Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Don't Miss Stumptown Comics Fest!

The days are getting longer and the cherry trees are blooming all over the place, which can only mean one thing: It's time to get your comic on! That's right, Stumptown Comics Fest is back and promising to be better than ever, April 18th and 19th at Lloyd Center Doubletree. If the idea of a room filled to capacity with all things comic is enough to make you break into song, you're not the only one. "Our goal is, as ever, to take over the world with comics. Help us, won't you?" says the official Web site. I, for one, will sign up for that job.

For more info on the 5th Annual Stumptown Comics Fest, including a list of exhibitors, schedule and the 2007 photo Web site archive, visit http://www.stumptowncomics.com/.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Using Tenses and Pronouns for Harmonious Quotations

When using quotes as dialogue or citation, knowing how to properly punctuate those quotes within the sentence is very important. Tenses and pronouns however are crucial, especially when taking a quote or passage and applying it in a new context. The wrong tense or an awkward pronoun causes the whole quote sound confusing and can ruin an otherwise strong paragraph.

Always integrate tenses, especially if the original text is in present tense and the new sentence in past tense. The Chicago Manual of Style 15th ed uses the following example:

[Original] Mr. Moll took particular pains to say to you, gentlemen, that these eleven people here are guilty of murder; he calls this a cold-blooded, deliberate and premeditated murder.
[As quoted] According to Darrow, Moll had told the jury that the eleven defendants were “guilty of murder” and had described the murder as “cold-blooded, deliberate and premeditated.”

With pronoun changes, these should always be used as little as possible. They also need to be bracketed so the reader knows this is a change from the original text. Above all, make sure the quotes flow easily with the rest of the paragraph. If they sound awkward or forced, it might be time to reevaluate.

For more information on all things quotable, check out The Chicago Manual of Style, paying particular attention to chapter 11, “Quotations and Dialogue.”

A Perfect Way to Spend April Fool's Day!

MacTarnahan's Brewing Company Presents:
1st Annual Stumptown Comic Fest
"Drink and Draw" Event!

Watch a group of celebrated local comic illustrators working their craft(with a little "liquid courage" of course!), have a pint, and win some prizes! The evenings creations will be auctioned off for charity.

Wednesday April 1st

For more information, call 503-228-5269.

MacTarnahan's Taproom
2730 NW 31st Ave
Portland, OR 97210

Downstream: Writing with the Current

Join Paulann Petersen in a poetry workshop dedicated to creation, reflection, and craft.

Using notable poems as springboards, we'll turn ourselves loose in the river of words, letting language carry us along in its current. Each session, we'll generate some new work. We'll also look at your poems (either ones you've written in our workshop, or earlier ones you've brought with you) for possible ways to strengthen them through revision.

The word "revision" offers us a bracing truth. To truly revise is to do much more than mere editing and tinkering: it's learning to see our poems anew, moving them toward their strengths. I'll use critiques as opportunities for short lessons, addressing issues of craft raised by the particular poem we're looking at. We'll be lingering in a few eddies, examining significant elements of craft such as line integrity, dramatic strategy, voice and trope.

My goal is to have each participant leave the workshop with both an outpouring of new material, and some new--or newly honed--tools for revision.

This workshop is open to writers of all levels of experience.

Sundays, 12-3 pm, April 26th to May 31st

Please visit

MAC Spring Classes!

The new catalog of spring classes at the Multnomah Arts Center is now available! Check it out at www.multnomahartscenter.org

Some classes being offered include "Writing & Reading Poetry" with David Abel, "Fiction Writing for Beginners" with Susan Wickstrom, and "Lifestory, Lifepath" with Barbara Schramm.

For more information or to register, call 503-823-2787.

Art and Poetry at the Preserve

Welcome spring and exercise your artistic muse in an Art and Poetry workshop at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve! Learn how to capture the essence of the natural world using simple illustration and collage. Then transition into creating and composing short poetry following models, exercises and fresh ideas. Take a few hours for yourself and expect to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and friendly fun.

Art and writing exercises will be different on each date, so you may attend either or both workshops!

Marie Buckely (poetry) is an adjunct instructor at PCC and an instructor at the Walters Cultural Arts Center. She is an award winning poet and board member of the Oregon State Poetry Association.

Alice Hill (art) is an instructor at PNCA, Walters Cultural Art Center and the Portland Art Museum. She heads Rise Above – the art program for homeless teens in Hillsboro sponsored through the Hillsboro Community Arts.

Register through Hillsboro Parks and Recreation at 503-681-5397.
April 19 (course #20592), April 26 (course #20593)

Sunday, April 19 and Sunday, April 26
11:00am - 2:30pm
$35 per person per session

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Wednesday, April 1
The CFI/Freethinkers Book Group will be meeting to discuss Susan Blackmore’s nonfiction book Conversations on Consciousness. Blackmore’s books contains 20 transcripts with scientists and philosophers over how we use and understand the human brain and the meaning of consciousness. New members are always welcome!
Time: 7pm
Where: Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton
Cost: Free
For more information, visit the events page at www.powells.com

Date: Thursday, April 2
Scot Siegel, author of Some Weather, will be at the Looking Glass Bookstore for a poetry reading and book-signing. Kim Stafford, author of The Muses Among Us praises this books as “the lyric word whispering in the office, singing in the family, charting policy for the land.” Come be a part of this exceptional poetic experience!
Time: 7pm
Where: Looking Glass Bookstore
Cost: Free
Check out the events page at http://lookingglassbook.qwestoffice.net/

Date: Thursday, April 2
Prize-winning scholar Mark Edmundson, author of various literary and cultural criticisms including Teacher: The One Who Made the Difference, Nightmare on Main Street, and Why Read? will be at Lewis & Clark College. He has written for Raritan, the New Republic, New York Times Magazine, the Nation, and Harper’s where he is a contributing editor. The topic of his lecture will be “Why Read?”
Time: 7:30pm
Where: Lewis & Clark College, Council Chambers
Cost: Free
For more information, please contact Dyann Alkire at 503-768-7405 or http://www.lclark.edu/dept/english/specialevents.html

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Webster's Updates Definition of "Marriage"

If you talk to any editor or linguist, she'll tell you that the English language is always changing. In my opinion, that's the beauty of it. That's how you can tell how old an antique book is even if it doesn't have a copyright date. That's how cultural evolution can shape language. That's why English isn't a dead language.

The latest official language change has some people in an uproar, though. Webster's dictionary updated the definition of marriage to include relationships between same sex couples:

"1 a (1): the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage marriage"

One YouTube user created a video to voice his protest of the definition change. This has, of course, started quite a dialogue about the definition update.

The change in the definition just comes back to reflecting culture, though.

Webster's Associate Editor Kory Stamper wrote, "In recent years, this new sense of 'marriage' has appeared frequently and consistently throughout a broad spectrum of carefully edited publications, and is often used in phrases such as 'same-sex marriage' and 'gay marriage' by proponents and opponents alike. Its inclusion was a simple matter of providing our readers with accurate information about all of the word's current uses."

Photo Story Prompt: Jamaica

Oops! We missed last week's photo story prompt, but here's one for this week:

Write whatever comes to you--short or long, fiction or truth.

We'd love to see what you come up with! Send your writing in to photostory@indigoediting.com to be posted on our blog with other stories based on the same photo. If you'd like your name, Web site, and contact info to be posted with your story, be sure to include that too. Feel free to comment on each other's stories and just generally enjoy the process of playing with the written word and the world it creates.

Happy writing!

Photo: "Jamaican Fisher Man" by John H.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: The Active Voice

In writing, it is always nice to be sure your narrative can attract the reader’s attention. You want your reader to fall into the story, to very quickly feel like there is a relationship between reader and narrator. The active voice is a great way to initiate this intimacy.

The active voice engages the reader. “I will always remember the girl from the diner.” Immediately, the reader knows the narrator is about to reminisce about a past experience, possibly a romantic or life-changing one at that. “My first girlfriend will always be remembered by me.” This sentence is less engaging, less direct, and less bold. It is easy for the reader to feel a little disinterested while reading it. “My first girlfriend will always be remembered.” This is a little better, but in the end becomes vague: is this the writer, the narrator, some other party, that will always remember this girl?

The first example would be perfect for more dramatic writing, something that will instantly pull the writer into a story that promises an intimate relationship between the reader and narrator. Now, the active voice is not always the best; sometimes the passive voice works just as well and is sometimes necessary to the type of writing being produced, most commonly with non-fiction.

For a deeper understanding of when to use the active voice and when to remain passive, check out Strunk & White’s Elements of Style at www.bartleby.com/141

Sex and the City It Isn't

A year and a half ago, I reviewed Girls of Riyadh for Seeing Indigo, calling it a glimpse into the lives of four young Saudi women that Westerners rarely know. Too bad Saudi women still have more to worry about when they're enjoying the frivolity of shopping than, "Choo or Blahnik?"

The story about only men being allowed to work in women's lingerie shops has been making waves on a variety of outlets recently, including on NPR and the BBC. Women in the kingdom are taking a stand, through Facebook and beyond. Breathe life into an old book review--learn more and maybe join this fight for privacy and respect.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Release Spotlight: The Chemist and Diary of a Dead Man

Fratire is one dude reply to chick lit/flick; there’s also guy lit/flick, both less provocatively dubbed and more catch-all, which might include Fight Club to Big Fish. But there seems to be the need for another category—the most apt name that I’ve thought of so far for it being woody lit, after Woody Allen.

I am a fan of Allen’s films, but I undestand how the bumbling-yet-arrogant–old-man-yet-virile-lover characters that he plays can be laughable to fans and downright irritating to detractors. These are 1950s guys who have learned to be self-depracating, but they themselves don’t believe what they’re selling. And these are the heros of two of Bridgeway Books’ most recent mystery titles.

The Chemist is the overall stronger of the two, with solid layers—from the modern slave trade (of pretty white American women) and the work of a sociopathic everyman with a chemistry degree, to Green Bay Detective Cale Van Waring struggling with his girlfriend’s threat that he either commit to her with marriage or she moves out. The story is of the quality of a well-done made-for-television mystery movie—it holds the reader’s attention, through multiple storylines and also through details, such as dialog that sounds like it would be spoken by small-urban Midwest police—but it won’t last in a reader’s memory.

Not a cop story, Diary of a Dead Man stars the owner of a construction business who gets mixed up in a convoluted Internet scheme. It’s has a unique and modern plot, which is appreciated, but it’s highly unbelievable. Sometimes the best mysteries are—consider all the procedurals on television that must work to top each other with increasingly crazy twists week after week. But if the details that form that mystery’s foundation are shaky, that is definitely a problem. The narrator makes two major and telltale decisions at the beginning of the book—answering a stranger who somehow connects with him through his e-mail instant messaging system and covering up a murder—that simply don’t make sense from what the reader knows of him or comes to know of him. And even at a basic level, the instant messages that a lot of the drama is wrapped around and in are stiffly written.

Stephen King has called these types of books manfiction and says of them this: “What men want from an Elmore Leonard novel is exactly what women want from a Nora Roberts novel—escape and entertainment. And while it’s true that manfiction can be guilty of objectifying women, chick lit often does the same thing to men…Women like stories in which a gal meets a handsome (and possibly dangerous) hunk on a tropic isle; men like to imagine going to war against an army of bad guys with a Beretta, a blowtorch, and a submachine gun (grenades hung on the belt optional).”

Both of these are fine books in this way, but it’s troubling when that style crosses a line. In The Chemist, Van Waring’s lawyer girlfriend is raped by a convict who may have information on Van Waring’s case. She expresses anger and horror internally, but she never tells anyone, including the very boyfriend she longs to marry. She accepts the convict’s insistence that the “he said, she said” nature of the situation would be too difficult for her to overcome, and she puts it away so that her man doesn’t have to add it to his plate of worries.

It’s of course a possible reaction, but it’s an extreme example of all the character seems to be. In mainstream fiction, it’s okay if no one critiques a damsel’s wish to be saved or a knight’s wish to save—all readers can comprehend at least one of those needs, to at least some extent. But a writer shouldn’t weaken what is otherwise a perfectly nice fantasy with what is overall incomprehensible.

The Chemist

Janson Mancheski

Bridgeway Books

ISBN: 978-1-934454-28-2

Diary of a Dead Man

Walter Krumm

Bridgeway Books

ISBN: 978-1-934454-22-0

Review by Kristin Thiel of Indigo Editing & Publications

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Saturday, March 21
Marc Acito, author, singer, and humorist, will be at the Multnomah County Central Library talking about his latest novel, Attack of the Theater People, the sequel to his debut novel How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship and Musical Theater. Acito, due to his comic nature and “booming voice,” is also a favorite on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and Live Wire Radio.
When: 1-2:30pm
Where: Central Library, U.S. Bank Room
Cost: Free
Check out http://www.multcolib.org/events/writers.html for more information

Date: Monday, March 23
Annette White-Parks will be at the Looking Glass Bookstore discussing her latest book Cutting from the Viola: Traveling with My Scots Grannies. She will chat about the process of collecting stories and combining everything through the narrative voice. She is currently retired and a Professor Emeriti of English from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She is the author of many pieces in different journals and newspapers, as well as the author of such books as A Gathering of Voices on the Asian American Experience and When Grownups Were Children.
When: 7pm
Where: Looking Glass Bookstore, 7983 SE 13th Ave
Cost: Free
Go to the events page at http://lookingglassbook.qwestoffice.net/

Date: Wednesday, March 25
Terry Tempest Williams, author and editor of fifteen books, including her memoir Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, will be at lecturing as part of Portland Arts & Lecture series. Tempest, who also contributes to The New Yorker and The New York Times, is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literay Fellowship, and the Wallace Stegner Award from the Center for the American West. She currently occupies herself as the Annie Clark Tanner Scholar in Environmental Humanities at the University of Utah.
When: 7:30pm
Where: Newmark Theater
Cost: $12 and $15 through the PCPA box office or Ticketmaster
For more information, check out the special events page at www.literary-arts.org/pal

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where do your stories come from?

This is a live-blog post corresponding with Indigo's live performance on KBOO.

I’ve been fascinated by landscapes, wildlife and people since I was a kid. My family took month-long camping trips across the continent, and I collected landscapes like I gathered up interesting rocks and small compliant animals. Lawrence Durrell said that “human beings are expressions of their landscapes." This sentiment informs my stories and poems. The interface and adventure of cultural and natural history is a constant source of wonder and fascination for me. Many of my stories start out at parties in the kitchen (you know how people tend to gather in the kitchen), which I believe to be the modern equivalent of the hearth of our ancestors. Retelling some stories just gets better with beverages and laughter.

Jo Anne Dolan

Jo Anne was a contributor to last year's Ink-Filled Page, her work appearing in the 2008 Anthology.

Where do your stories come from?

This is a live-blog post corresponding with Indigo's live performance on KBOO.

For me, I love observing people, listening to conversations, and analyzing mannerisms. I basically write about people I know, taking stories from my life, and exaggerating the events, often making them more melancholy or tragic. I love writing about my family because they give me so much material. The story I wrote featured in the Ink-Filled Page, "Lies My Mother Told Me", was taken from different events in my life--my aunt's death, my father's infidelity, my grandfather's alcoholism--and combined into specific characters in a family, who are dealing with these same issues. I feel my writing is best if it's based off reality, and that's where most of my ideas come from.

Sahag Gureghian

Sahag was a contributer to last year's Ink-Filled Page, his work appearing in the 2008 Anthology.

Where do your stories come from?

This is a live-blog post corresponding with Indigo's live performance on KBOO.

In response to the question of where stories come from or why writers write:

I´m personally inspired by people and real-life situations. My best stories have grown from reading about or imagining a situation (a prison camp or a religious commune or an extra-marital affair) and then placing a character in that scenario. Part of my interest in writing is seeing how the character will react or what he or she would do. The story becomes a little bit like a voyage of discovery - I rarely know how it will end until I get there myself!

Anna De Vaul

Anna was a contributor to last year's Ink-Filled Page, her work appearing in the 2008 Anthology.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Indigo on the Radio!

Join Indigo Editing & Publications this Thursday, March 19 on the radio! Indigo Editing & Publications and Ink-Filled Page will be featured on KBOO's Between the Covers show (http://kboo.fm) from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Tune in to hear from your favorite contributors and about the process of publishing a literary journal.

The action's not just over the airwaves, though. Seeing Indigo (http://www.indigoediting.blogspot.com) will feature more Ink-Filled Page contributors live-blogging during the radio show. There's never been a better chance to hear from some of your favorite authors.

Featured contributors include:
Jo Anne Dolan
Anna De Vaul
Sahag Gureghian
Scott F. Parker
Joseph Riippi

Plus, we'll raffle off a free copy of Ink-Filled Page Anthology 2008 to one person who comments on one of the live-blog posts!* It's all happening Thursday, March 19.

*Winner will be drawn on Friday, March 20.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Homonyms

Ever come across homonyms? Those pesky words that look similar or sound similar or even mean something similar but are actually different words? These words can sometimes be the bane of an editor’s existence, so be sure to keep an eye out while writing to make sure you’re using the right word and not its brother of a homonym.

Homonyms are words that share the same spelling as well as the same pronunciation, but can have very different meanings depending on the context of the sentence. For example, “stalk” can be a noun referring to a part of a plant or it can be a verb when talking about following or harassing another person. Other examples are “bear” (an animal or to carry), “left” (opposite of right or past tense of leave) and “fluke” (a stroke of luck or the fins on a whale’s tail).

Some define homonyms as words that share the same spelling or pronunciation, but these can be defined as homographs as well. Homographs share the same spelling but have different pronouncements and meanings. If they have the same pronunciation but different spellings, these words are called homophones (think to, too, and two). There are also subclasses called heteronyms, polysemes, and capitonyms. Most of these have to do with related meanings or similar pronunciations.

It is all a little confusing, so be sure to check out a really helpful group of homonym charts on Wikipedia and Alan Cooper’s Homonym’s Page for a great list of the many homonyms in the English language!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Sunday, March 15
Come to the Writers Resource Fair, hosted by the Central Library, and discover the different resources and opportunities available for the local writer! The John Wilson Special Collection will be open from 1-3pm, showcasing the library’s amazing rare books and manuscripts in their environmentally controlled room. Many different organizations (including Indigo!) will be present to offer support and to chat about different opportunities for writers in the region. Come chat, enjoy refreshments, and bask in the glory of Portland’s literary community!
Where: Multnomah County Central Library, Downtown Portland
Time: noon-3pm
Cost: Free
For more information, visit the Multnomah County Library website at www.multcolib.org

Date: Sunday, March 15
Lemony Snicket, bestselling author of the Series of Unfortunate Events, will be at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing signing copies of his new book The Composer Is Dead, which comes with a CD featuring Snicket’s own narration and original music performed by the San Francisco Symphony (only the new book is eligible for signing). Illustrator Carson Ellis, best known for her cover art for The Decemberists, will also be present.
Where: Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
Time: 2pm
Cost: $17.99 and include admission and a copy of The Composer Is Dead. Tickets can be purchases at Powell’s at Cedar Hills Crossing, online, or by calling 503-288-4651. There are only 300 tickets, so be sure to purchases yours ASAP!
For more information, check out the calendar page at www.powells.com

Date: Monday, March 16
Powell’s 2nd annual Smallpressapalooza is finally here! Celebrating Small Press Month with a five-hour marathon of readings from local and national small press publications, read by the authors themselves. This event is co-sponsored by the Independent Publishing Resource Center.
Where: Powell’s City of Books on Burnside
Time: 5-10pm
Cost: Free
For a complete list of the authors and a schedule for readings, visit the events calendar at www.powells.com

Date: Tuesday, March 17
Scott Simon, NPR radio personality and award-winning journalist, will be featured as part of the Literary Arts Lecture Series presented by Portland Arts & Lectures. He is the author of three novels, his latest entitled Windy City, and two others, a memoir and a study on Jackie Robinson.
Where: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Time: 7:30pm
Cost: $12-$28; tickets sold through the PCPA box office and Ticketmaster
For more information, check out the events calendar at www.pcpa.com

Date: Thursday, March 19
Indigo Editing & Publications and Ink-Filled Page will be featured on KBOO’s Between the Covers show from 11-11:30am. Tune in to learn about the literary journal publication process and hear from your favorite contributors. We’ll also raffle off a free copy of Ink-Filled Page Anthology 2008 to one person who comments on one of the live-blog posts going on during the show. Be sure to tune in and thanks for the support!
Where: Anywhere you have a radio!
Time: 11-11:30am
Cost: Free!
Be sure to check back in with our blog, Seeing Indigo, for more information later this week!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Photo Story Prompt: Nostalgia

This week's photo story writing prompt:

Write whatever comes to you--short or long, fiction or truth.

We'd love to see what you come up with! Send your writing in to photostory@indigoediting.com to be posted on our blog with other stories based on the same photo. If you'd like your name, Web site, and contact info to be posted with your story, be sure to include that too. Feel free to comment on each other's stories and just generally enjoy the process of playing with the written word and the world it creates.

Happy writing!

Photo: "Old Time" by Ilco

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Plurals

Pluralizing words is not as easy as it looks and can be a little confusing at times. Throw in nouns ending with vowels and foreign words, and things can suddenly become very complicated. S or es is added to form most plurals, but which do you use when? If the noun happens to end in a letter that is not pleasing with s alone, like with words already ending with s, or with sh, z, x, or a soft ch, use es, like with boxes and watches. If the ending letter of a word sounds like it can readily pluralize with only the s without sounding ridiculous, go ahead and place only the s at the end.

But what about nouns ending in f or fe? Ending in y? Or maybe o? Some ending in f or fe only use s when pluralizing, like with reefs and safes, while others change their f to v and add es like with wolves. With y things can get a little tricky. Nouns ending in y usually follow two rules: (1) if the word is common and the y is preceded by a consonant, change the y to and i and add es (berries, cherries, doilies, etc) or (2) if it is either a proper noun or the y is preceded by a vowel, simply add s for the plural form (Teddys, plays, etc).

Some nouns ending in o take the s while others take the es, like avocados vs. mangoes. If the ending letter o is preceded by a vowel or is a shortened word, only add s, like with portfolios and photos. When to add es is a little tricky. Since there is no definite rule to categorize all nouns, be sure to always consult your Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and your Chicago Manual of Style.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Tuesday, March 10
Let’s Talk About It: Love, Forgiveness, and Wisdom is a discussion series led by Dr. Michael A. Faletra, visiting assistant professor of English at Reed College. Held one Tuesday a month from January through May, the discussions explore how time and experience can lead to forgiveness in the presence of wisdom—and how wisdom can emerge. This month’s focus will be on William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Registration is required, so please visit the registration page to do so or call 503-988-5234
Where: North Portland Library
When: 6:30-7:30pm
Cost: Free
For more information, visit www.multcolib.org/events/loveforgiveness.html

Date: Wednesday, March 11
As part of the Lewis & Clark College Gender Studies Symposium, poet and activist Andrea Gibson, along with Denise Jolly and Tara Hardy, will be headlining a poetry workshop. Using contemporary poems as prompts for writing as discussions, they will be exploring gender queer identities and discussing experiences. Bring a pen and an open mind!
Where: Lewis & Clark College, Templeton Student Center, Trail Room
When: 3:30-5pm
Cost: Free
For more information, visit www.lclark.edu/dept/gender/symposium.html or contact Faculty Director Kimberly Brodkin at 503-768-7678 or kbrodkin@lclark.edu

Date: Thursday, March 12
Susan Straight, author of I Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots, Blacker than a Thousand Midnights, The Gettin Place, and Highwire Moon, will be at Reed College as part of their Visiting Writers series. Her honors and awards include the California Book Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and a Best American Short Story Award.
Where: Reed College, Psychology 105
When: 6:30pm
Cost: Free
For more information, visit www.reed.edu/visiting_writers/index.html

Date: Saturday, March 14
Anyone’s Domain: A Basic Poetry Writing Workshop with Paulann Petersen will be at the Multnomah Central Library. Petersen’s books of poetry include The Wild Awake, Blood-Silk, and A Bride of Narrow Escape. Join her for an afternoon full of creativity, discussion, and poetry! Registration is required, so register online or call 503-988-5123
Where: Multnomah Central Library, U.S. Bank Room
When: 2-4pm
Cost: Free
For more information, visit http://www.multcolib.org/events/writing.html

Photo Story: I Was Rocky

We went to church together, my three brothers and I. We didn't get to leave and listen to songs or stories, we had to sit with our parents. I'd lay on my back, under the pews, lost in another world. I was Rocky.

I could leave this world behind and I could envision any number of adversaries: political adversaries (Russians, Vietnamese, Cuban), foreigners (martians, people from East Jahunga, the Ninjas of the Cypress) or something a bit more relevant (my brother Anthony, that very aggressive librarian who tells me to shush, or a pack of unhinged altar boys). I'd usually work up to triple-hip-flip-kicks ( my specialty which arrived in a spitting hyper speed mode or a yawning slo-mo photo finish. I wasn't in the generation that allowed aluminum chairs in the ring, but I often improvised a little with the wooden stool that might be left behind in the corner of the ring.

I realize you're horrified at the political incorrectness of such profiling and unbridled violence. It's wrong, it's evil, it's naughty and it doesn't show my parents in a very good light. Still, it was my Sunday morning fight club, and if I was able to keep in quiet, I was happy as a clam and my parents had one less wiggler to annoy them. I got to see bits and pieces of the Rocky Movies and they seemed so cool. Being Italian didn't hurt to provoke the stallion that I had inside me. I never was an altar boy, but I was later accused of being one. "Man," I thought, "I used to kick the living *&#! out of altar boys!"

Now I have two boys and they come to church with me and I wonder.... Where do they go when they're playing around under the pews? One of these days, I bet I'll hear one whispering "alohamora!"

Photo: "Rocky" by James Farmer

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Language, Literature, and Diversity Festival at PSU!

Students in Publishing and the Graduate Literary Organization would like to announce the upcoming Language, Literature, and Diversity Festival. This event celebrates and promotes diverse literature at both PSU and in the community at large. The festival will take place March 5, 2009, at the Multicultural Resource Center of Smith Memorial Student Union at Portland State University from 7:10 p.m. It will be free to the press and public.

The festival will feature local poets Sid Miller, editor of the Burnside Review, Liz Nakazawa, editor of Ooligan Press's Deer Drink the Moon; author Paul Collins, editor of the Collins Library imprint of McSweeney's; and several PSU literary journals, including Pathos, and the Portland Review. The student-run event will also feature readings from Ooligan Press's upcoming releases Do Angels Cry? by Croatian author Matko Marusic, and The Best Dancer by Swiss-German author Christoph Keller.

For more information, contact Natalie Emery at emery.natalie@gmail.com, or psuglo@gmail.com.

Presented by: Students in Publishing, Graduate Literary Organization, and Portland State University

Photo Story Prompt: Boxing

This week's photo story writing prompt:

Write whatever comes to you--short or long, fiction or truth.

We'd love to see what you come up with! Send your writing in to photostory@indigoediting.com to be posted on our blog with other stories based on the same photo. If you'd like your name, Web site, and contact info to be posted with your story, be sure to include that too. Feel free to comment on each other's stories and just generally enjoy the process of playing with the written word and the world it creates.

Happy writing!

Photo: "Rocky" by James Farmer

Monday, March 02, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: The Dash

In her memorable book Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Lynne Truss accuses the dash of being “the enemy of grammar” these days due in large part to email and phone texts, the new age epitome of “disorganized thought.” The dash has now taken the place of all other forms of punctuation in these instances and its use is causing confusion as to when use of the dash is truly appropriate.

First off, it is important not to mistake the dash for its smaller alternative, the hyphen. The dash is used to connect or separate sentences and phrases while the hyphen is generally used to connect individual words. The dash is great for stream-of-consciousness writing (i.e. Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen) or, when sparingly used, can create a wonderful emphasis for “dramatic disjunction which can be exploited for humor, for bathos, for shock.” The dash is that little moment of dramatic pause before the rest is revealed and sets itself a part from the comma in that it is much easier to spot on a page and harder to ignore.

For more on the dash and other methods of emphasis, check out the chapter “Cutting a Dash” in Lynne Truss’s always entertaining guide on grammar, Eats, Shoots and Leaves. For more formal usage, The Chicago Manual of Style is perfectly clear on the different distinctions and usages of the dash.