* May slipped by so quickly I feel as if I just flipped to the May calendars and now it’s June. It was a month of delightful weather here on the Oregon Coast, a month of books, music, dogs, long walks, good food, and good friends. Also plumbing problems, endless yard work, and too many bills, but that’s okay. Five months into my low-cholesterol diet, I seem to have lost 12 pounds, and I don’t plan to go looking for them. One can live without cheese. Sigh.
* I have found a new addiction: jigsawplanet.com. Lord help me, I love doing those puzzles. As an added bonus, you can use your own photos to make new puzzles, choosing how many pieces and what shape they will be. My fingers are itching to do it right now. And I thought Spider Solitaire was bad. If I’m late to something, I was probably doing a puzzle.
* Last week, I received the welcome news that an essay I wrote about losing a close friend when she became obsessed with her babies will be published in an upcoming anthology about women and lost friendships. They’re calling it My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. The book is coming out in September. For information, visit http://www.herstoriesproject.com.
* My essay “Father-Daughter Dance” has been published in the latest edition of Dogwood. Read about it at http://www.dogwoodliterary.com.
* I’ll be playing music again this year at the Samaritan House Secret Garden Tour. This year it’s happening on June 22 in Neskowin, up north of Lincoln City. When you buy your ticket, you get a map to all the gorgeous gardens, most of them with live music.
In the Blogs
- An Adventure at the B-E-A-C-H
- Rindy and Marv Ross of Quarterflash Rock Newport
- Musicians meet again in South Beach
- Where Does One Go After Z?
- Have you lost friends because you don’t have children?
- Should you gamble on a partner who says he or she doesn’t want children?
- We Made It Through Another Mother’s Day!
- Duck! Mother’s Day is Coming
- “And” Abuse: Are Your Conjunctions Out of Control?
- Some of the Best Essay Advice Ever
- Pen or Keyboard? Which is Best?
- What Kind of Writer Do You Want to Be?
- Watch Out for Sneaky Little Words That Say Nothing
Writers on the Edge presents poet/essayist Joe Wilkins as guest author at the Nye Beach Writers Series on June 21 at the Newport Visual Arts Center. The program starts at 7 p.m. and includes an open mic. Admission is $6. We had a great time last month with our special show and workshop with Marv and Rindy Ross at the senior center. If you haven’t heard these veteran quarterflash musicians lately, check them out at http://www.rossproductions.com. They are writing, singing and playing better than ever.
Willamette Writers Coast Branch welcomes Patrick Alexander, editor of Oregon Coast Today to its monthly workshop on Sunday, June 15 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Newport Library. Admission is free. Apparently I will be one of the presenters at WW’s July meeting. Stay tuned for details. The annual Willamette Writers conference takes place the first weekend of August. Details at willamettewriters.com/wwcon.
Like a Beggar by Ellen Bass, Copper Canyon Press, 2014. Oh, how I love Ellen Bass’ poetry. In her latest volume, she tackles the usual little subjects: life, death, love, but she does so in a way that gives the reader a new perspective, so fresh and bright with images, insights and honesty that it’s almost too much to take in. So much is implied in the ordinary details of daily life. In the opening to “The Morning After,” for example, she writes, “You stand at the counter, pouring boiling water/over the French roast, oily perfume rising in smoke./And when I enter, you don’t look up.” Or consider the way she offers the glories of eating a ripe strawberry in the midst of a world full of bad things happening. These poems are so rich each one is a feast in itself. I bought this book at a workshop Bass taught in in San Rafael. If you ever get a chance to study with her, do it.
An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale, Musa Publishing, 2014. Livvie, a 15-year-old high school student, is having a tough year. Her sister Julie is sick, her mother seems to hate her, her best friends are suddenly too busy with their boyfriends to spend time with her, and the only person she feels romantically attracted to is . . . a girl. Also, she has synesthesia, a condition that causes her to taste colors and see sounds. This is a young adult story that’s plenty gripping for grownup readers, too. I dumped everything to finish this book. In addition to an engaging story, An Unstill Life explores some serious issues, including homosexuality, bullying, and euthanasia. Larkindale, who lives in New Zealand, has written several other young adult books. She blogs at katelarkindale.blogspot.com.
The Evening Hour by Carter Sickels, Bloomsbury, 2012. Here’s another book that makes me doubt my writing ability. So good. This is the story of a man, Cole, and a community living in the shadow of a coal mining operation that is destroying the land around them. Cole grew up with his Pentecostal grandparents, having seen his mother only once at age ten. Now 27, he is working as a nursing home aide and earning money on the side by buying old people’s unused prescription drugs and selling them to junkies. The death of his grandfather, an unexpected arrival, and a tragedy that affects the whole community catapult him into reconsidering everything he has ever believed. Sickels tells this story in glorious language and beautiful detail, giving us not only a hero we love despite his imperfections but a whole community we fully believe in and care about. He also gives a frightening picture of what coal mining can do to the land and people where it takes place. This is the first published novel for Sickels, a multi-awarded MFA grad who has lived in New York and North Carolina and now resides in Portland, Oregon. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Via Lactea: A Woman of a Certain Age Walks the Camino by Ellen Waterston, Atelier 6000, 2013. This book follows Waterston’s journey on Spain’s Camino de Santiago. It’s told in poetry, with beautiful black and white engravings by Ron Schultz. A narrative ala The Odyssey, it tells the tale of her decision to walk the Camino and her journey along the way. The poems take many different forms—free verse, prose poems, lists, quotations, anagrams—and many speak in the voices of people she met on the Camino. Each is rich and multi-layered, a gem. But somehow I expected more of the nitty gritty of her trip, more details about where she went and what she saw. I love what’s there, and maybe I’m just expecting poetry to do the work of a full-length nonfiction book, but I just want more.
Hello, June! Happy birthday this month to my niece Susie and my friends Nila and Josh. Happy anniversary to all those June brides and grooms. Congratulations to my cousin Jenny Avina on graduating from law school, to Kaitlin on her graduation from Waldport High–and to everybody else finishing school this spring. Well done!
Dear friends, this is the last edition of this newsletter, at least for now. I have been doing it on paper since 1998 and online since 2003, and it feels like time to stop. With three weekly blogs, a website, Twitter and several Facebook pages, the newsletter mostly duplicates what is already out there, and it’s a lot of work. All of my book reviews can be found at goodreads.com. My blogs are listed above. You can find me at www.facebook.com/suelick and twitter.com/suelick. So come see me.Thanks for reading me all these years.
All contents copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2014
Photo of Sue by Patricia Stern. Thanks, Pat.
I belong to the Amazon affiliate program. I receive a small fee when people buy my books through the links to Amazon.com posted here. I received Carter Sickel’s book to preview in my role as president of Writers on the Edge. All other books were obtained at my own expense.