Jan 172016

January 17th 2016:  Welcome to Waterline Writers! We host curated readings on 3rd Sundays, 7 PM and a 5-minute-limit Open Mic at 8:30. You can ask questions after each reading tonight! Now, our lineup:

Donald J. Hunt grew up near Rochester, New York, where his love of writing was kindled, no pun intended, by writing contests in Mrs. Shannon’s fifth grade class. Those early explorations into the imagination sparked a nagging passion to weave tales. That insistence ebbed and flowed but never left. Don has taught at the middle school, high school and university levels and has compiled a lot of ideas, partial scraps of stories, and reams of notes. Jupiter Justice, his first novel, is available tonight for $10. His lives in the suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two children, whom he’s striving to indoctrinate into the ways of the Force and all things Geek. The dog, Indiana Jones, and the cat, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, wholeheartedly support his endeavors. donaldjhunt.com

Michelle Donfrio works as an Advertising Media Supervisor in Chicago. Before working in advertising, she wrote across genres as an intern at WGN Television, as a freelance writer for Village Profile, and as a teen board member of the Joliet Herald News. She is currently working on a Masters in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University. She’s also a poetry reader at Minerva Rising and has recently published in Silver Birch Press’s The Great Gatsby Anthology and in the online journal Crack the Spine, which included an interview with her on their website. She will be reading her Great Gatsby poetry this evening along with a medley of some of her other work.

Harold G. Walker is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps where in 1969-70, as first lieutenant, he was a CH-46 Helicopter Pilot: flying 1380 missions; accumulating 626 hours flight time and 69 air medals. He continued as a UH-1N “Huey” Helicopter pilot in HML-776, a reserve squadron which was mobilized for Desert Storm in 1991 and sent to the Philippines for rescue missions during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. He retired from the Reserve in 1996 as a Lt. Colonel, after his tour as Commanding Officer of HML-776. Upon retirement, he became a licensed private investigator and special investigator for the FBI. Harold has written extensively about his tour of duty in Vietnam through serialized excerpts provided to the Marine Corps History Branch and veterans from his Vietnam squadron. Those excerpts have formed the basis for his upcoming book, The Grotto, My Path to and from Vietnam. Harold’s first book, Murder on the Floodways, available tonight for $10, is the true story of a murder that took place on his family’s farm in the Bootheel of Missouri when he was twelve years old. It’s a best seller in the tri-state area of the Bootheel of Missouri, northeast Arkansas and northwest Tennessee. haroldgwalker.com

Vida Cross’s work references her ancestry as a 3rd generation Chicagoan and Bronzeville resident, as well as the art of Archibald J. Motley Jr. and poetic research of Langston Hughes. Several poems illustrate, as fictional characters, her grandparents, the people displayed in Motley’s paintings, and Hughes, and it’s important to note that these are blues poems looking at a blues history. Vida received MFAs in Writing and Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA in English from Iowa State U. and a BA in English-writing and History from Knox College. She’s a 2007-13 Cave Canem Fellow with a 2010 Honorable Mention for her manuscript Bronzeville at Night: 1945 in their First Book Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in Tabula Poetica with Chapman U., Transitions with the WEB Institute of African American Research at Harvard, the Cave Canem Anthology XII, The Literary Review with Fairleigh Dickinson U., Reed Magazine at Reed College, and The Journal of Film and Video from U. of Illinois, Chicago. She will be reading at the Poetry Foundation’s Open Door Readings on March 15th!

Jenny Scott has published stories, poems, articles, and book reviews in newspapers, magazines and literary journals. She won a national prize in a Blue Mountain Arts poetry contest, and was poetry editor of Arts Beat Magazine.  She was most recently published in BARK Magazine. She’s attended many writing retreats, including the Jackson Hole Writers Conference in Wyoming. She is currently working on a novel that has been almost finished for a very long time. This is her third appearance at Waterline Writers!

Do you have a special bookshelf for authors you’ve met here at Waterline? (PLEASE tell us you do!) Buy a book from one of tonight’s authors or become a member of Water Street Studios, and we’ll refund your $5 admission.

At 8:30 PM: Nik Markevicius hosts our 5-minute-limit Open Mic! Sign up at the counter. No racist, sexist, homophobic or otherwise hateful content. Note that Open Mic material has not been screened.

Upcoming 2016 Waterline Writers events: Feb 21, Mar 20, Apr 17 and May 15th

Over 130 writers have been featured at Waterline Writers since February of 2012! Join them!

Read our Submission Guidelines, then send submissions to waterlinewriters@gmail.com

Are you connected? IF NOT, CHECK OUT WaterlineWriters.org 

  1. Learn about 20 area writers’ groups. Find the perfect format, day and time for you. 
  1. Teens can attend 3 world-class Wordplay workshops in Batavia, St. Charles and Elgin.
  1. Attend Open Mics! Paul LaTour’s Lit By The Bridge is 3rd Thursdays at Culture Stock, 43 E. Galena in Aurora. Sign up at 6:15. Open Mic at 6:30. Limit of 10 readers. Jan 21st featured writer is John Arends!
  1. 4. Frank Rutledge’s Harmonious Howl will return in April with signup at 6:30, open mic at 7, and free gelato or coffee to readers! On the patio at Graham’s 318, 318 3rd in Geneva.

Our events are filmed for future broadcast on BATV, HOWEVER … YOU can catch up on missed Waterline readings or re-experience your favorites at any time. Visit our Video Library, a treasury of over 225 individual readings!  

If you want more, check our website or Facebook page for Kevin Moriarity’s interviews with the writers.  You’ll find Chuck Bennorth’s beautiful portraits of our featured writers there as well!  

Thanks to Water Street Studios for hosting Waterline Writers! Water Street Studios has a lot to offer! Check out their new monthly gallery openings and School of Art classes!

Our neighbors at Kiss The Sky host great musicians and sell new and vintage vinyl, turntables and eclectic gifts!

Thanks to tonight’s readers, to volunteers Frank Rutledge, Erin Bell, Nik Markevicius, Chuck Bennorth, Ginny Klespitz, Barbara Barrows and Paula Garrett, and to Carolyn Abramofsky for our new logo photo! Thanks also to our wonderful audience for supporting this community of 350+ writers! Please share our contact information with other writers! We welcome your suggestions!

Your hosts, Anne Veague & Kevin Moriarity 

waterlinewriters.org     waterlinewriters@gmail.com    Like us on Facebook    Twitter @waterlinewriter


Jan 172016

The cold won’t shut us down! We’ll turn up the heat and warm up with hot coffee and tea, and the readings of Vida Cross (who’s traveling from 3 hours away!), Michelle Donfrio, Donald J. Hunt, Jenny Scott and Harold G. Walker! See you tonight, Sunday January 17th at 7 PM. Water Street Studios, 160 S. Water Street, Batavia!

Jan 152016


How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

When I was young, in the 4-5 grade, I wrote a poem and everyone in my family really responded to it.  Also, I read History books on Phyllis Wheatley and read her poems at around the same time: 4th grade.  I attended Scott Joplin School in Chicago and I would just take books out of the library that had to do with African American history, African American poetry.  I read Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes and this fueled my desire to write.

Describe your writing process.

I am a historian first.  I do a lot of thinking and reading and researching.  I do not write every day.  I have a project in the works every day; But most often, I am processing a concept everyday.

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

So many things inspired my work.  My poems are blues poems that reference art, music and develop a literary format for art and literature.  The main thing that encouraged me to create these poems was that someone told me that I could not combine writing, music and art.  This was my main form of inspiration.  I had already begun working on the concept of blues poetry, but when this person, an academic, said it had been done but that I could not do it, I dove right in and never looked back.  Also, my grandparents lives inspired the work.   I don’t write about myself, my friends, or my parents; but my grandparents lives were very interesting.

What are you working on now?

I am roaming through ancestry.com and seeing what’s there.

Jan 142016


How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

In fifth grade, our teacher used to have writing contests. My fellow classmates liked my stories, and that whet my appetite. I left that dream on the back shelf for a long time, but have dusted it off and finally finished my first book.

Describe your writing process.

With two little kids, finding time to write is challenging for me. I find it very helpful to have “Writing Jams,” where I get together with other writers at a coffee shop or library. I’m also part of a writing critique group, which I find essential for improving a story. I love the interchange. For the most part, I need to be sitting at my computer and hammering it out or researching details online. I try to make sure my science fiction is accurate and that my fantasy is logically consistent.

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

For Jupiter Justice, I had several influences. The primary one was Star Trek. I read once that, as much as Star Trek captured people’s imaginations about the future, it disillusioned many people, because they expected hyperdrive and aliens overnight. I wanted to write a compelling book set in the near-future, to help us get to the next stage of space exploration. Another inspiration was the book Leviathan’s Wake, which the Syfy channel’s series The Expanse is based on. It starts out very gritty, film noire, and I have always liked that genre.

What are you working on now?

My current project is a book where two ancient organizations are battling for power using magic and modern technology. A once-homeless kid from Detroit named Milton—who is now a secret agent—must save three siblings from being captured and entangled in an evil plot. It’s a lot of fun to write. I’m working through the second draft now. It’s also high stakes, of course. If they fail, multiple worlds will fall to darkness.

Jan 132016

Each year Waterline Writers and friends volunteer to judge Slammin’ The Sun Down, the teen spoken word poetry competitions where “the points are not the point; the poetry is the pointbut judges get to assign points anyway—after 15 minutes of training!  You don’t have to be a spoken word poet, a poet, or even a writer to be a judge.  If you have an open heart and an interest in young people and how they see they world they are inheriting and trying to negotiate, you’re qualified!

Poetry club students from Schaumburg, Bartlett, Glenbard East, and 3 Chicago high schools compete in these regional competitions in preparation for Louder Than A Bomb* in Chicago next month.

This year’s hosts are Adam Gottlieb and Corey Davis Dillard. For the workshops, they are joined by teaching artist  +

If YOU will be available THIS SATURDAY, January 16, from 9:30-3 (or even from 9:30-12), email us at waterlinewriters@gmail.com. There is no cost to judges for admission and participation in the workshops. If you’re not judging, admission is $7. This year STSD will be at:

Schaumburg High School 
1100 W Schaumburg Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60194

9:00 – 9:45 Student Check-in & Ice Breakers

9:30 Check-in for the judges!
9:45 – 10:15 Opening Ceremonies

10:15-10-30 Training for the judges!
10:30 – 11:30 Preliminary Bouts

(you’ll be assigned to one of two rooms)
11:30 – 12:00 Lunch (free for judges)
12:15 – 1:00 Breakout Workshops (free for judges)
1:00 – 1:30 Open stage for Workshop material
1:45 – 2:45 Finals for winners of a.m. bouts

(fewer judges needed)

Email waterlinewriters@gmail.com to sign up or ask questions, then visit Slammin’ The Sun Down on Facebook, and click Join or Maybe!

Testimonials: Judges say “I’d love to help out again next year!” and “I have been telling everyone–there is no shortage of young talent on the literary scene!” and “I was blown away! I wasn’t expecting it to be such an inspiring 2 hours!” “It was so much fun and I got a good poem out of the workshop.”

Diana Zwinak, Executive Director of Teen Writers and Artists Project, the organization that makes this event a reality, says, “Y’all don’t even KNOW the magic that can happen here!”  Anne Veague of Waterline Writers adds, “The opportunity to experience STSD as a judge really is one of the best opportunities we can send your way–don’t miss it!”

Louder Than A Bomb * links to the award-winning documentary about this phenomenon’s Chicago origins. The website with current details is under construction for a few days.

Jan 132016
22 year old First Lieutenant Harold G Walker, Marine Helicopter pilot , November, 1969. Phu Bai, South Vietnam.

22 year old First Lieutenant Harold G Walker, Marine Helicopter pilot , November, 1969. Phu Bai, South Vietnam.

How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

I have always been interested in history, even though I was a Biology Major in school.  I knew that I was living through a unique time period when the Vietnam War raged.  I kept a journal of thoughts and observations when in Vietnam that never left me and which are now included in the upcoming book, “The Grotto.” Upon retiring, I finally had the time to reflect and write.  First, without notes, I began writing what became, “Murder on the Floodways”. Next comes the experience of a lifetime, Vietnam. I began the writing in 1974 and with some luck, the book will be completed in the spring.

Describe your writing process.

I only work on nonfiction, which requires a great deal of research. When I have the book’s chronological order laid out, I do a draft, a “brain dump” that I let sit and age as I go forward into the next project. Then, upon returning to the original project, I work in relentless marathon sessions, researching and when possible, interviewing witnesses. I verify all events associated with the subject area, not unlike a criminal investigation. I do draft after draft until I am satisfied all the information is accurate. then comes the editors.

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

The incredible experience of Vietnam: a life changing event.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the Vietnam book now.  The next project has been laid out, which is my experience in the Philippines, during 1991, while conducting helicopter rescue operations during the volcanic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.  

Jan 122016


How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

I’ve made up stories for as long as I can remember. In first grade, I wrote a story called “The Math Path,” about a rabbit and some other animals going along a road and solving math equations written on the pavement. My teacher called my parents in to tell them how good it was. Looking back, the story doesn’t seem all that great, but that incident gave me great confidence in my writing and a lifelong appreciation of how teachers can affect young lives with positive words.

Describe your writing process.

I usually work in the morning/early afternoon. I begin by making coffee, the nectar of the gods. Before I get down to writing, I usually read for a while, either news, fiction, a short story, poetry or the Bible. After that, I’ll write for two or three hours, if I’m lucky and I don’t get caught up in the outside world.

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

I’ll be reading part of my novel, It’s Your Fault, but Please Forgive Me, which looks deeply into the challenges and rewards of forgiveness.

What are you working on now?

I’m almost finished with my novel and hope to send it off to agents soon. I recently had an essay published in Bark Magazine. I’ve had other essays, poems, and short stories published in the past, and plan to continue to submit to magazines and literary journals.