12 Winters Blog

Women Writers reading, and release date for Men of Winter

Posted in November 2010 by Ted Morrissey on November 7, 2010

Last evening the Women Writers Association of Central Illinois, in conjunction with the Sangamon Watercolor Society, held an open-mic reading with the release of Mosaics 3: Art anthology of short stories and poetry.  The reading, held at Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield, Illinois, was well attended, and I daresay no one could have been disappointed in the material presented by the poets, writers, and watercolorists who came together for the event. The Women Writers Association is marking its twenty-seventh year.

The event was MC-ed by Dr. Rachell N. Anderson, formerly of Springfield but now residing in Mississippi, who has been a member of the WWA for twenty-five years. In addition to her MC duties, Rachell read a memoir piece from Mosaics, “For the Kindness of Strangers,” that was humorous, touching, and insightful. She writes of nearly running out of gas while driving through Arkansas, discovering, in a sudden panic, that she’d absentmindedly left behind her purse and with it the wherewithal to fill her tank. Other readings from the anthology that impressed me very much were Kimberly K. Magowan’s long poem “The Pebbled Path” (dealing with the tragic effects of Alzheimer’s disease), Pat Martin’s poem “Life Line” (about waiting for a call from a daughter who’s in the path of a tornado), and Debi Sue Edmund’s memoir “Moving Day” (in large part about the family cat who refuses to enter his pet carrier to be transported to his new abode).

In listing these, I leave out many worthy others. Other contributors to Mosaics 3 are Kathleen O’Hara Podzimek, Linda McElroy, Celia Wesle, Anita Stienstra, Jennifer C. Herring, Cindy Ladage, and Jean Staff. I want to make special note of not only Anita Stienstra’s remarkable reading of two ekphrastic poems that she wrote in connection with watercolor pieces by Sangamon Society members, but also that she edited and produced Mosaics 3, a lovely book that features cover art by Kathleen O’Hara Podzimek. Anita is editor and publisher of Adonis Designs Press, which does the important work of bringing out local voices who otherwise may not be heard. As a teacher, I’m especially appreciative of Anita’s efforts to produce The Maze, an anthology of work by local teenagers.

On the Men of Winter front, the publisher, Punkin House Press, has indicated my novel will be officially released November 23. PHP’s founding CEO, Amy Ferrell, and I will talk tomorrow about marketing and so forth. Somewhat along those lines, I’m playing around with making an audio recording of my reading the novel’s first chapter to post at the website. If it goes well, I may record myself reading one or two of my short stories also. Obviously, I hope the recordings might bring some (positive) attention to my work — but also I just enjoy reading aloud. In class these days we’re reading Frankenstein, and I especially love reading Mary Shelley’s prose aloud. (An editor who rejected my work said that he liked it, but my prose was “overheated” — which I took as a compliment as it is exactly how I would describe Mary Shelley’s style in Frankenstein — hmmm, does that mean that I write like a 19-year-old girl? So be it.)

On my current writing project, the Authoress, I’ve taken a few days away from composing to read, carefully, Romeo and Juliet, as the play seems to want to colonize my novel as a subtext. Before diving into the play itself, I’m glad that I read Gail Kern Paster’s essay “Romeo and Juliet: A Modern Perspective” in the Folger Library 1992 edition of the play. In it, Paster makes the case that Juliet’s rejecting her father’s plans for her marriage and her choosing her own marital path is a challenge to long-standing patriarchal order, or in Paster’s words, a “conflict between traditional authority and individual desire” (p. 255). Paster’s essay made me more keenly aware of challenges to traditional authority in the play, and this is precisely what my novel is looking for in directing me toward Romeo and Juliet. I’ve been especially interested in issues of identity and naming in the play. In the iconic first orchard scene, for example, Romeo’s identity is “bescreen’d in night,” and when Juliet asks him pointblank, “Art thou not Romeo and a Montague?” he is ready to shed both “if either thee dislike” (2.2). An especially provocative image, given this reading of the play, is Juliet’s declaration that if she awakens in the Capulet vault and discovers that her and Romeo’s desperate plan to be together has not come to fruition, she will “dash out [her] desperate brains . . . with some great kinsman’s bone” (4.3).

I’m just about done reading/annotating the play, so hopefully I can get back to writing chapter 19 on the morrow.

tedmorrissey.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: