Writer's Life, Writing Events

Q: What’s the hardest thing about writing poetry?

The hardest thing about writing poetry is that the poem I write is never as fine or as satisfying as the poem I imagined I would write. In other words, perfection isn’t possible, and anything less is disappointing. There’s a process that I went through as a poet that I think most poets go through. When I first began writing poems at the age of twelve I thought each one was wonderful. I’m a poet, I told myself, and aren’t I great! When I finally began to try to place poems in journals I was quickly disabused of my “greatness.” At this point, a lot of would-be poets quit. But I was too stubborn to do that. Instead I started reading other poets to try to find those whose work excited me. I read them first for pleasure, then read them again to find out how they did what they did. I couldn’t be them, but studying them helped me learn the skills to be more me. In the end that’s perhaps what we ought to be after in plying the art of poetry. And if greatness is not achieved by most of us, we can at least become poets of our own substance and our own consequence.

Myrna Stone newest book of poetry, Luz Bones, came out last week from Etruscan Press. Stone is the author of five full-length books of poetry. She has received two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships and a Full Fellowship to Vermont Studio Center, is a two-time finalist for the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, and was named 2001 Ohio Poet of the Year by the Ohio Poetry Association. Her poems have been included in nine anthologies, and have appeared in over fifty journals, including Poetry, Boulevard, The Massachusetts Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, River Styx, Nimrod, and Crab Orchard Review. Stone is a founding member of The Greenville Poets, a well-published group that meets monthly in Greenville, Ohio.

Upcoming arts events

MONDAY: The Atacama: The Driest Desert in the World. May 22, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – Northmont Branch, 333 West National Road, Englewood, OH 45322. There are areas in the Atacama Desert where zero rainfall has been recorded in the past 500 years. Allen Johnson traveled to the desert to visit its unique environment and make astronomical observations at the Atacama Lodge, the home of the space center and telescopes, and visited the Salar de Atacama, El Tatio Geysers, and Aldea de Tulor. More.

TUESDAY: Biking to the Arctic Circle. May 23, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – Kettering-Moraine Branch, 3496 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45429. Biking to the Arctic Circle? Impossible, there’s snow and ice up there. Regardless, Allen Johnson did just that. He couldn’t convince any of his grandchildren to join him for the whole four thousand miles, but family and coworkers joined him for portions of the trip across the Alaskan Highway and Canada as he faced flat tires and head winds and saw bald eagles, deer, and bears. Was it worth the effort? He says “You bet!” More.

TUESDAY: Dayton Grand Slamm! May 23, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Wiley’s Comedy Joint, 101 Pine St, Dayton, OH 45402. This is the Grand Slam event! Story Slamm Dayton is pleased to present each of the monthly winners from this season, battling it out on stage for the title of Grand Slam Champion. We are also proud to welcome guest judge and storyteller, Mary Coomer, Louisville Moth regular and two-time featured storyteller on the Moth Radio show. Doors open at 6:30 and the show starts at 7:00. More.

TUESDAY: Megan Whalen Turner debuts new book. May 23, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Books&Co, 4453 Walnut St, Beavercreek, OH 45440. MEGAN WHALEN TURNER, author of the entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels, will introduce her newest work, Thick as Thieves. It features Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, who has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the empire. But with a whispered warning, the future Kamet envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. This epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. More.

WEDNESDAY: Wasahi Papermaking. May 24, 2017 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Antioch College, 1 Morgan Pl, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Japanese techniques for papermaking, like similar methods used in other Asian countries, allow the production of exceptionally thin, long-fibered sheets. This workshop will begin with each student making their own mould and mould covering which they will be able to keep for their own papermaking at home after the conclusion of the workshop. The fee for non-students is $40, which includes all materials costs, including your own paper creation to take home. More.

THURSDAY: Molly Campbell introduces her new novel. May 25, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Books&Co, 4453 Walnut St, Beavercreek, OH 45440. MOLLY CAMPBELL will introduce her novel, Crossing the Street. In it, we meet Beck Throckmorton who finds herself living unexpectedly in a small suburban Ohio town with an 83 year old neighbor who has turned out to be her best friend, writing erotica and stewing over the fact that her ex has taken up with her sister. Enter a needy but wise little girl who finds a place in her heart and Beck finds herself “at an emotional intersection she never anticipated. And now it’s time to cross the street.” More.

SUNDAY: Heritage Day Festival. May 28, 2017 @ 11:00 am – 8:30 pm. Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd, Dayton, OH 45409. Held on Memorial Day weekend, Heritage Day at Carillon Historical Park celebrates Dayton’s unparalleled history through special activities, costumed interpreters, and more. Draped in patriotic decorations, the Park welcomes thousands of guests each year to this family friendly event! After a full day of historical demonstrations, miniature train rides, and general merriment, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra fills the air with beautiful music. More.

Writing Events

Upcoming literary events

TUESDAY: Daydreaming on Paper Workshop Kickoff (Ages 55+). March 7, 2017 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – West Carrollton Branch, 300 E Central Ave, West Carrollton, OH 45449. Participants in this free 6-week collage-journaling class for adults 55+, led by teaching artist Teresa Olavarria, will explore relevant themes with a combination of found, altered, and created images. All necessary supplies are provided at no cost to registrants. Tuesdays, March 7-April 11, 6:00-8:00 p.m. Registration required at (937) 463-BOOK or on the Events Calendar at DaytonMetroLibrary.org.

TUESDAY: Writing Workout with Katrina Kittle, $10. March 7, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Starbucks, 2424 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419. Word’s Worth’s Katrina Kittle begins a new tradition—an informal-tune-up-charge-your-engine writing workout. On the first Tuesday of each month you’ll gather to receive intriguing writing prompts and time to explore them. You’ll get a mini-craft lesson, loads of tips, and the opportunity to share your impromptu pieces. Turn off the inner critic, connect with fellow writers, and collect some inspiration for the month! More.

WEDNESDAY: Marsha Danzig Author Talk. March 8, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419. Join author, speaker, healer and yoga therapist, Marsha Danzig to hear her amazing life-affirming story. From the Roots: The True Story of How I Beat Death and Learned to Live explores one woman’s decision to find grace, hilarity, and ultimately joy, in the worst of circumstances. As a result of surviving childhood bone cancer twice, Marsha endures long-term side effects that include the amputation of her lower left leg, the loss of her bladder and kidneys, congestive heart failure, a kidney transplant, and scars galore. A rebel to the core, her defiance in the face of disease, doctors, establishment, insincere people, and anyone who would steal her joy or life force offers moments of profound depth and humor. More.

THURSDAY: Drawn Together by Art (Ages 55+)March 9, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – Burkhardt Branch, 4680 Burkhardt Ave, Dayton, OH 45431. This free 8-week drawing workshop for adults 55+, also taught by local teaching artist Teresa Olavarria, will sharpen your powers of observation and improve your drawing skills. Make new friends and experiment with a variety of techniques in this fun, ungraded class. All necessary supplies are provided at no cost. Thursdays, March 9-April 27. 10:00 a.m.-Noon. Registration required at (937) 463-BOOK or on the Events Calendar at DaytonMetroLibrary.org.

THURSDAY: Antarctic Plunge: Tour of Penguinland. March 9, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – New Lebanon Branch, 715 W Main St, New Lebanon, OH 45345. Allen Johnson will describe his two week trip across the Antarctic Circle to the icy mainland. He encountered thousands of penguins, hundreds of seals and dozens of whales. More.

THURSDAY: New York Times #1 Bestselling Author, Chris Tebbetts, Returns to Yellow Springs. March 9, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm. Little Art Theatre, 247 Xenia Ave, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Chris Tebbetts is the author and co-author of many books for young readers. Titles include the #1 New York Times bestselling MIDDLE SCHOOL series, as well as PUBLIC SCHOOL SUPERHERO, with James Patterson and illustrator Laura Park; the New York Times bestselling STRANDED series with Jeff Probst; the young adult novel M OR F? with Lisa Papademetriou; and THE VIKING series. Champagne Reception at 6:30pm, Presentation with Q & A 7:30pm Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life screening to follow presentation. More.

Around Town: Dawn Paul at Storybrooke Cafe

Local author Dawn Paul submitted this pic of her reading last weekend at the rather magical looking Storybrooke Cafe in Englewood. Dawn gave a reading from her upcoming book Gnomeling, which comes out on Amazon on March 31. Check her out on Facebook or DMPaul.com.

Come see me at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop Spring Seminar

The amazing people at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop invited me to be on a panel at their one-day spring seminar on March 25. I’m honored, nervous, excited to join Becky Morean, Grace Curtis and Ryan Ireland as we talk about “Finding Your Writing Tribe.”

This is AWW’s second-biggest event of the year (second only to their week-long summer workshop), and it’s phenomenal. Cathy Day (author of Comeback Season: How I Learned to Play the Game of Love and The Circus in Winter) will keynote the event. Last spring, AWW brought in Margaret Wrinkle. I blogged about Margaret’s talk here, and I swear, there’s not a week that goes by that I don’t think about it.

“Your rational mind is a boat drifting on the ocean of your subconscious,” she said. “Do you want to tell the story from the tiny boat or from the ocean?” It doesn’t matter where you’re at in your writing journey, if you love the written word, there’s nothing like spending an entire day surrounded by others who feel the same. Learn more about the spring seminar here.

Angel kisses

I just found out freckle tattoos are a thing, and I’m oscillating between disbelief and wanting to get some. Apparently, they start out dark and fade to look more natural over time. Eventually, they disappear entirely. I dare you to get some. You will be my hero.

Writing Events

MONDAY 1/9: Steve Bein and Angie Grigaliunas. January 9, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Centerville Library, 111 W Spring Valley Pike, Centerville, OH 45458. Montgomery County’s Steve Bein is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author whose work has been published in Asimov’s, Interzone, and Writers of the Future. His featured book is “Daughter of the Sword,” c2012, the first book in the Fated Blades series. Greene County’s Angie Grigaliunas is a fantasy writer and blogger who is a country girl at heart. Her dystopian fantasy debut novel being featured is “Sowing,” c2016, book one of The Purification Era series. Both authors will appear in the library lobby. For more information on Washington-Centerville Public Library events and services, call 433-8091 or visit wclibrary.info.

MONDAY 1/9: LEAP & THE NET WILL APPEAR: Steps for Creating Positive Change (3-week workshop). January 9, 2017 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm, Starbucks, 2424 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419. The New Year is a powerful time to clarify the dreams you have for your life. Katrina Kittle’s next LEAP & THE NET WILL APPEAR CLASS begins Monday, January 9. This is NOT a writing class, but a “life class” for absolutely anyone. Is 2017 the year you finally ________________? This class will harness all the energy of the New Year to help you take stock, take action, and start momentum rolling. Mondays, January 9, 16, and 23, from 6:30 – 8:30 PM. Learn more.

TUESDAY 1/10: Hiking to Mt. Everest Base Camp 17,000 ft. January 10, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Dayton Metro Library – New Lebanon Branch, 715 W Main St, New Lebanon, OH 45345. Allen Johnson takes on the tallest mountain in the world – Mt. Everest 29,029 ft. Allen will present exciting pictures of the journey, including the trip across China and the Tibetan plateau to reach the Everest area. More.

TUESDAY 1/10: So you wanna write? ($45) January 10, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Oakwood Starbucks, 2424 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton, OH 45419. Is 2017 the year you’re finally going to start that writing project (…or finish it?) If you ever suspected that there might be a writer lurking somewhere inside you, or perhaps harbored a secret notebook of half-started stories, this class with author Katrina Kittle is for you. In this two-hour workshop you’ll release the writer within through creative prompts to get the words flowing, and will learn strategies to keep the muse turned on. This class is for anyone who longs to write but doesn’t know where to start, and for writers who have dabbled but lost their way. WARNING: this workshop just might seduce you into a life-long love affair with writing! More.

TUESDAY 1/10: Book Discussion – 13th Gift by JoAnne Huist Smith. January 10, 2017 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Cherry House Café, 1241 Meadowbridge Dr., Beavercreek, OH. Join a discussion of the 13th Gift by JoAnne Huist Smith. The author traces how the unexpected death of her husband posed painful challenges to herself and her three children. In random acts of kindness, they received anonymous holiday gifts on their doorstep that helped them find strength and healing. Local author Joanne Huist Smith will be attending this event. More.

FRIDAY 1/13: J. E. Irvin Book Launch. January 13, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Montage Cafe, 527 S Broadway St, Greenville, OH 45331. J. E. Irvin will speak on the path to publication of her award-winning novel The Dark End of the Rainbow and launch her new mystery/thriller The Rules of the Game for north Dayton area readers at Montage Cafe January 13, 2017, at 7 p.m. Books will be available for purchase, and the author will sign copies after the readings. (A launch for the south Dayton area is still in the planning stages.). More.

SATURDAY 1/14: Kickoff for fiction jumpstart weekly workshop with Katrina Kittle ($165). January 14, 2017 @ 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm. Oakwood Starbucks, 2424 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton, OH 45419. Whether you’re an experienced novelist who needs your ideas energized or a beginner who isn’t sure where to start or somewhere in between and you rely on prompts and deadlines to keep you writing…this is the class for you. Each week will focus on some aspect of the writing life (such as creating and defending a writing schedule, dealing with the inner critic, and defeating writer’s block) , as well as providing prompts and exercises to stoke your creativity, fan your senses, and get the sparks flying — with light homework and plenty of sharing. DATES: Saturdays: January 14, January 21, January 28, February 4, February 11. More.

SUNDAY 1/15: Point of View Mini-Workshop with Rebecca MoreanJanuary 15, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Books & Co, 4453 Walnut Street, Dayton, OH 45440. A free Antioch Writers’ Mini-Workshop. Add to your writing craft tool-box! Learn tips and best practices for using Point of View to enhance your stories, novels, essays, memoirs and other works… and connect with your readers! Led by novelist, essayist and short story writer Rebecca Morean. Learn more about Rebecca.

SUNDAY 1/15: Jennifer Sommer: Writing in Dialect: A Study for Writers.January 15, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Wright Memorial Public Library, 1776 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419. Fiction writers like to give their characters as much authenticity as possible by indicating where they are from and how they speak. But giving characters proper dialect can be a challenge. In this writers’ study and workshop, author Jennifer Sommer will focus on how dialect is communicated on the page, the history and evolution of dialect in literature, controversies, and best current practices for writers. Registration is requested. Jennifer Sommer is a writer who earned her MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University where she presented her Master’s thesis Writing in Dialect in Fiction: a History and Study. Sommer is the former Coordinator of Youth Services at Wright Library and has served on national selection committees for several American Library Association awards, including the Odyssey Award, which recognizes the best audiobook for children and/or young adults, and the Robert F. Sibert Award for non-fiction books for children. More.

WEDNESDAY 1/18: Wright State Visiting Writers’ Series: Amy GustineJanuary 18, 2017 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Pathfinder Lounge, Student Union, Wright State University. Gustine is the author of the short story collection You Should Pity Us Instead, a book The New York Times Book Review describes as “an affecting and wide-ranging debut.” Her fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Black Warrior Review, PRISM International, and elsewhere. Click for more information, or contact Erin Flanagan at erin.flanagan@wright.edu.

WEDNESDAY 1/18: Kristin Bailey introduces The Silver Gate, January 18, 2017@ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm, Books&Co, 4453 Walnut St, Beavercreek, OH 45440. KRISTIN BAILEY, author of Legacy of the Clockwork Key, will introduce her new children’s novel, The Silver Gate, which is set in the medieval era of lords and serfs. We meet 13-year old Elric, who is a shepherd, and his 11-year old sister, Wynn. Wynn had been born with developmental delays, and so the village folk determined she must be a changling left by the evil fairies to cause havoc in their village. According to them, she must be abandoned in the woods. More.

THURSDAY 1/19: Antarctic Plunge: Tour of Penguinland. January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, Dayton Metro Library – West Carrollton Branch, 300 E Central Ave, West Carrollton, OH 45449. Allen Johnson will describe his two week trip across the Antarctic Circle to the icy mainland. He encountered thousands of penguins, hundreds of seals and dozens of whales. More.

THURSDAY (OUT OF TOWN) 1/19: Veronica Roth (author of the Divergent Series)January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Rd M, Cincinnati, OH 45208. Join us for an evening with Veronica Roth, creator of the Divergent series! She’ll be in conversation with “First Draft” podcast’s Sarah Enni, discussing her newest book, “Carve the Mark”. Everyone who purchases a ticket for the event will receive an autographed copy of “Carve the Mark”, and 100 lucky audience members will be randomly chosen at the event to meet Veronica and Sarah and get their pictures taken with the author. For tickets and more information, please call the store at 513-396-8960. More.

FRIDAY 1/20: Chris Bohjalian introduces The SleepwalkerJanuary 20, 2017 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Books&Co, 4453 Walnut St, Beavercreek, OH 45440. Bestselling author CHRIS BOHJALIAN will introduce his new novel, The Sleepwalker, which tells us of a wife and mother who vanishes from her bed late one night. BOHJALIAN has written 19 books, including Midwives, which was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah’ Book Club. More.

SATURDAY 1/21: 2017: The Year of Complete Victory for Your [Love] LifeJanuary 21, 2017 @ 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Dayton Metro Library – Northwest Branch, 2410 Philadelphia Dr, Dayton, OH 45406. If you want something different, you have to do something different. Create the love you desire in 2017 beginning with this interactive and transformational book club discussion. Start your year with specific, intentional actions to create the love transformation you desire. Your registration includes an autographed book, refreshments, door prizes and lively discussion about those creatures we love so much…MEN! This women-only discussion is the prelude to It’s Raining Men: the all-male panel with answers to your burning questions of love and relationships. More.