Dec 152015

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

The piece I’m reading is “The Tale of the Christmas Axes.” This is the very first essay I wrote when I started my blog “Running with Stilettos” several years ago. And it came about when–during the first Christmas holiday after my divorce–I had handed over the rolling pin and the cookie cutters to my kids to do the traditional Christmas cooking decorating. I was absolutely exhausted by the buildup to the holiday–cooking, cleaning, trying to make everything “perfect” despite the personal upheaval. So I sat and relaxed in the living room while they decorated, and from all the sounds–jokes, laughter, glasses clinking, cookie sheets clattering–they were really having a great time together. I didn’t see that they’d decorated some of the cookies like bloody little axes until they’d left for the evening. And it was just so hysterically PERVERSE and antithetical to the classic Christmas photos you see in magazines, that I just had to write it all down…once I stopped laughing!

What has changed since you last read at Waterline?

What has changed since I read at Waterline? Good lord, what hasn’t changed? This summer I sold my home of 32 years, with 14 acres of forests and fields, and moved to a sleepy residential neighborhood in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where I still work as a prosecuting attorney. I’ve downsized considerably, and adjusted to walking my wolf-sized dog, Lucky, several times a day. (He used to just blast out the door on his own to chase deer and turkeys and rabbits.) We’re both losing weight! Writing had been pushed to the back shelf for a year and a half for the house adventure, but I’m getting back in the saddle again. On the writing front, I’ve finally finished the first draft of a children’s chapter book “Finnigan the Circus Cat” and will start shopping it around soon to agents and publishers. I’ve also gone back to work on a YA novel that I hit “pause” on at the halfway mark while I focused on the house.

What is the value of Waterline Writers, or an organization like Waterline Writers, that provides a venue for writers to read, or perform, their work?

What is the value of Waterline Writers…? I am such a fan of writers getting up and “reading out loud” in front of other people. Waterline Writers is hands-down the most gorgeous and artistic venue I’ve done “live lit” at in the several years since I decided to put my fear of public speaking to the test, drive to Chicago and read a chapter from one of my books at one of the early “Essay Fiesta” gatherings. Since then I’ve read in bookstores, libraries, a tattoo parlor, and a couple of bars. I wrote an essay about it a few years ago for my blog at Growing Bolder. Here’s the link. As a writer, it can be scary to get out from behind your keyboard and put your words in front of a group. But there is so much positive energy that comes from it too…and I always come away from these events with my senses just crackling from all the different stories and ways of seeing the world that the other authors have brought to the table.

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