Hello, Fellow Writers or Readers,
You and friends or loved ones are invited to attend a long-distance session (free of charge!) of the Wyoming Writers (Zoom) Conference two weeks from tomorrow. My session’s title, “Taking Risks in Writing,” is to remind us that personal-experience writing entails risk. Wether poem or story, once we release it, we cannot know how or why it will be judged. Knowing this, would-be writers often lose courage, which can happen even to established writers like Virginia Wolf or James Baldwin. It can happen to fiction writers like William Styron. Hence it’s good to be part of a writers’ group—in the case of this session, a virtual discussion group.
My guest author will be Scooter Smith of Dallas, TX, whose memoir cum short story was published in the most recent anthology of Ageless Authors, Dang, I Wish I hadn’t Done That (see attached cover image). Further, Scooter and I will comment on a Wyoming Writer’s poem (regrettably, the author cannot join us) that appeared in Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (see attached cover image)
We will have both Smith’s story and Carrie Naughton’s poem on screen-sharing for you to read and follow.
Scooter Smith’s story is significant in our time for his talk with an angry young black man, his new roomie in the barracks. “I’m just saying there’s a lot of noise about civil rights,” Ray Hill tells him, “but it ain’t manifesting on the street.” The next day a terrible tragedy descends.
Here is part of Naughton’s poem:
Hang out with me awhile
because it’s cold this evening,
and the sunset’s promise of alpenglow
might remind us both
I’ll sit on the stoop,
keeping my distance
while you pretend to be a giant piece of yard art,
and we’ll watch the clouds
scudding over Teton Pass.
Swaybacked mangy madame,
twig eater, willow bark grinder,
how many seasons have those long greyfurred gams walked you
through lily ponds and over forest snow drifts
To my driveway tonight?
Big deer, may I call you
Dendi, Dinjik, Æîts’é, or simply . . . Cow?
I want to make a confession to you while you glance
over your humped shoulder, those cavelike nostrils flaring
at the unforgiven scent of me.
The “confession” that follows—note the word “unforgiven”—is a mini-memoir with which each of us can empathize if we’ll just remember a time when we were unjustly judged.
The session is scheduled for Saturday, June 20, at 4 PM Mountain Time (5 PM Smith’s Central Time) and is expected to last about 30 to 40 minutes, with another 20 minutes allotted for your questions and comments. I’ll be sending you a Zoom invitation twenty minutes before startup. All you do is click on the link; the system will direct you through the process. For visual and auditory clarity it’s best to be about three feet away from the mike and camera in your laptop or computer.
Hope to see you (virtually) on Saturday, June 20, at 4 PM Mountain, 5 PM Central Time, 3 PM Pacific Time.