Rick Holinger’s fiction, nonfiction, poetry, criticism, and book reviews have appeared in The Southern Review, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, and Witness. His fiction collection, Not Everybody’s Nice, won the 2012 Split Oak Press Flash Prose Chapbook Contest, and Kattywompus Press published a chapbook of innovative flash fiction.Other full or part-time jobs include newspaper columnist, workshop moderator, and high school English teacher. He lives in Geneva, Illinois, with his wife and editor, Tia, and his two children when home from her U. Conn graduate school and his Chicago landscape architecture career. Rick is incredibly appreciative to Anne and Kevin for giving him a chance to try out his new magic act, using two of his Kane County Chronicle columns to somnabulize his audience for a full ten minutes.
What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?
Probably it won’t surprise anyone that the inspiration that motivated “For Your Safety…” grew from the consistently frightening and mean-spirited rhetoric of Donald Trump. The piece concludes with the warning that evil will triumph if reasonable people say or write nothing. Now is not the time to be reticent.
“Friday Night Lights…” was inspired by one of my students at Marmion Academy who wrote a brilliant article for the school newspaper questioning the amount of money in secondary schools going to sports (stables of coaches, state-of-the-art playing fields, etc.) as opposed to academia (teacher salaries, lower class sizes, etc.). A Batavia resident also complained in the Kane County Chronicle about property taxes going not to schools’ “needs, but for upgrades and sports facilities.”
What has changed since you last read at Waterline?
Because many members of the St. Charles Writers Group, which I moderated for twenty-one years, preferred to go back from meeting once a month to twice a month, I decided to hand off that position to someone new. My life with SCWG was a passion, not a job, and I hope whoever takes it on will be as excited to meet with the group on Saturday morning as I was, and corral just as many friends. As far as writing goes, I started out to write a novel, and ended up with a novella, which I keep cutting to fit word requirements for small presses and literary journals (with each word deleted, the work improves, I’m sure). My most recent reading occurred this August at FoxFire, in Geneva, where I joined seven other members of the Night Writers Workshop as a benefit for the Geneva Public Library, and to sample a delicious variety of hors d’oeuvres and wines served by the restaurant’s staff. Please join us next year if you can.
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 Waterline Writers does is unique and wonderful. Not only do readers have the opportunity to share their work by reading it out loud to people who appreciate good writing, but readers have their platform extended into venues that will enrich their exposure and careers. I’ve enjoyed the many different genres and styles delivered at Waterline events, and also the terrific opportunities to network with not only writers, but publishers, agents, and academics. Waterline is a gem that our community of writers and literary advocates need to keep polishing.