Writerly Happenings: Your Fall Reading And Writing Checklist


by Phoebe Zinman

To honor the passage of bright summer days into the crisp academia of autumn, I decided to talk to Beaconite and Exceptionally Smart Person Sarah Uzelac about her summer reading list that she always posts on Facebook. All these other exceptionally Smart Women respond to it, and then I crib the whole thing and work on it all year long. 

Sarah! I love your summer reading list posts! Do other people talk to you about it or is it one of those weird Facebook things that you don’t talk about in real life?

Other people totally talk to me about this in real life and it is one of my favorite uses of social media. It makes me feel super connected to people to know we share a love (or hate) for a text - even if we can’t ever meet up IRL to discuss it.

What were some of the highlights of this year’s summer reading? Did you try anything you expected to not like and love it?

I’ve been on a real nonfiction jag this year and I can’t seem to step away from it for long. Usually I’m all fiction all the time, but I think maybe, given the state of our country at the moment, I’m subconsciously hungry for truth and information and super smart people telling me stuff? This summer I really loved The Furious Hours, by Casey Cep and the grief memoir Tell Me More, by Kelly Corrigan, and my favorite fiction from this summer was Fleishman Is In Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I just realized those are all women authors - I think that might be another unconscious theme for me these days: Enough with the dudes, already.

(I’m so with you. Enough, already. Grab your pom poms and warm the bench.)

 What are you reading right now? 

Right now I’m reading Edith Wharton for the first time ever (even though my husband has been trying to get her on my radar for like 10+ years). We took a little visit to her estate (The Mount) in upstate NY this summer - seeing her space and learning more about her life is what tipped the scale for me. I started with a couple of short stories (Xingu and Roman Fever) and they blew my mind with the perfectness of her descriptions and how incredibly dead on and absolutely CUTTING the social interactions were.

So right now I’m about a third of the way into House of Mirth and am loving it. And if you’ve never made the trip up to The Mount - do it this fall! Have a glass of Prosecco on her amazing terrace overlooking her incredible gardens and wander through her beautiful home and see for yourself what a genius she was.

[Editor’s Note: Sarah is married to NY Times Magazine staff writer Sam Anderson, whose most recent book Boom Town is available at Binnacle Books in Beacon, where he read earlier this year.]

What’s next?

I’m not sure - what are YOU reading??

I just borrowed The Flick from my Mom and read it in one night. It’s by one of my favorite playwrights, Annie Baker. And I just discovered, amazingly, that it’s being put on at Vassar on Wednesday to Saturday, October 9-12. Thanks, Hudson Valley. Keep it local, babies.

Speaking of Vassar College, I’m ashamed to admit I have never investigated their Elizabeth Bishop collection and am adding that to my Fall Goals checklist along with this Edith Wharton jaunt. 

Ok, so, back to Sarah… Who has lived in Beacon for a hot minute (over 10 years) and so of course I want to know what is your favorite new spot in town? What old spot do you miss?

We moved to Beacon in 2005 back when there was only *one* coffee shop and the Mountain Tops shop and that was basically it! I love this town so much. I love the new connections through town to the Madam Brett walking path along Fishkill Creek, I love Big Mouth Coffee, and the Himalayan stall in the new food hall, and the Beacon Yoga Center (because they have hatha and hatha is the best yoga). I miss the unobstructed view of the mountain while walking down Main Street and the comedy shows David Rees and Sam used to host – those were the good old days.

[Author’s Note: An Aside: Those comedy shows were as spectacular as the view of the mountain! But things change like the leaves, which lets me transition gracefully into our official Writerly Happenings round up for September…]

Writerly Things To Do

Speaking of recommendations, I discovered that Binnacle Books has this super sweet matchmaking feature on their website and you can order up a custom Binnacle Book match! 

How was the Artichoke??? We are so sorry to have missed it on the 14th. I’m guessing the next one will be in November. There’s still so much glowing Fall weather in between [fingers crossed].

On Saturday, September 21, we’ll see you at the Spring Street Reading Series at Atlas in Newburgh, which is dreamily titled “The Exile’s Child is Also an Exile” in which Faisal Mohyuddin, Natania Rosenfeld, Ruth Danon and Edwin Torres “explore the ways in which the children of the displaced carry the experience of exile into the next generation.” I mean. That doesn’t resonate or anything. 

Then head down to the Hudson Valley Writers Center in Peekskill on Sunday, September 22, for the ferocious billing of Sean Thomas Dougherty, Jeffrey McDaniel (Cold Spring local and Sarah Lawrence prof) and Michelle Whittaker. Have lots of fun and then go back on Friday, October 4, for master class with Arthur Sze (um, wow).

Split Rock Books in Cold Spring is keeping it pretty chill as we all settle in to Back to School land, but their graphic novel book club on the 23rd looks pretty spectacular. Kingdom by Jon McNaught portrays the realness of a family’s summer vacation. On Sunday, October 6, from 10:15 to 10:45 am they are having a storytime for little ones and award-winning author and illustrator, Elisha Cooper, will be reading from River - as in, our very own Hudson.

Want to do some of your own writing? Writer (and Artichoke storyteller) Donna Minkowitz’s fall workshop will begin September 25 from 7 to 9 pm, and goes for eight Wednesdays. Participants in the small workshops will “work on writing about our lives using the senses, emotion, lyricism, critical insight, and storytelling come to create profound and relatable works of personal writing.” Email her for more info at minkowitz46@gmail.com.

And Ruth Danon is starting up live writing in October, so you should check her website for more details. But only if you like doing experiential, improvisational writing to generate unexpected results and language in the company of really interesting and talented people and getting lots of insightful feedback. You don’t want that.

Then get your head out of that notebook on Sunday, October 13, and head down to Oak Vino for monthly literary salon Get Lit, featuring Matt and Emily Clifton. Matt and Emily wrote the beautiful Cork and Knife (locally profiled to an extreme extent on Published Local on A Little Beacon Blog, written by yours truly). If you aren’t yet getting the email newsletter, previewing articles from A Little Beacon Blog, you must get on that. Fall goals! Check!

Go fight your way through an apple orchard on a Saturday if you must, but treat yourself to some writerly nourishment afterwards. Don’t anyone talk to me about pumpkin-flavored anything, though. We’ll see you back here to jump in some leaves before Halloween…

Jobs! Jobs! New Jobs Listing This Week, 7/31/2019


A reader wrote in, asking us if we had more job listings. She said she'd rather look on A Little Beacon Blog than on Indeed or LinkedIn. Yay! We wanted to make it easier for businesses to list, so we’ve adjusted our Job Listing pricing. We’ve received a few great opportunities that you should know about, and tell your friends about.

But also, there are some art opportunities as well! See below for some open application opportunities.

3 Jobs From ViaHero, a Beacon/NYC-Based Travel/Tech Startup

ViaHero is an exciting new travel company that helps people design their travel plans around local favorites, travel independently, and see a place through a local's eyes. The concept is: Locals Plan. You Travel. ViaHero matches you with a like-minded local. They plan everything you need for your trip. You travel how you want, without missing a thing. ViaHero has been featured in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure and others. Learn more about ViaHero here.

Web UX/UI Designer (part-time) At ViaHero

  • Work with our COO and product team to develop the scope of a new feature.

  • Develop drawings, wireframes and final designs, through iterative feedback.

  • Work with our engineering team to ensure the feature is executed successfully.

  • 3+ years of UX/UI experience required, preferably with an online consumer brand.

  • Bonus: HTML, CSS, Javascript or React experience.

  • $50-70/hourly rate based on experience

More Details >

Marketing Manager/Director at ViaHero

  • Develop and execute the marketing strategy across all ViaHero channels including content marketing, affiliate partner marketing, customer referral marketing and performance marketing (email, retargeting ads, prospecting ads).

  • Craft a marketing plan that accelerates momentum and evangelism among our 20,000 paying travelers.

  • $60-85k/annual salary; competitive salary based on experience, with stock options and bonuses; awesome health insurance benefits

More Details >

Mid-Level Full-Stack Engineer at ViaHero

  • Design, develop, test and deploy new, innovative features on our web app.

  • Collaborate with the team on product management, UX design and feature prioritization.

  • You have 2+ years of experience writing JavaScript.

  • You have experience developing scalable APIs and databases with Node.js and MongoDB or comparable technologies.

  • $75-110k/annual salary; competitive salary based on experience, with stock options and bonuses; awesome health insurance benefits

More Details >

City Of Newburgh Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Hiring Administrative Positions - PART TIME

The City of Newburgh Industrial Development Agency (IDA) has two positions available in its office. The positions can be combined or remain separate. The first position is for bookkeeping, and the second position is for secretarial services to assist the Executive Director. A background in modified accrual accounting is required for the bookkeeping position. Candidates with PARIS and/or IDA work experience will be given preference, but experience is not necessary.


More Details >

OPTOMETRIST at Luxe Optique

Luxe Optique is searching for an optometrist to join a growing team and recently expanded practice. We are a well-established full-service optical practice in Beacon, NY, providing the best eyewear and eyecare experience to our flourishing clientele. Applicants should:

  • Be licensed to practice optometry in New York State.

  • Have a passion for providing excellent patient care.

  • Be knowledgeable and confident working with pediatric and adult patients.

  • Perform routine comprehensive eye exams and vision care procedures.

  • Provide extreme attention to detail and thorough examinations.

  • Administer special testing as needed.

  • Customize patient treatment based on individual needs in order to improve or correct vision.

More Details >

Writerly Happenings: Summertime Edition For July (and Maybe August)


Listen, it’s summer and we are keeping it loose. This edition of Writerly Happenings is being brought to you by “Spontaneity and All The Popsicles,” and may contain happenings in both July and August. 

Katie’s Summer Reading List - no shame. #SaveTheMagazines

Katie’s Summer Reading List - no shame. #SaveTheMagazines

On The Nightstands…

In that same spirit, this edition of What Are We Reading is keeping it real and not worried about intellectual heft. Our fearless leader Katie confesses that she went to Rite Aid and bought all of the rag magazines and a Clive Cussler book for summer reading. She is on a quest to save the magazines. Right now, you’ll find all of them at big box stores. So, people need to buy them. You can pick up your favorites at Rite Aid too. And Vogel Pharmacy, if you’re out near Leo’s.

Managing Editor Marilyn Perez is reading “Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life” by Charlotte Bell for the third time! She comes back to it every couple years, and I can only assume it helps to inform her excellent yoga teaching at Firefly Yoga in Fishkill.  

As for me, I’m staying informed about local events and maintaining a very low overhead by enjoying the Chronogram and Edible Hudson Valley (yay, Weed Issue!) and the award-winning Highlands Current.

So then, what’s happening all around us?

Dreyer Split Rock.jpg

Writerly Happenings Around Town

Split Rock Books has this pretty incredible offsite event with author Benjamin Dreyer, discussing his book at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival on Friday, July 12. I’ve heard a lot of great things about his book, “Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style.” 

BAU gallery-July20.jpg

Saturday, July 20, competes for your heart and mine with an intergalactic event at BAU. Matt Clifton and Larry Sansone are organizing a reading alongside an exhibition of Sam Beste and Elizabeth Arnold’s artwork. The subject is space exploration (in tandem with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission) and the fragility of life on earth.

Also that night, there’s another Spring Street Reading Series over at Atlas Studios in Newburgh. “Women and their Bonding,” from 7 to 8:30 pm, features writers Laura Brown and Idra Novey and is curated by Ruth Danon.

On Sunday, July 28, you could take a workshop with Donna Minkowitz, who will also be reading at Get Lit on Sunday, July 14, at Oak Vino. In the Beacon Summer Memoir Intensive, participants “write about our lives using the five senses, lyricism, emotion, critical thinking, and the art of storytelling." Then on Saturday, August 24, she is offering Writing From the Body at Wyld Womyn. This is a memoir workshop for all who identify as women, nonbinary or trans, and want to write about their “lives, sensations, pains, pleasures, and feelings of all kinds.”

Speaking of Get Lit, there’s a great interview with the righteous Ronnie Farley up on their website, and on Sunday, August 11, from 5 to 8 pm at Oak Vino they will feature poet Catherine Arra. Their lineup is looking very interesting for the fall, too.

And while we’re on the subject of of 50th anniversaries, on Tuesday, August 13, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, you can head to the Howland Public Library in Beacon to hear local author Sharon Watts discuss her newest book, “By the Time I Got to Woodstock - An Illustrated Memoir of a Reluctant Hippie Chick,” which she both wrote and illustrated! 


Farther afield, there’s this fascinating series happening up in Hudson that I’m really intrigued by - The Home School Poetry Readings at Time and Space Limited - and they have a pretty stellar (interstellar?) lineup of writers. 

Also I saw a very pretty picture of some lucky writer working away at the Kingston Writer’s Studio and felt such envy! They are all booked up for members, but you can get a day pass and write all the things.

So then, if you Writerly Types can put down your magazine and climb out of the hammock, come join us. There will be air conditioning and no judgment about your summer trash-reading game. We’ll be tailgating out front with a popsicle.

Writerly Happenings: New Literary Guide for Book Lovers & Writers


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.

Update on Fundraiser for New LGBTQ+ Center Opening In Newburgh, NY


In March 2018, A Little Beacon Blog was the proud sponsor of the Move It Baby, Move It family dance party and fundraiser for the newly formed Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center. We checked in with the fundraiser's organizer and author of this article, Phoebe Zinman Winters, to see how it all went!

This dance party fundraiser for the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center tore up Quinn’s dance floor with some superstar DJs, raffle prizes and dancers that didn’t quit. Those dancing families raised $1,000 for the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, which helped the center open new doors.

Fundraising Opened the Doors To The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center

Photo Credit: Phoebe Zinman Winters.  The DJs are Decora and H2O.

Photo Credit: Phoebe Zinman Winters. The DJs are Decora and H2O.

We are so pleased to share such a great update from them! Karen Naimool from The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center reports that they used the funds to rent space in Newburgh for a "pop-up office."

"We are able to go into this venture for three months and are looking for additional funding to help us keep the doors open,” said Karen. The office will be used for general operations as well as a place where resources and events can be offered. The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center is involved in many events, education and trainings for community and board members; they also work on increasing their visibility in the community.

Fundraising Events Since Move It Baby, Move It

The Newburgh LBGTQ+ Center's Purple Rain Prince Tribute Dance Party and Drag Show Fundraiser was in June, and fundraising dancers laced up our dancing shoes again (or zipped up our dancing boots) and partied like it was 1999. It was an especially good time and the dance floor was overflowing with cuteness and love. 

Karen let us know about the results of the Prince Fundraiser: "It was an amazing success. Monies were raised by ticket sales, the GoFundMe, community member donations and local business sponsorship." Sponsors of that event included:
1. The Wherehouse
2. Shapiro's Furniture Barn
3. Blacc Vanilla
4. Black Lives Matter Hudson Valley
5. Millenium Tattoo
6. Hale's Hardware
7. Machu Picchu Restaurant
8. Liberty Street Bistro

The next dance party is a drag show happening during Newburgh's Last Saturday celebrations on August 25, from 10 pm to 2 am at The Wherehouse on Liberty Street in Newburgh.

How You Can Donate & Get Involved

The Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center set a fundraising goal in June 2018, and made it to $3,760.77! This funding will go towards programs (materials, advertising, etc…), stipends for organizers and further leadership development through trainings, retreats and workshops.

If you’d like to contribute to the center's current fundraising goals, you can donate at https://www.gofundme.com/5mprazs to continue to grow and support this valuable local resource in its mission to serve the needs of the community.

Stay tuned for more fabulous Move It Baby, Move It dance parties in the future, and if you have any great ideas for fundraising recipients, you can send them along to phoebe@alittlebeaconblog.com.

Happy Birthday, Newburgh Restoration Blog! 7th Anniversary

Photo collage of pictorial highlights from Newburgh Restoration.
Photo credit: Newburgh Restoration

The Newburgh Restoration blog celebrates its 7th year of publication this year, and the publisher, Cher Vick, has put together her yearly write-up of the highlights in Newburgh - among them, her graduation with a master's degree in Urban Planning. Her mission for the blog is "to be at the forefront of the Newburgh renaissance and encourage the revitalization of the city." She does this by "encouraging economic development, new businesses, rehabilitation of houses (vacant and occupied), home ownership, resident interviews, and the Newburgh arts scene."

Cher publishes almost every day, and if you sign up for Newburgh Restoration's newsletter, you can pretty much set your clock by it. At 6:02pm every day there is a new blog post, featuring a dose of what is going on in Newburgh. Like:

Pretty much, if you want to know what's going on in Newburgh, from home development, total house fixer-upper projects, new businesses opening, or the outcome of local events, Newburgh Restoration is your source to keep the pulse on Newburgh. If you are looking to move to Newburgh, or are a home improvement junkie, your eyes will be glued to Cher's site, if they aren't already.

Local blogging is coming into its own with growing readerships, and offers audiences a special view into the depth of a city from different vantage points. Beacon has its own local blogs, like A Little Beacon Blog, Beacon Bits, Wigwam Economy, the original local forum Beacon Citizen which is like a lot of personal blogs consolidated together in one giant forum, Hudson Valley Compass (as the name suggests, this covers several destinations; Beacon is just one), Beacon Streets, and deep into the depths of Instagram there are such favorites as Beacon Transplant and so many others.

Just hit your #beaconny and #newburghny hashtags, and you'll discover all of the lovely and hopeful depictions of activities happening around here.

Congratulations on your anniversary, Newburgh Restoration!