March 22, 2012
This week I have four readings as part of my term as the Writer-in-Residence for the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo). At one of the high schools a student asked about "the hardest part of being a full-time writer." I answered it was not only being a full-time writer but being a full-time secretary, publicist, and travel agent. In other words, it would be a mistake to think that being an writer is the same as giving oneself more time to write, at least in my case. I felt my answer was a bit disappointing (or perhaps too bureaucratic), but it was honest. Some weeks it is all I can do to keep my paperwork in order and clean clothes in my suitcase.
That said, last week this job took me to Colorado. Yes, I had to hit the ground running--make the plane, get the rental car--and I did five readings and classroom visits in less than 36 hours in Denver and Pueblo. But then got to steal an extra day and a half to spend with long-lost family in their mountain home, where I got to shower outside, by a lake (the view above), and then watch sunrise over the same pond (the view below). I might not have gotten much time to write last week (save a new Modern Alice story, "Old Flame," which I shyly drafted while flying Frontier Airlines), but I will never take such weeks for granted.
Speaking of the horizon...so many things coming up in March and April! Look to the right & you'll see I'm busy--this weekend's Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, a seminar at The Writer's Center, trips to Pittsburgh and New York. But let me draw your attention to non-Sandra-centric events that promise to be great....
FRIDAY, MARCH 23 - 7:30 PM - EMERGING WRITER FELLOWS READING
The Writer's Center is located at 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD 20815.
Three of the Writer’s Center’s 2011–2012 Emerging Writer Fellows come together to share their award-winning work with our community. This event is free. Don’t miss this opportunity to see rising stars in American fiction and poetry.
TRACI BRIMHALL - Brimhall is the author of Our Lady of the Ruins, selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Rookery, winner of the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Her poems have appeared in New England Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, The Kenyon Review, Poet Lore, and Southern Review. She teaches at Western Michigan University where she is a doctoral candidate and a King/Chávez/Parks Fellow.
JOANNE DIAZ - Diaz is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, The New York Times Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. Her book, The Lessons, won the Gerald Cable first book award and was published in 2011. Her poems have been published in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, and Third Coast. She is an assistant professor in the English department at Illinois Wesleyan University.
IRA SUKRUNGRUANG - Sukrungruang is a Thai American, born and raised in the southside of Chicago. He co-edited with Donna Jarrell two literary anthologies about fat: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. His work has appeared in The Sun, Creative Nonfiction, North American Review, and other literary journals. Recently, his memoir, Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, was published by University of Missouri Press. He is the co-founder of Sweet: A Literary Confection, an online periodical, and teaches in the M.F.A. program at University of South Florida.
Thursday, April 5 - 7 PM - CAFE MUSE LITERARY SERIES
The Word Works presents monthly literary programs that open with Michael Davis on classical guitar. Open readings follow the featured readers. Sign up begins at 7:00pm. This event is free to the public. Friendship Heights Village Center is a five-minute walk from the Friendship Heights Metro stop (red line) at 4433 South Park Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland.
KEVIN MCFADDEN - McFadden is the author of Hardscrabble (University of Georgia Press), which received the George Garrett Award for poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Great Lakes College Association’s New Writers Award. His poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Fence, Kenyon Review, Poetry, and in other publications. He is the Chief Operating Officer at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
ANGIE HOGAN - Hogan's poems have been published in journals including The Antioch Review, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She holds degrees from Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia, where she was a Hoyns Fellow as well as the recipient of a Javits Fellowship. She lives near Charlottesville and works at the University of Virginia Press.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 11 - 7 PM - PITCHAPALOOZA!
Politics & Prose at 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
WHAT: Pitchapalooza is American Idol for books (only without Simon). Twenty writers will be selected at random to pitch their book. Each writer gets one minute—and only one minute! In the last month, three writers have gotten publishing deals as a result of participating in Pitchapalooza.
WHO: Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are co-founders of The Book Doctors, a company dedicated to helping authors get their books published. They are also co-authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published: How To Write It, Sell It, and Market It… Successfully (Workman, 2010). Arielle Eckstut has been a literary agent for 18 years at The Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. She is also the author of seven books and the co-founder of the iconic brand, LittleMissMatched. David Henry Sterry is the best-selling author of 12 books, on a wide variety of subject including memoir, sports, YA fiction and reference. They have taught their workshop on how to get published everywhere from Stanford University to Smith College.
HOW: At Pitchapalooza, judges will help you improve your pitch, not tell you how bad it is. Judges critique everything from idea to style to potential in the marketplace and much, much more. Authors come away with concrete advice as well as a greater understanding of the ins and outs of the publishing industry. Whether potential authors pitch themselves, or simply listen to trained professionals critique each presentation, Pitchapalooza is educational and entertaining for one and all. From Miami to Portland, from LA to NYC, and many stops along the way, Pitchapaloozas have consistently drawn standing-room-only crowds, press (a New York Times article) and blog coverage, and the kind of bookstore buzz reserved for celebrity authors.
PRIZE: At the end of Pitchapalooza, the judges will pick a winner. The winner receives an introduction to an agent or publisher appropriate for his/her book.
PRICE OF ADMISSION: To sign up to pitch, you must purchase a copy of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. Anyone who buys a copy of receives a FREE 20 minute consultation, a $100 value. If you don’t want to pitch, the event is FREE.
...C'mon guys, you have to admit: this is intriguing. If I'm in town, I'll be there.