Friday, July 31, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Friday, July 31-Saturday, August 1
The Rotary Club of Alpine in The Lone Star state is hosting the Way Out West Texas Book Festival to promote literary appreciation and to benefit the Alpine Public Library and its Marathon branch. Programs will feature authors who have written books on Western Non-Fiction, Texas Rangers, Natural History of the Big Bend, Humorous Fiction, and other topics.
Where: University Center, 2nd Floor, Sul Ross Espino Conference Center, Alpine, Texas
When: 7:30pm on Friday, 9am on Saturday
Cost: Friday's kick-off event is a ticketed event. Saturday's programs are free and open to the public
For more information visit the website.

Date: Registration begins August 4 for various event dates
Read the Classics "The books I always meant to read!" Read some of the best all-time classic books, with a professor from Reed College leading the discussions. And no papers are due! The five discussions series cover five literary eras. Registration is required and participation is free! Pick up your book(s) in advance of each program. Attend as many as you like.
When: Times vary
Where: Locations vary
Cost: Free with registration
For more information, visit the library events website or call the Reference Line at 503-988-5234.

Date: Thursday, August 6
Graphic novel artist and author Derek Kirk Kim (The Eternal Smile, Same Difference and Other Stories), will read from his work, discuss his creative process and answer questions from the audience. Teens and adults are invited to get graphic at this interactive presentation.
When: 6-7pm
Where: Community Room, Tigard Public Library, 13500 SW Hall Blvd, Portland, OR 97223-8111
To learn more, visit Kim's blog site.

Date: Thursday, August 6
Smorg is pleased to host San Francisco poets Erik Noonan and Christina Fisher, and local musician Justin Ready--guitarist and lead vocalist for Portland's own Pigeons. Food, beer, wine and espresso all available at The Waypost.
When: 7:30pm
Where: 3120 N. Williams Ave. Portland, OR
Cost: Free

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Career Opportunity Grant for Artists

Oregon Arts Commission Announces
Application Deadline for Career Opportunity Grants for Artists
First Quarterly Deadline for Applications is August 13, 2009

With funding from Governor Kulongoski's CHAMP II initiative, the Oregon Arts Commission announces the first quarterly deadline of August 13, 2009 in the continuation of its important Career Opportunity grant program for individual artists.

Initiated in 2007, Career Opportunity Grants provide Oregon artists with support of up to $1,500 to enable them to take advantage of specific opportunities that will enhance their arts careers through the development of arts, business or professional skills; an expanded marketing capacity; and/or other concrete efforts to advance the nature or quality of their artwork.

Since 2007, Career Opportunity grants have enabled artists to present their work at national and international art fairs; to ship new work to exhibitions in the United States and Europe; to record and digitally create new works; and to have access to studios and foundries to create prototypes for installation work.

Applications are accepted by quarterly deadlines of:

August 13, 2009
November 12, 2009
February 11, 2010
May 18, 2010

Applications may be downloaded from the Commission's website:

Following the first deadline, applicants are advised to confirm the availability of funds as this program is highly competitive. The grants, funded through the Commission's Creative Oregon Initiative, expand the capacity of Oregon's artists, who often work as independent small businesses, to contribute to Oregon's economy in both urban and rural areas.

For more information: Shannon Planchon, (503) 229-6062,, Christine D'Arcy, (503) 986-0087,, and

New Release Spotlight: One Foot Wrong

One Foot Wrong by Sofie Laguna

After penning several children’s and YA stories, One Foot Wrong is Sofie Laguna’s first adult novel. And yet, like a curious playmate out of juvenile literature, Laguna’s crisp language, full of bright and shiny imagery, beckons the reader inward and holds our hand through the most terrifying moments.

The only child of reclusive parents, Hester Wakefield explores the boundaries of her nightmarish childhood. Isolated, she constructs a coded speech gleaned from the pages of her sole book, the Abridged Picture Bible, her own incredibly vivid imagination, and the disparaging remarks she hears everyday. For instance, the pounding of her heart is “Jesus beating the drum” and laughter, which bubbles out of her to the dismay of her repressed mother, is “the devil’s language.” Hester is at once a tragic figure—relentlessly quashed by her fearful, stringently religious, and abusive parents—and a marvelously resilient individual—building herself a tightly woven and unceasingly profound world from the fractures.

Hester stitches her world together with secrets. It’s common for the development of private knowledge to mark a departure from childhood, but Hester’s own leave-taking is complicated by its sinister tinge even as she quickly determines the power of secrets. She observes that a “secret can belong to one person or it can belong to two people. Mary and me had the creek and the frog. Boot and me had night visits, pencil and paper, and the drawings in the kitchen bin. I had my own one-person secrets: hidden paintings and my friends at One Cott Road.” One by one, these secrets are unearthed (if, at times, only to the reader) in turbulent episodes that propel Hester from agonizing rupture to self-revelation.

The secrets become increasingly fantastic and some of the developments seem to stretch the fabric of Laguna’s otherwise cohesive tale, as if the story has a few secrets of its own. Laguna’s constant use of a resplendent array of motifs builds the literary force of the story, while also communicating the circular, suffocating nature of Hester’s world. As the young protagonist searches for a way out—through art and imagination, visions and violence—One Foot Wrong faithfully follows these threads of theme to their every end, terrible or glorious.

Review by Hannah Kingrey, Indigo Editing & Publications

To be released August 18, 2009.

One Foot Wrong
Publisher: Other Press LLC
ISBN: 978-1-59051-316-3
Trade Paperback: $12.95

Monday, July 27, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Abbreviations

Blacklisted by some traditionalists alongside the dreaded end-of-sentence preposition, using abbreviations--especially in formal texts--is often dismissed as a sign of incompetent writing. On the contrary, the entirety of Chapter 15 in The Chicago Manual of Style is dedicated to the complexity and usefulness of abbreviations. Certainly, excessive use will bury the meaning and distract the reader but purposeful abbreviations (and the rules that govern them) offer an equally succinct and expedient means of communicating without compromising readability.

The nature of an abbreviation will indicate how to space, punctuate, write as plural forms and whether to spell out the first appearance. There are many types: the acronym, "terms based on the initial letters of their various elements and read as a single word" {NATO, AIDS}; the initialism, "terms read as a series of letters {BBC, ATM}; the contraction: "includes the first and last letters of the full word" {Mr., amt.}; symbols {$, &} and lower-case shortened forms,{Latin terminology such as ibid., and others like vol., prof.}.

Use abbreviations wisely; if strong whole words can be used, by all means do so but recognize that abbreviations give the lay-reader a handle on specialized material and provide more concise reading for the specialist.

For much more information, in addition to Chicago, consult The Copyeditor's Handbook. Despite Chicago's seemingly exhaustive list, the editors contend that "the abbreviations listed are unavoidably incomplete" and refer readers to the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Abbreviations Dictionary, and the Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations Dictionary.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Think Out Loud ponders "Zine Culture"

With Portland Zine Symposium on the brain, OPB's Think Out Loud radio show recently held a great interview with several folks who contribute to the Rose City's active zine culture. Hosts Emily Harris and David Miller covered all things zine with Alex Wrekk, author of Stolen Sharpie Revolution (and an organizer of the Symposium), Justin Hocking, the executive director of Indpendent Publishing Resource Center and others.

Play or download the episode here:

Spotlighted Literary Events

*July 24-26, Portland Zine Symposium*
*See last week's Spotlighted Literary Event for more Info*

Date: Sunday, July 26
Writers in the Corvallis vicinity are gathering for a second time. Join wordsmiths from "all backgrounds, ages, genres and stages of their careers" to discuss a name for the "local writers network, results of last month's survey of writers' interests and needs, and future events for the group." Please RSVP to
When: 2pm
Where: Avery House in Avery Park. Parking just north of the park.
Cost: Free

Date: Sunday, July 26
Hungry for stories? Poems? Music? Satisfy your cravings with a delicioius literary and musical meal served at the Super Sunday Stew at Cafe Mundo in Newport. The stew features musical and spoken word performance by some of the most dynamic performers in Oregon. "We've got poetry, prose, rants, Americana, trip hop, and straight-up three-chord rock and roll," says author and Nestucca Spit Press Publisher Matt Love. In addition to Love's new book, Newport: Notes From My First Year In Town, Andrew Rodman will yell from his new chapbook of savage spoken word poems Secretly Famous. Poet and Newport native Tim Sproul will share his funny and poignant obserations from How to Leave Your Hometown For Good.--Matt Love
When: A vegetarian stew will be served by Cafe Mundo at 6:30pm
Where: Cafe Mundo, in Newport's historic Nye Beach area
Cost: Free!

Date: Saturday, August 1
The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is hosting an open house and book sale with light refreshments, tours of the library and more.
When: 9am-3pm
Where: 1505 SE Gideon St.
For more information visit or call 503-963-1932.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Photo Story Prompt: Crisis

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

We'd love to see what you come up with! Post your story in a comment below, or e-mail it to

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: "Stress" by "zweettooth"

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ink-Filled Page Summer 2009 Issue Released

Indigo is proud to present the Summer 2009 issue of Ink-Filled Page.

This issue features a variety of motifs, including death, lessons from other cultures, haunting reads, and an unlikely angel. Featured authors are Sandra Arguello, Andrew S. Fuller, G.M. Hanson, Cecilie Scott, and Aliya Whiteley. Also featured is artwork by Elena Cronin, Lea Goldman, and Sarah Elizabeth Hicks.

It's available for $3 at

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Doug Fir Fiction Award

Every Story Begins Somewhere

At The Bear Deluxe Magazine, the Pacific Northwest's leading environmental arts publication, many short fiction stories and their authors find their first recognition through the Doug Fir Fiction Award. Now in its third year, this annual contest celebrates writing related to the natural world, sense of place or environmental issues.

Deadline: September 8, 2009 (postmark)
Prize: $1,000 and publication
Judge: Jon Raymond, The Half-Life, Livability, (Bloomsbury), and the movies Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy
Word limit: 5,000
$15 reading fee

Mail formatted submissions and entry fee (check or money order in U.S. dollars) to Orlo/The Bear Deluxe Magazine, P.O. Box 10342, Portland, Oregon 97296 USA
Publication reach: 44,000
Open to all writers in English. Complete submission guidelines:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Punctuation with Quotation Marks

When it comes to punctuation and quotation marks, the areas of concern are the introduction and the closing. The punctuation depends on context and the nature of the quoted material. Specifically, the length of quotation and introductory phrasing are two primary signals for determining where to place the quotation marks. Strunk and White provide detailed but succinct rules to follow and some examples below are taken from that text. The Chicago Manual of Style details closing quotation marks and examples from it are also used below.

Introductions A comma introduces a brief quotation, which is enclosed in quotation marks. {Mark Twain says, "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read."} A colon is used to introduce formal citations, or after the following or thus. {The United States Coast Pilot has this to say of the place: "Bracy Cove, 0.5 mile eastward of Bear Island..."} (When that introduces a quotation, it is indirect and therefore, no marks are used; the same goes for proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin.)

Closings Periods and commas always belong inside the closing quotation mark. This is recognizable in dialog or with attributive phrases. {"I can't attend," she said.} (Be careful not to confuse quotation marks with the apostrophe which is followed by the punctuation.) Colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation points follow closing quotation marks. When question marks and exclamation points are part of the quoted material they remain within the mark. {Which of Shakespeare's characters said, "All the world's a stage"?} {"Where are you from?"}

For more information related to quotation marks, including single vs. double marks, italics vs. quotation marks, both the works cited above have some online content: Strunk and White and the Chicago Manual of Style. Be sure to check out for thoughts from the King's English.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Sunday, July 19
Performance Works NorthWest announces its annual summer fundraiser: The 7th Annual Richard Foreman Mini-Festival in Two Shows. Inspired by playwright, avant-garde theater pioneer, and MacArthur Genius Grant winner Richard Foreman, a dazzling lineup of theater, dance, video and literary artists from Portland and beyond rise to the challenge of creating a new work in only ten days. PWNW artistic director Linda Austin posted a selection from Foreman's online notebooks at 12:01am on July 9. On July 19 audiences will thrill to the amusing, shocking and enlightening results created by 18 solo artists/groups, presented in two different programs.
When: 5pm and 8pm
Where: Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave. Portland OR
Cost:$15-$50 for one show; $25-75 for both shows, sliding scale.
Visit the PWNW website for many more details and other events.

Date: Monday, July 20
Scribble Sessions is a brand new writing group for all writing levels and July 20 is the first meeting. The hour long session is designed to evolve and fit the needs of the writers who attend. Come whether you are looking for feedback on your work, to share your writing or to hear it read aloud. There is interest also "to build a group where writers can come together and simply write in silence--surrounded by a similar, focused energy that motivates exploration." The Sessions a non-exclusive and supportive group. Writers, readers AND those who are just interested in listening, are all welcome.
When: Every 3rd and 1st Monday at 7pm
Where: In Other Words Women's Books and Resources, 8B NE Killingsworth St
Cost: Free
For more information visit the Event website or call 503-232-6003.

Date: Fri., Sat., Sun., July 24, 25, 26
It's International Zine Month which means...Portand Zine Symposium! The event includes workshops, panels, discussions and raffles and tables upon tables of creative folks trading, buying and selling zines. There are many opportunities for further involvement including volunteering for the event, kick-off events (i.e. dance parties and readings), and the 24hr Zine Challenge.
When: July 24 (2:30pm-7pm), July 25 (10am-5pm), July 26 (10am-4pm)
Where: Smith Memorial Ballroom, Portland State University
Cost: Free!
For more information, be sure to check out the PZS website.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sledghammer 2009 Is On!

Writers to your marks. Get set. Shatter!
(Your writer’s block, that is.)

For the second year running, the Sledgehammer Writing Contest innovatively incorporates a scavenger hunt with a team competition and a prize package worth thousands of dollars—oh, and did we mention there’s a 36-hour time limit?

Here’s how it works:

Teams of writers converge at noon on Saturday to receive their first writing prompt and scavenger hunt clues. From there they head out to several locations around the city to gather all four writing prompts, and then they have 36 hours to write the best fiction piece they can. Final submissions are due back in person by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.

The following week, competitors will read their stories at an unveiling, and the audience will vote on the top three. The top three from each city will win gift certificates to local businesses, be invited to read their work at Wordstock and other venues, and go into the running for the grand prize package worth thousands of dollars!

Thanks to all of our sponsors who make the prize package so phenomenal.

Portland: August 29-30
Seattle: September 19-20

Start and end locations TBA.

Visit for more details and to register.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photo Story Prompt: Drums

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

We'd love to see what you come up with! Post your story in a comment below, or e-mail it to

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: "Drums" by Jochem Aarts

How Cool Is That?: Book Bags

From ForeWord This Week:

Caitlin Phillips, the proprietor of Rebound Designs, creates purses out of book covers. By removing the pages and replacing them with fabric, clasps, and handles, she creates one-of-a-kind objects out of damaged or out-of-date books. The bags available at her booth included those made from Nancy Drew books and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The purses start at $100.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Sarah Lantz Memorial Poetry Book Prize

CALYX has announced a poetry book prize in honor of Sarah Lantz, a Portland poet who died from a brain tumor one month before her first book, Far Beyond Triage, was published by CALYX in 2007. The winner will receive $500 and a CALYX book contract. Submission dates are Sept. 1-30, and there is a $25 reading fee. (Jeff Baker, The Oregonian)

CALYX is an independent, nonprofit publisher of contemporary writing and art by women committed to discovering emerging writers and artists from a diversity of backgrounds. CALYX, Inc. includes CALYX, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women (published semi-annually) and CALYX Books.
Visit the publisher's website for more information:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Modals plus May vs. Might

On a busy Friday night, when this bookworm wants to curl up with a good read even though all her friends are dancing the night away, she finds noncommittal modals a useful resource. Modals are auxiliary verbs that modify action verbs to suggest possibility or necessity. {I would attend your "sequined forest animals" party but I just started reading the Twilight series.} {Yes, the "sexy pioneers" disco sounds like a rager but I must find out if Edward and Bella really are soulmates}.

The words may and might are both modals. While they generally mean the same thing, they are not entirely interchangeable. Amy Einsohn (The Copyeditor's Handbook) offers the following guidelines: "Might is the past tense of may. {I might have been late for work, I was so absorbed in my book.} Both might and may are used to describe unlikely future events, with might denoting less certainty. {It is one in the afternoon, so after he reads the next chapter of New Moon, he may get out of bed and he might leave the house.} Might is used to denote...a past event...that did not take place. {I might have written Twilight, if I'd thought of it.} May is used to denote a speculation about a past event." {She may have gone out last Friday; there was a vampire theme-soiree that sounded promising.}

Strunk and White remind writers that, "if...every sentence admits a doubt, [it] will lack authority" and to "save auxiliaries...for situations involving real uncertainty." For more examples and explanation of gray areas regarding usage see Grammar Girl's column on the subject.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Wednesday, July 15
Last month, Seeing Indigo highlighted the release of Portland Noir, one of the newest additions to the acclaimed anthology published by Akashic Books. This week, the collection will go (kidskin-gloved) mano a mano with another installment in the Noir series: Seattle Noir. Editors Kevin Sampsell and Curt Colbert represent each collection along with several authors. Spine-tingling read-alouds guaranteed.
When: 7:30pm
Where: Murder by the Book, 3210 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland
Cost: Free
For more information, call the bookstore at 503-232-9995.

Date: Thursday, July 16
"Free Culture: Creating Copyright and Copyright Creation." Hot topics. Hot band. Hot eats. A sizzling summer special! Featuring UO Alumnus and entertainment lawyer, Peter Shaver discussing the topic with Portland electropop music group YACHT, join your fellow audience members in rethinking copyright law. In the spirit of "free culture," local brewery New Old Lampoc offers complimentary fare. Presented by UO Portand Library and Learning Commons and UO Academic Affairs.
When: 6:30pm
Where: White Stag Block, 70 NW Couch Street, Portland
Cost: Free!
For more information about this event and others like it, visit

Date: Thursday, July 16
Tin House magazine celebrates 10 years of launching new voices into the world. Join the party with emcee Colson Whitehead and other lit-scene all-stars, including Aimee Bender, Matthew Dickinson, Michael Dickinson and Dorothy Allison. Presented by Literary Arts.
When: 7:30pm
Where: Newmark Theater, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland
Cost: $12-$14
See the Tin House website for more information.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Photo Story Prompt: Frog on My Finger

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

We'd love to see what you come up with! Post your story in a comment below, or e-mail it to

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: "Frog on My Finger" by Brian Christensen

Monday, July 06, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Foreign Languages

Do you ever eat broccoli from a cup?
Wash down waffles or cookies with booze?
Have you witnessed zombies doing yoga or ballet in pajamas?
Perhaps you've seen a skipper on her yacht, playing jazz on the banjo.

The English language is a veritable smorgasbord. Each sentence above is composed of words that were borrowed--from France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, West Africa--and assimilated into modern, common English usage. These words are so familiar, it's difficult to imagine that at one time, they were new and unnatural to the English speaker's tongue. Today, the catch-all, vocabulary-magnet nature of English increases its own currency as a global language. However, despite its vast and often overwhelming nature (there's an adjective for every nuance) writers still find it necessary to incorporate foreign, non-naturalized text, whether for stylistic purposes or practically, as a reference. As outlined in The Chicago Manual of Style, here are some guidelines for foreign word usage:

If the foreign word or phrase is unfamiliar, place it in italics; otherwise, it is not italicized. {In Senegal, small children wear gris-gris to ward off evil.} After the first use, occurrences may appear in roman type.To determine whether a word is familiar or not, writers and editors should consider the intended audience and double-check with a dictionary (Chicago and the Copyeditor's Handbook recommend Webster's Collegiate).

To provide a translation of a word, phrase or title, use parentheses or quotation marks. {The Wolof proverb Waxtaan nam la, ku ko teewe ca nga or "Conversation is like a meal; those who are present, partake," reflects how Senegalese practice teranga: being prepared always to share a meal, or a conversation.} Alternatively, longer phrases may be placed in quotation marks and roman type.

Strunk and White forcefully advise writers to "Avoid Foreign Languages" (style tip #20), citing an all-too often frivolous or pretentious voice and the reader's potential unease. And yet, certainly, in the right context, foreign expressions have seasoned some great pieces of writing. How far would you go for le mot juste?

To learn more, visit; of particular interest is the entry from the King's English wherein H.W. Fowler has some strong opinions on the employment of foreign words. For a list of commonly used foreign words and phrases, see this website.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Spotlighted Literary Events

Date: Tues., Thurs., Fri. July 7, 9, 10
"There's no criticism when you read to a dog, there's no correction...He just licks your face and thinks you're wonderful." -The Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The Multnomah County Library, in conjunction with DoveLewis, regularly hosts Read to the Dogs at libraries around the county. Youngsters get to sit and read with dogs (and their handlers).
When: 7pm
Where: There are four locations hosting this week--Albina, Hollywood, North Portland, and St. John's.
Cost: Free but registration is required
For more information see the complete schedule for Multnomah County Libraries. You can read the Seattle PI article at

Date: Tuesday, July 7
Portland's own Tin House editor Rob Spillman has worked to anthologize nearly 30 contemporary African authors in Gods and Soldiers: The Penguin Anthology of Contemporary African Writing. Featuring some familiar names like J.M. Coetzee and Chinua Achebe, there are plenty of new writers included. Come to hear Spillman speak about the book and its contributors.
When: 7:30pm
Where: Powell's City of Books, 1005 W. Burnside St.
Cost: Free
For more detail about the anthology see Jeff Baker's article in the Oregonian. Read Spillman's article (written with Elissa Schappell) for Vanity Fair on Africa's new generation of authors.

Date: Wednesday, July 8
In the spirit of keeping a certain Pacific Northwest anomaly alive and well is Michael McLeod's fascinating contribution, Bigfoot: Anatomy of a Beast.
"Part history, part road trip, and part biography, this is the true story of a remarkable group of men whose obsession with Bigfoot turned the giant hominid into an American icon."
When: 7:30-9pm
Where: St. John's Booksellers, 8622 N Lombard St. Portland OR
Cost: Free
For more information, visit the St. John's Bookseller's website event page.