Dec 092017
 

Seth Henrikson, on the set of Pottersville

We’ll admit it! We’d all really like to write a story that makes the magical journey to the silver screen. Come to Waterline Writers on Sunday, December 17th at 7 pm for a full screening of the newly released feature film Pottersville and a conversation with director Seth Henrikson, of Batavia, who turned his friend Dan Meyer’s script into a movie.

As its title implies, we’re not in Bedford Falls anymore! Starring Michael Shannon, Ron Perlman, Judy Greer, Tom Lennon, Christina Hendricks and Ian McShane, Pottersville pays homage to It’s A Wonderful Life even as it careens into modern-day scenarios Frank Capra could never have imagined, capturing the craziness of the present and reflecting the best of the past. After your private screening, find Pottersville on Amazon or Netflix – it’s a warm and fun-filled movie to watch with family & friends over the holidays!

Everyone is welcome and there is no admission for this month’s event! Donations to the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry will be gladly accepted. We’ll have beer from Solemn Oath Brewery, wine from Bright Angel Wines, food from The Market at Gaetano’s, desserts from Limestone Coffee & Tea, hand-tooled pens from Wooden Writers and hand-constructed books from Tieri Ton! (Think last minute gifts!) We will not have an Open Mic at this month’s event.

We are still accepting submissions for Jan 21, Feb 18, Mar 18, Apr 15 & May 20. Follow Submission Guidelines at WaterlineWriters.org to be considered. Waterline Writers, 3rd Sundays at 7 pm, September to May, in the art gallery at Water Street Studios 160 S. Water Street, Batavia IL, now with elevator access. Contact Anne Veague or Kevin Moriarity at waterlinewriters@gmail.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Dec 082017
 
Nov 172017
 

The poems are set in the Jazz/blues period and I wanted to focus on children and their points of view.  I was inspired by the child who sits in the corner of one of Archibald J. Motley’s paintings: Bronzeville at Night.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

In high school I was the editor of a creative newspaper, Young Chicago.  It was an insert in a larger newspaper called New Expression.  I was the editor by default and ended up having to write stories and such to fill the pages.  I do not know if I enjoyed it, but I did know I would continue.

Describe your writing process.

I think, read and research a lot.  I do not write every day, although I would encourage others to do so.  I do not have a favorite time of the day to write: I tend to carve out space and time for each project.  The only pattern I follow is that I like having an office.  I must have an office.  I don’t always write in my office but I can’t really get anything done if I don’t have one.  I have home offices.  With my office I may write at a desk or throughout my home but I return to my office to re-organize and begin again.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

I will be reading poems with children in them.  The poems are set in the Jazz/blues period and I wanted to focus on children and their points of view.  I was inspired by the child who sits in the corner of one of Archibald J. Motley’s paintings: Bronzeville at Night.

What are you working on now?

I am doing research on Langston Hughes’ life story.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

Edward P. Jones

 

Nov 162017
 

As a punishment from our English teacher, the class had to write 1000 words on ‘How to Build a Lean-To Out of Wet Noodles.’ I was the only one to complete the assignment and the teacher had me read my nearly 1200 word composition to the class. They liked it and so did the teacher.”

 

 

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I guess I discovered I might have some ability during freshman year in high school. As a punishment from our English teacher, the class had to write 1000 words on “How to Build a Lean-To Out of Wet Noodles.” I was the only one to complete the assignment and the teacher had me read my nearly 1200 word composition to the class. They liked it and so did the teacher. Whenever we had writing assignments after that, I was asked to read them to the class. In my sophomore year, my English teacher, Mr. Tom Cahill, told me I should consider writing as a profession. About 50 years later, I decided to take him up on it.

Describe your writing process.

I have different writing processes depending on what I’m writing. I find I do best with time constraints. When I write my bi-weekly humor column for The Voice, I’m usually working on it the last two days before its due. When I was a copywriter, I had deadlines to produce ads and promotional materials for clients or magazines. For my stories, screenplays and novels, my best time to write is 10 am – 2 pm, but those hours aren’t available to me often, so I end up writing 9 to 12 or 1 am. For my novel, I wrote scenes on colored cards, coded to different story threads. I could lay them out and see if I was neglecting one story line and rearrange the cards to maintain balance. Most of what I wrote was from memory, but I researched army regulations, maps and Google Earth to make sure I wasn’t too far off base.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

My inspiration came from my fellow veterans. One afternoon, a group of us were sitting in the barracks at Eighth Army Headquarters in Seoul, Korea, exchanging stories of inanities in our jobs. A few of us were to be rotated back to the U.S. and out of the Army. One of the guys said someone should write a book about what went on, but another guy said nobody would believe it. I kept that thought and maybe 12 years later began turning the events into short stories that ended up getting published in different places. Eventually I had enough that I thought I could turn them into a novel.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on the prequel: Music Man–What Did You Do in the Band, Grandpa? I’m shopping around a screenplay adaption of a book by Wilson Casey. It’s the true story of the last moving train robbery in America in 1949. I’m finishing up work on a book Dick Tracy creator and Pulitzer Prize winner Dick Locher. He passed away this summer, so his wife and I completing it as a tribute to him. It will be published by Sourcebooks.

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

The last great thing I read was my tax refund from the IRS.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

I’d probably invite Joseph Heller to my party, Dave Barry as a second choice.

Nov 152017
 

I would invite Federico García Lorca. I want to ask him if he envisioned the metaphors he used in his poems. I want to know what frame of mind he was in when he wrote: We live beneath a giant mirror. Man is blue! Hosanna!”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

As a child, I fell in love with words and realized I could best express my yearnings in written form. I felt trapped by the sameness of the farming community I grew up in. Also, opportunities offered to girls were severely limited (no sports, years of dreary Home Economics classes, 4-H. etc.). Fields of corn seemed prison walls. Books provided escape to other places. I wrote poems, plays, and stories to give myself a voice.

Describe your writing process.

Since I now have two dogs, my writing schedule has changed. My writing day doesn’t begin until nine o’clock in the morning after I’ve responded to their needs. Then I take a cup of tea up to my study, read my email, go through Facebook postings, and spend the rest of the day writing, editing, or sending off material. Because I often write from a historical perspective, I do a lot of research, a great deal of it online. Within arm’s reach, I have several reference books: a dogeared 1977 edition of Roget’s Thesaurus; several dictionaries; Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition; King James Study Bible; the Chumash; A Poet’s Glossary by Edward Hirsch; a couple of atlases; two editions of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations; and Clement Wood’s The Complete Rhyming Dictionary. I try to write every day. If I’m writing a novel or short story, I outline. I haven’t outlined a poem yet, but I might.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

My southern ancestors were slaveowners in the Carolinas and Virginia. Several years ago, I discovered a court record, telling of abuses slaves suffered at the hands of my forefathers. That record figured in the writing of this book. So did the present political climate.

What are you working on now?

I’m trying not to get inspiration for anything other than poetry. I want to publish another poetry book, maybe with a short story or two. Nearly all the poems are written. I need to get them in order.

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

I’m currently enjoying John LeCarré’s A Legacy of Spies.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

I would invite Federico García Lorca. I want to ask him if he envisioned the metaphors he used in his poems. I want to know what frame of mind he was in when he wrote: We live beneath a giant mirror. Man is blue! Hosanna! I want to tell him how much I’ve learned from his work.

 

Nov 142017
 

My first impulse to write came from my mother, and from poetry. She would recite poetry aloud as she did housework – Yeats, Frost, Dylan Thomas, you name it. That got into my head and eventually it started to come out again, in my own words.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

My parents were both aspiring writers. My mother aspired to poetry and my father aspired to humor. I grew up in a house filled with books, many of them quite strange to be made available to young children. Would you let your pre-teens read Henry Miller? They did. Nothing was forbidden. It doesn’t seem to have damaged me. My first impulse to write came from my mother, and from poetry. She would recite poetry aloud as she did housework – Yeats, Frost, Dylan Thomas, you name it. That got into my head and eventually it started to come out again, in my own words. I began writing poetry in my teens after discovering some contemporary poets on my own (James Wright, Robert Bly and W.S. Merwin were the first) and when I managed to get published in some decent magazines that published some of my idols I knew I was a writer, or could be if I stuck with it.

Describe your writing process.

For much of my life I have made a living as a comedy writer, and during those times I wrote on deadline, usually starting early in the morning, at first light or before. At that time poetry was a personal pastime, not a profession, and so I would only jot down poems when I was inspired. Now that I have returned to poetry as my main focus, it is humor that I only write when I am inspired. Every morning I sit down and try to write poems, whether I feel inspired or not. I have no rituals as such. I do have a few ongoing projects that I turn to when the poetry is not flowing easily. For example, I have a series of sonnets about the Beatles called Fab Sonnets, and I’ve slowly been trying to learn how to write haiku. I try my hand at those if nothing else seems to be working.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

The piece “Letter of Recommendation” came to me after reading one too many such letters written by someone who obviously hated the person they were supposedly recommending. It is dangerous legally these days to refuse to give someone a good recommendation, but it must be tempting to try to give some hints and warnings. As many humor pieces do, I simply followed the idea to its logically absurd conclusion. The piece “The Spirit of Christmas” was born out of my own experience in the world of non-profit fundraising. I liked the idea of a fake charity pretending to raise money for Bosnian and Serbian orphans, and then becoming increasingly threatening as the series of appeal letters wore on. I liked the dramatic arc. Interestingly, after the piece was published in McSweeney’s, I got a call from a woman who worked for an agency at the U.N. dedicated to helping orphans. She demanded to know how I could make fun of such pitiable children. I patiently explained that I was making fun of fake charities and the sociopathic personalities behind them, not making light of the plight of real orphans. I then asked her if she had ever personally saved an orphan, and when she said no, I replied that I was two up on her, as I had adopted a couple of infant girls from China.

What are you working on now?

Most of my energy is currently going into poetry. I’ve started sending it out again for the first time since I was a teenager, and in the past year I’ve had 44 poems published or accepted in two dozen literary magazines, most recently in the Sun Magazine, Emrys Journal and Triggerfish Critical Review. My next book will probably be a book of poetry called One of These Things Is Not Like the Other. I am also working on an autobiographical novel called Honey Street, about growing up in a household run by a Mensa mother and a father who was both an ex-Marine sharpshooter and one of the original Mad Men.

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

Mostly these days I read poetry and science. I’ve been reading a lot of Nicanor Parra, the Chilean poet who called his work anti-poetry. He questions everything about what poetry is and can be, and makes you question it too. The science book that most impressed me recently was The Fabric of Reality by David Deutsch, a physicist involved in multiverse theory and one of the fathers of quantum computing. The chapter on how we can know there are other universes just blew the top of my head off. So I guess Emily Dickinson would call that poetry!

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

If I’m allowed to choose one humor writer and one poet to reflect my two main interests as a writer, it would be Robert Benchley for humor and W.S. Merwin for poetry. Benchley is the funniest writer who ever lived, in my opinion, and Merwin is our best living poet and someone whose example as a writer and a human being has been very important to me.

Nov 132017
 

My ongoing writing effort is a stage play … As a writer, I find it daunting to make the leap from bite sized bits of poetry to the whole groaning festal board of a full length drama. But I do know that poetry and plays worked out well for that William Shakespeare guy so maybe it can for me too.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

My father, Robert Reid, was a poet and was very widely published. Therefore, I grew up aware of the art form and spent many hours reading and memorizing poetry. I started to write stories and poems while I was still in grammar school. I would like to think my work is inspired by that of my dad.

Describe your writing process.

I’m not certain how honest I ought to be in my response. In the perfect universe, that I don’t inhabit, I leap out of bed and do yoga, cook breakfast and sit down to write for a few hours on my chapbook. In my actual universe, writing is haphazard at best! I do compose strictly with pen and paper. When I do get my work on the computer, I revise endlessly.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

This is difficult to answer because I tried to put together a potpourri of my work so there is no underlying theme. I wanted to include light verse, narrative poetry and work with a traditional rhyme scheme format. I am including two poems that have won national poetry competitions.

What are you working on now?

I am currently writing a submission for the next Journal of Modern Poetry with the theme : “Dear Mr. President.” It is just too good an opportunity to skip.

My ongoing writing effort is a stage play that has been on my storyboard for quite a while. As a writer, I find it daunting to make the leap from bite sized bits of poetry to the whole groaning festal board of a full length drama. But I do know that poetry and plays worked out well for that William Shakespeare guy so maybe it can for me too.

What was the last great thing you read by another author?

I am currently reading the Quran, which takes the format of a poem, as literature. Because the text cannot be rendered effectively in translation, my Arabic language studies at the University of Chicago have been invaluable in the process.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which writer, dead or alive, do you invite?

My biggest influence as a poet is the incomparable Ogden Nash. Nash is probably best remembered for his light verse “candy is dandy” but he was an accomplished lyric poet as well. He and I would have much to share over the repast I’m certain.

Nov 032017
 

Authors Vida Cross, Lynne Handy, Wayne E. Johnson, Kurt Luchs and Chris Reid will be featured at the next Waterline Writers event on Sunday, November 19th at 7 pm.

You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy Vida Cross’s poetry from Bronzeville at Night: 1949, inspired by the paintings of Archibald J. Motley, Jr., or to catch Lynne Handy’s fascinating characters, about to slip from the brink of Where The River Runs Deep’s first chapter. And don’t let the title fool you, not all of Wayne E. Johnson’s GI escapades are Rated G in The Militarized Zone: What Did You Do In The Army, Grandpa? Humor writer Kurt Luchs shares a couple of cathartic letters from hell – and from It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny). And Chris Reid’s spoken word poems speak to all, but we’re betting writers will especially love them!

Admission is $5/$3 students. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase an author’s book, beer from Solemn Oath Brewery, wine from Bright Angel Wines, a hand-tooled pen from Wooden Writers or a hand-constructed book from Tieri Ton. We also offer food from The Market at Gaetano’s and desserts from Limestone Coffee & Tea!

Everyone is welcome! Writers may bring a 5-minute piece to share at our 8:30 Open Mic or visit WaterlineWriters.org and follow the Submission Guidelines to be considered as a future featured writer. Waterline Writers, 3rd Sundays at 7 pm, September to May, in the art gallery at Water Street Studios 160 S. Water Street, Batavia IL. Find us on Facebook or Twitter. Contact us at waterlinewriters@gmail.com.