Monday afternoon and Tuesday evening openings. Get your project on track!
At the Independent Writers’ Studio, I offer two groups for writers: Monday afternoons from 1-3 PM and Tuesday evenings, 7-9 PM.
The room is an invitation to write: a long and much loved red mahogany table, a coffee pot perking, and tea water heating await group members. Our writers come from all walks of life, and many have found a niche with us. A calendar is on the wall of the studio on the third floor of the Clover Block building. An old photo of my grandma Anderson presides on the corner chair — she was young in the photo taken sometime before 1900. Copies of Clover, A Literary Rag and awards and posters from previous Clover events are evident.
I begin each group with a writer’s exercise — questions — with the directions –choose one or more or none but write for ten minutes or so. When time is called and hellos are shared we go around the table reading the answers to the questions. If a writer chooses not to share, that is fine.
We are not here to force a certain way to write or a how/to to take part in the group structure. We are here to write and to motivate all of us to bring our writing up a notch — no matter what level you believe your writing is on — it can move demonstrably in a group setting.
I encourage writers to understand his or her process when it comes to writing with the hope of gaining a keen understanding of our muses — when/ where and how to take advantage of the artistic urge to write.
When we finish sharing answers to questions, each person at the table has at least 10 minutes to present a portion of the project he or she is working on — the range for projects have included non fiction guides, poetry, novel, essay, children’s and young adult fiction, and journaling. Each one brings a copy for me to follow along and/or copies for the group to read along with the writer.
My job is to mentor the process — I am candid and honest and my only goal is to make sure that the writer and I are on the same track. After I respond others in the group do as they may. The questions and discussions that ensue are insightful. We are the finest audience for new material — we listen with keen interest.
So come on in and see for yourself — get to know us. The cost is $11 a session and the first time is free. If you pop in please bring something of yours to share. We love new voices.
Look forward to seeing our ad in Whatcom Watch and on Facebook.
Clover Block Building — corner of Commercial and Holly, downtown Bellingham.
Mondays 1-3 PM
Tuesday evening, 7-9 PM
Calling on poets, storytellers, memoirists and essayists — it is CLOVER time!
We need your submissions now for our December book. Follow the link to Submittables to file yours there. Easy to do. The only question remains, Why not?
By your submission, you are supporting yourself as an artist and the literary community which needs support. Good insightful writing is resistance against the status quo.
Our closing date for December publication is September 30. Get crackin’! And get your submission to Clover today.
I am in Brussels where fall has settled in. In the park across the street trees are changing shades of green to autumn rusts. Rain falls at a steady pace–the perfect day to read submissions. I am hoping one of them is yours.
Sunday, Clover, A Literary Rag has a wonderful show at Village Books. Garrett Sanford is coming from Reno to read with us. We celebrate Laurel Leigh — she is following a new direction and will be leaving Bellingham at the end of the month. If you have not heard her read, you better take advantage of this opportunity. Paul Hunter joins us from Seattle — his work has been featured on the PBS News Hour.
Jim Bertolino is going to read along with Luther Allen. Luther hosts a series of themed poetry programs called SpeakEasy in Bellingham. Jim’s books are many and worthy, Ravenous Bliss among his latest titles. Luther and Jim’s support of Clover, amazing. Thank you gentlemen.
Christine Kendall is coming from her home in Twisp to read. Gary McWilliams flies back from Alaska and Carla Shafer arrives from a holiday trip from (holy!) Toledo. Abbe Rolnick rolls in from Skagit County and Caitlin Thomson is in the midst of a move. These writers are dedicated to the craft of of writing. Carla began Chuckanut Sandstone Writers in 1991. Abbe is at work on a series of environmental mysteries based in her neighborhood. Gary has a new book called Anchor and Pick just out, and Christine’s new book, Resting in the Familiar is getting ready for press. Caitlin co-founded the Poetry Marathon which is now an international event.
Not to forget Jennifer Bullis and Susan Chase-Foster. Jennifer’s completed a manuscript of resistance poetry called The Tongue of Narcissus. Susan’s voice –her very being — allows the muse breath.
A shout out to Village Books — our wonderful hosts! You don’t want to miss out. I’ll see you Sunday, September 10 at 4 at Village Books. Stop by and say hello and prepare for splendicity.
Sunday September 10, at 4 PM Clover, A Literary Rag returns for a reading at Village Books in Fairhaven. We have a wonderful list of contributors in volume 13, twelve of whom will read at our event.
Join us! If you are on Facebook, like Clover‘s page.
Clover is an award winning magazine based in Bellingham. We feature stories, poetry and reviews. You can subscribe. We are always open for submissions. Here is where to do that. We are just beginning to read for volume 14–the deadline is September 30.
The best way to support Clover is to buy it!
See you Sunday!
Reminder – John James Reid presents from his latest collection of poetry, Mid-Atlantic, this Saturday, August 26, at 7PM, at Village Books in Fairhaven. Grab a chair, no one reads better than an Irish poet! I’ll be there to introduce John.
John’s mother, Maureen Reid, raised her ten children in Belfast during the Irish Troubles. John’s father was killed during a conflict that raised terror in the households of Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Conflict pitted Catholics against Protestants from the 1960s to Good Friday, 1998. Acts of terrorism were common. Raising children during these times an act of heroism.
About this John relayed this morning:
“Fine Point Films in Ireland is currently filming a documentary about an international art exhibition called Silent Testimony, which contains 18 dramatic portraits of victims of the conflict in N. Ireland. One of the portraits is of my Mother, Maureen Reid. It has been in Belfast, Dublln, Paris and is due in the US in the not too distant future. The story of the exhibition and artist is on the web.
“I mentioned the idea of writing a script about the life of my remarkable mother and the film company is very interested in this and encouraging me to do it. It will tell the story of a modern Irish mother, and mother of 10 children, who raised them all on her own, after my father was killed in the conflict. She never re-married. She became very well known for her unbelievable journey and was selected as one of the sitters for the exhibition. She passed away several months before it opened.
“It will be a story of great love, sadness, heroism, violence, art, and a celebration of Irish life and humour. It is a big idea but strangely the structure of it came to me almost immediately. Poetry may have to wait a while.”
Now, it is my belief that to write such a script is the essence of poetry, in just another form.
Don’t miss John James Reid at Village Books in Fairhaven this Saturday, August 26 at 7 PM. The book is Mid-Atlantic, available at Village Books in Bellingham.
Mid-Atlantic, poems of separation and the sea is a new collection by local poet, John James Reid. He reads from this volume at Village Books, Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7 PM. I shall be honored to introduce John, a Clover contributor, at his reading.
John James Reid is an Irish poet, architect and mediator who lives in Bellingham. Mid-Atlantic, is his third book of poetry. Previous books include After Six Weeks and The Goalkeeper, previously hosted by Village Books. Life’s personal journey continues to inspire his poetry, in the post-Heaney world, that he believes needs gently softened, revealed and articulated.
The poems in Mid-Atlantic speak to the soul. John’s writing is honest and compelling. Carol Graham’s paintings perfectly compliment the poems in this existential compilation: How do we deal with separation? How did we get here? And where do we go from here — when the here is a place caught between continents on a sea with no land in sight.
Profits from Mid-Atlantic will go to the Dispute Resolution Center in Bellingham.
I asked John some questions via email and he kindly responded.
- What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work?
Learning English language and literature at school. The language of Shakespeare, the poetry of Wordsworth, Keats, the War Poets, the great WB Yeats, Joyce,… and on!
- How does writing change the writer?
You turn in on yourself. The opening of an awareness of language, the resonance and power of words, the simple pleasure of reading, the open invitation to be creative, it’s pulling power. Writing changes you in the quest for meaningful language to search out thoughts and feelings and dreams. You find more of yourself.
- What books have fortified you as a writer?
I bought The Collected Poems of WB Yeats from a restored famine poor house in County Donegal in NW Ireland in a sale for £1.99 almost 25 years ago. Best book I ever bought. Old and timeless.
I also began collecting the poetry books of Seamus Heaney from second book shops over time from The Death of a Naturalist to Aeneid, published after his death. Edward Hirsch’s The Poet’s Choice is a favourite too for its worldly perspective. I could go on but a deep love of Irish and English poetry books is evident! I am reading Jonny Cash’s Forever Words now.
- Why is the unconscious mind a writer’s best friend?
Because it germinates the idea and the words for writing. For me as an architect, it also generates a visual. For Mid-Atlantic, it came as the front cover image for the book and the metaphor of the sea. In my second book, The Goalkeeper the idea of my mother as a keeper watching her ten children in the wake of the Irish Troubles appeared from deep within. The unconscious brought these things to me. I am not sure I would have found these ideas if I had gone looking for them. I allow that my e my next idea and my next thought germinates from the unconscious. After Six Weeks traveled a different path. This volume of poetry was born from a hard grief and a love in deep loss—a healing journey.
- What are you working on now?
Nothing but I am thinking about an idea about spaces; maybe, because I am an architect. An idea about describing architectural spaces and other spaces. The spaces that touch us and make our lives different. The empty spaces. The surprising space that can burst us alive. I leave it to the unconscious to crystallize it further. An idea came to me about two empty rocking chairs in a space for some reason. The different spaces we all move through, conscious and unconscious.
- What is next for you?
To read more and to wait. I plan to read from the collected works of the Irish poet Paul Muldoon. I want to read more of Whitman, was well. I like the idea of going to Litfuse, the poetry conference in Yakima, maybe. And maybe just learning more.
A place I can never leave really. It is in my grain. It offers me his history, knowledge, culture, pain and perspective—certainly my foundation. The US America relationship is also special.
- You say that all profits from the Mid-Atlantic will go to the Dispute Resolution Center. Your relationship to that?
The Dispute Resolution Center. It seemed relevant to donate all proceeds to the DRC as they deal with separation all the time—the theme of the book. I wanted to acknowledge the work of the Center as an invaluable community service and as a healer.
- What do you want the reader to know about you?
My love of poetry and something I have turned to for enjoyment and width and therapy. Born from my Irish childhood and my history. And for the wonderful places it will take me and the inner world it shows me—as well as well as an avenue to make new friends!
Clover kicks off September with an event at Village Books at Bellingham’s Fairhaven location. Sunday, September 10.
Fifty-five poets and storytellers make this edition possible. Twelve of our contributors will represent us all in Volume 13 at our event. You will get a mix of poetry and stories — fiction and memoir based.
If you write and have not submitted to Clover — why not? If you have knocked on our door once or twice with no response — keep knocking. We read everything we receive. We welcome simultaneous submissions. We would love to hear from you — our submissions close for Volume 14 on September 30, 2017.
Norman Green and I received a Mayor’s Art award this year for Clover. We work with a “why not” attitude.
Writing is a practice. If you practice with a good heart and open attitude, the world of ink and paper comes alive. I witness this in writer’s groups I lead.
Support Clover, A Literary Rag! You can buy a copy. You can submit your work to it. And you are kindly invited to see what it is all about at Village Books, September 10 at 4PM.
Norman Green and I accepted Mayor’s awards for the Arts for our little Rag from the ‘Ham. We were honored to be in the company of other recipients; among supporters, friends and family who encourage us each day.
To dreamers who may be reading this note let me advise:
I was born with cerebral palsy in an era where kids like me were segregated, teased and bullied. My biggest goal as a child was to appear normal — to make recess something less than hell each day. In class I had my hand up first; I knew the answers and in the schoolroom kids had to obey the teacher, so I was safer than when the bell rang for the playground.
Those early fears are difficult to overcome, and I try each day to walk tall — to blend. I haven’t overcome those fears, but I have confronted them.
For all this blending business: I like bright colors. The little girl dream of being a dancer never really went away. Teased and humiliated early on, I decided the world will always have bullies, and I will always remember. I concluded I may as well do what I wanted — let my fears tag along — and see what happened next.
And that is a game changer.
Don’t be afraid of falling–on the floor — over you go — flop. It happens and will happen if you are pursuing anything worthwhile. If anyone laughs, remember you have me in your corner. I might not be there but I will help you get up.
Dream big. Live long and let the sun shine in.