The Scribe

You Have Friends Here! A Quick Guide to St. Louis Writers Guild Events
- it's as easy as One,

Two, Three!

Workshops for Writers - First Saturday of every month
10 a.m. to Noon at the Kirkwood Community Center

Station Open Mic - Second Tuesday of every month
7-9 p.m. at the Kirkwood Amtrak Station

SLWG Lectures/Webinars - Third Thursday of every month
7-8 p.m. – check for the location. The SLWG Lectures/Webinars can now be viewed three ways: 1 - be part of the audience 2 - watch live online 3 - view the recording Online features are for members only, by email invitation

Plus Special Events throughout the Year:
Writers in the Park – A mini writer’s conference that is free and open to all An Evening with the Three Missouri Poets Laureate A Night of Poetry and Jazz Members Appreciation Picnic Annual Holiday Book Fair

Feature Article –

St. Louis Writers Guild
founded in 1920 A Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild

5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention …pg 4 by Jane Friedman From the President’s Desk: Get Published …pg 3 by Brad Cook Getting published: Chronology is important …pg 7 by Gerry Mandel The Current Market for First-Person Essays …pg 9 by Catherine Rankovic Let It Go …pg 11 by Star Jesus VanAllen WORKSHOPS FOR WRITERS: Write an Essay, Right Here, Right Now presented by Catherine Rankovic …pg 12 by Lauren Miller SLWG LECTURE SERIES: Spotlight on New Authors …pg 14 by Jennifer Stolzer WORKSHOPS FOR WRITERS: Money-Saving Tax Tips for Writers with Faye Adams …pg 16 by Lauren Miller A Night with Missouri's Three Poets Laureate …pg 17 by Jennifer Stolzer In Memory of Will Bereswill: Where Have All the Snowflakes Gone? …pg 19 by Peter Green FICTION: Journal of a Long-distance Pedaller …pg 21 by Gerry Mandel Featured Poems by Treasure Shields Redmond caveat …pg 11 for my daughter …pg 22 @stlwritersguild #SLWG Saint Louis Writers Guild on Facebook P.O. Box 411757 St. Louis, MO 63141

The Staff T. W. Fendley Brad R. Cook Jennifer Stolzer Lauren Miller Warren Martin

The Scribe is available as a pdf, viewable online, in print, or as an e-book on Smashwords

Cover Photo: World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park Back Cover: Kirkwood Park from Writers in the Park

From The

President’s Desk
Get Published!
by Brad R. Cook We all want to see our words in print. Getting published is the dream, or maybe the nightmare, we all pursue. The road to publishing is a winding road that never straightens, meandering along each new branch of the industry. It’s not an easy road, every step is a struggle, and the entire path is riddled with manuscripts whose writers have fallen back into their normal lives. There is no secret to publishing, no magic wand to wave. Work hard, love language, add a dash of luck, and never give up. Write a great manuscript, revise, critique, revise, get feedback from beta readers, hand over to an editor, and publish. Easy right? This issue of The Scribe has some great tips on publishing, but here’s my advice – for what it’s worth: Be Professional, Be Thorough, Be Smart.  Be Professional – This is a job, a career, treat it like one.  Be Thorough – Have everything as perfect as possible. Print is final.  Be Smart – This is an industry, know the terms, learn the process, and get the best possible product. Publishing is about knowing your market, finding the best niche for your book, and running full force. Success comes from giving 100% to the writing; 100% to creating a great product, the book itself; and 100% to promotion. Where do writers find this 300%? Perhaps we discover it deep within, from the ink circulating in our veins, vapors from the books we read, or a skin thickened by rejection letters and bad reviews. I encourage everyone to publish. Find a stage for your play, a journal for your stories, or a shelf for your books. Writing for ourselves will always fulfill us, but as writers we’ve all been granted a special gift – the power to move people. They just have to be able to read it, so get published!
St. Louis Writers Guild’s Workshops for Writers and the Lecture/Webinar Series often cover different aspects of this topic.

Deane Wagner Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline – June 1, 2013
Entry Fee: $10 for the 1st Poem, $5 for each additional Poem, Limit of five poems Prizes: $100 1st Place $75 2nd Place $50 3rd Place $10 for each Honorable Mention (3) Submission guidelines can be found at

3 | The Scribe

5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention
by Jane Friedman
We’re thrilled to offer this article by Jane Friedman to start this issue of The Scribe on the ins and outs of “Getting Published.”
Most writers are aware that the publishing industry is undergoing a range of transformations, new beginnings, failures, and consolidations. But there’s so much change it can be difficult to weed out and understand the most relevant and important changes—especially when hundreds of opinions seem to surround the smallest change. Based on industry conversations I’ve had in the last six months, as well as reports I’ve read by people I trust, here are five trends that writers should keep a close eye on. 1. Publishing Contracts When I started working in trade publishing (1998), it was very rare that the company’s boilerplate contract would change. Obviously it was negotiated in minute detail by every agent that came into contact with it—so contracts differed from author to author—but the process always played out by a certain set of expectations or guidelines. By the time I left trade publishing (2010), the contracts were being tweaked every six months to reflect a changing business environment and new opportunities in digital and multimedia publishing. I’m starting to wonder if there will ever be a “typical” contract again, given the increasing number of variables. Consider:  The increasing leverage of successful self-published authors (see Hugh Howey and his traditional publishing deal that allow him to keep his e-book rights).

New digital imprints or start-ups that offer very different contracts than established outlets—and rightly so, though some are good contracts and others are bad, more on that below.  Print publishing deals and distribution rights are becoming more and more like subsidiary rights. In other words, they’re not always the most important or profitable right for an author to license.  Foreign and translation rights will become increasingly important as e-book sales grow in international markets. Unfortunately, most publishing contracts are closely guarded and not available for public review. So what is an author to do? Here’s my advice.  Do your due diligence on any publishing contract you sign. Fully understand what rights you’re granting and if it makes sense for your career and what you’re getting paid. If you don’t have an agent to negotiate your contract, consider hiring one on an hourly basis. Think carefully and negotiate hard when it comes to digital-only publishing contracts. Some ebook-only publishers take a healthy share of your profits for doing things you could accomplish on your own. I’m skeptical of many digital start-ups that promise visibility and “talent discovery” when they have no success stories, no better distribution than what’s already available to a self-publishing author, and limited (or no) industry experience. If the publisher isn’t reaching a greater audience than you could on your own, ask yourself why you want to sign a contract with them. What value are they providing? Always double-check how and when rights revert to you (the reversion clause). With traditional publishers, rights often revert after sales fall below a specific threshold. With digital-only publishers, rights often revert after specific time period has passed, or upon written notice. Make sure you understand the terms, and always negotiate for a better deal on this particular clause—to make it easier for you to get your rights back. (For more detail, read Dean Wesley Smith’s post on rights reversion.)

5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention by Jane Friedman
Continued from pg 4  Don’t be afraid to walk away from a deal. Too many authors get caught up in the excitement of a publishing offer, and overlook contract terms that could hurt them in the future. If you can’t be hard nosed about negotiations, find someone who can. No deal is better than a bad one.

3. The Value and Distraction of Author Platform Building As far as trends go, the idea of building a platform has been around for at least five or six years now, if not longer. Unfortunately, as time has passed, I’m not sure the discussions surrounding platform—or the common wisdom that gets spread—is any better than it was in 2007, and social media as both marketing tool and creative tool has greatly complicated matters. The questions that often get asked include: When publishers or agents look at a writer’s platform, what are their criteria? Is it a numbers game? What numbers do you have to reach?  Do you need an established blog or website?  Must you be on Twitter, Facebook, or the social media site du jour?  Do you need to be a “brand”? I’ll make a bold statement right here that I don’t think I’ve made before. If you’re a totally new, unpublished writer who is focused on fiction, memoir, poetry, or any type of narrative-driven work, forget you ever heard the word platform. I think it’s causing more damage than good. It’s causing writers to do things that they dislike (even hate), and that are unnatural for them at an early stage of their careers. They’re confused, for good reason, and platform building grows into a raging distraction from the work at hand—the writing. Therefore, build your platform by writing and publishing in outlets that are a good fit for you, lead to professional growth, and build your network. The other pieces will start to fall into place. It might take longer, but who cares if you’re feeling productive and enjoying yourself? Go be a writer and take a chance on the writing. Writing and publishing good work always supports the growth of your platform—and I’m willing to bet more valuable platform building will get done that way, especially for narrative-driven writers. Exception to the rule: Nonfiction/non-narrative authors and entrepreneurial authors who are selfpublishing. Sorry, but you should probably focus on platform as much as the writing. 

2. The Evolving Role of Agents To further complicate matters, your relationship with your agent may be the first contractual obligation you need to consider or reconsider. Traditionally, an agent takes 15% commission on every book she sells. But what happens when you self-publish some of the titles that your agent couldn’t sell? Or what if your agent sells your work to an imprint that pays no advance and even charges you (the author) upfront fees—a scenario that was briefly on the table when Random House rolled out new contracts for their digital-only imprints? Or what if you get the rights back to older titles that your agent sold, and you want to self-publish them on your own? It’s a hornet’s nest of complications, but some of the best practices I’ve seen work off some variation of the following: As usual, the agent takes 15% commission only on those books they’ve sold (where there is an advance or the makings of a “traditional” deal).  The agent does not take 15% commission on any type of self-published work by the author. However, if the agent is able to sell subsidiary rights or make other deals with that work, then they get their usual share on those specific deals. Most agents are not interested in selling your work unless an advance is involved (70-80% of books never earn out their advance). However, agents often assist existing clients on all kinds of deals if there’s a longstanding relationship in play. A good agent will be transparent and upfront about how all deals are handled, and will be closely following the evolution of best practices in the industry. 

5 | The Scribe

5 Industry Trends Requiring Every Writer’s Attention by Jane Friedman
Continued from pg 5

4. Transmedia & Authorship Let’s start by defining transmedia; I’ll lean on Guy Gonzalez here. He wrote the following in 2010: [Transmedia] focuses on the storyworld first, distribution channels second, with the latter determined via a collaborative process that puts the author’s creative vision at the center. Most socalled transmedia projects are really just cross-media marketing initiatives and/or brand extensions, driven by licensing deals and a parceling out of rights in a manner that often includes loss of creative control by the author. Star Wars is the go-to example of a transmedia property, and while it has definitely evolved into a legitimate one, it didn’t start out that way. My two cents: Unless you’re already a high-profile commercial author, don’t worry yourself about transmedia. Yes, you will set yourself up better if you’re thinking of expansive storyworlds to begin with (think: Game of Thrones), but unless you already have friends and colleagues involved in media—e.g., app development, audio/video production—you’re probably not going to be shopping around your transmedia project any time soon. However, when it comes to platform building (which I just told you to forget!), it does help to think beyond blogging, tweeting, and all the text-based forms of communication, and consider the whole world of opportunities available to you, to produce fun, interesting content that complements your published work. Think John Green’s YouTube videos or Seth Harwood’s podcasts or Tweet Speak Poetry. Which brings me to No. 5. 5. Emerging Tools for DIY E-Books and Multimedia Publications It’s an explosion. That’s how I’d describe the market for easy-to-use (and often free) tools to produce digital books, magazines, and other tablet-based media. Because these are emerging tools, I can’t point to a specific author project that uses them, but this is good news. You can be among the first. Here are a few to begin exploring:      The Create your own app-driven publication for Apple’s newsstand. iBooks Author: OK, this isn’t emerging any longer—a lot of cool projects have been spun out of this Mac-based software AerBook: create graphic books in your browser without knowing code Graphicly: create visual stories distributed across all major digital platforms BookCreator: create beautiful books for the iPad

Article reprinted by permission; first appeared March 18, 2013, on the Writers Unboxed blog.

Jane Friedman is the web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, an awardwinning national journal, where she leads online and digital content strategy. She also teaches digital publishing at the University of Virginia. Before joining VQR, Jane was the publisher of Writer's Digest (F+W Media), and an assistant professor of e-media at the University of Cincinnati. Read more of her work, and explore her writing advice archive, at

Getting Published:
by Gerry Mandel

Chronology is Important
They weren’t. But they were helpful. Slowly I began to accept the idea that selfpublishing was a real possibility. I read about it. I talked to people in the St. Louis Writers Guild. I noticed that some pretty good books were selfpublished. Most importantly, it gave me a fast track to getting the novel out there. Time was flying by. I wasn’t patient or confident enough to believe that an agent would pick it up. I had come close two times. “Let’s see the complete manuscript” they said, after reading the first thirty pages. But no sale. “We don’t think we can commit to the success of this book, even though it’s excellent...” You get the picture I’m sure. The event that pushed me across the finish line was an email I received about the first Charlie Chaplin International Conference, to be held in fall of 2010 at the U. of Ohio in Zanesville. They said authors were welcome to sell their books there. I decided I would be one of those authors. I hired a designer named Cathy Wood, in St. Louis. She was a blessing. The cover, the type, the good as Scribner or Harper or any of the big boys. I searched the internet for an on-demand printer. I had used one in Fenton for a biography I had written the year before, on commission. But they were too expensive. Several printers offered marketing and promotional packages. I decided I didn’t want to spend the money. But I was tempted, since I’m not very savvy when it comes to using social media. I finally found a company named Keystone Digital Press (, a printer in Pennsylvania. I had them send me a couple of books they had printed, so I could check the quality.

Chronology is important to this. First words on paper of my novel was sometime in 1996. The idea had been buzzing in my brain for a year. Working title was “Charlie’s Time.” I wrote 50 or 60 pages, most of them on my Mac, printed them out and put it all in a drawer for a year. I think it was 1998 when I took a novel writing course at Washington U. with novelist John Dalton. I still have his notes, written on my manuscript. He said, in effect, “keep going but here are some things that need work.” And there were a lot. About a year later, following a trip to L.A. for research on Chaplin and the movie colony in the ’30s, I finished the first draft. 400 pages. Too long. I cut it down to 360 pages, put it on a shelf in a three-ring binder and it sat there for two years. So now we’re up to 2001. My goal was to get an agent. Then get it published by a well-known publisher who would promote it nationally. “Self-publishing” was an option, but not for me. I wanted the validation that comes with traditional publishing. Anybody can self-publish; all you need is the ability to pay for it. Over the next eight years the novel moved from my shelf to my desk to pieces of narrative and dialogue on various computer files and spiral notebooks. The rewrite was slow and painful. The name of the novel changed, as did the name of the main character. I gave it to three acquaintances to read with only one request: “Don’t be nice.”

Getting Published: Chronology is Important
by Gerry Mandel

Keystone. It was a sign. Charlie Chaplin made his first films when he got to Hollywood in 1914 for Mack Sennett at Keystone Pictures. I gave them the job, my designer emailed them the file with the novel and cover. Within two weeks I got a proof from them, made corrections, got another proof, checked the cover for color. Then gave them the green light. Thirty books arrived the day before I left for Zanesville. I opened the box, picked one up, carefully, turned it over in my hands and thought, “I wrote this.” It felt great. FYI, the title: “Shadow and Substance: My Time with Charlie Chaplin.” Available on Amazon as paperback or Kindle, also at All On The Page Bookstore on Olive Blvd in Creve Coeur. Or from me, signed; no extra charge. Without the option of self-publishing, the book would probably still be in a three-ring binder, along with a large file on my Mac, next to a long list of rejection notices from agents and publishers. I’m glad I did it. My only word of advice to authors considering it: Make it look good. Get a professional designer who knows typeface, spacing, cover design. Check for typos. Then check again. And again. In its second printing, when I thought all my typos were corrected, my son emailed from Chicago. “I’m enjoying your book. Found six typos so far.” I offered him five bucks for every one he could find. Seventy dollars later, most of them were taken care. Two or three still linger. Moral: Get a good proofreader. You can’t do it yourself. Time from completion of my first draft to holding the book in my hands: 11 years. But it was worth it.

GERRY MANDEL is a freelance writer, focusing on short stories, essays, plays, and his blog (when the spirit moves him). He has been published in Untamed Ink, Toyon, Big Muddy, and Palo Alto. His novel about Charlie Chaplin, for whom he holds a lifetime passion, was published in 2010 and has been accepted by the Chaplin Archives in Montreaux, Switzerland. Several of his plays have been produced by St. Louis-area theater companies. A documentary he wrote and directed about the Lewis and Clark sculpture on the St. Louis riverfront won an international award. He also produces video biographies for his company, The Life Preserver. He lives with his wife, Mary Lee, and two golden retrievers in Kirkwood.

The Scribe | 8

The Current Market for FirstPerson Essay
Your good first-person essay might get rejected because the editors recently bought one like it. Yours wasn’t the first they saw on that subject. Someone beat you to it. That happens. When hundreds or thousands of other writers have beat you to it, that’s a problem. After reading scores of essays about elderly parents and their deaths, editors are exasperated even by heartfelt and well-written pieces. Losing a parent is a major life event. Unfortunately it’s common. Unless an essay says something entirely new or says it in a new way, an editor will probably pass on it, preferring fresh or surprising material. It sounds callous to call your personal tragedy common. But publishing is a business and it’s entirely impersonal. It has markets and cyclic fads and fashions and no writer can time them. We can’t wish away the fact that certain big dramatic subjects for first-person essays are, currently, exhausted. The market is saturated with essays about most of what a normal person considers important: deaths, illness, misfortune, addiction, being a victim, being a middle-school misfit, family, religion, weddings, births, breakups, holidays—and, for writers, the struggle to become a writer. The personal-essay or memoir writer should of course write any essay he or she feels compelled to write, finish it and, if it’s not published, keep it. If it’s good, its hour will come. Watch for its chance: a contest, a call for an anthology. Or tweak your topic so your angle on it makes the essay the first or best of its kind. Maybe you’re satisfied merely having written it. But if your goal is publication, don’t spend precious hours of life perfecting a work unlikely to see print anytime soon.

by Catherine Rankovic

Right now, in addition to the list above, you’re least likely to succeed with a literary essay about:            Nighttime dreams. Sorry! It is rightly said, “Describe a dream, lose a reader.” Pets. Think about it: They don’t talk, work, plan, go anywhere, or make decisions that alter their lives. People are more interesting. Parents. Grandchildren. Personal appearance/body image issues. Your surgery. Your ex. We all have exes, and yours wasn’t any more emotionally ill than most. Emotional illness. Dating. European travel with your spouse. Nostalgic, rose-colored memoirs of the old barbershop, corner store, and so on; today’s editors are in their 30s and they couldn’t care less. Deaths. I know it’s not always possible to mine one’s memories without first “clearing the air” by writing about a death. The error is in believing that death and its pathos are inherently interesting. Everyone suffers losses, so you will have to be extra creative to add a new dimension to a vast literature. If you feel compelled to describe a death, do it; but a wise professor told me, “Given a choice between writing about life and writing about death, choose life. It’s much more interesting.” Instead of writing about your uncle’s cancer and death, write about his amazing postcard collection.

Mark Twain wrote: “There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility.”

The Current Market for First-Person Essay
by Catherine Rankovic continued from pg 9

What besides love and loss is there to write about? This is a call to be more creative. Step outside of the “hothouse” of middle-class family life—as a subject, it’s tapped out—and try writing about: 1. Work (except for writing, or teaching English) 2. Friendships 3. Outdoor adventure 4. Learning 5. Behind the scenes at. . . 6. Hobbies 7. Status 8. Military service 9. How things are made or how they work 10. Culture 11. Science 12. Commerce 13. People unrelated to you 14. Obsessions 15. Unique situations (Hurricane Sandy, for example.) 16. Investigations (for example, why do we all say “Hello” when we pick up the phone?) 17. Crime (the call-the-police kind) and justice 18. Modern life 19. Lost arts 20. Values 21. Competition 22. Topical material 23. Travel off the beaten path 24. The truth about. . . 25. Organizations 26. Politics 27. Art 28. Nature 29. Places That should keep you busy writing.

CATHERINE RANKOVIC’S books include MEET ME: WRITERS IN ST. LOUIS (Penultimate, 2010), ISLAND UNIVERSE: ESSAYS AND ENTERTAINMENTS (WingSpan, 2007); FIERCE CONSENT AND OTHER POEMS (WingSpan, 2005) and GUILTY PLEASURES: INDULGENCES, ADDICTIONS, AND OBSESSIONS (Andrews McMeel, 2003). She received her M.F.A. from Washington University, where she has taught writing since 1989. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Boulevard, River Styx, Umbrella, Garbanzo, Bad Shoe, The Progressive, Sou’Wester, Natural Bridge, Gulf Coast, St. Louis Magazine, Gateway, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Missouri Biennial Award for essay writing, first place in the Midwest Writing Center’s annual poetry competition (2009), first place in the St. Louis Poetry Center annual competition (2010), a Pushcart Prize nomination (2011) and an Academy of American Poets award. She teaches creative nonfiction and poetry workshops in the online MFA program at Lindenwood University and is a professional manuscript editor. Her website is

The Scribe | 10

Let It Go
by Star Jesus VanAllen
Sometimes the best way to rewrite a manuscript is to let it collect dust for a couple months. The perfect time to do this is when you think you finally have it agent-perfect. My drafts remain too fresh in my mind a short time later. I cannot see their fundamental flaws yet, able only to tweak them. I need time to mentally distance myself from my “great literary piece”. The waiting period can be spent reading someone else’s writing style. Likewise check out an educational book on how to become a better writer or market your work. Maybe it is time to create your new literary website. Or just get out and have a good time. Something doesn’t feel quite right when I stick to my manuscript too much, too long. It’s like I need to get a life, to add a little variety. I am more than my book. The waiting period can be a good time to release a sample draft of the manuscript for a professional assessment or critique. Meanwhile curl up with a good paperback book. Your manuscript and mine will still be there a little later.

for my daughter
by Treasure Shields Redmond i must apologize beforehand: settle yourself with the fact you will never really know me women have some beast of ourselves that is permanently captive our rage is sent away like a door to door salesman or transferred like a subscription we push it down for our daughters’ sakes but they just find it when we die right now you lick your whole hand you rip off your diaper and bring it to your nose sweet oatmeal, applesauce, raisins, milk hot fried tomatoes all taste better from the floor you sample hugging your brother then you slap him both make you laugh i tell myself these things will not be taken from you

Star Jesus VanAllen is a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild and has been a contributor of opinion pieces on literary writing.

Photo by Brad Cook

Catherine gives a gold star!

WORKSHOPS FOR WRITERS: The 2013 St. Louis Writers Guild Write an Essay, workshop season opened with an exercise on Right Here, Right Now
presented by Catherine Rankovic
creative nonfiction with award-winning writer, book editor, and teacher, Catherine Rankovic. On Jan. 5, Rankovic spoke on the multiple types of nonfiction, from memoirs and essays to narrative nonfiction bestsellers like Seabiscuit. "Creative nonfiction is sometimes called the literature of witness or the literature of experience," Rankovic said. "Never write anything that's dishonest, [but] there's a difference between facts and truth." The difference, according to Rankovic, is that a fact is something indisputable, you can look it up, but there may be personal truths in your life that, while not appearing in an encyclopedia, are nevertheless valid or debatable. The essay format allows writers to explore the topic of their choice and use a variety of writing techniques from similes and metaphors to characterization and reflection, to connect with readers on an emotional level.

by Lauren Miller

12 | The Scribe

“Creative nonfiction is sometimes called the literature of witness or the literature of experience.” – Catherine Rankovic
Continued from pg 12
Even simple topics can have a profound impact, whether you are writing about your parents, your childhood, or an incredible horse. This broad reach makes it far easier to publish than fiction or poetry. Pens and pads at the ready, attendees were led though two exercises in essay-writing. The first was from a series of opening-line prompts provided by Rankovic, such as "I wish I still had…," "I'm a master of the lost art of…" and "My secret pleasure is…" She invited writers to read their work aloud, and chuckles were exchanged over the humor in the essays and the gold stars awarded. Rankovic encourages free-writing as a warm-up to essay-writing. "After twenty minutes of free-writing, you get to what you really want to write about. There's a treasure there." Rankovic repeatedly encourages writers to "don't think, just write," as a way to push aside that internal editor during the creative process of writing a first draft. During the second exercise, writers free-wrote on their pre-selected topics for a 40-minute period. She periodically interjected with instructions to shake things up. Rankovic gave us permission to share her formula with The Scribe readers, taken from The Instant Essay Formula (handout). She calls it "a list of literary devices all writers should add to their repertoire." BEGIN by writing the first few sentences and use a simile in the first paragraph. The rest of the list is one instruction per paragraph and can be used out of order if the writer wishes: 2. Use dialogue. 3. Be very, very honest. 4. Include physical action or movement. 5. Use humor. 6. Express mixed feelings. 7. Mention one of your moral values or standards. 8. Write a comparison and contrast. 9. Personify an inanimate object. 10. Include a list. 11. Define a term. 12. Tie your topic to a public historical event. Finally, don't forget to wrap it all up, type it up (if this draft was handwritten) and title it. As Rankovic says, "You can't begin to craft until you do the art first." Let the revision process begin. To learn more about personal essays, Rankovic recommends Writing From Personal Experience by Nancy Davidoff Kelton (Writers Digest Books, 1997). For more on Rankovic's lectures and services, visit her website at

“Don’t think, just write.”

In The Next Issue:
Our goal is to make The Scribe a literary magazine you'll look forward to reading and be proud to share. Help us reach that goal by providing us your articles, opinion pieces, short fiction (1,500 words or less), and poems about summer or the theme for the next issue: WRITING KIDLIT. Please contact for additional information, if needed, or send your submissions by May 30.

SLWG Lecture Series
New Author Spotlight
by Jennifer Stolzer
On Jan. 17, the Saint Louis Writers Guild hosted a gathering of newly published authors. Local talents Peter Green, Robin Tidwell, and Janet Bettag (pictured) gathered at Maryville University to talk about the writing process, publishing, and lessons learned through their debut releases. Peter Green, author of the contemporary mystery novel Crimes of Design, opened with an assessment of the modern-day publishing environment: I'll assert some things here that have turned out to be true. Searching for an agent is, for most new writers, an exercise in futility. It's very difficult for a new writer to get an agent and if you spend all your energy on that, then you have a problem. There are plenty of other routes to publishing success than writing 'the great American novel'... [sic] and although we'd all love to be published by the big traditional publishers, they don't always publish the best books. There are some real gems that come out of independent publishers. The days are numbered for bookstores. I thought I'd get kicked out of the bookstore [I was in] for saying it, and I did get kicked out six months later when it closed. Peter’s Crimes of Design was distributed in ebook and print by small-press publisher L&L Dreamspell. “The publishing model – overprint, oversell, over-consume – is now broken,” Peter said. “You can't throw mud at the wall anymore and make money in the book business.” He spread the word about Crimes of Design both at local events and on the internet. He recommended attending conferences, handing out free books, and finding people to review your book in their blogs and magazines. Robin Tidwell, author of Reduced, chose a more hands-on approach to publishing. “It took six months to write,” Robin said. “Then I started querying agents and got impatient with it. A friend of mine said her publisher was interested in the book and sent a contract, but I turned it down. It was a small press and they didn't have the resources to do the marketing, so I published it myself.” Robin and her husband Dennis Tidwell own an independent bookstore in St. Louis, Mo., called All on the Same Page. In order to publish Reduced, they created an imprint tied to the store called Rocking Horse Publishing, which led to a crash course in bookselling, writing, publishing and speaking.

“be findable.” – Robin Tidwell

14 | The Scribe

Normal by Janet Bettag Reduced by Robin Tidwell, Crimes of Design by Peter Green

SLWG Lecture Series: New Author Spotlight
by Jennifer Stolzer continued from pg 14

“The publishing model – overprint, oversell, over-consume – is now broken.” – Peter Green into a book–you want everyone to love it but they won’t.” Janet Bettag chose a similar path. Her book, Normal, is a narrative nonfiction based on her experiences as an aneurysm survivor. When she finished writing the book, she thought she was close to done, but that was not the case. She didn't have much of a budget, so she worked with friends and fellow entrepreneurs to get her book edited and ready for print. She self-published the book electronically in August 2012, and used local vanity press Monograph Publishing for print copies. “It is important for a writer to decide if their particular project is a hobby or if you mean business,” Janet said. She approached publishing from a business perspective, evaluating early on how many books she would need to sell to break even: My first recommendation to new authors is to write the marketing plan before you write the book. You also have to know who your audience is. I wasted, probably, two years trying to go the traditional route. If you have a narrow target audience, I recommend selfpublishing. It's not as easy as people make you believe, especially if you aren't computer savvy. Rushing to publication is your first mistake as a writer. Your first published book might make it so that no one will ever pick up another thing you write. Her first publication taught her about the patience required in self-publishing, and she recommended a twenty-five percent buffer on every project deadline. Still, despite the frustration, it is important for authors not to give up. “If you're serious about being a writer and being published, you have to believe in your project from the minute you start it to the minute you finish it, and then you have to sell it. [...] In the end it's a one-man job. You're the CEO, CFO, salesman, and tax man – writing is the easy part.”
The Scribe | 15

Robin gave advice on both writing and publishing: The first thing you gotta do is write a good book. You also need an editor or at least a proofreader. This is absolutely essential because you are going to miss something, but you have to have it polished and you have to have it consistent. If you have a publisher, triple-check your contract. Don't go to vanity presses, you won't fool anyone by slinging the name around. Don't overprice or underprice your book, and make sure you have a good cover that fits. Before you release your book, you have to start promoting. All those social networking places can be really overwhelming.

“You have to believe in your project from the minute you start it to the minute you finish it.” – Janet Bettag
If you get in a routine, get the stuff done. Start doing it before you even release your book. Build up interest. Ask people, but don't be pushy and don't sit back on your hands either. Even if you don't sell a single book, you make contacts. Don't pay for reviews or contests, everyone knows who they are. Triple check your proof copy. Google is your friend, check everything. If you get an offer from an agent or publisher, check them on Preditors and Editors or Writer Beware. Use an editor and not your mom – I don't have the time to waste on bad books. When it comes to marketing, Robin encouraged potential writers to “be findable.” If a potential reader hears about a book, the first thing they will do is search the internet for it. Having a website is essential, along with social media sites and profiles. When it comes to reviews, the visibility is great, but no book will please everyone. “Love the good [reviews], just ignore the bad ones. It's really hard to do. It's annoying to put your heart and soul into a book–you want everyone to love it but they

Workshops for Writers:
presented by Faye Adams
by Lauren Miller
Photo by Brad Cook

Money Saving Tax Tips for Writers

On Feb. 2, tax assistance veteran Faye Adams spoke at our monthly workshop on tips and guidelines for professional writers at tax time. If you were paid in 2012 for your writing, you can attach a Schedule C (profit or loss from business) for your writing. Filing taxes may seem like a headache-inducing endeavor, but it doesn't have to be. According to Adams, the folks at the IRS are regular people, too. “You can call the IRS five times a day and get five different answers. […] IRS regulations are the Internal Revenue Service’s interpretation of the law.” Adams briefly discussed how Social Security has changed from an earnings cap of $3,000 in 1940 to a wage ceiling of $113,700 for 2013. “You are the target!” was her resounding cry, alluding to government programming funded from taxpayers’ billfolds. Adams' solution is to encourage writers to paper file or use tax-preparation software and pocket the savings rather than pay a tax preparer like H&R Block. Walking attendees through two sample tax returns, Adams focused on how to avoid errors in paper filing by understanding the when’s and how’s to use different tax schedules. Here are some other tips for establishing good tax practices as a writer:  When filing taxes, you can take the greater of the two deductions for which you qualify. Use a Schedule A for itemized deductions or see the list below for the standard option: o Married, filing jointly: $11,900 o Head of household: $8,700 o Single or married, filing separate: $5,950  On Schedule C, your tax code as a writer is 711510. You can report a loss in your business three out of five years before it is considered a hobby, not a business. The goal is to pay as little as legally possible on your tax return. As long as your profit doesn’t go over $400, you don’t need to pay Social Security tax (a Schedule SE form).

You may, however, need to send a Form 1099 if you spent at least $600 on services rendered (i.e. to a book editor, graphic artist or website designer). The best tip of the day was to “ask for a receipt.” Keeping track of your expenses is vital and will help make filling out that Schedule C smoother when you’re trying to remember exactly how much you spent on postage mailing queries. Other examples of qualifying expenses as a writer are professional subscriptions and membership dues (St. Louis Writers Guild membership, anyone?), conference and contest-entry fees, and mileage to and from events. Keep track of the number on your odometer for a year to figure out your mileage. If you work from home, a portion of your home expenses can be deductible, including utilities. List utilities on line 25, not Form 8829, which is a red flag. Finally, if you do get audited, cooperate with the IRS but don’t make it easy. Adams suggested mixing up all your receipts into a large pile and leaving a mess for the IRS to figure out. Adams quipped, “The lady took one look at it and said, ‘I’m going to take your word for it.'"

A Night
with the

Missouri Poets Laureate
by Jennifer Stolzer
On March 15, the St. Louis Writers Guild and St. Louis Poetry Center collaborated with Maryville University to unite the three Missouri Poets Laureate for a night of state pride and great poetry. Emcee Dwight Bitikofer opened the event by describing the requirements and responsibilities of a Poet Laureate, as well as giving a brief history of the position. Gov. Matt Blunt established the Missouri Poet Laureate position on Jan. 8, 2008, at the behest of his wife, Melanie. Laureates serve two-year terms. They must be published poets, residents of Missouri, and active in the poetry community. They are tasked with the promotion of poetry across the state through public appearances at schools, libraries, and civic events. “Both people from Missouri and poets of Missouri benefit from the Poet Laureate program,” said Mary Ruth Donnelly, president of the St. Louis Poetry Center, as she introduced Walter Bargen, the first to hold the title of Missouri Poet Laureate. He has published fourteen books of poetry, with additional work appearing in two chapbooks and hundreds of magazines and anthologies. He is a winner of the Chester H. Jones Foundation prize and the William Rockhill Nelson Award. He began with “Dyslexic Forest,” a poem about a boy who lived across the hollow from him, which emphasized the importance of telling stories. “Missouri Moonwalk” was similar, exploring story and the cosmos through the observation of nature. Many of Bargen's poems were inspired by events in his own life. “Poet as Grand Marshal of the Fall Parade,” “Scantily Clad Poet,” “When the Cows Come Home,” and “University of the Fields” all were written during his tenure as Poet Laureate. He also recited “Warfeathers,” a poem about his father's experience in the Korean War. Bargen's poetry painted an accurate and beautiful picture of world around him. He transported the listener to the forest, to space, and to a town parade with high school marching bands, tractors and farm animals. Despite his prestigious position as the first Poet Laureate, Bargen maintained a casual and welcoming humility. Looking at the 125 in attendance, he encouraged applications for the Poet Laureate position before the next term is up. “Please apply. Otherwise you'll always be stuck with three old white guys,” he joked.

“Both people from Missouri and poets of Missouri benefit from the Poet Laureate program,” – Mary Ruth Donnelly,
president of St. Louis Poetry Center

Brad Cook, president of the St. Louis Writers Guild, introduced David Clewell, the Poet Laureate from 2010-2012. Clewell has written eight collections of poetry and book-length poems. He's been published in many national journals and magazines, including Poetry, Harper's, The Georgia Review, New Letters, The Kenyon Review, and Boulevard. His awards include the Felix Pollak Poetry Prize, National Poetry Series selection, and inaugural Four Lakes Poetry Prize. Clewell is an admired professor at Webster University, where he serves as director of the creative writing program. Clewell read eight poems, including “The Accomplice,” “In 1963 I Had to Write 1000 Words,” and “Albert Einstein Held Me in His Arms.” He also read a couple of his 'bad idea' poems, which he clarified were “poems that aren't a bad idea, just about bad ideas.” Those included “Vegetarian Physics,” which was about tofu, and “Neil Armstrong,” which told about the moon landing from Buzz Aldrin’s point of view. The titles of Clewell's poems were as varied and creative as the subjects. Some were rambling sentences, such as this title of a doomsday poem: “I Know It's an Egregious Misunderstanding of the Mayan Calendar, but I'm Still a Bit Anxious.” Others were to the point, like “Acknowledgments.” Clewell's poems had a train-of-thought quality that was often comedic. His creativity and sense of humor made clear why some of his students at Webster call him “the best teacher they've ever had.” His brash and unfiltered observations of the world around him prompted fits of laughter from the crowd. Germaine Miller, curator of Maryville University's Medart Lecture Series, introduced the current Poet Laureate, William Trowbridge, with this: “I'm from Nebraska like our next poet, and we don't like talking about titles, but I'll talk about his anyway.” William Trowbridge has published five full collections of poetry and three chapbooks. His newest book, Put this on, Please: New and Selected Poems, is slated to arrive in 2014 from Red Hen Press. His poems have appeared in over thirty textbooks and anthologies, with additional publication in The Writer's Almanac, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, The Georgia Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, Columbia,

Review, Boulevard, The Southern Review, Columbia, Colorado Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and New Letters. His awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, a Pushcart Prize, a Bread Loaf Writers' Conference scholarship, a Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, Yaddo, and the Anderson Center. He was an The Laurel Review/Green Tower Press from 1986-2004, when he served as Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Northwest Missouri State University. He currently lives in the Kansas City area and teaches in the University of Nebraska Low-residency MFA in Writing program. “I'm going to start with a poem I dreaded writing.” Until recently, Trowbridge explained, one of the requirements for the state’s Poet Laureate was to write a poem about Missouri. “What I came up with, I thought [would be] the end of my laureateship, but thankfully the governor's wife has a sense of humor.” The “Unofficial Missouri Poem” was a list of sites and cities in Missouri that had the whole room laughing. He continued on to a series of poems inspired by his younger years, including, “Poet's Corner,” “Cherry Bombs,” and “Children's Night at the Gentry County Fair,” which was about taking his son to the carnival. He read samples from The Complete Book of Kong, a series of poems written from the point of view of King Kong, and a couple selections from Ship of Fool about the fool archetype. Trowbridge was the most varied of the Poets Laureate, with everything from traditional rhyme to free verse to hip-hop lyrical poetry. Much like his predecessors, life experience heavily influenced his work. Listening to his poetry evoked a range of emotions, from the light-hearted fun of movie monsters to the heartbreak of being unable to help a stray dog. The event concluded with a wine reception in the lobby. The three Laureates signed and sold books, courtesy of the Maryville University

A Night with the Missouri Poets Laureate
by Jennifer Stolzer

including, “Poet's Corner,” “Cherry Bombs,” and “Children's Night at the Gentry County Fair,” which was about taking his son to the carnival. He read samples from The Complete Book of Kong, a series of poems written from the point of view of King Kong, and a couple selections from Ship of Fool about the fool archetype. Trowbridge was the most varied of the Poets Laureate, with everything from traditional rhyme to free verse to hip-hop lyrical poetry. Much like his predecessors, life experience heavily influenced his work. Listening to his poetry evoked a range of emotions, from the light-hearted fun of movie monsters to the heartbreak of being unable to help a stray dog. The event concluded with a wine reception in the lobby. The three Laureates signed and sold books, courtesy of the Maryville University bookstore.

Will Bereswill 1955 - 2013

In Memory of Will Bereswill: Where have all the Snowflakes Gone
by Peter Green
“Don’t shovel it,” my wife warned. “Don’t be ridiculous. It will turn to ice and take three times as long to remove if I don’t.” It had barely begun snowing when her volleys began. We watched as the flurries began late Saturday and piled up overnight. By Sunday morning large flakes still floated down and accumulated, thick on every surface, and eventually tapered off by midday. By the time it was all over eleven inches had amassed on the table of the back deck. At 5 pm, despite her warnings and unable to resist the urge any longer, I applied my trusty shovel to the front steps and the brick walk, to join up with a path a kindly neighbor had cleared for us along the well-traveled sidewalk to the school. Heeding my wife's cautions for the moment, however, I took my time. I paused every couple of minutes to look around and take in the beauty of the snow-encrusted fairyland, catch my breath and inhale deeply of the steely, frigid air. Lately, it had become unusual to have so much snow in March, especially toward the end of the month. It wasn't so much the sudden snow but the irregular variations of seasonal patterns. Global warming, they said: man-made changes to the environment. The recurrence of unpredictable, violent storms had confounded weathercasters and environmental scientists alike. This time last year we were playing golf. I thought of my friend, Will Bereswill, a family man proudly devoted to his wife and three grown daughters, one of these corporate environmental engineers, who were responding to environmental change. He applied his knowledge with great creative imagination. A fellow writer, I had gotten to know him through our local writers’ groups. He also thought a lot about environmental terrorism and how easy it would be for an evil doer to poison the stream of natural gas introduced into our homes, for no better reason than to kill innocent people, to square grievances against the world. He called his terrifying debut novel, A Reason for Dying.

Find St. Louis Writers Guild Online @stlwritersguild Follow events using the hash tag #slwg Saint Louis Writers Guild on Facebook for event notices and discussions on writing SLWG Author Series on The Scribe available online and e-book

19 | The Scribe

Where have all the Snowflakes gone?
Continued from pg 19 Back inside, Connie wanted to know how difficult it was. “No problem,” I said, mildly annoyed with her pestering. To keep peace in the family, I reflected her concern in my cautious reply. “We'll see how much of it melts before I tackle the back walk.” Fortunately, we still had a few winter tasks saved up. Connie resumed preparations for the grandkids’ birthdays; I returned to the final edit of my novel, and daily life resumed. Will Bereswill wasn’t so lucky. It wasn’t until late Sunday that my writing friends informed me of the grim news. Will had died suddenly, after shoveling snow. My mind reeled. I felt short of breath. I didn’t seek to learn any of the details. It was too easy to imagine his physical and emotional pain as he slipped from consciousness and succumbed to the enveloping whiteness. The doctors concluded he died, not from a heart attack from shoveling the snow, but from a pulmonary embolism. However, the physical activity of shoveling did cause the blood clot to break off. He came back inside to watch TV with his family for about an hour and a half before anything happened. Due to a printer’s glitch I didn’t learn the time or place of the visitation until five-thirty Tuesday afternoon, when I opened a link my colleagues sent me to the online version of the obituary. By the time I arrived at the funeral home at seven, a long line of mourners snaked through the halls and spacious lobby of the mortuary. I estimated there were over 300 of us. I joined the slowly moving queue and settled in to wait. Those alongside me chatted about how normal his life had been up until the very end. Two women, friends of his wife Linda, mentioned how he had just gone out to dinner as usual at a favorite pizza restaurant with family members. One of my line-mates, a tall, dark-suited gentleman named Sal, his grey hair in a distinctive crew cut, said he was a colleague at Enterprise Rent-A- Car’s corporate offices. A former local office bureau chief for the FBI, he told me about his fascinating 25-year career. Will would ask him many questions about law enforcement and FBI procedures, so he could enhance his fiction. Sal observed Will had taken their environmental program to a whole new level in his four short years with the company, making Enterprise a better corporate citizen. The line inched past photo collage displays of the family’s happy times together. When we rounded the corner, a slideshow illustrated his many travels with Linda and his family. Sal commented thoughtfully, “We work so hard. I should take time to do more of that myself.” I arrived at last to meet Linda for the first time, a petite, attractive woman, surrounded by dozens of fragrant flower displays sent by friends and admirers. When I expressed my sympathy and told her I was a writer, she hugged me. “I loved my husband,” she said tearfully, looking me straight in the eye. “He loved writing

and was so fond of his fellow writers.” Next I met their youngest daughter Kaitlin, who had prepared the photo displays for the ceremony; Kelly, the eldest daughter and Kristen, the journalist, who promised she would give his completed second thriller, A Reason for Terror, careful scrutiny as it makes its way through its final edit with the publisher. She also said she would leave Will’s website open, , in case anyone has fond memories of Will to communicate to the family. Three days later, buds appeared ready to burst on trees, the mercury reached 69 degrees and the snow had melted, except for a few tumuli that survived as monuments to our recent struggle to clear it. The big storm remained only a memory. If it had never happened, would Will still be here to enjoy this day? We are not to judge or second guess, but to wonder. Where have all the snowflakes gone? We millions of survivors will also melt away sooner or later. What a pity this most excellent example has disappeared so soon. But there are no two flakes alike, and this one, indeed, leaves us with a shining memory of his perfection.

St. Louis Reflections
An Anthology by St. Louis Writers Guild in Honor its 90th Anniversary $9.99 Available at events, for order online, and at several local bookstores!

Journal of a Long-Distance Pedaller
by Gerry Mandel
FIRST NIGHT - OCT. 4 Arrived at hotel late afternoon. Long flight from New York, transfer in London, delayed flight to Budapest, bus ride to this town. Bekescsaba. I can’t even say it. Hotel looks like a dump from outside, surprisingly clean inside. Delicious dinner of meat stew with potatoes - dark red. Hotel seems full. Wonder how many of them are in the group. To bed early. We ride tomorrow. SECOND NIGHT Rode 35 miles today... or 45 kilometers. That’s about what I do back in Lansing. Feel good. 24 people in our group. Had a meeting after breakfast, then were given our bikes. 28 gears.... must be hills coming up. Took off about 10 a.m. Weather lousy, most of our riding was in the city and suburbs, or whatever they call sprawl here. Chilly, overcast. THIRD NIGHT Got to know some of the group today, at lunch in a mountain pass. From all over... Europe, U.S., even two guys from Africa. Don’t know where our meal came from. It was there waiting for us. The locals are strange - don’t smile. Hostile looks in their eyes. They probably hate bicycle tourists. One biker, young guy named Peter from Germany, about my age, got into a heated argument with a shopkeeper. No idea what caused it. FOURTH NIGHT Our group is down to 23 already. One lady, from England, didn’t show for breakfast. No one talked about it. Easy day today, 17 miles. Great scenery, mostly flatlands, haystacks, winding road through woods. Shopped in a couple of villages. Bought t-shirt. Word has it that we cross the border into Romania tomorrow. Funny... we don’t have maps. Just follow some guy in an orange helmet. FIFTH NIGHT Hard ride today. 48 miles, into Romania. Mostly uphill. Dark, rutted road twisting through black mountains. Feels like land of Dracula. But that’s not Romania. ls it? Had 3 glasses of strong red wine at dinner. Sleepy. SIXTH NIGHT Heavy downpour today. No riding. Spent most of the day here in the b&b. Owned by a friendly couple, look like storybook people. Played chess with a Swede, tall, pale man with hollow eyes. He won. Everyone was watching us, like a tournament... made me nervous. Thought I heard wolves howling out in the hills ... just the wind. No electricity in this place. All candlelight. Quaint. Talked to two young women from Italy. In English. One of them is writing a book about monasteries. Sounds boring. But she isn’t. SEVENTH NIGHT Rode with Angie. The girl from Italy. Strong rider, we stayed out front most of the time. Sunny and warm. Romania not so bad. Rode late, almost dark. Maybe 50 miles. They separated us tonight. Different homes for sleeping. Don’t know where Angie is. I’m with two Germans and a Pole. Like waiting for war to start. EIGHTH NIGHT/OCT 11 It’s after midnight. I’m in a village called Brasov, at an inn. I think we’re still in Romania. We’re waiting for five of our riders, who got lost in the darkness. Dangerous road at night. Mountains on our left, valley on our right, no idea how high we were. Angie is one of the lost riders. Guy in orange helmet said not to worry. I don’t trust him. He didn’t seem worried, everyone else is. Even so, most of us have appetites. And the beer is good. Long day tomorrow, says Orangeman. NINTH NIGHT We left without the other five this morning. Rumor has it they were forced to turn back by falling rock. Road is closed behind us. I don’t believe it. Only choice - keep going. Covered almost 70 miles today, much of it downhill. One of the African guys came down with a fever. Stayed


Journal of a Long-Distance Pedaller
by Gerry Mandel
continued from pg 21 behind, waiting for a doctor. The sky was bright blue, air cold. My legs feel good, breath strong. Peter and I and a couple from Holland lead the pack most of the way. Stopped in a village Nakovo? - where street musicians played. Many of us danced. Funny thing, there were no children in the village. No dogs either. My bed tonight is very hard but the blanket is warm. TENTH NIGHT Good news - we left Romania today. Bad news - we crossed into Ukraine.The soldiers at the border insisted on checking everyone’s backpacks. Peter refused. They dragged him away. Three Brits protested. They’re gone too. I figure there’s a reason, but maybe I’m kidding myself. After six hours, we finally entered Ukraine, minus four riders. I hate this. Most of us just want this trip to be over. Stops at a church and cemetery today, tombstones dating back to the 14th century. Delicious dinner tonight. Hot cabbage soup, a roast pork and beets, dark beer. The other African man has begun chanting while he rides. I hope he has good voodoo, if there such a thing. ELEVENTH NIGHT No time to write tonight. Got to inn very late. No dinner. I don’t know where others are. Got to sleep. TWELFTH NIGHT The village is Sargorov. The streets are deserted, the houses dark. Only 13 of us left. Bad number. The schoolhouse was unlocked, empty, cold. We huddled in corners, under desks, found blankets and padding to use for bedding. Everyone looks at me as though I have caused our problems. I tried to talk to the Pole... speaks no English. I’m awake in the middle of the night, writing this by flashlight. Can see my breath. I hear something scraping about, crawling perhaps, in this room. What is that smell? Urine? Vinegar? Something else moves now. Flashlight off. THIRTEENTH NIGHT Nine of us rode this morning towards Zitomar, a town we saw on a school map. The others refused to go. I’m so tired now. Little food, sour water, heavy clouds. When I get back, I write a book. We never got to Zitomar. FOURTEENTH NIGHT Woods are dark... bicycle gone, over the cliff... I got lost... don’t see or hear anyone near me. I hear guttural sounds in the bushes. Like something waiting. I’m so hungry and cold.

by Treasure Shields Redmond
the celluloid vision of jackie o reflexively reaching for kennedy's brains; too fast for even her aristocratic hands. did she think she could put it all back together? her archival papers (now cool to the touch) reveal she knew of his philandering -indiscriminate, blatant, and numerous. her mother counseled her to stay . . . so maybe that reflexive jump on the back of a motorcade was not as mothers flinch, watching deathless sons in football games. but more as a runner, anticipating the crisp gun shot.
A Mississippi native, Treasure Shields Redmond is a St. Louis-based poet, performer and educator. She has published poetry in such notable anthologies as Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Breaking Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cane Canem’s First Decade and in journals that include The Sou'wester and The African American Review. She has received a fellowship to the FineArts Works Center, and her poem, "around the time of medgar" was nominated for a 2011 Pushcart Prize. Treasure is a Cave Canem fellow and has received an MFA from the University of Memphis. Presently, she divides her time between being an assistant professor of English at Southwestern Illinois College and doctoral studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Photo by David Lucas


The Blue Page

St. Louis Writers Guild has a poetry and prose open mic at Kirkwood train station, Argonne Drive and Kirkwood Road, every second Tuesday of the month, 7 p.m. 2nd friday notes at Whole Foods Town & Country, Clayton and 141, 7 to 8:30 p.m., second Friday of each month. May 10 poets are Katy Didden and Teddy Norris. Music by a genuine Texan, “Cowboy Randy” Irwin. POETRY AT THE POINT. 4 Tuesday of each month at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton, 7:30 p.m. St. Louis Poetry Center event. Tuesday, 4/23, featured poets are Dwight Bitikofer, Maria Balogh and Todd Robinson. Six on Saturday will read on May 27. Soulard Art Market, 2028 S. 12 Street presents 'Wordsmith Nights, a Fourth Thursday Tradition' on April 25 at 7 p.m. Schlafly beer, wine, as well as plenty of non-alcoholic drinks. There are well over 1000 works of art available for sale as well. Currently 121 resident artists as well as 41 visiting artists in the main gallery, where SAM’s 'Urban Architecture 2' show is on display. SPIRITUAL JAZZ MEETS POJAZZ. Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings II and Dwight Bitikofer and guest poets Erin Chapman and Melissa Singleton at Stone Spiral Coffee & Curios, Sat. April 27, 7 – 10 p.m. EVERY WEDNESDAY open mic for poetry and music at Stone Spiral Coffee & Curios, 2500 Sutton in Maplewood. Great food and beverages. Open mic gets started around 8 and runs to 10 p.m. EVERY FRIDAY URB Poetry Open Mic at Legacy Books & Café, 5249 Delmar. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission after 9 p.m., $7. Slam competition the last Friday of each month. Every Other Tuesday, starting around 8, open mic at The Historic Crossings, 7th and Ann. Curated by Lenny Smith. Call him at 314-865-7008 to check schedule. The Original SLAM in St. Louis, is looking for a 15 great poets, every third Wednesday of the month at Focal Point, 2720 Sutton. Sign up is at 7, the show starts at 7:30pm with a CASH prize for the best poet of the night, decided by five random judges. $5 cover charge. • chance operations • Last MONDAY of each month. Duff’s 392 N. Euclid. 7:30. $3 at the door. Special anniversary reading on April 29. See Facebook. Music and featured poets followed by open mic. St. Louis Poetry Center’s Observable Reading , The May Observable will be Monday, May 13, at the Regional Arts Commission, 8 p.m. POEMS, PINTS & PROSE features poetry and music each first Tuesday of the month at Dressel’s Public House, 419 N. nd Euclid Ave. (2 fl). Music starts at 7 and poetry at 7:30. Future St. Louis Writers Guild Events April 26-28 – Missouri Writers' Guild Conference May 4 – Workshops for Writers: Focus on Fiction May 14 – Station Open Mic May 16 – SLWG Author Series with LS Murphy author of Reaper June 1 – Deane Wagner Poetry Contest deadline June 1 – Workshops for Writers: June 11 – Station Open Mic June 20 – SLWG Author Series
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