Writerly Happenings: Live Storytelling, Book Releases & New Writing Opportunities!

Hi Hi Hi! It’s Phoebe here. 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? (Love of the written word, and brie - life sustainers.)

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 Jill Soloway, the creator of “Transparent,” and I highly recommend. Still working on “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje.

I also asked around for recs. 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 Kiese 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 past few years.

Ok. I’m ready now. Let’s lean/fall/dive/plunge/bellyflop on in.

January 2019 Writerly Happenings 

This Weekend!

The Artichoke at the Howland. Saturday, January 12, 7:30 pm, is sold out online, but not sure if there will be additional tickets at the door. Mentioning here anyway 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 (Grand Slam Winner, The Moth), Vanessa Golenia (Risk!) and John Blesso. Can’t get in? Well there’s another chance to do something similar on Sunday 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 to 8 pm. 

Get Lit is happening this Sunday, January 13, from 5 to 8 pm 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 two or three pages of original writing to share. But also if you 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 one-minute slot. Literally, it’s just a hot minute.

Also In January!

On Sunday, January 20 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 six and ten 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 at Quinn’s on Wednesday, January 30, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. She’s also got an 8-Week Memoir-Writing Workshop coming up, 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 to 9 pm. To apply, please email minkowitz46@gmail.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 29. Currently she’s planning on Tuesdays, from 9:30 am to 12 pm and 7 to 9:30 pm, but the time can be flexible based on everyone’s schedules… The fee is $275 for eight weeks and includes a private conference (at least one) and a public reading. Contact ruthdanonpoetry@gmail.com 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 the book club will meet 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 five, 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 event lineup, as 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!

Writerly Happenings: Growing Local Community of Writers and Readers - November 2018

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Hi There, Reading Anything Good These Days? 

It’s Phoebe here - kicking off this column with what everybody is reading here at A Little Beacon Blog before we dive into the second installment in this new column, Writerly Happenings.

I just returned Peter Carey’s new “A Long Way From Home” to the library without getting too far, though he’s usually a favorite. Now I’m starting “The Glitch” by Elizabeth Cohen, which passed me by when it was published in 2012, but I’ve heard good things. 

Katie is reading edible Hudson Valley’s Fall issue about the secret hotel created by an app developer of luxury cars (what?!). He wouldn’t even let them take full photos - all secret photos.

Marilyn, our Managing Editor, is actually blogging about her yoga teacher training experience at her blog, Ink and Coffee.

Catherine, our Editor of the Art Gallery Guide, is reading science. Science! Actually it’s Anatomy this week. She is back in school to be a nurse.

Speaking of good things, here’s the second installment of this new A Little Beacon Blog Guide to Writerly Happenings. Every couple of weeks I round up the best events happening in our growing local community of writers and readers and the people who love them.

WRITERLY HAPPENINGS IN BEACON & COLD SPRING

On Wednesday, November 7, Binnacle’s Book Club meets from 7 to 8 pm at Denning's Point Distillery to discuss “Lake Success,” by Gary Shteyngart. If you are going and want to buy the book at Binnacle, you get 10% off this title. I’m sorry to have missed the reading of “The Seas,” by Samantha Hunt, on Wednesday the 24th, but staying tuned for more events to come.

The littlest Halloweenies and literary types might love the storytime and costume contest at Split Rock Books in Cold Spring on Sunday the 28th with David Quinn, author of “Go To Sleep, Little Creep.” Grown-ups should check out local author and journalist Virginia Sole-Smith’s reading from her first book, “The Eating Instinct” - described as “a personal and deeply reported exploration of how we learn to eat in today's toxic food culture,” on Saturday, November 10, from 7 to 8 pm.

Get Lit Beacon has its monthly writer salon at Oak Vino on Sunday, November 11. Featured speaker will be notable author Leland Cheuk. Get Lit offers an option for any writer to read their own stuff, so you should also sign up to read some of your work. And - they made T-Shirts! So far you can only buy them at the event, so go. Last month featured a very engaging professional storyteller explain how to tell a story, as well as local journalists Brian Cronin of the Highlands Current, and Katie of A Little Beacon Blog.

On Tuesday, November 13, poets from Ruth Danon’s Live Writing workshops take over Quinn’s for a reading of their work. We’ll be back with an update once the Facebook event page is up. 

Beacon’s new Poet Laureate, who has not yet been announced, will be inducted on Tuesday, November 20, at the Beacon Library in the Community Room from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. 

OPEN MIC NIGHTS THAT LITERARY TYPES MIGHT LIKE

For monthly musical open mic nights, check out The Falcon Underground in Marlboro, the Wherehouse in Newburgh, the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon and Fiesta Friday in Poughkeepsie.

Calling All Poets is having an open mic night at the Towne Crier in Beacon on Thursday, October 15, and on Friday, November 2, at its First Friday reading series up in New Paltz at Roost (the open mic on Friday, December 7, will feature Beacon local Ruth Danon).

FARTHER AFIELD 

Rough Draft Bar & Books hosts a reading on Tuesday, October 30, with local author John Langan reading from his horror novel set near the Ashokan Reservoir. Sounds scary and also totally worth a trip to Kingston.

We are prepared to tailgate to hear Roxane Gay discuss her book “Bad Feminist” on Wednesday, November 7, at Vassar. And we might have to because it’s first-come, first-serve to get in. Get your elbows ready!

And we are super excited that former Beacon resident Jon Beacham is back in the Hudson Valley and has opened The Brother In Elysium Books. This Tivoli bookstore had its grand opening at the end of September, a poetry reading earlier this month and in addition to focusing on poetry, literature, art, design, photography and film, also carries used and out-of-print books, actively buys books and “is also home to The Brother In Elysium publishing imprint and letterpress studio.”

We’ll see you back here in a couple weeks with more upcoming events. Tell us where to go and what to read in the meantime, if you like. phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com

Writerly Happenings: New Literary Guide for Book Lovers & Writers

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Hey there, reading anything good these days? 

If you want to know where to find your next book, and where to go to mix it up with other literary types, this new ALBB Guide to Writerly Happenings has you laced up. Every couple of weeks we’ll round up the best events happening in our growing local community of writers and readers and the people who love them.

Writerly Happenings in Cold Spring

Sunset Reading Series presents another stupendously located and top notch reading at The Chapel of Our Lady Restoration in Cold Spring on Sunday, October 7, at 4 pm when Sam Anderson, local author and New York Times Magazine Critic at Large, will read from his widely and wildly acclaimed book BOOM TOWN The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, Its Chaotic Founding, Its Apocalyptic Weather, Its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-Class Metropolis.

This event is being co-hosted by Split Rock Books, who is also kicking off their inaugural book club event on Thursday, October 11, from 7 to 8 pm with If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. The film adaptation of this book, by Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, is due out in November. They are also having a storytime for kiddos with Bear and Wolf author Daniel Salmieri on Sunday, October 14 from 10:15 to 10:45 am.

Writing Groups In Beacon

If you are looking to join a writing group, on Monday, October 8, or Monday, October 15, you might check out Words & Womyn. This fresh weekly workshop from the Wyld Womyn, a new space on Main Street, is described as “a safe space that welcomes anyone female-identifying to sit and soak in the power of thought and prose.” 

The night before, you could also get your book club on with Binnacle Books’ ongoing book discussion at Denning’s Point Distillery. On Wednesday, October 10 at 7 pm that group will be diving in to There There, by Tommy Orange. 

Get Lit Beacon continues to work the room at Oak Vino in Beacon on the second Sunday of each month! Have a glass of wine and enjoy the salon there on October 14 at 5 pm. Katie from A Little Beacon Blog will be on hand to answer questions about local news media, as well as Brian PJ Cronin (Update: Danielle Trussoni, a memoirist and novelist, was slated to speak, but won’t join in this month). You can sign up to read for 5 minutes yourself. Get the lineup here.

Book Talks in Beacon

Later in the month, the Beacon Library is hosting a discussion of the much-acclaimed book Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng, so start reading now if you want to get in on that on Tuesday, October 30, from 2 to 3 pm. The discussion will be led by Dr. James Cotter as part of the NEA Big Read program.

Open Mic Nights That Literary Types Might Like

For monthly open mic nights check out The Falcon Underground in Marlboro, the Wherehouse in Newburgh, The Howland Cultural Center in Beacon and Fiesta Friday in Poughkeepsie.

Farther afield, but well worth the drive, are two favorite bookstores that host loads of writerly happenings: Golden Notebook in Woodstock, and Rough Draft Bar & Books in Kingston.

We’ll see you back here in a couple weeks with more upcoming events. Tell us where to go and what to read in the meantime, if you like - email phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com.

Watch for Giant Turtles Crossing - What Do They Do On The Other Side?

In last weekend’s edition of the Highlands Current, the reporting was turned on Beacon beat reporter Jeff Simms, who normally writes up Beacon news for the newspaper. His animal-rescue experience landed him front-page treatment. Normally, his own article would be in this spot. Last week, however, he himself was in ink (not the ink on his arm, but on the page).

While riding his bike down Route 9D from Beacon to Cold Spring on his way to the Current's production meeting, Jeff spotted this snapping turtle gradually making his way across the road. According to the article, Jeff pulled his bike over and attempted to encourage the turtle to go faster or move away from the busy road.

May and June is prime time to see snapping turtles, which are one of 11 species native to New York. In the late spring and early summer, they're on the move, laying their eggs in sandy areas or loose soil, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC issued an advisory last year reminding motorists to watch out for migrating turtles, whose populations are declining. "The reptiles lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, which means the loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local turtle population," according to the advisory. Suffice to say, the turtle that Jeff spotted was on a mission and would not be deterred.

But its slow progress left it vulnerable, so Jeff’s next move was to call in the professionals: Mark Price, Beacon’s own director of the parks and recreation department. Together, they moved the turtle by lifting it by either side of its shell, the method DEC recommends if you need to move one (see the DEC's full recommendation on how to move a turtle to safety).

Exciting times for this Tree City! Beacon is an official Tree City, as designated by New York State’s Urban Forestry Program, which “fosters comprehensive planning, management and education throughout New York to create a healthy urban and community forest and enhance quality of life,” as stated in their mission. Spotting snapping turtles is a reminder that we are surrounded by an an ecosystem of fauna and flora, turtles to treetops, and it's good to keep them healthy!

Sponsor Opportunity: Fundraiser for Episcopal Church of St. Mary’s Golf Outing

The Episcopal Church of St. Mary’s in the Highlands in Cold Spring.  Photo Credit: Google Images. Graphic Design:  Katie James, Inc.

The Episcopal Church of St. Mary’s in the Highlands in Cold Spring.
Photo Credit: Google Images. Graphic Design: Katie James, Inc.

From time to time, we hear laments from business owners who saw an opportunity to be involved in an event, or to sponsor something, but didn't know about it in time to apply. Therefore, when we are able to and if we know about it, we'll share a sponsor opportunity with our readers in case you might be interested. A Little Beacon Blog is not affiliated with this event; we just thought you might like to know about it, as we are advocates for local businesses getting the word out, and for fundraising for a good cause.

Sponsorships for Golf Outing at Beekman Golf Course

Stinson’s Hub is fundraising for the Episcopal Church of St. Mary’s in the Highlands in Cold Spring. They "are in desperate need for funds to keep their doors open," says Wendy Stinson, owner of the hub. Stinson's Hub is holding its annual golf outing on Friday, June 8, 2018 at Beekman Golf Course, and is looking for businesses who are interested in sponsorship at different levels. You can learn more about the St. Mary’s Episcopal Church here. The church's parish hall is also home to the Philipstown Reform Synagogue.

The sponsoring establishment’s information would be posted at the outing, and signage would be posted on the hole/tee that is sponsored by the business. According to Wendy, "Every year our golf outing grows bigger and bigger, and we are very excited to see what this year will bring." 

If you are interested in sponsoring a hole or tee, please call Wendy at 845-234-8807 or email wendelrina69@gmail.com.

Sponsor Options:

  • Sponsor a $200 hole or $100 tee.
  • Sponsor the purchase of golf balls with your establishment’s logo on them to be given out at the outing
  • $200 per 5 dozen golf balls with your logo on them (taken)
  • Sponsor for 15 dozen golf balls with your logo on them
  • Sponsor the Par 3 Challenge - $300 (taken)
  • Sponsor the Par 5 Challenge - $400
  • Sponsor the Hole in One Challenge - $600 (taken)
  • Sponsor a Car Giveaway (Car Dealership)
  • Dinner Sponsor - $800
  • Lunch Sponsor - $300
  • Sponsor Refreshments Station - $200
  • **All sponsorships will have their establishments advertised at the event