Friday, September 22, 2006

an attempt only


Last weekend I went to a writers' conference at College of the Redwoods, Del Norte--my first, I believe. There were about a dozen authors present with their books on display for sale, several readings (poetry, history, fiction, autobiography, travel and trail guides, children's lit, sci fi, mystery, etc.) by the authors, a panel on "process" comprising a half dozen authors. There were several seminars on marketing.

As well, there was an attractive continental breakfast and a delicious catered luncheon.

Unable to buy all the books that interested me, I restricted myself in my book buying.

To date I have read Dennis Powers' exhaustively researched story of the last voyage of the Brother Jonathon and Jean Hegland's "Into the Forest", as well as "The Zero".

"Into the Forest" pulls one deeply into the collective unconscious of bioneer consciousness, tapping into current collective responsibility 'mythology'; it is gripping.

Emily Fox Gordon's "Are You Happy" is a winner in ALL RESPECTS!

Ms. Fox Gordon, in prose as enchantingly chosen as any Bronte sister, describes her upbringing in a small college town in Massachusetts on a street called College Place (a mythical name, perhaps).

Anyway, I am back to reading the literature of dead guys (just for today): "Kidnapped" (R .L. Stevenson).

Still, it was fun reading the College of the Redwoods, Del Norte, poetry journal (the KERF)- A BEAUTIFUL VOLUME- and getting to meet 'cutting edge', LIVING writers at the College of the Redwoods, DEL NORTE WRITERS' CONFERENCE.

Kudos to the CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM at College of the Redwoods, Del Norte, and to their innovating STAFF and FACULTY.


At 8:25 AM, Blogger Jess D'Zerts said...

I'm envious, Chuck, I haven't been to a writer's conference in ages. At the last one I went to, the keynote speaker was a well-known author whose name you would easily recognize. Instead of speaking, he read from a chapter of the book he was then working on (a title you'd surely recognize too). No, not read from. Mumbled from. Into his shirt collar. I was sitting fairly close to the dais but still could not hear him. I think that was the first time I realized that writers are ordinary people. Good to know!

At 10:55 AM, Blogger chuck said...

Oh sure, Jess..."writers are ordinary people."

Next you will tell me they are no smarter than anyone else.



Are you trying to erode the foundations of my faith in the WRITING GODDESSES AND GODS IN THEIR GREAT PANTHEON?

Ah desperation! If the GLITTERATI
ain't the LITERATI, where does that leave the rest of us?

-"Thanks for 'sittin' on the curb'
here with me."

-"Trade you my sling for your arrow."

At 12:04 PM, Blogger LJ said...

And did you want to write even more than before you went?

What a perfect way to spend a weekend, Chuck. Thanks for giving us a wrap-up.

At 1:04 AM, Blogger chuck said...


Since the writers' conference of a week ago I have not been inspired to write much.

I calligraphed a postcard to my MOM in very rudimentary Chinese; one to my son and his wife (who can read, I hope, my poorly worded Chinese argot); and a postcard to my brother and his wife, whom I believe can decipher my Chinese slang.

My mom doesn't read Chinese, but she has neighbors at Stanford who do...and she loves calligraphy, art, and language (French, for her)...and so she says she is pleased with any visual/verbal collage in foreign idiom(s).

Rather than describe myself as a postcard writer, I can now "promote" myself as a WRITER OF VERBAL COLLAGES...only if I want to, though.

I think I prefer my former self-designation: postcard writer.

Before postcard writer, I was "a man of letters"; however, except for my MOM, my letter writing friends died off: journalist and essayist, Molly Gordon; historian and economist, Charles Kindleberger; violinist and teacher, Claire Oppenheim; Parisian expat-Texan and lover of literature, Raine Mommessin.

Kindleberger's wittiest writing is in his privately published memoirs and in his chapbooks. Same for Moe Abramowitz, another former president of the American Economic Association, whose 'chapbook memoirs' I have. Both of these men "spun good yarn". mom, Joanna, has the ability-- or has had the ability--
to write really evocative travelogue letters of considerable length, breadth, and erudition, though she sometimes gets a little "precious" on the distictions between fine art and "crafts".

And she name drops some: she calls ALEXANDER CALDER, 'Sandy'; JAMES RESTON, 'Scotty'; K. CARLYLE, 'Kitty'; former Senator BRADLEY, 'BILL'; ADMIRAL STOCKDALE, 'Jim'...and though she met them all--and some presidents and 1st LADIES, too--it seems a bit pretentious to me to call them by their nicknames or first names.

BUT, hey...she's 94 and she is old enough to feel free in behavior and in I'm gonna button my lip before she gets wind of me talkin' behind my momma's back: "WHY, THAT JUST AIN'T RIGHT!"

MOSTLY, she's a good-hearted woman!

What do you write when you want to end for now...oh yes,


At 5:51 AM, Blogger Mary said...

I have NEVER been to a writers' conference. Sounds good. Glad you enjoyed it.

At 9:57 PM, Blogger chuck said...

Yes, it was enjoyable, Mary.

I especially was pleased to hear authors reading their own writing.

"Live Performances", as it were.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger LJ said...

So...(she said, reading the reply)you didn't feel like writing? Grinning. Um.
What's know...above "mary said"...?
And there is no NO form of writing more wonderful than letters!
I love it when you go on a roll!

At 12:09 AM, Blogger chuck said...


When I receive a letter, I get such a "boost": I am receiving a hand-crafted, heartfelt expression (usually positive) from someone else.

The only possible equivalent emotional experiences are receiving and giving humane touch and the loving preparation and consumption of food.


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