Hi Hi Hi! It’s Phoebe, it’s been so long, I know, did you miss me? We wanted to wait til after the holidays to round up the best of the local literary scene and now we have eaten all the brie and there are so many good writerly happenings afoot to attend! We will do them all! We are leaning in to 2019! Actually, we are so tired, we are mostly falling over, but the love of the written word sustains us, does it not?
But first we need to discuss what to read right now. This is the transitional part, like when Mr. Rogers changes his shoes and cardigan. (Why oh why won’t he ever pick the red one?).
So… I’m currently reading “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz, which is threatening to turn me into the woman with too many rings on who can’t shut up about the amazingly transformational book she is reading. Also I just ate up the delicious entirety of the new memoir “She Wants It” by the creator of “Transparent”, Jill Soloway and I highly recommend, and am still working on “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje.
I also asked around and Kristen Holt-Browning, writer and editor and co-producer of Get Lit just finished reading “Northwood” by Maryse Meijer, a sort of novella-in-poems. She says it's a dark, twisty, fairytale-ish story of desire and obsession and also a physically gorgeous object, with white text printed on black pages. Sounds fierce.
Extremely well-published and well-coifed writer Lily Burana is reading “Thick” by Keise Laymon and “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” by Alexander Chee. She’s happily frolicking in the bumper crop of essay collections that have been published in the last few years.
Ok. I’m ready now. Let’s lean/fall/dive/plunge/bellyflop on in.
January 2019 Writerly Happenings
The Artichoke at the Howland. January 12th, 7:30pm, is sold out online, but not sure if there will be additional tickets at the door. Mentioning because it is just so cool that this is coming to Beacon. It’s an evening of live storytelling by The Artichoke, hosted by Drew Prochaska and featuring Sandi Marx (seven-time Grand Slam Winner, The Moth), Jeff Simmermon (Grand Slam Winner, The Moth; This American Life), Drew Prochaska (Risk!; Story Collider), Richard Cardillo (Risk!; Stories from the Stage, Susan Kent (The Moth), Micaela Blei (GrandSlam Winner, The Moth), Vanessa Golenia (Risk!) and John Blesso. Can’t get in? Well there’s another chance to do something similar on the 20th, but you must read on.
Also on Second Saturday is a book release event for Traffic Street Press’ "Trafficking in Poetry" series. The book "Manos Sucias/Dirty Hands" is a collaboration between Paulette Myers-Rich, the visual artist Greg Slick and poet Seán Monagle. A limited number of copies are available for purchase at the book signing at No.3 Reading Room & Photo Book Works on Main Street from 3-8pm.
Get Lit is happening this Sunday, January 13, from 5 to 8pm at Oak Vino. The featured speakers will be authors Jessie Chaffee and Brendan Kiely, and as always, anyone who wants to read is invited to sign up to do so at the beginning of the event--bring 2 or 3 pages of original writing to share. But also if are new to writing, or sharing your writing, you answer the monthly prompt about what your New Year’s Resolutions are, and then sign up for a 1-minute slot. Literally, it’s just a hot minute.
Also In January!
On Sunday, January 20th at Dogwood at 5 pm John Blesso will be hosting the first installment of “Adult Stories,” a new and developing monthly storytelling series that intends to be like The Moth, but edgier. He’s looking for people willing to share “funny stories, harrowing stories, sex stories, emotionally charged stories, and inebriation/bad-choice stories.” If you’re interested please send him pitches for stories between 6-10 minutes long! He’s working with Donna Minkowitz and Drew Prochaska on this, if you miss The Artichoke, or just want more storytelling. All the stories!
What’s that about local memoir writer Donna Minkowitz? Funky Spunky Literature Night (Redux) is a game-show-like Community Memoir Write-a-Thon with prizes for the best sentences and scenes that audience members write about their own lives. She will be joined by professional storyteller Lorraine Hartin-Gelardi. Quinn’s on January 30th from 7:30-9:30pm. She’s also got an 8-Week Memoir Writing Workshop focused on craft, particularly on using the five senses, lyricism, emotion, storytelling, and critical insight to create profound and relatable works of memoir. Wednesday nights from February 6 through March 27, 7 PM-9 PM. To apply, please email email@example.com with a one-page writing sample.
Poet and teacher extraordinaire Ruth Danon (to whom I’m a bit partial, not going to even pretend otherwise) is going to start writing improvisation classes the week of January 29th. Currently she’s planning on Tuesdays at 9:30 am-12pm and 7pm- 9:30pm, but the time can be flexible based on everyone’s schedules…The fee is $275 for 8 weeks and includes a private conference (at least one) and a public reading. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Beacon’s magnificent Binnacle Books is featuring “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai for its next book club. I loved that book. So, so much sobbing. This month it’s at the bookstore, but often is at Dennings Point Distillery.
And just downstream (or not, as our majestic and tidal Hudson River flows both ways) in Cold Spring, Split Rock books has a million events, or at least 5, to get you through January and smarter on the other end.
The divine “Out Stealing Horses” by Per Petterson was the January book club choice at the Beacon Library, and we were sad to miss it, but the pick for February is "The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper" by Phaedra Patrick and it sounds charming. The Butterfield Library in Cold Spring has a writing workshop with Susan Wallach in January and almost always a box of free books to rummage.
As always, we want to big up independent bookstores that may be a bit farther afield:
Rough Draft in Kingston has happy hours, sip and writes and plenty of other happenings; the Golden Notebook in Woodstock has a terrific lineup, as per usual; and we are wanting to go check out Oblong Books which has somehow escaped our research until now. We’ll report back next month.
Now dear reader, go put on a cardigan and some fresh slippers and get to it. Write! Read! Make it happen!