Having just returned from the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, I’m newly inspired not only in terms of my own writing but by the magnificence of the natural world and the ways in which we can appreciate and nurture it. Spending the week on the water, with deer roaming past our cabins every day, I found it impossible not to think about nature and animals.
Early in the week, poet Ashley Capps gave a wonderful craft lecture on empathy. Among other works, she read Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” and offered a juxtapoesis — a slide show of images that resemble each other, from a magnified sweat gland that evoked a head of lettuce to the face of a terrified girl next to a calf in a kill chute. Ashley made important connections that highlight the necessity to see ourselves in others and to be empathetic in our lives and in our writing.
I especially enjoyed Ashley’s reading a few nights later, during which she read not only her beautiful poems but an essay she’d recently published with Our Hen House, as a response to OHH’s New York Times call for essays on “why it’s ethical to eat meat.” As Ashley writes in her essay, “In any discussion concerning the ethics of eating animals, it feels important to begin by pointing out a frequently overlooked distinction: that harming and killing animals from necessity is not morally equivalent to harming and killing animals for pleasure…It’s important to realize that, with a few exceptions, when humans kill other animals for food, we’re not doing what animals do in nature. When animals kill other animals for food, they do as they must, in order to survive; they have no choice in the matter. Many humans, on the other hand, do have a choice…”
Most compelling and true was Ashley’s conclusion: “Finally, to harm animals for pleasure is also, ultimately, to harm ourselves. Constantly acting in opposition to our own core values deforms our hearts — and it diminishes our integrity, and hinders our emotional and moral growth….What can it mean for caring people to regularly reject compassionate choices that cost them next to nothing, and to instead embrace unnecessary violence that costs its victims, literally, everything?”
For more of her amazing poetry, as well as her writing about animals and compassion, visit Ashley’s website as well as her blog.
“Wood weaves a wonderful tale here…In the end, satisfactorily Wood presents more questions than answers. He presents more in the journey, as only this particular narrator can perform it, than in any particular factual accuracy or resolution. The result is beautiful and haunting. I highly recommend reading this book.” —David S. Atkinson, The Lit Pub
FALLING INTO GREEN:
“Appealing…the aptly named Dr. Green and her friends are fresh enough to recycle.” —Publishers Weekly
“Fischer’s debut mystery introduces a fascinating topic—ecopsychology…” —Library Journal
“[Falling Into Green] is an eco-mystery set at a fast pace, punched through with staccato sentences, twisting plot, shifting landscape, and a mighty heroine for the 21st century.” —Huffington Post Books
And they’re also getting ready for three new books coming out this fall and winter…
Coming in September is Mindy Mejia’s THE DRAGON KEEPER — “a thriller of the rarest form—one that touches both the mind and the heart” (Mary Logue, author of the Claire Watkins mysteries).
And, finally, stay tuned for THE GHOST RUNNER, the second book in the Lithia Trilogy, whose first book, Out of Breath, “blends genre tradition with West Coast environmentalism … the result feels fresh and original” (Kirkus Reviews). Booklist writes: “Combining mystery, romance, vampires, and strong vegan and environmental messages, [Out of Breath] will have readers of light paranormal novels running to the next book in Richmond’s trilogy.”
And that’s it from the General Manager’s office…at least for now. I’ll be back with periodic updates.
Yesterday was the first annual (yes, there are plans for next year!) Ashland Book and Author Festival, sponsored by Southern Oregon University’s Friends of Hannon Library and SMART. We were happy to be there as both authors and publishers, and especially to meet so many other readers, writers, and publishers.
The festival took place on three floors of SOU’s Hannon Library, with author readings and presentations in alcoves on each floor every fifteen minutes. I had the opportunity to chat about Everyday Writing and to read from Forgetting English, as well as to drop in to hear other presentations. The fifteen-minute format was short but very sweet — and it was great so have so much going on: fiction on one floor, nonfiction on another, and poetry on yet another.
We enjoyed chatting with our festival neighbors at Krill Press and Wellstone Press, and I also participated in a publisher’s panel, along with Molly Tinsley of Fuze Publishing, Tod Davies of Exterminating Angel Press, and Stephen Sendar of White Cloud Press. It was great to hear about the marvelous things these amazing indie presses are up to, as well as talk with participants about everything from queries to distribution to the future of publishing (which, we all agreed, is anyone’s guess at this point!).
We’re thrilled to be participating in the Ashland Book and Author Festival on June 23, 2012, from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hannon Library on the campus of Southern Oregon University — and hope you’ll join us!
The festival, sponsored by the S.M.A.R.T. (Start Making a Reader Today) pre-K through 3rd grade literacy group and the Friends of Hannon Library, will feature authors of all genres including poetry, fiction, and drama, as well as health and wellness. Storytelling and a special tour for children and families will include how books are made and restored, samples of ancient books, and talks with artists Betty LaDuke (“Children of the World” paintings) and Meera Sensor (Nobel Peace Prize winners sculptures).
In a sort of literary Antiques Road Show, book restorer Sophia Bogle will give estimates on restoring treasured antique books to those who bring in a favorite book. Art books and fine art letterpress works by Cathy DeForest and Demecina Gray will be on display, as well as award-winning modern book designs by Sabina Nies.
Hear live Middle Eastern and Chinese music featuring Ronnie Malley of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Afternoon panel discussions will include the critical role of independent publishers, crime fiction writing with Tim Wohlforth (this panel features Ashland Creek Press author Cher Fischer and her eco-mystery, Falling Into Green), and a panel on health and fitness.
There is no charge for admission — and parking is free! For more information, click here.
Better yet, do you want to be a festival volunteer? The festival is hosting a volunteer sign-up coffee on Wednesday, June 6, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Hannon Library cafe (at the entrance to the library). Contact Laura Baden at 541-482-0654 for more information on how to be a volunteer.