Connecticut Muse by yaohongm


									  Connecticut Muse
A Celebration of Contemporary Connecticut Authors

                  Summer 2009
                       UPCOMING WRITERS’ RETREATS
                         IN “CONN-TIGUOUS” STATES
Rhode Island - The Brown Writers’ Symposium                                    July 19 - 25, 2009
Brown Writers’ Symposium offers an intensive, retreat-style environment designed for serious novice
and experienced writers interested in the exploration of the craft and art of creative nonfiction.
Contact:                              URL:

Massachusetts - Nantucket Writers Studio                                       June - September 2009
Kathryn Kay's workshops cover a range of topics including structure, character, description, and voice,
and her background in yoga and stress management helps foster an atmosphere that nurtures the creative
spirit and supports the writing process.
Contact:             URL:

New York - The Adirondack Mountain Writers’ Retreat                             August 20 - 23, 2009
Teacher/writer/poet Irene Sherlock will lead this four-day creative writing workshop, which includes
seminars, blocks of writing time, readings, critique sessions, and private consultations. Participation
limited to 10 writers.
Contact:                  URL:

Connecticut - Coveside Writing Workshop & Retreat                              October 3 - 4, 2009
Now in its eighth year, Coveside Writing Workshop & Retreat is the uniquely intensive, uniquely
intimate, hands-on writing workshop for writers of all genres. Through a pyramid of guided meditation,
free-writing, editing and revision, Anita Riggio leads the writer to discover the deeply personal well spring
of images and ideas that gives resonance to writing. Established and emerging writers alike will leave this
workshop exhilarated, exhausted, and brimming with stories only they can write.
Contact:               URL:

                     Summer Music Day Camp at the
                        Music Learning Center
  Music camp features a variety of fun activities for ages 4-12 to encourage musical skills and
  appreciation, such as “Guitar Hero” and “Music Camp Idol” as well as musical instrument
  building, singing, musical games and creating a theatrical performance with musical
  accompaniment. Each camp week will include guest performers and a presentation by the
  campers for family and friends. Sign up for 1, 2, 3 or 4 weeks ($165 per session).

                                       July 13-17 (9:30-12:30)
                                       July 20-24 (9:30-12:30)
                                 July 27-31 (9:30-12:30 or 1:30-4:00)
                                        August 3-7 (1:30-4:00)
                                      August 18-21 (9:30-12:30)

                               To register, call (203) 748-1444.
               The Music Learning Center is located at 425 Main Street in Danbury.

                Connecticut Muse
                 A Celebration of Contemporary Connecticut Authors
                                       Issue #18, Summer 2009

Dear Connecticut Book Lovers,

Yes, you guessed it - The Dog Days of Summer are upon us! By the way, the term “Dog Days” was
used by the Greeks as well as the ancient Romans (who called these days caniculares dies - days of
the dogs) after Sirius (the "Dog Star"), the brightest star in the heavens besides the sun. The Dog Days
originally were the days when Sirius rose just before or at the same time as sunrise. According to the
Old Farmer’s Almanac, these steamy days occur from July 3 to August 11.

Traditionally, this is when many people go away on vacation. And there’s no better time to catch up
on those books you’ve been meaning to read! This summer, my family and I will be spending a week
in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. It will be a bit of a genealogical journey (my mother’s family hales
from Beaufort and Charleston). Among other sites, I plan to visit an area along the Pocotaligo River
where the family plantation was located before it was destroyed during the Civil War. I have begun a
record of this journey, documenting how I became interested in my “Southern Side” and what I have
learned so far from my initial research. See page 15 for the story. Part 2 of my journey will appear in
the fall issue of Connecticut Muse.

July and August are a bit quiet for literary activities in the state, but September is an important month
for Connecticut writers. The Connecticut Book Awards will take place in September at the Hartford
Public Library. It’s always a wonderful ceremony followed by a relaxed repast (featuring scrumptious
appetizers and wine). Book award finalists are on hand to sign copies of their books too. Don’t miss
this unique opportunity to meet and chat with many of our State’s talented authors.

Happy Summer and Happy Reading!

Patricia F. D’Ascoli

                                        IN THIS ISSUE

Library Lost Love                              4        New Releases                               10
Review: Quarry                                 6        Literary Events                            11
Review: Abby’s Dilemma                         7        Muse Members                               12
Confessions of a Hope Street Stalker           8        Muse Member News                           14
Review: Plant Eaters & Meat Eaters             9        Ruminations: Genealogy Journey             15

   Library Love Lost                     Joe points. “Upper stacks, right       “The Library will close in FIVE
                                        there...” He watches her run off.       minutes.”
       by Denning Powell
                                        Carol climbs the stairs, finds the      “...and then, Josh, our one magical
                                        yearbooks, pulls one out. She           night in Kandahar... you said you
                                        flips it to a picture of a young man,   were getting out of the Army, going
Joe, the late-shift librarian, stands   strokes her fingers along it,           home... that we should meet in the
behind the check-out counter. He        murmuring. “Twenty-some years           Library... where we first met...”
pores over a newspaper, highlight-      of missed chances, Josh... husbands     Carol sings more of the song:
ing words in yellow marker.             and wives that didn’t work out...
Occasionally he shifts his weight       we were the perfect couple... why       “... longing for shelter from all that
from one leg to the other. He looks     didn’t it happen?”                      we see...”
out at the nearly deserted library
main floor. No waves for help; it’s     A tear drops on the yearbook page.      She strokes the picture, closes the
a slow night. He wipes an eye, then     She brushes it off, flips to another    yearbook, hugs it to her breast,
goes back to the paper.                 page showing her younger self with      crying.
                                        a young Joshua behind her, his
 A flash of color at the entry slips    arms encircled under her breasts as     “Well, I just got off the airplane,
into his peripheral vision. As foot-    they sang into a microphone.            love. And here I am. And I’ll be
steps click across the tile he high-                                            here tomorrow, and the day after,
lights one more line before looking     “Scandalized the whole damn             and...”
up. A good-looking woman in             school with that song, didn’t we...?”
jeans and a bright print shirt looks    Carol remembers, singing softly to      Arms enfold Carol from behind,
around as she strides in, then smiles   herself in the empty library stacks:    desert camouflage fatigues rolled
at him. He pushes the paper under                                               up to the elbow. A green beret
the counter’s parapet.                  “Deep in my soul, I’ve been so          shadows Joshua’s face. Carol
                                        lonely...                               sighs, starts to turn in his embrace.
“Carol, hey! Welcome back! We           All of my hopes, fading away...”
heard you’re coming back to work                                                “No,” he murmurs, “just let me
at the Health Center. So that’s         Another tear falls on that page.        hold you, like I did back then...”
true?” Joe reaches his hand out.        As she brushes at it the page flips,    He sings softly in her ear as they
                                        showing a loose newspaper clip-         sway together:
Carol takes his hand, but leans over    ping someone put there. It has a
the counter to kiss his cheek.          photo of a smiling soldier in a         “So here we are, babe, what do
                                        green beret. She turns back to          you say...
“Fourteen years around the world,       Josh’s younger picture, holds the       We’ve got tonight, who needs
Joe. Time to come home.”                clipping beside it, comparing. She      tomorrow...
                                        smiles and goes back to the page        We’ve got tonight, babe...
“Ah. Your mom? Her health?”             with the two of them singing.           Why don’t you stay?”

“Oh, partly. But Afghanistan...         “They almost threw us out for that      Carol turns in his arms and they
just... it got to me.”                  song. Then you went to West             kiss, thoroughly. Finally she pulls
                                        Point. And I went to pre-med,           back.
“I hear nobody put more time in         and...” Carol sings again, remem-
Doctors without Borders than you,       bering more words:                      “Been waiting long?” she asks.
ever. South America, Africa... we
lost track.” Joe smiles at her.         “I’ve longed for love, like everyone    “No. A couple of weeks.” He
                                        else does...                            brushes an errant tear from her
An announcement sounds over the                                                 cheek.
PA system: “The Library will close      I know I’ll keep searching, even
in TEN minutes.”                        after today...”                         “You’re out of the Army now.”

“Oh! Quick, Joe. I just got off the     The lights in the stack flick off,      “Fair to say.”
airplane, and it looks like you’re      leaving only dimmer light coming
totally re-organized here. Where        up from the main floor below.           “But still in uniform?”
are the Conard yearbooks now?”          Another PA announcement sounds:

He smiles. “Old habits die hard.”           “Come take my hand now...”                  Carol pauses at the front door,
                                            Carol offers.                               ready to walk out into the darkness.
“Like still sneaking up on people?”                                                     Her right hand moves out from her
                                            “Turn out the lights...” Joshua             side, open.
“I’m a spook, love. That’s what             sings.
Special Forces do.”                                                                     “Come take my hand now...” she
                                            Joe watches her leave, puzzled, not         sings.
Another PA announcement sounds:             quite hearing what she said. He
“The Library is now CLOSING.”               pulls the newspaper into the full           Carol’s hand clasps. She walks out
                                            desk light. It shows a big spread of        alone, but two voices sing together
Carol turns, slides the yearbook            pictures and stories about the home-        in close harmony:
back onto its shelf. When she turns         town hero, Major Joshua Jacob
back Joshua is gone. As she walks           Christensen, US Army 5th Special            “We’ve got tonight, babe...
down the stairs his voice tracks her,       Forces Group. Words are high-               why don’t we stay...”
coming from different places,               lighted in yellow marker: operating
singing:                                    in the south of Afghanistan... Silver       Joe switches off the desk light.
                                            Star, posthumous... burial with full
“We’ve got tonight...”                      military honors... died in the ser-         A refrain drifts back into the library
                                            vice of his country... Joe whispers         from the empty darkness outside,
She responds:                               his sadness to her retreating back:         voices interwoven:
“Who needs tomorrow...”
                                            “I’m sorry you missed the funeral,          “We’ve got tonight, babe...
“Let’s make it last...” he offers.          Carol. They beat the drum slowly.           why don’t we stay...”
                                            They played the fife lowly. Just
“Let’s find a way...” she agrees.           like it says. It was truly beautiful.
                                                                                        This story is a visualization of a song.
The ceiling lights cascade off from         I cried the whole time. I loved him         Lyrics from We Got Tonight by Bob
the back of the library forward,            too, you know. Our whole class              Seger, c1978.
following her. She waves at Joe in          did.”

               One        Book One Lake -
                     A Walk in the Woods
                               by Bill Bryson

        A partnered reading program presented by the                                 Then followed that beautiful
        libraries of Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield,                                 season... Summer....
        New Milford, and Sherman. A variety of events                                 Filled was the air with a
        will also take place in the area during July.                                dreamy and magical light;
        Book discussion dates:                                                            and the landscape
                                                                                    Lay as if new created in all the
              July   13   at   6:30 New Milford Library
                                                                                       freshness of childhood.
              July   14   at   6:00 Danbury Library
              July   15   at   6:30 New Fairfield Library
              July   16   at   7:00 Brookfield Library                              Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
              July   17   at   12:00 Brookfield Sr. Center
              July   17   at   7:30 Sherman Library

                                         you are going to encounter in the       “You deserve respect/as a water
                                         rest of the book. But the auctioneer    wizard and this red tobacco tin.”
                                         can’t sell his poems.
                                                                                 Prose? Could be. But if you let the
                                         Too bad. They are illuminating and      poems build all the way through,
                                         tender and strangely quiet, though      you’ll surpass the line-by-line
                                         throughout the book, Kelleher           poetic experience, and allow the
                                         exposes you to all of the noisy         accumulation of carefully chosen
                                         activities in a hard laborer’s day—     phrases to make a poetic impact.
                                         the sound of cracking axes splitting    In the poem “Hammers,” Kelleher
                                         wood, and the sputtering truck          starts us with the banging straight
                                         engines and cars. He leaves you         on. He throws us a mouthful of
                                         with a picture of vehicles stuck        alliterative words regarding
         Quarry                          deep, and forever, in the never-        hammers.
   Poems by Jim Kelleher                 ending snow banks of Northeastern
           Reviewed by                   winters.                                “I keep two Estwings;/a waffled,
                                                                                 sure-strike/ framer’s mauls/and a
         Ina B. Chadwick
                                         There’s a semi-diffidence in his        finish tool/with a round smooth
                                         observational reportage, which he       face./
                                         delivers with a leatherneck’s
                                         verbiage, but his sensitivity to the    Balanced steel heads/slam nails.
If you were nurtured on plaintive
                                         neighbors, the tightly-bound-           Blue handles swung fast with loose
structured sonnets, or if you have a
                                         together-out-of-necessity-townies,      wrists,/the long arc adds pope/to
penchant for familiar lyricism, read-
                                         the workers and acquaintances he        impact’s fierce twack!”
ing Jim Kelleher’s poetry is a
                                         meets in his harsh physical environ-
requirement for your literary
                                         ment, create a distinct aura of a man   Banging and banging away the
growth. Surely some of his poems
                                         who is careful, loving, and finely      author ends the poem with:
will expand your sensibilities about
                                         tuned to language.
imagery, and how the impact of
                                                                                 hammers hang claws/to pry bent
certain words lingers.
                                         He is a poet who avoids all clichés,    spikes/I fix mistakes/But today my
                                         or unoriginal rhetoric when he’s        angry words/bruised your loving
This reviewer had to push past the
                                         writing of how he has hurt a lover.     heart./”
impulse to stop when Kelleher’s
                                         He is able to thrust us into an
narrative, no-nonsense poetic voice
                                         Edward Hopper painting of rural         It’s a love poem with an emotion-
irritated my ear. However, since I
                                         America, stopped dead, yet still in     filled crash at the end. A deft voice
was cooped up on a train, I dug in,
                                         motion—a car outside of a gas           wielding an expensive
allowing the poet to steadfastly
                                         station, perhaps broken down or         hammer.
hammer away at my preconceived
                                         abandoned? Or repaired and ready
notions. I heard him employ
                                         to be driven away after we close the    In the poem, “Cord Work,” the
blunted rhythms while using the
                                         book.                                   drone-like activity of splitting and
tools of his trade, the hard-edged
                                                                                 piling wood to protect himself from
imagery of a garage and a work-
                                         Kelleher’s verse doesn’t feel like a    the potential deadly winter cold
                                         recognizable song from the heart,       evolves into a jaunty jiving rhythm.
                                         but it’s tuneful nevertheless. Devoid   Using a semi-unexpected beat, you
Kelleher is a craftsman, both in his
                                         of all sappy verse, it’s a Country      realize Kelleher is contemporary.
real life and in his literature—a
                                         Eastern, not a Country Western,         He is not stuck in an Ethan Frome
carpenter part-time and a creative
                                         song.                                   fog of joylessness. He takes colors
writing teacher as well, and when
                                                                                 and shapes and ends this poem with
he pounds away verse after verse he
                                         In the poem “Leonard Phelps,”           a shoulder shrug and snapping
achieves pathos and vulnerability.
                                         Kelleher admires his taciturn           fingers with the beat.
An acute observer, he is singing in
                                         crusty old plumber, who has saved
a distinctly man-voice.
                                         Kelleher’s pipes from disaster. He      “Orange afternoons I sweat to split
                                         offers him a gift of a red tobacco      dead tree logs. I saw and square/big
When Kelleher first enters the
                                         tin. No conversation. No mushy          blocks of fuel. I spit/on sore thumbs
book, he’s an observer at an auction
                                         thank you. A container for the fetid    and I don’t care./
of his tools after his death, and he’s
                                         leaves he can chew.
rattling off the imagistic toolbox
Forget money, woman honey,/                  Abby’s Dilemma:                    observes Mike’s possessiveness and
                                                                                Missy’s denials. Soon she becomes
friend family, even poetry/The                My Best Friend                    involved in deception to protect her
axe and I are here to hit wide ribbed        Is Being Abused
chunks of etiquette./Why? Why                                                   friend. As Abby tries to figure out a
not?/”                                   by Shirley Pierce Bostrom              solution, she draws in family and
                                                   Reviewed by                  friends for support.
What is important to Kelleher, in a               Elaine Violette
world where New England winters                                                 Missy agrees to work with Abby to
might embitter others, is the vibrant   Abby’s Dilemma by Shirley Pierce        plan a Wellness Day at their school
lives he sees around him as being       Bostrom presents a unique opportu-      where date violence is a major
shaped by surroundings. This            nity to educate teenagers about date    topic. These few chapters become
reviewer could hear a tender Irish      violence without being preachy.         the most poignant part of the novel
heart beating at the wrist pulse of     Abby, a high school freshman and        as Bostrom expertly includes facts,
his calloused hands. He’s a steely      narrator of the story, wants desper-    statistics, and intervention strate-
guy locked into an arena where          ately to help her long time friend      gies. Guest speakers, Mr. and Mrs.
sentimentality is unwelcome.            Missy. Missy is involved in an          Pierce, parents of a murdered
                                        unhealthy relationship with Mike,       daughter, present riveting testimony
The poet’s days of mandatory,           a student at their high school. Abby    about the unhealthy cycle of abuse
exhausting chores have given him        suspects that Mike is an abuser and     and the tragic consequences of date
a significant gift, a sort of poet-     she is in a quandary over what to       violence. Bostrom writes, “An
mechanic with invented machinery,       do. She doesn’t want to betray her      abuser systematically destroys a
a nuts and bolts language that he       friend’s trust but when Missy ends      partner’s self esteem with put
can call his own.                       up in the hospital from what she        downs… Abuse is power and
                                        describes as an accidental fall,        control - not love or passion.”
                                        Abby suspects Mike is responsible.      Missy’s loss of confidence and
*****************************                                                   insecurities illustrates this truth.
                                        Missy makes excuses for her boy-        The reader gains vital information
                                        friend’s verbal abuse and mood          on warning signs and positive
                                        swings insisting that Mike can be       measures that friends and family
                                        really “sweet” though clear signs       can take to help victims break the
                                        of abuse and manipulation are evi-      cycle and escape further abuse.
  The Enchanted                         dent to her friends. After each abu-
      Forest                            sive incident, Mike apologizes and      Bostrom succeeds in creating a
                                                                                moving narrative and a cautionary
                                        showers her with compliments and
                                        expensive gifts. As he wields           message about date violence and
       Figurines, Plush,
                                        greater control over Missy, she         includes powerful testimony to the
      Candles, Balloons,                                                        tragic truths of abuse in too many
        Seasonal Items                  becomes more dependent on his
                                        approval and believes that she          households. This YA novel would
                                        deserves the abuse. In trying to        be a positive addition to every
     Greeting Cards $.50                                                        middle and high school library as
                                        please him, she lies to her parents
                                        and avoids her friends. Eventually,     well as in the offices of school
     Melissa & Doug                     Missy faces the danger of her           counselors who are confronted
      Wooden Toys!                      situation. By this time her self        daily with signs of abuse. If a
                                        confidence is in shreds. Mike’s         fear-filled victim refuses to talk
                                        threats leave her fearful that he       about an abusive situation, he or
       GREAT GIFTS &
                                        will do greater injury to her or to     she might gain the courage to speak
       ACCESSORIES                                                              out after reading Abby’s Dilemma.
      Unique Affordable                 As the violence escalates, Bostrom                Shirley Bostrom and her
       Silver Jewelry                   uses the characters’ predicaments                 husband visit schools to
                                        to illustrate the importance of talk-             raise awareness of the
     285 Litchfield Road                ing to caring adults when friends                 warning signs for dating
        (Route 202)                     are in trouble, even if it means los-             violence. She is preparing
      New Milford, CT                   ing their friendships. Abby’s prom-               a training program about
                                        ise to keep Missy’s secrets be-                   dating violence.
                                        comes increasingly difficult as she

   Confessions of the                   display it, talk-show hosts don’t       self-image. But, if I wanted my
                                        clamor for your visit, and the book-    life-long dream of full-time author-
   Hope Street Stalker                  buying public has no idea that it       ship to become reality, I had to find
       by Julian Padowicz               exists. If the public does not know     a way to also see myself as a legiti-
                                        your book exists, they don’t buy it,    mate promoter.
                                        and, if they don’t buy it, your pub-
                                        lisher will have little interest in     Selecting what I considered to be
                                        publishing your next opus. And,         the most painless medium, I
                                        instead of going on to fame and         composed a letter with versions
I do best with women joggers or         fortune, the first-time author must     addressing librarians, ministers,
walkers, but sometimes one will be      begin from scratch in his or her        priests, and rabbis to tell them about
gardening close to the street or        effort to get that second book          the availability of my talk. I mailed
sitting in a car, standing at a stop    published. So Julian Padowicz,          approximately 50 such letters and
sign. Men are fair game too, but        celebrated author, had to become        didn’t receive a single reply. With
they’re not as responsive. Because      Julian Padowicz, book huckster.         more drastic measures obviously
I was well brought up, I usually                                                necessary, I steeled myself and took
begin by asking whether I may give                                              to the telephone. Awkward as I
them something, which usually                                                   found it, this method seemed to
makes them a little suspicious and                                              work and, pretty soon, I had booked
they’re likely to ask what it is that                                           several talks.
I’m offering. If it’s a woman, I say
something like, “Well, I would like                                             The talks were a success. People
to give you diamonds and pearls,”                                               attended, asked questions, and
which usually makes them even                                                   purchased books. Since my book is
more suspicious. Then I add, “But                                               a personal memoir, the questions
all I can offer you is a review of my                                           usually had to with my life, my
book.” At this point, they usually                                              feelings, and my thoughts. This
relax and ask what the book is          Self-promotion is not in the DNA        was a marvelously rewarding
about.                                  of most writers. If it were, most of    experience. What proved equally
                                        us would have found an easier and       rewarding was the fact that the
In my mid 70’s, I have retired from     more lucrative occupation. While        word began to circulate among
a documentary filmmaking career         our egos and our built-in creativity    librarians and clergy that I offered
and have become what I’ve wanted        often enable us to do an effective      a program that would be of interest
to be all of my life—a full-time        job of presenting ourselves and our     to their constituencies. Now I get
author. My memoir, Mother and           output, once we’re “on stage,”          e-mails inviting me to come and
Me: Escape from Warsaw 1939,            achieving that “stage” time requires    speak. To my writer’s ego, this is
was published by a boutique             a certain chutzpah and an impervi-      ambrosia, indeed. It also sells
publisher in Chicago, in 2006,          ousness to rejection, qualities that    books.
received great reviews, was named       are not usually part and parcel of a
“Book of the Year” by ForeWord          writer’s personality.                   This new success has awakened an
Magazine, and I sat back to await                                               aspect of my personality that must
interview requests and watch the        I had little difficulty in composing    have been hiding all of my life –
royalties come pouring in.              an informative and even amusing         an aspect that suddenly sees anyone
                                        talk about my book to present           who has not been exposed to my
It didn’t happen that way.              to interested audiences. But those      book as prey to be confronted and
                                        interested audiences were some-         indoctrinated. And so, I have
I discovered that the hard reality      thing I had been expecting to come      produced a two-sheet flyer - the
of present-day book marketing is        looking for me, due to the market-      first sheet is a letter addressed to
that unless publishers are assured      ing efforts of my publisher. The        “Dear Friend.” It apologizes for
of best-selling success – because       idea of approaching libraries,          pressing this flyer on the person
of your name or particularly            churches, synagogues, and the like      and explains that in today’s book-
provocative subject matter – they       to tell them about my informative       marketing climate an author must
do not, usually, promote your book      and amusing talk, and then being        promote his own work vigorously.
beyond sending a press release to       told, “thank you, but no thank you,”    The second sheet is a comprehen-
your local papers. If the book is not   seemed distasteful and totally out of   sive review of Mother and Me. I
promoted, book stores will not          character with my celebrated-author     carry several copies of this flyer at

all times, engaging people in                                                abandonment or homosexuality is
conversation at every opportunity,                                           addressed in one way or the other,
and handing them a copy.                                                     one short story at a time. Odd
                                                                             couples, like a mother and son, or
I have no way of knowing how                                                 two little girls are included in the
many copies I’ve actually sold by                                            characters plucked from an invisi-
this method. But, on more than                                               ble place out of obscurity.
one occasion, as I’ve stopped some
unsuspecting jogger on my six-mile                                           Treat writes as if she were offering
run along Hope Street and Ponus                                              an invitation to be a witness, to
Ridge, they will tell me that we’ve                                          become a voyeur in these lives, the
met before and that they read my                                             lives of her characters. She takes
book, and loved it. And when this            Plant Eaters and                on the subject of partnership like
wonderful thing happens, passing               Meat Eaters                   someone who knows the inner
motorists are often treated to the             by Jessica Treat              circuitry of success and failure.
sight of two people in running                  Reviewed by                  Relationship is a treacherous
shorts, hugging on the side of the              Linda Merlino                subject; the power of two is a
road.                                                                        formidable topic.

*****************************         When you fall in love, you fall in     With skill and an inner knowing,
        ATTENTION                     love with yourself, when you kill      Jessica Treat offers insight and wis-
                                      yourself you kill someone else.        dom into her short story collection.
       LIBRARIANS!                                                           However, be mindful that Meat
                                      (from “Meeting M”).
                                                                             Eaters and Plant Eaters is a title
The Northwestern Connecticut                                                 that requires thought. What does
                                       Pour yourself a cup of tea and get
Author Book Discussion Series                                                meat eaters mean? Is it about
                                      comfortable; reading Jessica Treat’s
is now available for your library.    newest collection of short stories     digestion, food preferences? Can
Launched at the Northwestern          will absorb an afternoon. When         we parallel life to that of dinosaurs?
Connecticut Community College         you turn the last page and close the   It would seem we can, those
this spring, the series is hosted     book, you will still be thinking of    “efficient hunting machines” versus
by Patricia D’Ascoli. The series      Meat Eaters and Plant Eaters           the stones in your gut from eating
features memoirs and novels                                                  plants, or maybe from believing
written by contemporary authors       In this thought provoking third        instead of a being a cynic and yes,
                                      collection of short stories, Treat     so much better to be a meat eater
who live in northwest CT.
                                      offers her readers an eclectic mix     and so much safer to be able to
                                      of affairs. The thread or the link     fight back when it is you and the
        Black & White                                                        Tyrannosaurus.
                                      in these genius short stories is
        by Dani Shapiro                relationships. One word, that
           Tipperary                  when empowered, can take over          “But you almost killed him. That’s
       by Frank Delaney               your life, for good or for bad.        enough isn’t it, to shake off habit,
         Glass Houses                                                        that covering you always wear -
       by Jane Haddam                 The pairing of a man and a woman       that’s enough, isn’t it? (from “Tea
           Exit Ghost                 caught in a web of marriage, denial,   Cup”).
         by Philip Roth
          Slow Motion
        by Dani Shapiro
        Angela’s Ashes
      by Frank McCourt
  Them: A Memoir of Parents
  by Francine du Plessix Gray

For more information or to book
this series, contact Patricia
D’Ascoli at 860-354-6488 or
 It’s Not that I’m Bitter                         Shear Magic
 by Gina Barreca                                  by Lori Avocato
 St. Martin’s Press                               The Wild Rose Press
 In essays that mull everything from the          A conservative rancher and a free-
 horror of chin hairs to why the “glass           spirited photographer are forced to
 ceiling” is better described as a thick          share more than a common lake in the
 layer of men, with sharp wit, Barreca            steamy New Mexico desert. And
 tells women to stop believing the lies           they must decide whether wealth and
 and conquer the world.                           property are worth more than love.

How to Build a Business                           The Art & Craft of
Warren Buffet Would Buy                           Screenwriting
by Jeff Benedict                                  by Shelly Frome
Shadow Mountain Publishing                        McFarland & Company
Any entrepreneur will appreciate this             This guide for screenwriters and those
fascinating story sharing the life lessons        interested in the screenwriting process
that Bill Child learned as he built R. C.         includes essential screenwriting skills,
Willey, a highly successful furniture             various options and methods, and
business bought out by Warren Buffett.            revealing interviews with established
                                                  and seasoned professionals.

You Want to Go Where? How to                      Origins of the Specious: Myths
Get Someone To Pay for the Trip                   and Misconceptions of the
of Your Dreams                                    English Language
by Jeff Blumenfeld                                by Patricia O’Conner
Skyhorse publishing                               Random House
Part how-to; Part memoir. A sharp,                Reveals the misconceptions that have
inside look at adventure expeditions              led generations of language lovers
from a seasoned expert in Adventure               astray and why some of grammar’s
marketing.                                        best-known “rules” aren’t rules at all.

Norwich, Connecticut                              Beyond Walden:The Hidden
by William Shannon, Dale Plummer,                 History of America’s Kettle
David Oat, Eric Beit and Leslie Furrey            Lakes and Ponds
Arcadia Publishing                                by Robert Thorson
Vintage postcards from the 19th and               Walker & Company
20th centuries depict the many sides              Provides a complete natural and cultural
of Norwich through images of its ways             history of kettle lakes, remnants of the Ice
of life, places of worship, and social            Age scattered along the path of retreating
organizations.                                    glaciers from Maine to Montana.

 Also Known as Harper                              Purge
 by Ann Haywood Leal                               by Sarah Darer Littman
 Henry Holt & co.                                  Scholastic
 Harper is an aspiring poet, and life              Written in first person, including
 gives her a lot to write about. When              journal entries, this chronicle of teen
 her father walks out, her family is               bulimia unfolds as 16-year-old Janie
 evicted and their lives are turned                describes her stay in a rehabilitation
 upside down.                                      center for eating disorders.

                                 LITERARY EVENTS IN CONNECTICUT

July                                 Miss America Pageant will take          23 at 11:00 Prill Boyle, author of Defying
                                     place following the presentation.       Gravity, will give a lively lecture at The
                                                                             Watermark, at 3030 Park Avenue in
3 at 3:00 Jan Mann at Subfest,
                                     24 at 7:00 Carol Ascher, author of      Bridgeport. Includes luncheon. Awards
Groton Subase, Book Signing
                                     Afterimages will discuss and sign       will be given to Fairfield County residents,
                                     her memoir at A Common Ground           age 70+ who have made significant
5 at 2:00 Jan Mann at Mystic Sea-
                                     Community Arts & Dance Studio,          contributions to the community.
port Bookstore, Book Signing
                                     345 Main Street, Danbury. The
                                     proceeds from the event will benefit    24 at 6:00 Carole Shmurak will present
9 at 3:00 Jan Mann at Deep River
                                     programs at A Common Ground.            Private Lives of Private Eyes at New
Farmers Market, Book Signing
                                                                             Haven Public Library
                                     31 at 6:00 Sharon Summer Book
10 at 7:00 Charles Van Doren will
                                     Signing, a benefit for the Hotchkiss    24 at 12:00 Jan Mann at Brookfield Senior
present Abraham Lincoln: The
                                     Library of Sharon, featuring 26         Center, Book Talk & Signing
Man and the Myth at UConn
                                     authors, including Francine du
Torrington. His books, A History
                                     Plessix Gray, Frank Delaney, Ann
of Knowledge and The Joy of Read-
                                     Leary, Mary–Ann Tirone Smith,
ing, as well as Wendell Minor’s
                                     and others. $25 admission includes
two illustrated children’s books,
                                     wine and hors d’oeurvres.
Abraham Lincoln Comes Home
and Abe Lincoln Remembers will                                                    Coyote
be for sale. Event takes place at    August                                     by Mark Saba
Francis W. Hogan Lecture Hall,
855 University Drive, Torrington.    19 at 7:00 Jessica Bram, author of
                                     Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes
11 at 1:00 Jan Mann at Borders       of a Joyful Journey will do a book
Books, Meriden, Book Signing         presentation at The Watermark,
                                     3030 Park Avenue, Bridgeport                   A silver light for darkness:
13 at 7:00 Jan Mann East Granby                                                        pointed fur snug it its
Library, Book Talk & Signing         27 at 7:00 Jessica Treat presents               immobility, eyes closed,
                                     her new collection Meat Eaters &
14 at 6:00 Bill Evans will discuss   Plant Eaters at Oliver Wolcott Pub-         we watch first from a distance,
and sign his new book Frozen Fire    lic Library, 160 South Street, Litch-    then closer, this storybook character
at Arcadia Café, 28 Arcadia Road,    field with reading & talk about the      who roamed the twenty-first century
Old Greenwich                        relationship between writing and
                                     teaching.                                suburb after suburb; shadow gardens
14 at 6:00 Judith-Marks White                                                    of night houses, empty streets
book event sponsored by Ladies
Who Launch, at the home of Ann       September                                       and connecting woods
                                                                                 never unfamiliar. But at dawn
Abram, 6 Clapboard Hill Road,
Westport                             2 at 2:00 Carole Shmurak will
                                     present Private Lives of Private           things began to move, surround
                                     Eyes at Southbury Library                           its grayed hide
15 at 6:00 Jan Mann at Burlington                                              with unexpected color. Now it lies
Library, Book Talk & Signing         16 at 7:00 Carole Shmurak will
                                     discuss and sign her new book at          outlined by yellow ribbon, off-limits
21 at 6:30 Jan Mann at Jonathan      the Salem public Library
                                                                               to those who shared its dreamtime.
Trumbull Library, Lebanon, Book                                                        Silver tips in moonlight.
Talk & Signing                       20 at 2:00 Eighth Annual CT Book
                                     Awards, Keynote: Tomie dePaola                      sacrifice to fantasy.
                                     Program at 2:00. Free & open to                      Our world and his,
22 at 1:00 Penny Pearlman author                                                    lying side to side, protected
of Pretty Smart: Lessons from Our    the public. Reception and signings
Miss Americas will present at The    by finalists & winners 3:30-5:30.
                                     Tickets $45 per person. Call 860-                   this only moment.
Watermark, 3030 Park Avenue in
Bridgeport. A special Watermark      695- 6320 or

                                MUSE MEMBERS
Alysse Aallyn                   Ina B. Chadwick                    Mel Hathorn      

Connie Magnan-Albrizio          Jan Coffey                         Celestino Heres             

Carol Ascher                    Robert Crooke                      Lee Jacobus     

TJ Banks                        R.L. Crossland                     Carol Keeney

Lou Barrett                     Eunice Crowley                     William Kelly       

Sandra Rodriguez Barron         Susanne Davis                      Binnie Klein     

Joseph Baxer                    Stacy DeKeyser                     Suzy Kline       

Richard O. Benton               Joanie M. DiMartino                Chris Knopf    

Cynthia Bercowetz               Elizabeth Faragher                 Janet Krauss      

Emile Betts                     Fred Fenn                          Joan Kunsch         

Alan Bisbort                    Joel Fried                         Jerry Labriola   

Shirley Pierce Bostrom          John Friedman                      Howard Layton       

Marie Bostwick                  Shelly Frome                       David Leff      

Prill Boyle                     David Garnes                       Jan Mann    

Cindy Boynton                   Frances Gilbert                    Judith Marks-White          

Jessica Bram                    C.J. Golden                        Reggie Marra                   

Polly Brody                     Jane Gordon                        Stacy Lytwyn Maxwell      

Ann Brophy                      Carol Gursky                       Tessa Smith McGovern                

                                   MUSE MEMBERS
Rennie McQuilkin                   Jeffrey Stephens                        Belinda Whitney        

Linda Merlino                      Marsha A. Temlock, M.A.                 Betsy Wittemann          

John Neufeld                       Jacqueline Thunfors                     Charles Young                 

Mollie Ostroski                    Jessica Treat                           Karen Romano Young                

Julian Padowicz                    Raymond Uzanas                          Aaron Zweig                     ruzanas33@                    

Sarah Parsons                      Elaine Violette                         Member Organizations    
M.W. Penn                          Joe Vojt                           
                                                                           MFA in Professional Writing at
Denning Powell                     Shirley Webb                            WESTCONN        

Cathryn J. Prince                  Norman Weissman                         Connecticut Press Club                  

Dana Meachen Rau                                       Become a CT Muse Member and
                                                        receive the following benefits:
Gwen Reiss               Member listing in CT Muse print issue and CT Muse website;
                                          Member News announcements in Connecticut Muse;
Mark Saba                                 Print subscription to Connecticut Muse ($25 value);                   Review of new release or author interview in CT Muse;
                                            Opportunity to contribute to Connecticut Muse.
Martin Schiller                  $40 per year - Email Patricia at
Vera Schwarz

John Benjamin Sciarra
                                                       CONNECTICUT MUSE
                                                         Published by Patricia F. D’Ascoli

Mary Donnarumma Sharnick                4 Autumn Lane                SUBSCRIPTION RATE:                        New Milford, CT 06776        Print Edition: $25/year
                                        860-354-6488                 Online Edition: $15/year
Sandi Kahn Shelton                               
                                                        Member: CT Press Club
Carole B. Shmurak                             Member: CT Authors & Publishers Association

                                       MUSE MEMBER NEWS

Carol Ascher will read from her                              CT Muse Members Win
memoir Afterimages and will
discuss her book as well as memoir                            2009 CT Press Club
writing at the first in a series of                         Communications Awards:
evenings with Connecticut authors
at A Common Ground, 346 Main
Street, Danbury on Friday, July 24
at 7:00 pm. Wine and nibbles will       Fiction - First Place:
be served. Suggested donation           The Deadliest Strain by
of $10 will benefit A Common
                                        Jan Coffey
                                        (Jim & Nikoo McGoldrick)
Stacy DeKeyser will be teach-
ing a summer writing workshop
for teens at the Farmington River                                               Jim & Nikoo McGoldrick
Literary Arts Center, at 40 Mill        Fiction - Second Place:
Lane, in Farmington. The workshop       Belly of the Whale
will consist of 4 sessions, on          by Linda Merlino
Mondays and Wednesdays, July 20-
29. Registration is $125. Call 860-
677-9662 or visit for
more information.                       Column - First Place:
                                        My Fellow Americans
Julian Padowicz announces               by Judith Marks-White
that the sequel to his memoir           “The Light Touch”
"Mother and Me" will be released        Westport News
in November, under the title "A
Ship in the Harbor." It takes place
in Hungary, where he and his
mother escaped from occupied
Poland in 1940, thinking they           Creative Writing - First Place:   Linda Merlino and Judith Marks-White
would be free of the Nazi and           When Janice Bailey
Soviet threats. He notes that they      Tessa Smith McGovern
were forced to go into hiding, how-
ever, when the Nazi-sympathizing
Hungarian regime learned that his
mother had bragged to a Hungarian       Y.A. Fiction - First Place:
border security officer that she was    Jump the Cracks
going to write a book exposing
                                        by Stacy DeKeyser
Nazi and Soviet atrocities.

Joe Vojt was recently interviewed
by The Valley Press (May 28) for
a piece called “Farmington Valley       Children’s Book - First Place:
Author Reveals His ‘Prophesy’”          The Winter Lodge
in which he discusses his new novel     by Gwen North Reiss
“Enduring Prophesy.”
                                                                                    Stacy DeKeyser

Brian Clements announces
publication of An Introduction to       Poetry - First Place:
the Prose Poem, edited by Brian         Lion’s Tooth
Clements and Jamey Dunham.              by Connie-Magnan Albrizio

                                           connection with it! A little research      the citizens of South Carolina; even
                                           taught me that South Carolina was          those who had not participated
                                           called the “hot bed of secession”          directly in the war paid dearly in its
                                           and was, in fact, the first state to       aftermath. Eventually, my great,
                                           withdraw from the Union. South             great grandfather moved out of
                                           Carolina fought the war to preserve        the Lowcountry to Aiken, South
                                           slavery. And the inhabitants of this       Carolina where he and his son John
                                           rebel state were ultimately punished       Colcock Hutson (my great grand-
                                           for their transgressions by General        father) opened up an insurance
     Patricia Hutson Fryer D’Ascoli        William Tecumseh Sherman.                  business. In 1871, Dr. Hutson and
                                                                                      his wife Eliza Bacot Hutson died
        Ruminations                        My first cousin, Mike Hutson, the          within one month of each another.
                                           family genealogist, recently sent
A Genealogy Journey Part I                 me a memoir written in the early           I wanted to know these people; to
                                           20th century by my grandfather’s           understand what their lives were
Family history research seems to           first cousin, Martha Hutson                like; most of all to experience their
be all the rage these days. Over           Heyward. Her stories of the family         world. I was fortunate to have the
the years, I have dabbled in a bit of      and of Prince William Parish               names of my ancestors provided to
genealogy, but it was only recently        before, during and after the Civil         me. But their names were without
that I became interested in learning       War, or “the War Between the               context. So I began to research the
more about my “Southern Side.”             States,” opened a door to a world          geography and history of the locale.
Well it didn’t take me                             I was wholly unfamiliar with.      I did this in several ways: by using
long to get hooked.                                Most touching about the            Google (one of the greatest finding
When I found out that                              memoir was her poignant            aides around), by gathering data
my great, great grand-                             description of the devastating     from (mostly census
father and I share the                             losses the family suffered         records) and by reading articles,
same birthday, I felt an                           and how difficult it was for       memoirs and books. I found a
instant connection to him.                         them to survive after the war.     wealth of information; the difficulty
Born on February 6, 1803                                                              now is sorting through it all to
in Prince William Parish                       Cedar Grove, the Hutson                determine what is useful and what
of the Beaufort District in                    family home for more than              I should do with the findings!
South Carolina, Thomas                         100 years, was burned to
Woodward Hutson lived Elizabeth Vernon Hutson the ground, as were most             Although I love to do research, I
in the antebellum South, a                      of the plantations in that         soon realized that I would need to
world that seems almost surreal        area. Dispossessed, Dr. Hutson and          have a specific goal to work toward.
today. He was a planter and a          his large family became refugees,           But what story did I want to tell;
physician of note in a rice growing    forced to relocate and begin a new          and how might it be significant to
region where slaves provided the       life elsewhere. At the war’s end,           others? Could my findings be
back breaking labor essential to       my great, great grandfather had             assembled in a way that would
the successful operation of tidal      three grown children by his first           make them publishable? If so,
rice plantations. While I am cer-      wife who died in 1837,                             what publication, if any,
tainly not proud that my family        and nine children with his                         might be interested? One
owned slaves, I am, nonetheless,       second wife, two of whom                           option might be for me to
greatly intrigued by this period of    died during the war from                           write a personal essay about
history and the role my ancestors      scarlet fever. He tried to                         the process of discovering
played in it.                          continue practicing medi-                          aspects of my family history
                                       cine, but people were so                           (perhaps for a magazine like
Civil War history occupied an          poor after the war, that                           Family Tree or Ancestry).
ancient corner of my mind, long        many were unable to pay                            To describe the excitement
ago forgotten after a high school      him. And although he                               of finding clues, establishing
American history class. I vaguely      attempted to plant his rice                        connections, going back into
remembered a few facts and note-       crops, without the slaves                             the past, delving into
                                                                     Thomas Woodward Hutson
worthy names, but nothing of           to work the land, it was                              history - it is all incredibly
substance about the events. How        an arduous, and if not impossible           fascinating. The process is a bit
quickly history comes alive,           task. After the war, “Radical               like an archeological dig; it
though, when there is a personal       Reconstruction” wreaked havoc on            requires careful sifting through

layers of inconsequential material       meant to be part of a certain elite      Lowcountry in Charleston, my
to finally uncover that hidden jewel     class whose identity was deeply          mother never traveled to that part
buried beneath. I sought the jewel       connected to the land and to the         of South Carolina where her great
that would open the door to a time       rice; and to a way of life associated    grandfather lived and worked and
and a place that no longer exist.        with prestige and power.                 was laid to rest. And why would
                                                                                  she? There were only ruins, long
My great, great grandfather’s world      The Lowcountry rice planter life-        grown over; no sign of glorious
was, however, readily accessible         style ended in 1865. Homes and           gardens or avenues lined with live
through all of the material written      lands were destroyed, crops failed,      oaks; no trace of rice fields to see.
about it. And the more I read, the       fortunes were lost, families split       All that remained of that bygone
more I wanted to explore the ways        apart. Whether or not these planters     era was Stoney Creek Presbyterian
in which his culture changed from        attempted to rebuild, the landscape      chapel in a tiny pineland village
its pre-war existence to its attempts    was forever changed. In many             called McPhersonville, where
at recovery (specifically, the period    cases, future generations had no         planter families summered. And
from 1860 to 1870). To learn what        relationship at all with the land or     a small cemetery by the same name
life was like for the Lowcountry         with the cultivation of rice. And        where Dr. Thomas Woodward
planter class, I began to compile a      so, the planters’ legacy was neither     Hutson is buried, along with other
list of books that addressed as many     land nor money. It was, instead,         members of the Hutson family.
facets of the culture as possible:       something intangible but perhaps
tidal rice planting, the antebellum      more significant that they passed on     I will be the one to journey to the
plantation lifestyle, master/slave       to their progeny. It is this legacy I    land of my ancestors, so that I can
relationships, South Carolina’s          hope to understand.                      complete an essential part of my
role in the Civil War, Lowcountry                                                 quest. I will touch the gravestones
planter class reactions to the war,      My grandfather, Harry Maine              and feel the quiet coolness of the
economic changes during and after        Hutson, the son of John C. Hutson        pine forest; I will float along the
the war, emancipation, the new free      and grandson of Thomas W. Hutson         murky Pocotaligo River; I will see
labor market, and the challenges         was born in Aiken, South Carolina.       the tangled jungle of tropical
posed by Reconstruction. It turned       He never knew Dr. Hutson, who            growth and moss laden trees, and
out to be a lot of material to digest.   died before he was born. Did his         I will imagine the rice fields once
                                         father tell him stories about life on    flooded by the incoming tide.
When I am intrigued by a subject,        a rice plantation in Prince William
though, it is easy for me to become      Parish? Did my grandfather know          It is only when I am finally there, in
immersed in the process of “finding      of his father’s fearful escape from      his Lowcountry world, where I will
out.” Imagine my delight, then,          Pocotaligo and his life as a refugee;    travel this summer, that I can truly
when I hit “pay dirt” by discovering     his family’s attempt to make a new       feel that connection with my great,
a work that provided a detailed          life, and his eventual success in a      great grandfather and to those who
examination of the very time, place      field that was far removed from the      came before him. And I will tell
and culture I sought to understand!      rice lands of his father?                his story, because that is what I do.
This jewel was a doctoral disserta-                                               I am the family chronicler who
tion written by James H. Tuten           If my grandfather did hear such          asks the questions and looks for
entitled: Time and Tide: Cultural        tales, I am fairly certain that he did   the answers, who needs to under-
Changes and Continuities Among           not share them with my mother.           stand the past. For there is no
the Rice Plantations of the Low-         Although she was born in the             denying that the past is and always
country, 1860-1930. I contacted                                                             will be entirely relevant.
Dr. Tuten, a college history profes-                                                        The great Southern writer
sor, who was kind enough to send                                                            William Faulkner said it
me a copy of his 409 page thesis,                                                           best, perhaps, when he
which was chock full of references                                                          wrote, “The past is never
relevant to my quest. Time & Tide                                                           dead. It’s not even past.”
gave me the kind of information I
needed to gain a perspective on the
19th century Lowcountry world in                                                          Part II of my Genealogy
in which my ancestors’ lived - from                                                       Journey will be about my
its antebellum days, to is wartime                                                        experience visiting the
                                                                                          Lowcountry. It will appear
destruction, to its inevitable demise.
                                                                                          in the fall issue.
The thesis also addressed what it
                                         Old Pocotaligo Depot, Prince William Parish
                                       When you work with people who           about as miserable as you can,
                                       want to be writers, what traits         right?” I said, “Yeah.” The light
                                       seem to indicate potential?             turned green and she said, “You’re
                                                                               getting ready for a breakthrough.”
                                       Probably more than anything else,
                                       persistence. They can’t stop doing      We both drove off. And sure enough
                                       it, setbacks and obstacles or not.      the next day, whatever the conun-
                                       They can’t stop forcing writing on      drum was, it was solved. It’s like a
                                       to you. They’re not put off by criti-   moment of combustion. There’s this
                                       cism, they’re hungry for it. They       fact and that fact and then, all of a
                                       don’t think that they already have it   sudden, you see this tree, and you
                                       right. They want to know what to        think, “There’s the tree! There’s
                                       do. Sometimes it’s just a single sen-   where it happened!” You can’t
       Novel Ideas:                    tence that sticks out in a bunch of     explain it. You simply have to
 Contemporary Authors                  mundane stuff that makes you know       reassure fellow writers that it will
                                       they’ve got it in them. Here’s an       happen. You open yourself up to
Share the Creative Process             example. A couple of years ago, I       the story.
       (Second Edition)                judged a fiction contest for teen-
     Univ. of Georgia Press            agers sponsored by USA Today.
      by Barbara Shoup                 There were some impressive entries      *****************************
                                       from all over the country. The story
                                       I chose for first place rose to the
Novel Ideas provides a substantial     top of the pile on the basis of a
introduction to the elements of        single, striking image of a backyard
fiction followed by in-depth inter-    pear tree whose fruit looked like                               Who Is
views with successful novelists who    hundreds of golden sitting Buddhas.
speak with candor and insight into     You just know that young writer has
the complex process by which a         it in her, if she stays with it, to                             Twain?
novel is made. This edition includes   reach the stars.                                                  by
new and updated interviews as well                                                                   Mark Twain
as writing exercises. Aspiring         Later in the interview, Lamb goes                              himself
novelists will find hands-on strate-   on to relate an anecdote about
gies for beginning, working through    how he was able to move past a
and revising a novel; accomplished     particularly tough time in the
novelists will discover new ways to    writing process:
solve the problems they face in                                                When Mark Twain died in 1910, he
process; and readers of contempo-      One day, I had a wonderful experi-      left behind the largest collection of
rary fiction will enjoy a glimpse      ence with another writer. I was at a    personal papers created by any
into the way novels are made.          really hard point with She’s Come       19th-century American author.
Novel Ideas includes interviews        Undone and I was thinking of            This new book includes 24 pieces
with: Dorothy Allison, Larry           giving up. It was one of the many       by Twain selected by Robert Hirst,
Brown, Peter Cameron, Michael          times I thought of abandoning that      General Editor of The Mark Twain
Chabon, Michael Cunningham,            book. Things were not going right.      Project at UC Berkeley. The title is
Robb Forman Dew, Richard Ford,         I couldn’t figure it out. For about     inspired by a piece called “Frank
Ha Jin, Patricia Henley, Charles       three weeks I was just stuck, and       Fuller and My First New York
Johnson, Wally Lamb, Valerie           suddenly I found myself stuck in        Lecture,” in which Twain covers
Martin, Jill McCorkle, Sena Jeter      traffic, waiting to go eastbound at     the city with ads to promote his talk
Naslund, Lewis Nordan, Sheri           the light, and this woman I know,       at the Cooper Union (will anyone
Reynolds, S. J. Rozan, Jane Smiley,    Anne Levanthal, who’s also a            attend?). Later that day, Twain sees
Lee Smith and Theodore Weesner.        writer, pulled up beside me in          two men gazing at one of his ads.
                                       another lane. We were both waiting      One man says to the other: “Who is
The following is an excerpt of the     at the red light. And she called out,   Mark Twain?” The other responds:
interview with Wally Lamb, author      “Wally! How’s it going?” And I did      “God Knows-I Don’t.” Who is
of She’s Come Undone, I Know this      my whining, “Oh, it’s terrible. I       Mark Twain? shines new light on
Much Is True and most recently,        hate this. I’m going to give up.”       one of America’s most beloved
The Hour I First Believed:             And she said, “You’re feeling just      literary icons (and a CT author)!


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