the Dancing with the Spirit project to connect youth and elders through music. In the past seven years, the program has lifted spirits in 25 different communities all over Alaska. Although it has visited Eagle several times in the past, they lack the funding to return this year…so they’ve launched a kickstarter campaign! Help them reach their goal of $5000 so they can buy camp instruments, music supplies (guitar picks, violin rosin, capos, etc.), healthy snacks for the kids, teaching supplies, staff travel costs to and from Eagle, and hiring quality musicians to teach for the week. The more money raised, the more good can be done! For more info and to make a contribution, visit their kickstarter page.
Categories: Arts & Culture

Lend Your Voice To the Choice!

Juneau School District Announcements - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:38pm

The Board of Education is recruiting for a new Superintendent for the Juneau School District and strongly encourages community participation in the process. Your input is vital in helping to identify the qualities necessary for the next leader of our schools. Community involvement in public forums and feedback from an online survey will help guide the selection of a Superintendent.

Attend one of the Juneau Board of Education’s Community Forums on the Search for the next Superintendent.

read more

Categories: Arts & Culture

JDHS Site Council Looking for New Members!

Juneau School District Announcements - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 11:56am

The JDHS Site Council is looking for a diverse group of committed parents and community members to fill 4 seats on the 2014-15 Site Council.

read more

Categories: Arts & Culture

Lynn: 49 Writers Roundup!

49 Writers - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 7:00am
Tonight’s the night! The Write-a-thon at Snow City Café, 5:30–10:30 p.m. Thanks to you, we've raised around $5,000 so far. In the past 24 hours alone, we've raised nearly $1,500. A tremendous thank you to all those already registered and their supporters. If you haven't registered, it's not too late to sign up. Online registration for $10 is available until the event starts. On-site registration is $30.
Participants will spend the night writing for four hours, nine minutes. They'll be treated to food, drinks, and encouragement. Write-a-thon MC Jonathan Bower will draw hourly for prizes for all fundraisers. Everyone can win something–from a bag of coffee to a signed copy of Susanna Mishler’s new book. The top fundraisers will all receive sizable gift cards from local restaurants. As of now, the top three overall fundraisers are: Danielle Latuga, $775; Deb Vanasse; $325; Debbie LaFleiche,$275. All supporters have raised an average of $110 each. Thanks for the awesome work!
Write-a-thon proceeds help us to continue our programs for writers, to offer literary events to the community, and to maintain this blog as a go-to resource for Alaska’s writers. All donations are tax deductible. We couldn't do this without you. Thanks for your support! If you have any questions, email us at write-a-thon@49writingcenter.org."
In honor of National Poetry Month, Anchorage poet Emily Kurn will be on site at the Write-a-thon prompting writers to compose a salmon haiku for the Salmon Project. Writing, food, coffee, salmon haikus, prizes, why wouldn’t you come?Thanks to everyone who came out on Monday night for the Crosscurrents conversation and reading with Louis Alberto Urrea and Brian Fiero. Urrea captivated the audience with a reading from his latest novel, Queen of America. He told stories about growing up in Tiajuana and the early influences on his writing career. “The border is a metaphor for what separates us. It’s everywhere.”
There are five slots still open for this year's Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché, Sept. 5-7. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. Click here for more information and to register. See more of Carolyn in this video, in which she delivers the Blaney Lecture on the Poetry of Witness at Poets Forum 2013.

49 Writers author events coming up in April and May:•   Thursday, Apr. 24, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Co., Anchorage: Reading & Craft Talk with Elise Patkotak, "The World of Self-Publishing and Why."•   Saturday, Apr. 26, 9am-12pm, Anchorage: Digital tools for the Creative Writer, a class with Lawrence Weiss. •   Tuesday, May 14 & Saturday, May 17, Anchorage Museum: “The Pressure is Off: Independent Publishing Options for Writers” with Dana Stabenow and Deb Vanasse.
Saturday, Apr. 12, 7pm, Poetry Reading with Winners of Annual Statewide Poetry Contest. Winners from three categories (Adult, High School, and Middle & Elementary) will share their works at this free event in the Bear Gallery.
Monday, Apr. 14, 6:30pm, the Juneau Public Library will welcome author Kim Heacox to talk about his newest book "John Muir and the Ice that Started a Fire. This event is part of the ongoing celebration this year of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.
Wednesday Apr. 16, 7pm, Poetry Parley is featuring Alaskan poet Emily Kurn for the month of April. This free poetry event takes place every third Wednesday of the month at the Hugi-Lewis Studio, 1008 W. Northern Lights Blvd. The marquee poet is Alison Hawthorne Deming.
The UAA campus bookstore has several literary events this month: ·      Wednesday Apr. 16, 5-7:00 pm, Researching Alaska with Ann Fienup-Riordan, Willie Igglagruk Hensley, and Kate Ringsmuth will share insights on how to connect, research and uncover Alaska’s past.·      Thursday Apr. 17, 5-7:00 pm UAA Creative Writing students from the undergraduate English department will read from their work. Everyone is invited to attend and explore the voices of multiple genres. ·      Monday Apr. 21, 5-7:00 pm poet John Morgan and artist Kesler Woodward present River of Light. Morgan’s River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir, from University of Alaska Press, is based on a trip down the Copper River. Alongside the artwork by Alaskan artist Kesler Woodward, River of Light folds words, sounds, and color into being.
Saturday Apr. 12, 7pm, Fairbanks Arts Association presents a reading by the winners of the Statewide Poetry Contest, at the Bear Gallery, third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way.
Saturday Apr. 26, 7pm, UAF English Department will host their annual public reading of Masters in Creative Writing candidates, in the Fairbanks Art Association Bear Gallery, third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way.
Creative nonfiction writers won’t want to miss Writing Down the Wild, a three-day workshop, April 25-27 at Prince William Sound Community College. This is a non-credit community workshop taught by Alaskan nature and wilderness writer Bill Sherwonit. This course will examine and practice the steps necessary to powerful and effective nature writing and will include time outdoors in the local landscape, along with readings and discussions. There’s a limit of 12 students, so don’t delay. Register at PWSCC.
Celebrate the Bard’s birthday at Shakespeare’s Sonnets, a reading celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday and of Poetry Month, Saturday Apr. 26 2-4:00pm at the Ann Stevens Room in the Loussac Library. There’s plenty of time for you to practice your favorite sonnet, and perhaps don a costume?
Alaska Center for the Book is seeking nominations for its annual Contributions to Literacy in Alaska (CLIA) Awards. Nominations are due April 30, 2014. The awards recognize people and institutions that have made a significant contribution in literacy, the literary arts, or the preservation of the written or spoken word in Alaska. Previous CLIA award winners include librarians, teachers, writers, tutors, historians, booksellers, reading programs, web sites and others dedicated to making the world a better place through the gift of language. More than 60 people and organizations have been honored over the past 22 years. The nomination form and information on past winners is available at www.alaskacenterforthebook.org. For more information on the contest, call (907) 764-1604 or e-mail carolben@gci.netPoems in Place is extending their open call for poetry until April 30. Poems in Place is collaboration between Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska State Parks, and a committee of poets, writers, and Alaska residents. The project will place a poem by an Alaskan writer in each of the seven regions of the Alaska State Park’s system in the coming years. Both original work and nominated poems submitted by appreciative readers will be considered for Independence Mine State Historical Park, near Palmer, and Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/ Wood Tikchik State Park, near Dillingham. No submission fees. An honorarium will be paid to the winning poets. See http://www.alaskacenterforthebook.orgfor more information, contest rules and entry form. To see examples of current Poems in Place signs visit the Alaska State Parks website:http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/poemplace.htm
The Alaska State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, is holding its 2014 statewide arts conference, Latitude: 2014 Alaska Arts Convergence on May 1-3 in Anchorage. This conference will offer opportunities for artists and arts professionals from throughout Alaska to network, learn valuable skills, participate in artistic activities and think big about the future of the arts in Alaska. This convergence is for arts professionals, artists, arts educators, volunteers, board members, and cross-sector leaders interested in how the arts can support Alaskans and Alaskan communities. $250 registration.
The Extreme Weather Mystery Readers Journal 30:2 will focus on Crime Fiction that takes place or involves Extreme Weather (snow, hurricane, blizzard, sand storm, etc.). They are looking for articles, reviews, & author essays. Author essays: 500-1500 words, first person, about yourself, your books & the "Extreme Weather" connection. The deadline is May 1, 2014. email janet@mysteryreaders.org for more info.
Attention Alaskan writers! 360North’s new statewide television series, “Writers’ Showcase,” is looking for fiction and creative non-fiction for their June 5th live recording. Submission deadline is Friday May 2. Inspired by NPR’s “Selected Shorts,” the show uses actors and celebrities as readers. They are especially interested in fiction for this episode. The show’s summer-inspired theme is “endurance,” and they want pieces that are set in summer or reflect the theme of endurance, and are five to twelve minutes long when read aloud. Visit 360north.org for more information. You can contact the shows producers with questions, or submit directly to to arts@ktoo.org.
The 2014 Anchorage Press Super Shorts Micro Fiction contest is now underway. Deadline for submissions is May 14, 2014. Winners in each category will have their stories published in a special Super Shorts issue of the Press. Fabulous prizes to be announced later! Check out the Anchorage Press for details.
You won’t want to miss the North Words Writers Symposium in beautiful Skagway in Southeast Alaska on May 28-31. This year’s keynote author is popular British-American writer Simon Winchester, who will be joined by an elite Alaska-Yukon faculty.
Don't forget to register for Kachemak Bay Writers Conference, June 13-17. This year's post-conference workshop at Tutka Bay Lodge, Personal Stories and Great Realities, will be led by Scott Russell Sanders, June 17-19.
The Northwoods Book Arts Guild of Fairbanks is hosting a group exhibition, June 6-28, Books As Art: Structure, Image, Text, in the Bear Gallery of the Fairbanks Arts Association. All Alaskan artists are invited to join the exhibition. The Guild is a community of artists learning about and creating artist books. They promote all aspects of book arts through education, exhibitions, and community outreach.
Writer’s Retreat: The Pen & The Bell presents Mindful Writing in a Busy World, with Holly Hughes, June 26-29 at Stillpoint Lodge in Halibut Cove. How do we create space for writing in a world crowded with so many distractions? Learn mindfulness practices to provide support for writing and other forms of creativity. Hollyco-authored the book The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her collection of poems Sailing by Ravens is forthcoming from the University of Alaska Press’s Literary Series in 2014.
It’s not too early to plan for summer writing fun in the mountains. The Wrangell Mountain Writing Workshop presents: True Story, July 22-28, with Tom Kizzia, Frank Soos, and Nancy Cook. Living in Alaska is a constant reminder that truth is often stranger than fiction. During this five-day workshop, writers will explore the craft of creative nonfiction: drafting compelling narratives that tell true stories. How can writers craft a meaningful, readable page-turner while working in the confines of the frequently controversial truth of "what actually happened.” Visit the Wrangell Mountain Center website for more details.
If you fancy traveling a little farther afield, at this year's Minnesota Northwoods Conference, June 22-28, poet Camille Dungy, who recently visited Alaska, will be leading a five-day workshop. For a schedule and descriptions of the workshops to be taught by the distinguished faculty, please visit www.northwoodswriters.org. The deadline for applying for the conference is May 1. Scholarships are available, but the scholarship deadline is Monday, Apr. 7, so apply today.
Categories: Arts & Culture

Deb: A Writer’s Convergence

49 Writers - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 7:00am


What have you done lately for your writing community?
What have you done for yourself as a writer?
If your answer to either is “not enough,” fear not. Tomorrow night, these two priorities meet in perfect convergence at the 4th Annual 49 Writers Write-a-thon.
You’ve got a story to start. A novel to finish. An essay to draft. A poem that begs to be written.
Tomorrow, April 11, is your night. Four hours to indulge in the pleasures of language and discovery. Four hours to devote to a project that is your passion.
The bonus? While you nourish your creative self, you also help sustain Alaska’s vibrant literary community.
At 49 Writers, we depend on Write-a-thon proceeds to help fund programs that support the artistic development of writers throughout Alaska. We're short of our goal, which is to match last year’s donation total of $8000. Whether we meet that or not depends on you.
If you haven’t yet signed up, there’s still time. Advance registration is $10 at http://www.firstgiving.com/49alaskawritingcenter/49-writers-2014-write-a-thon. It’s quick and easy: Make a page. Set a goal. Share the link. Your family and friends want to support your creative efforts. They’re happy to help a good cause. (Deb’s tip: Thank your supporters publicly, on social media. They appreciate the recognition, and others will be inspired to pledge, too.)
Your pledge: to write for four hours and nine minutes. Most of us will start at 6 p.m. tomorrow, but if another time slot works better for you, go for it. If you’re in Anchorage, join the fun at Snow City Café, where you’ll enjoy food, caffeine, inspiration, stretch breaks, and the fun and excitement of converging with like-minded writers.
For $30, you can register at the door, but today it’s still $10, and you still have a chance to rally support for a great nonprofit. Not keen to participate? Pledge to support another participant. It's fast and easy and tax-deductible and guaranteed to impart the warm glow that comes from helping a good cause. 
What are you waiting for?


Categories: Arts & Culture

Katie Eberhart: Digressive Travel

49 Writers - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 7:00am
Walking along the Matanuska River
Laboring on yet another revision of my essay Driving the Dempster, I realized that I could not include every interesting occurrence or idea but I also could not bring myself to permanently jettison the deleted fragments.
In The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton wrote “Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than moving planes, ships or trains. . .” De Botton argues that taking long trips by plane or train positions us to collect large ideas within a wider and less familiar space. A road-trip into the Arctic can have a similar effect.
At the MacKenzie River, we waited in a glum rain, the river slithering north toward the Arctic Ocean. The ferry pushed away from the far shore, beating against the wind and current, the engines audibly surging as the vessel maneuvered to line up with the muck of the Dempster Highway. Vehicles lurched off the ferry, tires flinging mud. When the deck was clear, we drove up the steel ramp, following the hand signals of the gaunt ferryman who expertly packed the cars and trucks onto the deck.
Travel transports me away from the “junk” drawers of normal life and writing helps anchor memories. While crafting an essay, I search my journals for suitable stories and musings, but not all the borrowed paragraphs survive an essay’s multiple revisions and re-envisioning. Sometimes, even years later, I come across deletions that were once part of an unfinished essay. Encountering these narratives brings to mind past events and experiences and I hope these accidental encounters with earlier memories reset the time-clock of forgetting.
The odd thing about saving deleted fragments in one file is that meaning developed from careful positioning and entwining into an essay is lost in the jumbled castoffs. Rereading the MacKenzie River micro-narrative, I am struck by the metaphoric possibilities of a small river ferry, a rocking deck, and a weather-beaten ferryman—yet trekking into familiar places also stirs up thoughts and ideas.
When you live somewhere long enough you hear things—rumors or wishful thinking or truth, it's hard to tell. Was there really an Alaska winter when “it never froze”? A story repeated but now rootless and undocumented, yet we remember certain times as extraordinary—like the extreme cold and high-pressure weather that grounded planes during the Omega Block in 1989 and in 2002 when winter began so slowly that, on December 1st, some men waterskied on Wasilla Lake. That year, the Matanuska River's main channel had shifted west and we walked south from the Old Glenn Highway bridge (near Palmer) along the dry middle channel. Our shoes left prints in the glacial, wind-rippled sand—sand flecked with polished, multi-hued pebbles and carcasses of salmon, the half-buried fish transformed into armatures of bones and fierce teeth tied with strips of taut skin.
While walking, we pieced together a story from logs that had once tumbled into the river, to be jostled and twirled, sometimes an obstruction but now stuck high-and-dry, barricades that slowed the wind so silt, or snow, settled into drifts. Or the lee of the log that created a refuge for small animals, or people eating lunch. We sat and leaned our backs against a smooth log that would have once been a magnificent cottonwood but had become a relic mapping climate—weather and water—over decades, or a century, the cracked gray wood curving around nubs where branches had been. Leaning against the log and relishing the mild December weather, I imagined some future moment when the river would again shift, eating into the sand, undercutting one end of this log, silt swirling into the water that might be gentle or roiling until eventually the log tips and floats onward toward Cook Inlet.
Walking along the Matanuska River—only a short drive from where I once lived—was an expedition that encompassed both the large-view possibilities de Botton mentioned and the intimacy of a familiar place. As I re-read these narrative-fragments, I see a glimmer of how I might weld on more thoughts and moments also gathered from my medley of deletions. Between recycled fragments, I’ll create diversions that show landscapes we’ve traveled but also the direction that we’re headed. After all, the arc of an unfinished essay is anything but linear; a spiral perhaps, with chambers like a nautilus shell, or a chest of (junk) drawers—some drawers open, others still stuck shut.

Katie Eberhart's chapbook 'Unbound: Alaska Poems' was published in 2013 by Uttered Chaos Press. Her poems have appeared in Cirque Journal, Sand - Berlin’s English Literary Journal, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Crab Creek Review, and other places. Katie has an MFA in Creative Writing and degrees in geography and economics. She currently lives in Central Oregon where she blogs about nature and literature at http://solsticelight.wordpress.com/
Categories: Arts & Culture

Sean Hill: The Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference

49 Writers - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 7:00am


 The Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference[1]at Bemidji State University is back again for its second year after a four-year hiatus. On the BSU campus on the shores of Lake Bemidji where you’re likely to be awakened by the haunting call of a loon or inspired by the grace of a bald eagle, conference attendees are sure to be inspired by our great faculty.
The conference will be held from June 22 to June 28. This week-long writers’ conference offers participants intimate writing workshops and an evening reading series[2]. Established in 2003, the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference provides a high quality literary experience for the local and state communities and attracts participants from around the nation. The conference has always brought in well-published writers who are also excellent teachers to lead the intensive workshops, which are limited to 13 participants in order to create intimate learning communities for the writers.
New, this year, each faculty member will offer a morning craft talk. And we are offering an auditor’s track that includes access to the daily craft talks, afternoon events, evening readings, and the conference meals. This option is for writers at any stage of development who work hard at their writing and want to better understand the creative act. Auditors will be exposed to and benefit from the knowledge and experience our teaching artists share in their morning craft talks and be moved by their work at the evening readings. At $125 plus $25 per night for convenient newly-remodeled campus housing, the auditor’s track provides an incredibly affordable writer’s retreat.
Following in our tradition of literary excellence, our Distingushed Visiting Writer is award-winning short story writer, novelist, essayist, and teacher Pam Houston. Her stories have been selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, The 2013 Pushcart Prize, and Best American Short Stories of the Century. She is the winner of numerous awards including the Western States Book Award and multiple teaching awards.
And our teaching-writers are equally impressive. The poet and editor, Camille Dungy will return this summer to lead one of our two poetry workshops. Dungy is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Smith Blue, and she counts among her many awards a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Our other poetry workshop will be led by the poet, Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Aimee is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Lucky Fish, winner of the gold medal in Poetry from the Independent Publisher Book Awards and the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize for Independent Books. Her recent honors include a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Pushcart Prize.
We’re also offering a “novice” multi-genre workshop for writers of all levels who feel that they want to try their hand at a new genre. This workshop will be led be the award-winning novelist and current Georgia Poet Laureate, Judson Mitcham, author of most recently of A Little Salvation: Poems Old and New, published by the University of Georgia Press, and the only two-time winner of the Townsend Prize in Fiction. Sheri Joseph, the author three books of fiction, most recently the novel Where You Can Find Me and winner of the Grub Street National Book Prize in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, will lead the fiction workshop. The creative nonfiction workshop will be led by Rebecca Brown, author a dozen books published in the US and abroad, and winner of a Stranger Genius Award, Boston Book Review Award, Pacific Northwest Booksellers ‘Award, Lambda Literary Award and (twice) the Washington State Book Award.
For workshop descriptions, a schedule, online application, and more information please visit www.northwoodswriters.org. The deadline for applying for the conference is May 1; if you register by April 15, you can get the early-bird rate. 
It's the season to think about writers conferences. We're happy to share posts about any with an Alaska connection. Check our guidelines and email your post to debvanasse (at) gmail.com.


[1] Sponsored by the English Department at Bemidji State University in collaboration with BSU’s Center for Extended Learning and a grant from the Region 2 Arts Council and generous donors.
[2]The readings are free and open to the public.
Categories: Arts & Culture

Second Friday Author Tea: Lois McMaster Bujold

Juneau Public Library Blog - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:14am
Douglas Library, Friday, April 11th, 5:00pm. Come to the Douglas Library on Friday, April 11th at 5:00pm for our Second Friday Author Tea event. We have tea and treats, and talk about the month’s assigned author or theme. For April, we will be discussion veteran science fiction and fantasy author Lois McMaster Bujold. Bujold is […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Bryan Allen Fierro: Crossing Borders

49 Writers - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 7:00am
Luis Alberto Urrea
Tonight, April 7, at 7 pm, 49 Writers welcomes author Luis Alberto Urrea to the Willa Marston Theater at Loussac Library in Anchorage for a Crosscurrents discussion. It is my honor to have been chosen to engage Luis in a discussion about “Crossing Borders.” 
Before anyone passes any judgment on a border or immigration discussion, first think about the borders in your own life, the places you’ve been, the places you intend to go…are there any borders, defined, or imaginary, that must be crossed?  These borders include the social (I don’t mean switching from Twitter to Tumblr), cultural, geographical, social economical, the mythical and magical.  This evening with Luis Alberto Urrea will be about the movement between all these multiple points, how we get there and how we engrave our own heart in place. 
Luis Alberto Urrea is an award-wining author.  His works include The Devil’s Highway, Six Kinds of Sky, The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, and The Queen of America, among other nonfiction and poetry titles.   You will find that each of his works is full of an immeasurable heart and humor, and a sense of humanity that most of us forget day to day. His prose is driven by precision imagery and deft storytelling. With any luck, we will all learn a thing or hundred about craft, and process. His accomplishment is steeped in hard work as a writer, a dedication that is admirable and truly the take away for any aspiring author looking to define their own commitment.
My intentions are to just stay out of his way tonight, for the most part.  What I want the audience to bring is a sense of where they come from and how they arrived at this great place, Alaska.  If you are born and raised here, chances are the rest of the those limbs on the family tree are not, so search them out and find the place of departure that eventually pointed North.  
Anchorage specifically is a bounty of ethnicity—Mexican, Samoan, Chinese, Hmong, Russian, African, and the list goes on.  ALL of these peoples have story in them, their own perspective on crossing over.  It is time to come together and see the value that is sharing story, the value in voice, and necessity of each.  Luis Alberto Urrea’s writing represents more than the physical line of delineation between the US and Mexico—it represents how we get to the better side in each of us.  I hope you will join 49 Writers for this unique and truly experience. 
I will even throw in my experience in the Border Patrol, and how I gave up that career to instead write here in Alaska. 

Categories: Arts & Culture

Cuentacuentos Infantil!

Juneau Public Library Blog - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 4:00pm
Todos los mièrcoles a las 6:30 de la tarde en la Biblioteca Pùblica del Valle. Ayude a sus niños a estar preparados para empezar al colegio mientras se divierten con actividades para toda la familia. Como todos los programas de la biblioteca pùblica de Juneau, el Cuentacuentos Infantile es gratis y abierto a todos aquellos […]
Categories: Arts & Culture

Lynn: 49 Writers Weekly Roundup!

49 Writers - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 7:00am
We're entering the home stretch for this year's 49 Writers Write-a-thon! With seven more days to go, we're advancing toward our $8,000 goal. So far, 23 participants have raised almost $2,000. We're still a long way from our goal though and we'd love your support.The main event is Friday, April 11, 5:30–10:30 p.m., at Snow City Cafe, but writers are welcome to participate from anywhere. Registration is quick and easy: just visit our FirstGiving page and click the register button. Those at our Anchorage event will be fêted with a free food buffet, entered into numerous prize drawings, and cheered on by fellow writers. The Write-a-thon is our premier fundraising event. All donations are tax deductible and help us continue to build a strong writing community in Alaska. The doors open at 5:30pm. Sign in, cozy up to your chosen writing spot, load your plate with yummy munchies, grab a cup of joe, and let the writing begin!There’s still space for this year's Tutka Bay Writers Retreat with Carolyn Forché, Sept. 5-7. Click here for more information and to register. See more of Carolyn in this video, in which she delivers the Blaney Lecture on the Poetry of Witness at Poets Forum 2013.
49 Writers author events coming up in April and May•   Monday, Apr. 7, 7pm, Wilda Marston Theatre, Loussac Library: Crosscurrents event with Luis Alberto Urrea and Bryan Fierro, "Universal Border: From Tijuana to the World." Luis Urrea will be in Fairbanks and Homer the weekend prior for a series of events: details below.•   Thursday, Apr. 24, 7pm, Great Harvest Bread Co., Anchorage: Reading & Craft Talk with Elise Patkotak, "The World of Self-Publishing and Why."•   Saturday, Apr. 26, 9am-12pm, Anchorage: Digital tools for the Creative Writer, a class with Lawrence Weiss.•   Tuesday, May 14 & Saturday, May 17, Anchorage Museum: “The Pressure is Off: Indpendent Publishing Options for Writers” with Dana Stabenow and Deb Vanasse.
A big thanks goes out to everyone who contributed to 49 Writers through the Pick.Click.Give program. We'll report how much money we raised as soon as we get the word.

Tonight,First Friday, Apr. 4, 8pmAnchorage Community Works: Don't miss the the Termination Dust book release party, when local poet Susanna J. Mishler will give a reading from her recently published collection. A book signing and screening of two video poems will follow. Live music will be performed by Anna Lynch and new artworks by Ruby Suzanna will be on display. Food and a cash bar will be provided. Come meet the poet and get a signed copy of Termination Dust!
Friday Apr. 4, 7pm, UAF Wood Center: Reading by Luis Albert Urrea. Anaward-winning writer, Urrea is a master of language and a gifted storyteller who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph. As a young man he served as a relief worker among people living in the Tijuana garbage dumps prior to receiving a teaching Fellowship to Harvard University. "The border" has defined his life and colored much of his writing. Urrea once said, "the border is simply a metaphor that makes it easier for me to write about the things that separate people all over the world, even when they think there is no fence."
Saturday, Apr. 5 & Sunday, Apr. 6, 2-5pm, KPC Kachemak Bay Campus: Don't miss a workshop with Luis Alberto Urrea,  "The Theory and Practice of Trust." Registration fee $85. Registration deadline, March 30. Call 235-7743 for more information or go to www.kpc.alaska.edu/kbc.
Saturday, Apr. 5, 7pm, KPC Kachemak Bay Campus: Luis Alberto Urrea will give a public lecture on "The Writing Life."
Sunday, Apr. 6, 5pm, KPC Kachemak Bay Campus: Luis Alberto Urrea will give a public reading and talk entitled "Universal Border."
Sunday, Apr. 6, 7pm, Sitka Island Institute presents a community reading to welcome the Institutes April resident writers Carol Green and Tamie Harkins. Del Shirley room upstairs in Allen Hall.
Saturday, Apr. 12, 7pm, Poetry Reading with the Winners of Annual Statewide Poetry Contest. Winners from three categories (Adult, High School, and Middle & Elementary) will share their works at this free event in the Bear Gallery.
Wednesday Apr. 16, 7pm, Poetry Parley is featuring Alaskan poet Emily Kurn for the month of April. This free poetry event takes place every third Wednesday of the month at the Hugi-Lewis Studio, 1008 W. Northern Lights Blvd. The marquee poet is Alison Hawthorne Deming.
The UAA campus bookstore has several literary events this month: ·      Wednesday Apr. 16, 5-7:00 pm, Researching Alaska with Ann Fienup-Riordan, Willie Igglagruk Hensley, and Kate Ringsmuth will share insights on how to connect, research and uncover Alaska’s past.·      Thursday Apr. 17, 5-7:00 pm UAA Creative Writing students from the undergraduate English department will read from their work. Everyone is invited to attend and explore the voices of multiple genres. ·      Monday Apr. 21, 5-7:00 pm poet John Morgan and artist Kesler Woodward present River of Light. Morgan’s River of Light: A Conversation with Kabir, from University of Alaska Press, is based on a trip down the Copper River. Alongside the artwork by Alaskan artist Kesler Woodward, River of Light folds words, sounds, and color into being.
Saturday Apr. 26, 7pm, UAF English Department presents their annual public reading of Masters in Creative Writing candidates, in the Fairbanks Art Association Bear Gallery, third floor of the Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts, Pioneer Park, 2300 Airport Way.
Creative nonfiction writers won’t want to miss Writing Down the Wild, a three day workshop, April 25-27 at Prince William Sound Community College. This non-credit community workshop is taught by Alaskan nature and wilderness writer Bill Sherwonit. This course will examine and practice the steps necessary to create powerful and effective nature writing and will include time outdoors in the local landscape, along with readings and discussions. There’s a limit of 12 students, so don’t delay. Register at PWSCC.
Celebrate the Bard’s birthday at Shakespeare’s Sonnets, a reading celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday and of Poetry Month, Saturday Apr. 26 2-4:00pm at the Ann Stevens Room in the Loussac Library. There’s plenty of time for you to practice your favorite sonnet, and perhaps don a costume? Poems in Place is extending their open call for poetry until April 30. Poems in Place is a collaboration between Alaska Center for the Book, Alaska State Parks, and a committee of poets, writers, and Alaska residents. The project will place a poem by an Alaskan writer in each of the seven regions of the Alaska State Park’s system in the coming years. Both original work and nominated poems submitted by appreciative readers will be considered for Independence Mine State Historical Park, near Palmer, and Lake Aleknagik State Recreation Site/ Wood Tikchik State Park, near Dillingham. No submission fees. An honorarium will be paid to the winning poets. See http://www.alaskacenterforthebook.org for more information, contest rules and entry form. To see examples of current Poems in Place signs visit the Alaska State Parks website:http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/misc/poemplace.htm
The Alaska State Council on the Arts, in partnership with the Alaska Arts & Culture Foundation, is holding its 2014 statewide arts conference, Latitude: 2014 Alaska Arts Convergence on May 1-3 in Anchorage. This conference will offer opportunities for artists and arts professionals from throughout Alaska to network, learn valuable skills, participate in artistic activities and think big about the future of the arts in Alaska. This convergence is for arts professionals, artists, arts educators, volunteers, board members, and cross-sector leaders interested in how the arts can support Alaskans and Alaskan communities. $250 registration.
Attention Alaskan writers! 360North’s new statewide television series, “Writers’ Showcase,” is looking for fiction and creative non-fiction for their June 5th live recording. Submission deadline is Friday May 2. Inspired by NPR’s “Selected Shorts,” the show uses actors and celebrities as readers. They are especially interested in fiction for this episode. The show’s summer-inspired theme is “endurance,” and they want pieces that are set in summer or reflect the theme of endurance, and are five to twelve minutes long when read aloud. Visit 360north.orgfor more information. You can contact the shows producers with questions, or submit directly to to arts@ktoo.org.
Don't forget to register for Kachemak Bay Writers Conference, June 13-17. This year's post-conference workshop at Tutka Bay Lodge, Personal Stories and Great Realities, will be led by Scott Russell Sanders, June 17-19.
The Northwoods Book Arts Guild of Fairbanks is hosting a group exhibition, June 6-28, Books As Art: Structure, Image, Text, in the Bear Gallery of the Fairbanks Arts Association. All Alaskan artists are invited to join the exhibition. The Guild is a community of artists learning about and creating artist books. They promote all aspects of book arts through education, exhibitions, and community outreach.
Writer’s Retreat: The Pen & The Bell presents Mindful Writing in a Busy World, with Holly Hughes, June 26-29 at Stillpoint Lodge in Halibut Cove. How do we create space for writing in a world crowded with so many distractions? Learn mindfulness practices to provide support for writing and other forms of creativity. Holly co-authored the book The Pen and The Bell: Mindful Writing in a Busy World. Her collection of poems Sailing by Ravens is forthcoming from the University of Alaska Press’s Literary Series in 2014.
It’s not too early to plan for summer writing fun in the mountains. The Wrangell Mountain Writing Workshop presents: True Story, July 22-28, with Tom Kizzia, Frank Soos, and Nancy Cook. Living in Alaska is a constant reminder that truth is often stranger than fiction. During this five day workshop, writers will explore the craft of creative nonfiction: drafting compelling narratives that tell true stories. How can writers craft a meaningful, readable page-turner while working in the confines of the frequently controversial truth of "what actually happened.” Visit the Wrangell Mountain Center website for more details.
If you fancy traveling a little farther afield, at this year's Minnesota Northwoods Conference, June 22-28, poet Camille Dungy, who recently visited Alaska, will be leading a five-day workshop. For a schedule and descriptions of the workshops to be taught by the distinguished faculty, please visit www.northwoodswriters.org. The deadline for applying for the conference is May 1. Scholarships are available, but the scholarship deadline is Monday, Apr. 7, so apply today.


Categories: Arts & Culture

Andromeda: Why It’s So Hard to Read and Revise Our Own Novels, Part II: More Than One Kind of Time

49 Writers - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 9:49pm

Part II of a series. Part I is here.

To re-read our own work in preparation for a major manuscript revision, and especially to check its pacing and accumulative effects, we have to get into the mindset of an imaginary reader, which is hard to do for many reasons. One of them is the fascinating fact that time has many faces.As the French theorist Gerard Genette explored in great detail, there is story time—the actual duration of the story events covered (a day, a year, a lifetime), which we can never experience directly—and then there is discourse time, the amount of time taken to actually tell that story. Story time (duration) can vary radically: a novel can be about a man going to lunch for fifteen minutes, or about three generations living on a family farm for a century. Discourse time is often measured spatially, as words or pages. A story about a man going to lunch can take up 10 pages of discourse time, or 300, why not? (Nicholson Baker’s Mezzanine manages to make an entire novel of lunchtime by being a vehicle for the narrator’s absurdly digressive associational thoughts with occasional dips into personal memory; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, which has a story time of one day, is nearly as expansive, but leans even more heavily on memory.) 

A 1:1 story/discourse time novel about a man's life would take a lifetime to read, just as a 1:1 map of the world would be as big as the world itself (both may score points for realism but not for helpfulness or artistic effect). The difference between story time and discourse time gives us lots to play with as writers. We can compress and expand, and we can alter pacing throughout, summarizing years into sentences and shifting into “slow-mode” and stretching high-intensity scenes across many pages.

In revision mode, if we note that our writing seems to plod along, too evenly, with little variation in emotional effect, we can see if we’ve overlooked those compression and expansion possibilities. Even if we’re already aware of time’s flexible potential, we may still not utilize time to maximum advantage. In error, we may compress where we should expand, because we arrive at a scene that is emotionally hard to write about, or some part of our story we haven’t sufficiently imagined (or researched). We may expand where we should compress, simply not realizing (until a kind first reader informs us) that we’re spending way too much time on boring details or slow-paced dialogue or anything that doesn’t advance the story.

On the page, that’s story time and discourse time – complicated enough.
But think of all the other ways we experience time, as writers and readers. This is where things get even more interesting during those final manuscript revisions.

Let’s say I write a scene about parents coming to visit their daughter, an anxious mother and her new baby and the husband the parents don’t like. The story time covers dinner and post-dinner visiting -- about three hours. The discourse time is, let’s say, about 4500 words.

On a good day, I write about 1000 words; in a good week, maybe 3000. So I can guess this scene would have taken a week and a half to write. Maybe longer. I could label that “composition time.” I can unscientifically guess that many before-bed readers open a book for 20 minutes before turning off the light. At less than 2 minutes per page over 15 pages, my imaginary reader might not have time to finish the scene in one quick reading session. (Should it be shorter? Or is it just right? And what about the great majority of the book’s scenes, which are only one-third to one-half as long? Which will have insufficient impact due to their brevity? Which will have insufficient impact because a reader can’t process them in one sit-down reading time, or can I write a scene so riveting that the reader will stay glued to the end, even after her spouse complains about the light?)  

Now that I’ve forced myself to do the math—which I wouldn’t have done, if not for this blogpost—what does it tell me? What can you tell first readers to look for if they’re helping bring fresh eyes to your manuscript?

·    Watch out for tics and repetitions: If I use the same words or repeat a metaphor, the reader will experience those repetitions only hours apart. I may not realize that I use certain words or types of punctuation too often (semi-colon or em-dash addiction, anyone?) but a fresh reader will.
·    Watch out for repeated information: Do I trust my reader’s memory enough, especially when she can read so much more quickly than I can write? How many times do I need to remind her that so-and-so is the narrator’s sister?
·    Watch out for pace of character development: It took me months to write the process by which my narrator fell in love, learned to cope with a first baby, became jaded with life, found new hope (and also some dark truths). Does each stage happen too quickly in my novel? Does the progression feel real for the reader? Do I build up to the climax sufficiently, or hit it like a huge speed bump?And on the other hand…·     Do I space information and revelations so far part apart that the effect is too subtle for the reader? Can he hold clues and cues in his head, which are strongly imprinted in mine only because I’ve spent so much time writing this novel? What happens too slowly? When does the reader say “enough already, I get it!”These are only a few things you can think about in terms of composition speed (slow), reading speed (fast), and also the mind of the writer (heavily invested, possibly obsessed) versus the mind of the reader (less invested, less patient, more easily irritated).

In reading for revision, we must be aware of time’s many faces, and the many ways we experience story as it’s imagined, written, and read, by ourselves and others. We can learn, as authors, to become our own best editors. And we can recognize the need to make use of another set of fresh eyes when the time is right.

Andromeda Romano-Lax is the author of The Spanish Bow and The Detour. She is a co-founder of 49 Writers and teaches in the UAA MFA low-residency creative writing program. She is also a book coach with a special interest in revision, narrative structure, and the lifelong development of the writer. Contact her at aromanolax@gmail.com for more info on her book coaching services.
Categories: Arts & Culture

The Great Sand Dunes, Colorado

Clarissa Rizal: Alaska Native Artist Blog - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 9:39pm

TheGreat Sand Dunes between Crestone and Alamosa, Colorado is 30 square miles at the base of 14,000+ peaks

I will learn to take weekends off on a regular basis from creative endeavoring work.  Weekends are a luxury for the self-employed and it’s about time I incorporate this type of luxury, (though in the next two months I have a major deadline to complete the Chilkat robe I am weaving), so I am postponing regular weekends until AFTER I deliver the robe!

Having at least one day off from work helps rejuvenate and revitalize our bodies, mind and spirit.  We need this type of “food” to nourish and support us.  It helps keep our creative juices flowing!

I appreciate a great travel partner who instigates simple great adventures and is attracted to the same subtle and not-so-subtle images, energies and beauty in nature.  Of the many places Dan and I have traveled to and through in Western North America over the past 5 years, from the American Southwestern states up through Montana, Alberta, Yukon and Southeast Alaska, the early evening day trip to the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado last weekend captured my entire being.  I felt as though I were walking on holy ground, sacred ground…vulnerable yet spiritually and physically powerful.  I am happy I followed Dan’s lead to this place of mysticism and sacredness.

Patterns made by the wind

These are the highest sand dunes in North America up to 750 feet covering 30 square miles at the base of the Colorado Rockies between Crestone and Alamosa.  We arrived in mid-afternoon when the sun was lowering on the horizon for better contrast of light and dark.  I complained like a kid “…are we there yet!?” because the straight highway drive was absolutely boring, especially after driving through phenomenal scenery driving down from the Leadville area the day before!!

The Great Sand Dunes National Monument Park has excellent signs guiding visitors to respect the environment with do’s and don’ts

I yearn to return to the Sand Dunes.  I imagine just to sit and be there.  In peace.    Alas, I have other commitments and major deadlines one right after the other; I have a Chilkat robe that I have to finish weaving by June 1st, then I have to deliver it, then I have 6 classes to teach in Yukon and Alaska and I do not return back to Colorado until mid-Summer when the Sand Dunes Park will be cluttered with too many people!!! — So alas, we must wait until AFTER Labor Day weekend because we will avoid the crowds.

Dark and light waves has been imprinted in my heart and mind inspiring me to want to paint, draw, charcoal images of nothing but sand dune language!

Dan soaks up the sunset, the silence and stillness

I know Dan and I must return to this place.  Not just for an afternoon but for at least an entire week.  Camp out.  Hike. Bike.  Play flute.  Play a hand drum.  Do Tai Chi.  Take photos.  Paint.  Draw.  Sit and be still at the top of one of the 750 ft. peaks.  I have even imagined living nearby just a few miles South of the dunes, or make a yearly trek in a camper van and just hang out.  I have never been to a place that has tempered me like the way a camp fire tempers me.  I feel a large solid heart filling my entire chest and abdomen – it is obvious the spirit of the Great Sand Dunes has filled me to no end.  We shall return.  Soon.

Who would walk with their back against the sunset?

Click Here …..to view more photos of the Great Sand Dunes…and better yet, the next time you are in Colorado, check out the power and spirit of this magnificent place!

Categories: Arts & Culture

Spotted

Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321268/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321253/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321248/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321243/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321208/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/320593/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321173/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321163/
My Gallery

CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS