January 2014 Open Mic with Author-Historian Janet Oakley and WOW!

Dear Writers,

Time to take a teeny trip back in time to talk about a really great event. On January 27, we celebrated the first Open Mic Night of 2014!

Jan 2014 Open Mic Night

Some of the readers from January’s Sizzling Open Mic Night

The stellar lineup included:

Local historian and writer Janet Oakley, who read from her new book Timber Rose, the prequel to her award-winning novel Tree Soldier. Set in 1908, the prequel story centers on a character’s journey of self-discovery in this rich, historic setting. Congratulations, Janet!

Timber Rose by Janet Oakley launches April 6 at Village Books

Timber Rose by Janet Oakley launches April 6, 4 p.m. at Village Books.


Vince Landi delighted us with a new story about neighbors that are mysterious, hilarious, quirky, and also rather sinister. We all know Vince’s penchant to read his stories over two or three weeks—it’s his own trend that’s catching on—so it will be fun to see where this tale takes us.

Clare Mercy shared a heartfelt letter to the editor she penned about violence toward women and even more so about reclaiming one’s life after a traumatic experience. Nice job, Clare!

Our often witty Jim Milstead turned somber this time out, sharing a thoughtful exploration of the thoughts of a character on the day he takes his own life. Wow!

Janet Oakley, author of the new novel Timber Rose

Janet Oakley, author of the new novel Timber Rose

Laura Rink had us chuckling with a “fictionalized rant” called “Coffee Pot.” This delightful piece is about noticing undone things, making lists, and getting a headache. In Laura’s words, “Short lists mate with other short lists to make longer lists.”

Andrew Shattuck McBride brought tears to the eyes of every animal lover and then some with his poem “Surrender, Loving and Losing Bigglesworth” (his beloved cat).

And Margaret McFadien joined our ranks with some fantastic poetry. Welcome Margaret, and we hope to see you again at Open Mic Night!

~ WOW – Write on Women ~

We were honored on this night by a quartet of writers who belong to WOW, including Nancy Canyon, C. J. Prince, Susan Erickson, and Carol Austin.

Nancy Canyon led off the WOW set, reading “Anvil Clouds,” from her ongoing memoir Lookout. This powerful excerpt centered on the event of a miscarriage and contemplating it afterward.

C. J. Prince reported that she is looking forward to publishing a chapbook called Mother, May I. She brought poems from this collection, including “Neapolitan Finery” and “El Paseo,” featuring such classic rites of passage as getting pierced ears, trying on a first bra, sneaking out of the house for the first time . . .

Susan Erickson read an original alphabet poem, where each subsequent line starts with the next letter of the alphabet. With an entirely new take on the Little Mermaid story, this very lovely interpretation showed how a strict form can be bent to yield imaginative content.

Carol Austin rounded out the WOW team with the enchanting Male Order Cowgirls, her memoir in process that took us to the scene of a cattle ranch and some of the lessons learned while driving cattle—”It ain’t no speed event.”

Some of the gang hanging out before Open Mic starts.

Some of the gang hanging out early before Open Mic starts.


♦ A few weeks ago, I had a blast performing my story “Darrell, In Milwaukee” as part of the reading lineup for Clover: A Literary Rag hosted by Village Books. Another story of mine, “Dearest,” will appear in Clover 7, due this June. A few of you may know this next story as “The Raffle,” from talking about it revision class. Well, it will be fun to see this one in print at last, since I wrote the first draft back in 2000!

♦ Next Open Mic: Green Cabbage, Green Fees, or Greenhorns is the optional theme on Monday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in the Readings Gallery at Village Books. The rosters fill early so be sure to sign up ahead of time at the main counter on the first floor or call (360)-671-2626. Find pics from other open mics here!

♦ Events: Check out events for writers About Town.

♦ Read more from me at Dogpatch Writers Collective.

XO Laurel Leigh

12 thoughts on “January 2014 Open Mic with Author-Historian Janet Oakley and WOW!

  1. Howdy there, Laurel. Janet was fantastic today at her VB launch for Timber Rose. The lady knows how to grab an audience!

    You deserve infinite thanks, too, for your write-ups. I’m shooting you 5 e-balloons: OOOOO and five pretzels, too. XXXXX Enjoy.

  2. Laurel, thanks for this lovely account of the evening. I wish I could have been there!

    And I just notice the cover of my chapbook over there on the right. Thank you so much for framing it so nicely and putting it up on display. That is so kind of you!

  3. Hey there, Congrats on hosting such a fab open mic night! You really do make me wish I could get that supersonic transporter that’s sitting in my son’s room to work. 😀 Also, congrats on having another story published in Clover! Very exciting, especially since I’ve seen two earlier drafts of the story (I think). Cheers!

    • Many thanks, Jill! Needless to say, I will help you scrounge transporter parts to get you up here again! Your last trip here, awesome as it was, wasn’t nearly long enough, and I guess I have to say the same about my last visit to your parts.

      Yep, you and Wes have gone above and beyond reading versions of “Dearest.” I got a little ahead of myself since I was so anxious to finally get this post up. I meant to let you know beforehand and say a proper thank you for all your help with this story.

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