Waterline Writers

Jan 192018
 

…sadness that so many men, once admired, have fallen from grace, and worry over the impact of such news on my teenagers, trying to grow up while so many fall down.”

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

Frustration that an apparent predator was only narrowly defeated in his recent quest for a senate seat in Alabama, sadness that so many men, once admired, have fallen from grace, and worry over the impact of such news on my teenagers, trying to grow up while so many fall down.

What are you working on now?

My next column, which is shaping up to be about parenting in the shadow of ‘false’ alarms and fear. “We fully felt like we were about to die,” one mom said, following last week’s reportedly “false alarm” of a nuclear bomb said to be headed for Hawaii. Some parents reportedly stuffed their kids into sewers, hoping to shield them from the blast. Others phoned loved ones, including young children, and issued last “I love you’s” and excruciating goodbyes. However ‘false’ this alarm, we’ve learned from our response that we now believe the threat is real.

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

Anything by Oak Park-based novelist Elizabeth Berg. I just tucked into “Tapestry of Fortunes,” which my kids gave me for Christmas, and plan to get my hands back on “The Story of Arthur Truluv,” which, ha, I gifted my own mom! It was an Elizabeth Berg Christmas, I guess. I simply adore her writing ‘voice.’ Good company in anxious times.

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

Ha! I read these questions out loud to my daughter and we said in unison, “Elizabeth Berg!” I’ve met her a few times, the first one by accident, which is to say that I crashed into her when I took a hard left turn into the ladies’ room at a Literary Festival 13 years ago. It wasn’t pretty. Things were dropped. No broken bones, though!

Jan 182018
 

A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles: A great story that exemplifies a creative beginning, a powerful as well as poetic ending, and an in-between that shows what story-telling and unique character-building are all about.”

 

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

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Help, and, truly, Waiting for Godot.

What are you working on now?

Articles for magazines and anthologies; a little time off from full-length book manuscripts.

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

A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles. A great story that exemplifies a creative beginning, a powerful as well as poetic ending, and an in-between that shows what story-telling and unique character-building are all about.

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

Because of On Writing, Stephen King.

Jan 172018
 

… I am very conscious of the indignities suffered by those who are unable to do for themselves.  DIGNITY was written in memory of my mother who insisted, all her life, that she, and all others, be treated with dignity.”

 

How did you discover that you were a writer?

During my 25 years as a materials scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, I authored or co-authored 120 papers published in scientific journals.  Not until a couple of years after I retired in 1984 did I try my hand at poetry and, not until I was 85 years old did I start writing memoirs.  My very first poem was entitled Herrick Lake in Autumn, and it won the Grand Prize at the Danada Nature Poetry Festival.  That made me think that writing might be something I should pursue.

Describe your writing process.

I don’t have a routine for my writing.  I was never able to type and compose…..all of my poetry was written and edited on a scratch pad.  Editing, of course, is never completed but, at some point, each poem was typed and considered done.  Now, I have an iPad, and the ease of making changes means that I use it to compose and edit.  What I write now are stories from my life.  I have a list of story titles, and when I choose one to write, I have mulled the story for many days before I sit down to the iPad.

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

Both my mother and my mother-in-law lived into their nineties, and both spent their last three years in nursing homes.  Now, I’m elderly myself; and, while I am fortunate to be as physically able as I am, I am very conscious of the indignities suffered by those who are unable to do for themselves.  DIGNITY was written in memory of my mother who insisted, all her life, that she, and all others, be treated with dignity.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on two stories.  The start of MA CUTTS PLACE is in the iPad but still needs much work.  It will tell the story of how a college community came together at the end of WWII to house and feed all the G.I.s who overwhelmed the DeKalb campus in 1946.  I’m mulling KEEPING UP WITH THE TIMES which, I hope, will make the reader laugh at the most embarrassing moment of my life.

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

I am someone who reads the thoughts of newspaper columnists every day, regardless of their political bent.  There is currently more unity and depth of thought than I have ever seen before.  The seriousness with which columnists are approaching their jobs reflects the danger befalling the nation, and the result is some great writing and reading.

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

If I could invite anyone, living or dead, to my party, it would be Abraham Lincoln and only six others.  Why so few?…….Because, I like dinner parties at which only one person speaks at a time.  Lincoln,  one of the greatest writers of all times, was also a great reader of the world’s greatest thinkers.  Lincoln would be a provocative conversationalist, a story teller, a wry wit and, I believe, a good listener (although I cannot imagine myself having anything to say in the presence of Abraham Lincoln).

Jan 162018
 

I’m reading from a work of non-fiction that’s in progress. It’s part memoir, part sociological inquiry, and deals with my racist upbringing in Cicero…”

 

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

The realization that bona-fide fascism is growing in America, and that average, everyday people now identify as Nazis, just as they did in Germany in the 30’s. I felt that, as a writer, I had to contribute something immediate as a countermeasure.

What are you working on now?

I’m reading from a work of non-fiction that’s in progress. It’s part memoir, part sociological inquiry, and deals with my racist upbringing in Cicero, along with experiences I had while studying and living abroad that helped me see my American identity with greater clarity. The memoir is essentially a deconstruction of the consciousness of hatred.

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

I’m currently about half-way through the complete essays and non-fiction of James Baldwin. They are among the most transforming works I’ve ever read, and I realize I was too young and immature to truly appreciate a book like The Fire Next Time when I read it in college.

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

Prior to this reading experience with Baldwin, it would have been Alan Watts or Shunryu Suzuki. Now that I’m neck deep in Baldwin’s stuff, it would be him, hands down. He was able to see every angle of our culture in America, while also bringing a point of view from the outside, a result of his life in Paris. I think he’s among the most important and engaging authors America has ever produced, and I feel I’d learn more from a dinner conversation with him than I would from a four year program in a reputable American college.

Jan 142018
 

Experience a teen poetry slam!

Judges needed! Training included!

 

 

THE OPPORTUNITY: Attend Slamming The Sun Down as an audience member (come and go at anytime between 10:30am & 3pm) or as a ‘judge’ (9:30am-12:00pm or 3 pm)! Email sphillips@twaap.org to sign up!

THE BASICS:
Slamming The Sun Down is Sat. 1/20/18 
Bartlett High School
701 W Schick Rd, Bartlett, IL 60103
Park and enter at the front entrance of the school. Someone inside will give you directions to the auditorium.

Cost to attend: $5 (or $10 if you want lunch)
Cost for judges: Free, lunch included,
but please pay admission or donate* if you can!
For last-minute issues, text/call Diana Zwinak 630-677-8735

Hosts: Adam GottliebCorey Davis Dillard and T-WAAP Teaching Artists. STSD is produced by Teen Writers and Artists Project, Diana Zwinak, Artistic Director, and Shayne Morgan Phillips, Executive Director.

THE SCHEDULE:
9:00 – 9:45 am Student Check-in & Ice Breaker Activities
9:30: Check in time for the judges!
9:45 – 10:15: Opening Ceremonies
10:15-10:30: Training for the judges!
10:30-11:30: Preliminary bouts. Judges will be assigned to one bout.
11:30-12 Pizza Included for judges. Or bring your own lunch.
12:15-1:00 Breakout workshops—free for judges
1-1:30 Sharing of work written in the workshops
1:45-2:45 Finals for winners of a.m. bouts
We only need 5 judges for the finals, but you may want to stay to hear the winners of your bout compete!

Email sphillips@twaap.org to sign up or ask questions, then visit Slamming The Sun Down on Facebook, and click Going or Interested!

THE IN-DEPTH DETAILS FOR ‘JUDGES’ ONLY:
You don’t have to be a spoken word poet, or a poet, or even a writer to be a ‘judge’. What qualifies you is an open heart and an interest in writing and/or young people and how the see they world they are inheriting and trying to negotiate. For the past 4 years we’ve offered the opportunity to be a ‘judge’ at Slamming The Sun Down, the T-WAAP-sponsored spoken word poetry competitions where “The points are not the point; the poetry is the point!” However, a competitive aspect makes it more compelling, so judges get to assign points anyway—after a full 15 minutes of training. Training goes like this:

There are 5 judges in each of the two Preliminary Bouts from 10:30-11:30. The 5 of you will hear all poets assigned to that room. (This includes individual poets, teams where several members perform together, and Independent poets who have come alone and are not part of a team.) You will have a whiteboard and a marker, and will give each poet a score between 1 and 10. The poets don’t see what you write down, but the host sees all 5 scores, ignores the highest and the lowest, then awards the poet the average of the remaining 3 scores.

Before the bout begins, your host will give you some instruction on scoring. Usually numbers below 7 aren’t even used and the scoring is really done between 8 and 10. So an 8.1 is a poem you aren’t very impressed with, or maybe the poet forgot it and couldn’t recover. An 8.8 is pretty good, 9 is good, and then each degree above that is another degree of excellence. Score on your overall impression of the poem and its performance. It isn’t very scientific or fair, but do your best, and just enjoy.

There is also a SAC (sacrificial) Poet who goes first to help the judges “calibrate”. This poet will not be from any of the teams competing in that bout. You listen to the poem, then score the SAC Poet. That will give you a chance to see if your score is wildly different than the other judges’ scores. Once that calibration is finished, the bout will begin.

Again, email sphillips@twaap.org to sign up or ask questions, then visit Slamming The Sun Down on Facebook, and click Going or Interested! Thank you again for judging!
If you’d like to donate to T-WAAP, contact sphillips@twaap.org, visit Guidestar or designate Teen Writers and Artists Project as your charity on Smile.Amazon.com.

 

Jan 112018
 

Authors Gint ArasJennifer Boyle DuBoseBruce Steinberg and Donald G. Westlake will be featured at the next Waterline Writers event on Sunday, January 21st at 7 pm. Gint Aras, author of the accomplished first novel, The Fugue, will read from his memoir-in-progress, detailing struggles with racism and identity while growing up in Cicero as a descendant of WWII refugees. Jennifer Dubose, author of Tales from the Motherhood, a long-running Kane County Chronicle column, speaks to all of us with clarity and power in ‘Talking with Children After Roy Moore’; Bruce Steinberg reveals the trauma endured by ‘Bird Woman’, one of four fascinating characters in his upcoming novel, Chasing Godot; and Donald G. Westlake, author of the poetry collection ELBURN: Forty-four Miles to Chicago, will introduce us to his memorable mother with ‘Dignity’.

Admission is $5/$3 students. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase signed copies of authors’ books, 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 go to  the Submission Guidelines if you want to be considered as a future featured writer. We’re also announcing a special call for submissions, Let The Blues Be Your Muse, for our May 20th blues-themed reading!

Waterline Writers, 3rd Sundays at 7 pm, September to May, in the newly accessible art gallery at Water Street Studios 160 S. Water Street, Batavia IL.

Jan 022018
 

Waterline Writers announces a Call for Submissions, Let The Blues Be Your Muse, for a blues-themed literary event to be held on Sunday, May 20th, 2018 at 7 PM at Water Street Studios in Batavia, IL. We welcome your submissions of poetry, prose, essays, and other written creations that evoke or celebrate blues music, this uniquely American art form with African roots.

This collaboration with the Fox Valley Music Foundation, Kiss the Sky Records and Water Street Studios sets the stage for area blues festivals on:

  • June 9, 2018:  Blues and Roots on Water Street, Batavia IL
  • June 14, 2018: Blues on Broadway, Aurora, IL
  • June 15-16, 2018: Blues on the Fox, Aurora IL

We’ll consider works of various lengths – from brief riffs on the blues to longer pieces. We seek diverse voices, styles and approaches. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Poems that bring to life the feel of blues music
  • Stories that feature blues music in the setting or characters
  • A fusion of blues and spoken word
  • Explorations of a blues song or a specific blues style
  • Personal perspectives on blues music
  • A portrayal of a blues musician
  • Lyrics to your own blues song
  • We’re open to writing that includes musical performances

Follow these Blues Event Submission Guidelines for writers:

  • We’ll accept submissions until 3/30/18
  • You must be available Sunday night 5/20/18
  • Length may be from 1-15 minutes
  • You may submit work previously read at Waterline or work that’s been previously published, if it doesn’t violate agreements with your publisher

Send your submission to waterlinewriters@gmail.com and:

  • Attach the work to be read
    • Maximum length for prose is about 2000 words
    • Poets, attach no more than 8 poems, all in one document
    • Spoken Word Poets & Musicians, send video or audio
  • Attach a short bio, maximum 75 words
  • Attach a photo in JPG or PNG format—a head shot works best

You’ll get a confirmation email in a few days & a decision notification after April 15th.

Questions? Contact us at waterlinewriters@gmail.com.

 

Dec 182017
 

We had a great event in December, a bit of a change of pace for us. We watched a brand new movie: Pottersville. And, we had a Q&A session with the director afterward! It was a great time. The movie was funny and the Q&A was informative and entertaining.

Our next event is January 21st. Put it on your calendar now.

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