November 2012 Open Mic

Dear Writers,
Stories + Art at November’s Open Mic!

This month we welcomed poet Keith Moul to our midst. He writes poetry that pairs with his photo art, including this gorgeous road-in-the-desert scene. Thank you, Keith, for giving us a lovely backdrop for your reading. (The other backdrop is the half-built holiday sleigh at Village Books.)

Jim Milstead was the night’s opener with a holiday-themed, oh-so-slightly sarcastic poem discussing shopping for the season. Lest we be lulled by a seasonal greeting, next came “Land of Milk and Honeybucket.” Susan Cross followed with traumatic and hilarious memories of prepping Sunday schoolkids for a pageant—Who moved baby Jesus? Nancy Canyon had us in stitches with a new story, “Holy Spirit Delivers,” featuring a character who has a go at a revival meeting in her living room, by herself. Continue reading

September 2012 Open Mic

Dear Writers,
Mopping, I discovered that my kitchen floor is actually light brown.

So how is your floor like your character? It’s not, but if you do the work to fully render the little moments that gradually strip away the layers obscuring your character’s true self, the critical scene in which the last of those layers falls away has potential to be extremely powerful on the page.

On to September’s open mic recap! Continue reading

October 2012 Open Mic

Dear Writers,
October’s open mic was spooky good, frankly.

image from the

Being born on Halloween, I was uniquely qualified to emcee this particular open mic. A few witches showed up to help me cast a spell that called for some eye of newt and toe of frog as well as some scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, gall of goat and a tiger’s chaudron. All of this they stirred into a cauldron. If you haven’t guessed who they were by now, you need to go read your classics. Continue reading

August 2012 Open Mic

Dear Writers,
The talented crowd at this month’s open mic at Village Books did not disappoint! Congratulations to the writers who shared their newly published works and to those joining our company for the first time. Here’s the recap:

C.J. Prince

The smashing C.J. Prince started us off with poems evoking images of mariachi bands, film stars, and the joy of dancing. She is a co-author of the story collection Catching My Breath and will feature in a reading in October. Peter Rust grabbed our attention with a tense scene of discovery from a sci-fi manuscript he’s developing. You can check out Peter’s blog Unashamed Studios. Memoirist Shannon Hager delighted us with an excerpt entitled “God Spoke to Pastor Taylor” from her work Five Thousand Brothers-in-Law. Continue reading

July 2012 Open Mic

Dear Writers,
Our midsummer ensemble at the July open mic at Village Books was a hit! Thanks to Village Books for providing us with a great venue and for its regular support and nurturing of local writers. Here’s the July recap:
Photo: Intellectual look!

Nancy Lou Canyon

Nancy Lou Canyon treated us to a short piece “Jeannie Ann” from her e-book Dark Forest. Her quietly moving prose evoked a past that heavily informs the future. Kudos to Nancy as well for having her beautiful art adorn the walls at Village Books. Rae Ellen Lee, who we all look to for hilarious guidance on spotting geezers, tonight showed us a beautifully different style with a vignette from her childhood, published in Sea of Voices, Isle of Story (TripleTree Publishing 2003). Sporting a Periodic Table of the Elements t-shirt, Jim Milstead amused our group with his clever response to e.e. cummings, but then also turned wonderfully reflective, reading “Appointment.” Dick Harris read from “Midstream,” his blogged work, and not to be outdone on t-shirt night, Dick had on his shirt from the 2000 Iowa Summer Writing Festival, where he is an eleven-time alum! Continue reading