Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated.
I’m in the mood for celebrating, and why not? There are so many great things to celebrate, like…
Rose Hill being named Wyoming’s new Poet Laureate.
I gravitated toward Rose when I first attended a Wyoming Writers, Inc. conference because, well, because Rose is just such a genuine person and so approachable.
That was before I even heard her read her poetry.
Rose makes her art from daily things like chocolate cake, family dinners and country mud. No ivory towers for this woman—she writes her poetry in the middle of her life, not at the edges. I’m betting the drafts of her poems have always been speckled with flour, the doodles of kids and grandkids plus a few of her own tears.
Rose’s poem, The Gift, which focuses on her mother’s loss of sight due to macular degeneration, hit home for me because my mother also has macular. Rose’s words, honoring her mother’s resiliency in spite of encroaching blindness, match exactly what I feel in my heart as I watch my mother struggle and persevere.
I know Rose will bring to her new job the same grit, common sense and wisdom that inhabits her writing.
A toast to Rose!
I’m also celebrating the fact that some great writers I know have received recognition through the 2015 WILLA Literary Awards.
These awards honor published literature for women’s or girl’s stories set in the American West. Librarians, historians and educators make the selections, so you know they pick the best of the best:
Alethea Williams (a.k.a. Chris) was a finalist for her book, Walls for the Wind, in the Original Softcover Fiction category. Congratulations, Chris!
Mary Beth Baptiste’s book, Altitude Adjustment, was a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction category. (Mary Beth wrote about the writing of this book in a blog post.)
Laura Pritchett’s book, Stars Go Blue, was a finalist in the Contemporary Fiction category. (Read about Stars Go Blue in this post.) My summer reading list included Laura's book, Red Lightning, so her dynamic, straight-to-the-heart writing is fresh in my mind.
BACK TO SCHOOL TIME
Creative Nonfiction, and I’m excited to be a student this fall.
I’ve got my notepad ready, my pencils sharpened and I’m planning on sitting in the front row of the virtual classroom so I don’t miss anything my teacher (Barrett Swanson) has to say. I stocked up on paper, too, since I know I have a lot of rough drafts in my immediate future.
If you are looking for opportunities to be a student, or some ideas on where to submit your writing, don't forget to check out the Writing Opportunities page on Wyoming Writers, Inc. website.
POETRY THRIVES IN DRY AIR?
I’m also celebrating the recognition of a batch of outstanding Wyoming poets.
Constance Brewer, Kathleen Smith and Carol Deering are the recipients of Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowships in poetry. Honorable mentions go to Cara Rodriquez and Leah Schlachter.
Obviously, poetry is alive and well in our fair state.
CLOSE-TO-HOME LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
And then there’s the upcoming Literary Connection, at Laramie County Community College, October 2nd and 3rd, 2015.
I look forward to this event every year, because I get to spend some time with fascinating writers, film makers and fellow creatives in a small venue. They always share a lot about their creative process and hand out plenty of advice and insights.
This year’s presenters are:
Allen Kurzweil, author of the nonfiction book Whipping Boy (Harper) and a journalist, novelist, teacher and inventor.
George Bilgere is a poet with a list of awards too numerous to mention. Bilgere’s poetry is heard frequently on Garrison Keillor’s NPR program, The Writer’s Almanac. Bilgere teaches literature at John Carroll University.
For more information about this event, visit the Literary Connection website.
Last, but certainly not least in my world, I am celebrating the fact that my big sister, Sally, and my brother-in-law, Jim, are coming home to the U.S. soon.
After five wonderful years in Switzerland, they are returning to their beloved Philadelphia.
Philly may not be that close to Wyoming, but it’s a lot closer than Baar, Switzerland!
And while it was a thrill visiting them (twice, once in summer and once in winter) in that beautiful alpine country, it’s going to be good to have them stateside once more.
Plus my odds of getting a Philly cheesesteak “wid” go up dramatically!
Wow—so much happening.