Interview with Nebula Award Winning Author James Morrow

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Cross-posted from Michael Ventrella’s blog: http://michaelaventrella.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/interview-with-nebula-award-winning-author-james-morrow/

MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA: Years ago, a friend pushed the World Fantasy Award-winning novel TOWING JEHOVAH on me, and it sounded fascinating. Being a typical writer/reader, I always have dozens of books on my “Have to Read and Will Get Around to Some Day” pile. JEHOVAH jumped to the top of the list after I had the pleasure of meeting James Morrow at Worldcon in Montreal a few months ago as we both patiently waited in line for substandard Canadian coffee. It was as good as had been recommended (the book, not the coffee), and now I have the two sequels next in line on my “Have to Read” pile.James Morrow_PhotoCredit Didier LeclercAtelier N89

James Morrow is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania (not necessarily in that order) and has won acclaim for a variety of fantastic novels which weave together religion, politics, and philosophy. A Nebula-award winner, Morrow continues to challenge and entertain. His web page is here.

James, thanks for taking the time! It is obvious that much of your work concerns religion, from the Godhead Trilogy to ONLY BEGOTTEN DAUGHTER. What do you find in this subject that makes it so desirable?

JAMES MORROW: Every day, I wake up and I say to myself, “How extraordinary! Here I am, James Morrow, thrown into a world in which the vast majority of bipedal beings believe in benign supernatural intervention, and I don’t buy one bit of it! What’s going on here? Why am I totally at odds with most of my fellow thinking primates? How could such a large majority of humans, many of them brighter and better traveled than I, subscribe to a world-picture that is manifestly not the case? How can they imagine that the Bible enjoys a divine origin, when so much of it bespeaks our pettiest impulses? How can they not see the bankruptcy of the benevolent-God hypothesis? Why will they not face the probability that all deities are human inventions?

This paradoxical state of affairs variously confounds, amuses, saddens, frustrates, and infuriates me — but mostly it gives me the energy to create my stories and novels. I’ve been accused of writing primarily out of anger, but I believe I’m more bewildered than bitter. My bedrock perplexity seems to make for compelling fictive thought experiments, or so my more sympathetic readers tell me. Evidently God put me here to argue against His existence.

VENTRELLA: Have you faced any censorship or protests because of these works?

MORROW: No serious protests. Occasionally I’ll receive an e-mail from a Christian conservative who, having blundered into my website, is concerned about the status of my salvation. Normally this correspondent will prescribe a verse or two from Saint Paul, but sometimes he’ll glibly inform me that I’m going to Hell.

VENTRELLA: Are you disappointed?

You’ve actually struck a nerve here, Michael. Like all novelists, I’m a bit of a narcissist: I think my readership should be significantly larger. So, yes, I am indeed disappointed that Ralph Reed or the Vatican has not yet come gunning for me.

VENTRELLA: What was interesting to me after reading TOWING JEHOVAH was that the truth of the matter was just accepted; the novel does not disavow the Christian God nor does it satirize Him, but it certainly looks at Him in a new way. Had earlier versions and drafts taken a different approach?towing

MORROW: I’m glad you found that novel to be relatively nonpolemical. Preaching is the death of fiction. When I embarked on the thought experiment that became TOWING JEHOVAH, I wasn’t sure where I was going, and I was pleased to be surprised by many of the scenes that emerged from my pen. A literal pen: that particular novel was initially written in longhand.

At the start of the project, I didn’t realize TOWING JEHOVAH would give me a chance to satirize my own worldview in the form of the Central Park West Enlightenment League. Nor did I foresee the weirdly reverent tone of the inverse-Eucharist scene, in which the starving supertanker crew survives a famine by eating God’s deconsecrated flesh. And Neil Weisinger’s search for the En sof is also supposed to be taken at face value. I guess you could call TOWING JEHOVAH a novel by an atheist who’s trying to empathize — up to a point — with people of faith.

VENTRELLA: In TOWING JEHOVAH, a message is that “enlightenment” isn’t always truthful. The church wants to hide the truth in its own interest. The atheists, represented by the Central Park West Enlightenment League, also want to hide the truth for their own interest. Deceit is not something to be admired on either side, but in the sequels, the consequences of the truth are severe. Do you believe that it is sometimes better to not know the truth?

MORROW: As an equal opportunity satirist, I wanted to suggest that any group that would style itself the Central Park West Enlightenment League might very well — at the end of the day and faced with an apocalyptic challenge — decline to embrace a body of data that contradicted its worldview. When you’re in the business of fashioning sardonic comedies, nothing is sacred, not even atheism. My sympathies lie almost entirely with my secular brethren, but in a crisis I suspect that most of us would behave as mere feeble and fallible humans, not as courageous avatars of the truth.

Truth is a sticky commodity. The physical sciences long ago figured out that they can get by perfectly well without making grandiose truth claims (merely predictions based on theories), but philosophy and religion and the arts don’t have that option. Like the Ibsen of THE WILD DUCK and the O’Neill of THE ICEMAN COMETH, I can certainly imagine situations where the truth proved fundamentally destructive, and I was indeed playing with that idea in the Godhead Trilogy — though I ultimately come down on the side of truth-telling, as I also did in my novella CITY OF TRUTH.

Offhand, I can think of no greater sin than to consciously lie to a child, which is why I’m impatient with many conservative Christians, whose God is evidently so feeble that He can be sustained only through falsehoods systematically advanced on His behalf — falsehoods about the alleged evangelical foundations of the American republic, falsehoods about Darwin’s theory of natural selection, falsehoods about the blatant anti-Semitism of the Gospels, falsehoods about priestly sexual misconduct, and so on. As the saying goes, you can have your own opinions, but you can’t have your own facts.

VENTRELLA: Was the series planned in advance or did you decide to write the sequels after the first was completed?

MORROW: Based on some preliminary TOWING JEHOVAH chapters and an outline, I managed to convince Harcourt Brace to sign up for the whole trilogy. Needless to day, all three finished manuscripts departed radically from my original plan. BLAMELESS IN ABADDON was initially titled TERRA INCOGNITA, and the outline was more concerned with the trip through God’s brain, with the Trial of the Millennium functioning merely as a denouement. My first sketch for THE ETERNAL FOOTMAN had the characters searching for the Holy Grail. Eventually their quest leads them to a divine bedpan, an idea I rejected as sophomoric even by my standards.

VENTRELLA: What sort of research do you do for your novels, especially when discussing areas in which you may not be trained?

MORROW: For better or worse, the advent of Google has made the task of research 100 percent easier than in days gone by. I say “or worse” because I believe there was something vaguely romantic and even heroic about the novelist’s quest for the sort of quirky facts and period details that can bring a scene to life. But today these gritty particulars are available at the stroke of a key. It feels like cheating.

I like to say, “First I write the novel, then I do the research.” That remark is not entirely facetious. In the case of my novel-in-progress, an epic about the coming of the Darwinian worldview, I’ve already written scenes set at Darwin’s estate and on the Galapagos archipelago. I intend to visit both sites before putting the book to bed: in my experience such on-the-ground investigations can enrich a novel immeasurably — and yet the present drafts are not entirely lacking in credibility, and I could probably get away with simply claiming I’d done the primary research.

VENTRELLA: How did your education affect your writing? (As an aside, do you miss Boston? I went there for law school and loved it…)
apprentice-us
MORROW: Boston is a terrific city, commensurate in my affections with New York, Paris, and London. My days at the Harvard Graduate School of Education particularly paid off in my recent novel called THE PHILOSOPHER’S APPRENTICE, in which a philosophy student is hired to implant a conscience in an adolescent clone. When I was at Harvard, everyone was excited about Lawrence Kohlberg’s profile of children’s moral development. I ended up keying Londa Sabacthani’s education to the famous Kohlbergian dilemmas.

VENTRELLA: Do you tend to think of the story first, or a concept that will lead to a story? It seems that much of your work involves interesting questions of religion and philosophy that lead to a “what if?” scenario…

MORROW: Although most novelists, myself included, want to reach the reader at an emotional level, I believe that fiction writing is primarily an intellectual process. When a scene isn’t working, the problem is not that you’re failing to channel some cosmic Muse from a transcendent plane of reality — the problem is that you’re not thinking hard enough.

I couldn’t imagine beginning a novel or short story without an audacious premise in mind. Many writers evidently work in a completely different fashion. They’re happy to start with a memorable character, a vivid setting, a personal theme, or an intriguing initial situation, with the overarching concept emerging only during the composition process.

VENTRELLA: What do you know now about the publishing industry that you wish you had known when you first started out?

MORROW: My career was launched in a fashion that I took to be ideal: hardcover publication by a major New York house — to wit, the edition of THE WINE OF VIOLENCE that issued from Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1981. I gradually came to realize that such an achievement, while not an occasion for sneezes, is by no means synonymous with having a career. I had not found the Holy Grail after all.

It took me awhile to figure this out, but unless the publisher is really behind you, with a fired-up sales force, a serious publicity budget, and a viable marketing strategy, any given novel is likely to die a dog’s death at the box office. Not until TOWING JEHOVAH, my fifth book, did I actually enjoy the services of an in-house publicist.

VENTRELLA: What projects are you currently working on? Give us a teaser!

MORROW: I just finished a short story called “The Vampires of Paradox.” It will appear in IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?, a forthcoming anthology about the Fermi Paradox, edited by Nick Gevers and Marty Halpern. Now I’m free to return to the Darwin project, which I believe will be my best book yet — though I must admit I adopt that attitude towards all my novels: otherwise I would never finish them!

VENTRELLA: What sort of advice would you give an aspiring writer that you wish someone had given you?hiroshima

MORROW: Try to figure out a way to make fiction writing its own reward. You can’t count on the marketplace or the publishing industry to validate your efforts — but you can learn to take satisfaction in a well-turned phrase, a witty description, a remarkable character, or a puissant idea.

VENTRELLA: What are you most proud of? What would you like to be remembered for?

MORROW: I hope that my posthumous biographer will pay particular attention to BLAMELESS IN ABADDON and THE LAST WITCHFINDER. In those two novels I believe I came fairly close to realizing my artistic ideal — that is, fiction in which the dance of ideas is at once complex and entertaining. Among my shorter efforts, I like to think that people will be reading SHAMBLING TOWARDS HIROSHIMA long after I’ve gone to live with Jesus.

the road to god knows… Review by Marc Schuster

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Von Allan‘s graphic novel the road to god knows… opens with a series of images depicting the stark yet curiously hopeful Ottawa in which the action takes place. It’s a city where boys play street hockey in short sleeves, where homeless men sleep fitfully on sidewalks, where one-eyed jack-o-lanterns grin mischievously on front steps, and where teens lead lives of quiet desperation behind the closed doors of their rundown apartment buildings. In this case, the teen’s name is Marie, and her desperation stems from the fact that her mother is struggling with schizophrenia. Despite her mother’s illness, however, Marie’s life is not without hope. Indeed, she’s a complex character, and her efforts at balancing the stress of living with a sick parent and leading the “normal life” of a teen outside of her home make the road to god knows… a compelling read.

Nowhere in the graphic novel is the tension in Marie’s life more palpable than a passage in which a math teacher berates her for repeatedly missing class. For what can the protagonist say? That her mother stumbled, naked, out of her bedroom several nights earlier, rambling incoherently? That shortly thereafter her mother hurled a pot of spaghetti at Marie’s head, barely missing its mark? That, as a result of all this, she’s had to live with her father for a few days, that he lives across town and has a tendency to sit around the house in his underwear? As the teacher heartlessly explains the mathematics of Marie’s absences, we can’t help but feel compassion for her, can barely resist the urge to yell at the page: Can’t you see that this poor girl is barely hanging on?

But hang on she does, for Marie is, at heart, an optimist.

In terms of story, Allan gives us two arcs at once: while Marie’s nearly overwhelming struggle on the home front undergirds the road to god knows…, a second arc involving her quest to attend a pro-wrestling match (an all-but impossible dream for a poor girl growing up in Ottawa) buoys the proceedings. As these two arcs intertwine, Marie comes to realize that she is not alone in the world and, more importantly, that she doesn’t have to be ashamed of her mother. Life, on the whole, can be difficult, this graphic novel seems to tell us, but we need to be open to helping each other find joy, if only in small increments.

With the road to god knows… Von Allan demonstrates that he’s talented as both an artist and a storyteller. The Ottawa he conjures is beautifully and lovingly detailed — on par, perhaps, with the London of Dickens or the Cleveland of Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor. Stylistically, I’m also reminded of Black Hole by Charles Burns and Sloth (among other things) by Gilbert Hernandez. Regardless of his artistic influences, however, what’s clear throughout this graphic novel is that Allan is an optimist who strives to explore the human heart in all of its intricate complexity.

Marc Schuster is the author of The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl.

Read more reviews of books from small and independent presses at Small Press Reviews.

Michelle Wittle On Author Heroes

Michelle Wittle On, Writing Tips

Why did I want to become a writer?

I’ll be honest; I have no idea why I want to be a writer. A part of me feels like I am doing it to honor my father. He wanted so badly to be a writer and he had a big red photo album of rejection letters to prove his determination. His early death stopped his dream and I always felt I should pick up the cliché torch and keep running. However, just wanting to do something my father did really doesn’t explain it. I feel like it is something I have always been and denying it any longer is just denying me air or water. I am a writer. I can’t run from it.

But who shaped me into being this writer?

When I first started reading, I was entranced by Judy Blume. She made me see life wasn’t always pretty and it was okay. That was just the way life was sometimes. From her, I understood how creating real and honest characters can help a reader feel real and less abnormal.

In college, of course I fell in love with Sylvia Plath. In my opinion, no one can show raw emotion better than Plath. I wanted to emulate that style. I wanted to pour my pain on the page and ask for nothing but for readers to see it and feel it. I didn’t want pity or sympathy. I just wanted someone to hear me.

Dorothy Parker had such a witty and sharp tongue. I loved how with so few words, Parker would leave the reader with a powerful image. She was a silent snake and I wanted that for myself as well. I wanted to use few words and leave my reader with just an image to hold onto.

Augusten Burroughs showed me life can be a mess. However,what you do with that mess is what counts. Do you let it just roll over you, or do you watch as Jesus pets the cow? He showed me why I was tuned into writing to begin with and for that he is one of my heroes.

David Sedaris uses his situations and life to not only tell a funny story, but to teach a lesson. He is what creative nonfiction is and if you are curious about the genre, I suggest you really look at his writings. He tells snippets from his life, we laugh, but at the end there is always the lesson he learns from the experience.

Lastly, I am now learning about the genius of Lucy Grealy. She used a horrific experience and asked us not to look at the situation, but what she learned from it. She had cancer and while that was a tough thing to overcome, she showed readers she was more than a disease. She suffered the same insecurities and thoughts everyone else can suffer in a lifetime. She asked her readers to not pity or feel sorry for her but to see her for all that she was and I want the same thing.

Augusten Burroughs taught me to write. David Sedaris taught me the genre I needed to focus my writing in. Lucy Grealy taught me how to write in the genre.

These are my writing heroes and I am thankful to have been exposed to all of them. They have shaped my soul and my writing and there are not enough words to express my gratitude for them paving the way and going first.

Proximity and Pressure by guest blogger Elizabeth Mosier

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There are stories beneath the ground at 6th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, the location of George Washington’s residence and slaves’ quarters from 1790 – 97.  This complicated narrative—democracy framed upon the faulty foundation of slavery—first drew me to the site (and, eventually, to my volunteer work at the Living History Archeology Lab) three years ago.  That week, in May 2007, a team of archaeologists revealed the mortared stone walls of the “Philadelphia White House” and, in the process, disturbed the surface of a story last interpreted for the United States Bicentennial.   

        When I first visited the dig with my daughters, I couldn’t help but read the emerging revision as a writer would. 

         There, in the ground, was the visible footprint of the bow-windowed room that architectural historians say is the precedent to the modern-day Oval Office.  Washington added it to the house for the purpose of meeting visitors (at his level, not elevated and enthroned like a king).  And there, five feet away, was the open-hearth kitchen where the enslaved man called Hercules cooked the president’s meals. 

         One version of the story is shaped by this proximity:  the symbol of democracy next to the brick and mortar evidence of slavery.  Here, in this ironic setting, Hercules rises from plantation slave to celebrated chef, his talents and loyalty to Washington rewarded with unusual privileges.  He makes an income selling kitchen scraps, buys fine clothing, strolls Philadelphia’s abolitionist streets.  Narrative tension is sustained by the dissonance between text (the appearance of liberty) and subtext (the reality of bondage)—and resolved brilliantly in March, 1797, when Hercules escapes. 

         Or so the story goes.  Structurally, this version is as elegant as the picture presumed to be of Hercules, painted by Washington’s portraitist, Gilbert Stuart.  But portraiture is not a story.  And that is the problem at the root of this narrative:  a complete dramatic action is elusive when the protagonist isn’t free to act.  Or when the protagonist vanishes. 

         If this were fiction, the writer might attempt to open and deepen the draft by shifting narrative point of view.  As my friend Robin Black (author of the forthcoming story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This) says, “Changing point of view puts pressure on a story, forcing issues that change the way a story is crafted.”  In the case of Hercules, seeing events through his eyes would compel the writer to develop him as a character—not simply present him as an ironic figure in Washington’s conflicted tale.   

         But this is history, and only facts can free the narrative from the limits imposed by its frame.  In fact, the age and provenance of the portrait isn’t fixed.  The tall toque Hercules wears is a style that wasn’t popular until later, in the early nineteenth century; Stuart scholars don’t acknowledge the painting as part of the artist’s body of work.  And now, a discovery by Mt. Vernon research historian Mary V. Thompson not only recasts the story’s climax, but also offers an ending that opens into his probable future. 

         In the Mt. Vernon farm report dated February 25, 1797, Hercules is listed as “absconded for four days”, meaning Washington’s birthday (February 22) was the occasion for his flight—not Washington’s March departure date.  Meaning that, as Washington hosted farewell parties in Philadelphia, the culinary artist valued for his skill and loyalty was at Mt. Vernon, assigned to the hard labor of digging clay for bricks.  Meaning Hercules fled from Mt. Vernon to Philadelphia (as Washington later wrote in a letter to his secretary, Tobias Lear).

         And the portrait—which journeyed to aristocratic residences in Paris and Gloucestershire, England, before reaching its current home in Spain’s Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza—could have been painted by someone other than Stuart, after Hercules fled to Europe from Philadelphia and joined the household of a British diplomat.         

         Though the ground at the President’s House site is now covered, the dig for hidden stories continues.  And I’m reminded of what National Park Service Archaeologist Jed Levin explained when I first signed on for this long project:  archaeological research is intended to illuminate what is uncovered at the dig, not merely to preserve artifacts.  I’ve found that this process applies to the work of storytelling, too, whether it’s being done in the pit or on the page.  http://www.ushistory.org/presidentshouse/

Teaching Memoirs, Meeting Locals, Making Memories by Jerry Waxler

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Cross posted at Memory Writers Network blog

When my wife’s sister, Judy, heard that her local writing group was looking for a writing teacher, she mentioned my name. She has been encouraging us to come to visit her town, Salida, with lots of artists, tucked in a valley amidst the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. If it worked out, I could teach memoir writing, while making a few memories of my own.  The directors of the group checked out my blog and other material on my website, and we began to brainstorm about how it would work.

All the memoir classes I had taught previously were broken into two hour segments. This workshop would go for eight hours straight, so one challenge would be to tailor the course to this new format. And I worried about my stamina. Would they need to carry me out on a stretcher at the end of the day? Over the next few weeks, I worked out a class schedule that I felt would offer the same value as the individual sessions. And the best way to find out if I could survive an all-day class was to try. My wife and I agreed the Rockies would create a welcome diversion from south eastern Pennsylvania, so we said “Yes. Let’s do it.”

In September, we flew in to the Denver Airport. On our drive to Chaffee County, we stopped at Colorado Springs to walk through the Garden of the Gods, a magnificent collection of brilliant orange spires, like fingers reaching up to the sky. We only had an hour to appreciate what it had taken God a million years to create. The rest of the drive was almost as spectacular. Along the canyon of the Arkansas River, the mountain faces kept changing color and texture, as if each section had been formed during a different era. I felt like I was watching the history of the earth unfold before my eyes.

In Salida, Judy showed us around the local art shops and historical buildings. The renovated Steam Plant is the home of the theater where she volunteers, and that night she took us to a rock concert, where we listened to good quality regional rock and roll, standing or swaying on a dance floor with the locals.  The next day, we ate breakfast at Bongo Billy’s Cafe, which like the Steam Plant, is a restored historical building. On the red brick walls hang works of local art and a poster that offered, “How to Build a Global Community.” I stood there and read every suggestion, as if the poster could help me understand the heart of Salida. One rule was “Visit people, not places.” I liked that rule and thought I could honor it on this trip, starting with the 25 people who had signed up for my class.

At 8 AM the next morning, arriving early at the church where the workshop was to be held, I greeted people on their way in and asked them what they wanted to accomplish in the class. Every good story starts with desire. The personal introductions segued naturally into a formal class, in which I offered an overview of memoir writing. Then it was time to learn techniques. After the first lesson, about finding the timeline, I gave a writing prompt. “Write a scene about one of the homes you lived in.” Their heads went down, and pens moved, allowing them the opportunity to ideas into action.

When it was time to read aloud, I asked them to break into groups of three so each could read their writing to two others. The room buzzed with energy while I sat alone and planned my next module. When they were done, I spoke some more, we discussed more, and they wrote and read to their small groups. The lunch break was in the adjoining kitchen, with a feast of pot luck dishes that included salads, cookies, and fruit. And then we started again.

By mid-afternoon, we had been focusing for five hours and I was running out of energy, but I couldn’t stop now. I had to press on, in an excellent example of life imitating art. The next lesson was about the long middle of a story, which could become bogged down in the passage of time. To keep the story moving, the protagonist must face and overcome obstacles. I gave one more prompt. “Write about a significant obstacle in your life.” Heads bowed, and when they looked up, this time I asked them to share their writing with the whole group.

One by one, they shared critical moments: near deaths, loves lost, disease, and recovery. I leaned forward in my chair, inspired by the variety and depth of human experience, and the power of memoir writing to shape those memories and share them. Some students choked back tears. Others were more stoical, while the rest of us nodded, and murmured in empathy. Many said, “It’s the first time I shared this with strangers.” Of course the details are protected by confidentiality, but now that the stories have been told in one group setting, my experience tells me the participants will have an easier time sharing stories in the future.

After each reading, I commented on how it fit into the course material and how they might develop it further. When we ran out of time, I thanked them for sharing their lives, and we were done. But it wasn’t over quite yet. While we were cleaning up, many people walked up and thanked me. “You helped me think about my life in a new way.” These expressions of appreciation made me feel my day was a success.

I carried out to the car the few remaining books from the stack I had brought with me to sell, one a how-to guide for writing memoirs, and the other a workbook for overcoming obstacles that can interfere with writing. On the drive back to our lodging, I shared thoughts about memories and family with Judy, who had attended the class as well.

When I returned to our room, my wife was excited by her own adventure. She had spent most of the day at an equestrian competition, watching riders roping, herding, and other events. When Janet is around horses, she’s happy, so the day was a success for her too.

To continue the horse theme, I suggested we take a trail ride to see more of the beautiful countryside. Asking around, we found a recommendation for Bill’s Sport Shop in Leadville. The next morning, we met the trail guide, George, a salty man with smiling eyes, and lots of creases in his face who bragged about his recent 77th birthday. We brushed the horses, (mine was named Ringo), saddled up and walked out amidst the big peaks and big skies of Colorado, through scrubby arid hillocks, and stands of pine trees. George turned around in his saddle to tell us about his life, working in a mine, losing his best friend in 1969 and even some bits about his love life. His love for his herd of 30 horses was obvious, considering he knew each one by name and told us anecdotes about many of them.  I was the last of the three riders, and Ringo was a little pokey so sometimes George’s voice drifted back to me and other times I ambled in silence.

Four hours later, we took the saddles off, and he let us give the horses their treat of grain. As we were leaving, I asked him, “Are you a cowboy?” He said, “I’m going to be a cowboy when I grow up.” Getting to know George, who had lived and worked in this area his whole life, I felt like I had fulfilled the suggestion on the poster at Bongo Billy’s. We were not just visiting places, but meeting people as well.

We pulled on to the road and headed out of town, back towards the Denver Airport. Leaving the mountains behind, my wife said, “I like this trip. Maybe you can find more places to teach memoir writing workshops.” “I don’t know hon. I’ll ask around.”

Note

To purchase a copy of  the poster, “How to Build Global Community” by Melinda Levine, search on the internet. For example, I turned up this link.

Chaffee County also hosts summer white water rafting down the Arkansas River, skiing at nearby Monarch Mountain, mountain climbing – it’s surrounded by fourteen thousand foot peaks of the Fourteeners. It is also on the route of the famous “Ride the Rockies” bicycle tour.

Jerry Waxler will be teaching a workshop on writing memoirs Saturday, March 13, at the Manayunk Arts Center. Click HERE for more details.