Waterline Writers

Mar 192017

Gint Aras, Julie Brandon, Donna Wise Coombs, Laura Knapp & R.G. Ziemer will be featured at Waterline Writers on Sunday, March 19th at 7 pm, sharing fiction and poetry that shapeshift listener perceptions of identity, relationship and reality.

Gint Aras will share one chapter from The Fugue, of which Dimitry Samarov of the The Chicago Tribune says “the story loops in on itself, episodes echo over decades, different people often seem to trade thoughts and threads of conversation as if picking them out of the ether and … dreams described by one person are overtaken by another”. Buy a signed copy for $15 or sign up for the 8-week Gint Aras Prose Writing Workshop!

Julie Brandon’s “The Last One In” is her first foray into science fiction but it keeps you on the edge of your seat, or her character’s seat or wait … who is in that seat?

No matter what Donna Wise Coombs is writing about, her poetry seems steeped in the beauty of the states she’s called home — Colorado and Oregon. She’ll share some of that distilled beauty with us on Sunday night!

Laura Knapp’s Pushcart-nominated story should be kept handy for those days when your co-workers make you wild and you long for a little “Natural Selection” in the workplace.

Ray Ziemer blends his Chicago South Sider’s voice with a Southern-writer gravitas, evident in his story The Shiner, which packs a left hook you won’t see coming, and his poem The Hobby Shop, which will have you thinking more deeply about vocations and avocations.

Other writers can join the 5-minute-limit Open Mic at 8:30. Admission is $5/$3 students. Join us in the art gallery at Water Street Studios 160 S. Water Street, Batavia, and enjoy the evening with wine and beer from Solemn Oath Brewery and Bright Angel Wines ($5), and artisanal meats and cheeses from The Market at Gaetano’s!

Wooden Writers will be on hand with beautiful, hand-tooled pens for sale, $15-$75, cash/check or orders accepted.

No event will be held on April 16th due to Easter. There will be one more event on May 21st before our June-August hiatus. The 2017-2018 season will begin on September 17th. 

Find Submission FAQs, our Video Library and more at WaterlineWriters.org. For more information, contact Anne Veague or Kevin Moriarity at waterlinewriters@gmail.com or Like us on Facebook!

Mar 172017

Julie Brandon’s one-act play “Cup of Joe” will be a part of Westchester Theater’s 8X10 Short Play Festival in April, but her Waterline reading includes her first foray into science fiction.

How did you discover that you were a writer?

It seems like I always knew that I wanted to write.  When I was around six years old, I remember telling everyone that I wanted to be an author.  I dabbled a bit for years but it wasn’t until a close friend of mine, Nan Sampson, who is also a writer, gave me the The Artist’s Way workbook as a gift that I started to take writing more seriously. I began with poetry and then included short stories and plays.

Describe your writing process.

I don’t really have any specific process or pre-writing rituals other than I need to write in complete silence. No music, no conversation and that means not writing in public places. I don’t use outlines as a rule. I just get started and see where the story and the characters take me. It certainly can be quite the adventure.

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

I had just started writing short stories and decided to try my hand at science fiction. This story is what emerged. I like the idea of transformations.

What are you working on now?

I’m completing the revisions on two new one act plays. Another of my one-acts, “Cup of Joe”, is being produced by Westchester Civic Theater in April as part of their 8X10 Short Play Festival.  I recently participated in the Poetry event at the Elgin Literary Festival for the second year.

Mar 162017

“I try to serve the poem, rather than holding fast to a preconceived notion of what it should look like on the page or what it is about… I will intentionally put (it) aside for weeks or months.”

How did you discover that you were you a writer?

I started writing poetry as a child but did not identify myself as a poet until my 30’s.  From a young age I was a huge reader of poetry though.  We were a family of readers and there was no TV in our home.  When I was 13 we moved from New Hampshire to live in France for a year.  At the little library in St. Cyr-sur-Loire, there were not a lot of English fiction available but they had a great selection of English and American poetry books.  That was the year, while living far from New England, that I discovered the poetry of Robert Frost.  I am still thankful that I unwittingly fed the dormant poet in me with such spare, wry and wise poetry.  Much later, when I discovered the art of Andrew Wyeth, his paintings felt like a Frost poem framed.

Describe your writing process.

When I am writing well, and often, there is an absence of clutter: visual clutter of dishes to do, laundry waiting to be done, bills to pay; schedule clutter of a day overfull with non-essentials; Internet clutter of social media, Netflix, Youtube overuse which can be a barrage of needless data.

Long walks, reading poetry and having enough down time allows my busy monkey brain/ego to be hushed and for the reflective soul and heart to speak.  And then of course to listen – to conversations, birdsong, night dreams, other poets, the quiet voice inside of me.

I write many revisions by hand before transferring the poem to a Word document for further editing.  I read the poem aloud as I edit.  I try to serve the poem rather than holding fast to a preconceived notion of what it should look like on the page or what it is about even.  Often my first few lines get ditched as just the starting impetus, the seed for what bloomed later.  I often will intentionally put aside a nearly finished poem for weeks or months.  When I come back to it, it is easier to see it fresh and the final edit goes easier. I have a poet friend that I sometimes send work to for her critique, if I feel stuck, or for her praise that, miracle of miracles, another poem has been born.

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

I will be reading from my first book, River Beneath the River, which was published 10 years ago.  Many things inspired those poems: parenting two daughters, marriage, fly fishing in Idaho, mid-life shape shifting.  I will also be reading new poems inspired by my happier second marriage, mushroom hunting in Oregon, moving to the Midwest.

What are you working on now?

My husband and I moved to Batavia from Oregon last June.  I am still settling into our home, neighborhood, new job, etc.   I am also working on my second poetry book with a working title of Walking Uneven Ground.

Mar 152017

Reading slots for our May 21st event have been filled and we’ll announce our lineup soon! We are not accepting or reading submissions again until August 1st, 2017. To stay informed, Like Waterline Writers on Facebook or subscribe to our website. Remember that no events are held in June, July or August due to our summer hiatus. Our 2017-2018 event dates are: Sept 17, Oct 15, Nov 19, Dec  17, Jan 21, Feb 18, Mar 18, Apr 15, May 20. See you on May 21st!

Mar 152017

“My eye has swole up like a tennis ball. It looks like a globe of the earth sticking out of my face, black and blue with all the colors of the continents and the seven seas. ’Nice shiner,’ says Joyce, usually more of a sympathetic person.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I always got a lot of encouragement from my older sister Barbara, who was an inspiration in many ways, especially the arts. In my 8th grade autograph book she wrote “To our own private ‘Ernest Hemingway’. Show them what you can do in high school.” She introduced me to a world of creativity and style.

Describe your writing process.

ZZZZZ. Fall asleep on the couch and wake up at midnight full of ideas and ready to write. I’m a night owl. Some day I’ll find out how productive I could be if I worked after a good night’s sleep.

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

“The Shiner” is based on actual events that befell an old high school buddy of mine. Possibly embellished. Just a tad.

What are you working on now?

I have a number of poems and stories in various stages of disassembly.

Mar 142017

“I was about to pull the trigger when I thought, ‘Wait a minute, is Dave worth killing an endangered species?’”  Laura Knapp says, “I’ve got to admit, I had a lot of fun writing this piece.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

I started writing fiction when I was 10, a result of having fallen in love with reading. But considering myself a writer, and not just a would-be writer, was a slow process over the course of decades. I discovered finally that there are many kinds of writers, and sometime around my 30th birthday, after I started my first job where I earned a paycheck by writing, I realized I had actually been one all along. In short, it’s the act of writing that defines a person as a writer, not getting published or a paycheck.

Describe your writing process.

I try to write every day, though I probably end up writing about five days a week. My process is pretty “trial and error.” I generally get an outline in my head and then write a rough draft as quickly as possible, though not usually in one sitting. I spend much more time on editing. That’s the part I enjoy the most, too. I love playing around with the elements in the rough draft, experimenting with different lines, dialog, endings, etc. Then after I get a semi-final draft completed, I bring it in to the good folks at the Naperville Writers Group. I always get insightful feedback from them.

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

Writing is a great way to channel frustration, and there’s nothing more frustrating in my life than the corporate world. I don’t see myself as the narrator in the story, but he is an exaggerated version of people I’ve worked with. I got to admit, I had a lot of fun writing this piece.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on various short stories and flash fiction. Some of my recent published stories include “Altitude Sickness” in the March issue of The Bitchin’ Kitsch (http://www.talbot-heindl.com/bitchin_kitsch), “The Spruce Room” in the Autumn 2016 issue of Rose Red Review (http://roseredreview.org/2016-autumn/ ) and “Man and Woman Depicted at Dusk” in the Naperville Writers Group literary publication, Rivulets 28 (https://napervillewritersgroup.org/rivulets/).  

Mar 132017

“I woke up to my writer’s identity at around fourth grade. It was as if I … suddenly remembered who I was, recovered from amnesia in a flash.”

How did you discover that you were a writer?

Discovery isn’t really inaccurate. I woke up to my writer’s identity at around fourth grade. I loved little as I loved books and stories, and the question what do you want to be when you grow up had been pestering me. One afternoon I was sitting in front of my bookshelf in contemplation when it hit me: oh, I’m supposed to do this, tell stories, make books. It was as if I had forgotten and suddenly remembered who I was, recovered from amnesia in a flash.

The other roles I play are just roles, artifice, disguises for a society in which I am essentially a stranger. The writer in me is true, connected to nature, not a lens or game but a centered wholeness.

Describe your writing process.

It depends. Right now I’m a dad of two little kids, and like most American parents,  I have little social capital or support. I’ll write a paragraph here, another one there in between all the stuff I do. I’ll write at work instead of socializing with colleagues, and occasionally I’ll write at night if I get a burst of energy.

On occasion, when I have time off from my teaching job, I’ll get into a kind of trance, especially if I’m working on a project longer than a short story. I’ll listen to trip hop or really abstract instrumental music, and I’ll write for five or six hours straight, drink lots of tea and coffee and seltzer. I feel most alive at those times.

An important part of my process is walking. I take long walks before writing sessions, especially if I have something controversial or intense to unload. I talk to myself while doing it. I say really nonsensical, absurd stuff, imagine arguments with adversaries, that kind of thing.

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

The Fugue is a complex, long novel with many layers to it, and those layers were inspired by divergent, seemingly unrelated experiences. While the book is set in Cicero, my hometown—heavily influenced by my Catholic upbringing, my experience as a son of war refugees—it is inspired also by my time living in New York, between 2000-2003, when I first conceived the project.  I took inspiration from great musicians I met there, great recordings of music, and had also developed obsessions with Russian novels, metal sculpture, and impossible questions about the nature of imagination and memory, as they dance together to make up our consciousness.

The scene I’m reading deals with characters, all of them traumatized by war, who happen across each other but are also stalkers of sorts. They are wrestling with fate and losing. The scene deals with a loss of faith but also a release of responsibility. I knew people like these in my childhood: displaced, intoxicated, lonely, passionate, intelligent, tragic. They weren’t meant for this world but had nowhere else to go.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a book of nonfiction that deals with cultural perception and the value of education in a society increasingly anti-intellectual. I’m about half way finished.