Special Event Harvest / Halloween / Celebration on October 22ndwith special guests: Lisa Towles, award winning author of Hot House Ana Manwaring, award winning author of Nothing Comes After Z October 22nd 12pm – 4:00pm 16851 Cull Canyon Road, Castro Valley CA 94552 Space and parking are limited.
The Witness Protection Poets Chapbook Collective Presents
Lies and lockdowns
elections and insurrections
uprisings and upheavals
fires and floods—it’s been a world of dread
and extinction hard pressed to find distinction.
with changes and challenges
inspiration often perspiration
this group of poets has grabbed
turned lemons into sweet, sweet pies.
On Mayday, the Witness Protection Program Poets exchanged their first ever collection of chapbooks. Seventeen writers dug deep into their hearts and souls to make sense of the world around us—for the happier or sadder, the bolder or the fearful, in awe or anger.
Take founder Nick Triglia‘s 21 Reasons to Slit One’s Wrists—“2. ” ( you fill in the blank!) in The Backroom of the Believe It or Not Museum of Prose and Poetry, or Betsy Roman’s, A Chronicle Through Chaos: A poetic preservation of unhinged history sifted from the debris of Election 2020— “Black lives white lies orange skies” perfectlysums it up.
Antonia’ Allegra’s ConverSAYtions offers clever word play and solid advice: “Considering conflicting news/rushing at us like/water from a fire hose,/take U and E from FAUCETS/to reveal the FACTS.” Valli Ferrell’s Lens, tells us How To Be Cheerful, “Do appreciate/ do say it/ out loud to no one/ to the bird trill in the brittle cold air.” And Dina Corcoran’s Christmas Cards reminds us: “My life is richer for [our] continued contact. . .[they] are treasures.”
The poems take us on journeys of discovery, of contemplation, joy and song. Marianne LyonTravels with Aruba, her Love-Dog— “Come love-dog let us take a meander. . . ” Cathy Carsell‘sOf Earth and Sky filled with poetic lyrics and refrains transport us away: “There’s music in the wind/in New Orleans late at night/as it moves through the treetops/on a warm spring night. . .Music in the wind/Listen in. . . .”
These chapbooks offer us reflections on nature. Marilyn Dykstra writes in Full Circle Reflections—Sycamore Grove Park Haiku #3—”Black ashen earth/Soaked with recent autumn rains,/A green carpet sprouts“. Nathaniel Winters advises us, “Without the birds and bees no flowers appear/food becomes scarce/animals and man become endangered/love can’t bloom” in Art of Living from his collection, Seeking Sunshine. And from Yvonne Henry’s poems and art work,6:57 AM “The sun rose slightly/ askew/ causing/ for a moment/ the dove and I to tilt our heads.”
“Ekphrastic fantastic” poet James McDonald reflects on art in Visual Language, “Diego the last thought, always Diego/ my essence reaches out/ for rebirth in the rich soil/ fertile in death/ barren in life/ from Diego On My Mind.
These writings cause us to consider our losses and our longings—from “Tangential” by Sarah Miller in Off on a Tangent:“Like the time my hand brushed her hair/ from her dying forehead/ like you wished you had” or, “Give me back that summer/ even the tattling sister/ once a waterskiing champion, destined/ for deep, slow rotting in her bones.” from “Deep, Slow” in Little Palace of Illness by Ana Manwaring, and from Things I’m Wrestling With , “Miscarriage” by Noel Robinson, “Pregnancy loss does not define a woman. It is merely the involuntary actions of the uterus that brings death to the fetus. If the life inside the mother perishes, she survives along with her dreams and hopes. I know, I am part of the woodwork containing the sorrow of the past. . . .”
Finally, many of the poems, essays, and memoir written in these chapbooks make us look at our lives and into our hearts to know the truth of our own humanity. Through the eyes and words of others we come to complete ourselves. In the words of Arthur T. Robinson in his introduction to Riding the Goat: An Anti-memoir, “. . .writers of all cultures , genders, and ages have wrestled with the tricky stance of writing. . . one’s past real, seeking out . . . patterns, and deducing vital lessons.”
On March 10th I walked across the border into Tijuana on an adventure to discover the best street tacos and learn firsthand how refugees are faring at our locked-down border. And while overlooking The Wall, clinking margarita glasses, I didn’t imagine that 48 hours later I’d be back home with my husband, both unemployed refugees of COVID-19, locked down within my own borders at home.
Coronavirus has slowed things down. My days are long and task-full as spring dries into our golden summer—I’ve pulled thistles, weeded the perennial borders, mowed the oats, piled the downed eucalyptus for dump truck pick up and filled jars of delicate Cecile Brunner roses to scent the house. I’ve cleaned my cupboards, closets, pantry, scrubbed baseboards, wiped the framed artwork, washed shelves, cabinets and walls and dusted away cobwebs. I’ve tried new recipes, invented my version of the Covidtini and howled with the neighbors at 8 pm. Now I practice yoga with a Zoom group, walk with a masked walking group, virtually chat with girlfriends over wine, talk to friends for hours on the phone and share socially distanced game afternoons with our neighbors. Wine and Punderdome anyone?
At first fear was the driving factor. How would we pay the mortgage? The insurances? Eat? Would we catch COVID? I remembered the Guatemalan moms and children in Tijuana, emigres from gang violence and poverty—waiting, hoping—even in the face of being 4000 names down on the US Immigration interview list.
In TJ, what I found was hope and determination. I’m not going to let Coronavirus get the better of my family. I learned Zoom and Canvas and restarted two of my classes. I joined a daily “write-in” and am busy writing the third novel in my Mexico series. I landed editing jobs, created a schedule and two months later, I’m more productive than before the virus. (Hoo boy! I’m tired.)
I credit my family’s recovery to the hope I found in the faces of people who don’t have our resources or opportunities. Every day I remember these refugees as I jot my gratitude in my journal or stop to smell the roses, iris, wild asters, lavender. . . . Lockdown has turned from a disaster to a happier, more relaxed and socially connected life. Imagine, I haven’t had to put gas in my car since the 4th of April! We’re managing to pay the bills, we’re spending more time happily at home (the 8 pm howling helps) and the stack of bedside books has dwindled.
Now please excuse me, it’s cocktail time, and I want to toast you with my newest creation, the I Beat It-tini. Here’s to all you writers. Now, let’s get back to work!
ZOOM and Canvas classes start up on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday June 8th, 9th and 11th for six week sessions. Register for on-line Summer Writing Classes Now!
By integrating Jane’s 13 thinking, writing, and revising tips into your writing processes, you will write tighter, more polished first drafts. Improve your story’s pace, while ratcheting up suspense. Use Jane’s tips as a checklist and a mandate toward your best writing ever.
When: June 1, 2019 from 1-4 PM
Where: Unity SF
Address: 2222 Bush St. at Fillmore, San Francisco, CA 94115
Jane K. Cleland writes the multiple award-winning and bestselling Josie Prescott Antiques Mysteries [St. Martin’s Minotaur]. The 13th in the series, Hidden Treasure, will be published in spring 2020. Jane also writes about the craft of writing, including Mastering Plot Twists and the Agatha Award-winning and bestselling Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot, both from Writer’s Digest Books.
SinC-NorCal and Capitol Crime members free. Non-members: $40.
On when and how to make promises and reveal information, read Mastering Suspense, Structure and Plot.
—Dan Brown, New York Times #1 Bestselling Author, in his Masterclass on writing
P.S. I’m not missing this event! Do join me in San Francisco on June 1st! ~Ana
Time to put this on your schedule: Edgar Award winning author Jan Burke will join us for a tremendous program on forensics – a specialty of hers, you may know. Saturday, March 5 noon to 2 p.m. at the conveniently located (BART, driving) at The Telegraph Gallery Suite at Oakstop Workspace, 1721 Broadway in the heart of uptown Oakland. As members you get in for free. Non-members pay $10. There will be refreshments, time to chat with Jan after the program, and books to be bought and signed by her. Her visit is sponsored by the National Sisters in Crime through a new guest speaker program that brings nationally recognized SinC authors to the chapters.
Lots of details on our norcal web site – check it out, mark your calendars, and spread the word / invite friends!
I just can’t wait for this event. Not only are these authors my “Sisters” and friends, but I’m reviewing some of their books. How wonderful to be able to hear the authors read from them. I hope some of you will join me at the Showcase.