My Work & Writing Life
I write mostly short fiction, lately specializing in micros and flashes after teaching myself how to craft very short pieces by writing a story every day for a year. Much of what I write is fabulist, and almost everything I write is odd and dark in one way or another. My stories have appeared in numerous literary journals, including Crazyhorse, Mid-American Review, River Styx, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Atticus Review, and in the Maine anthology Summer Stories (Shanti Arts, 2013). I was the 2012 Maine Arts Commission’s Literary Fellow, I was an editor at Hunger Mountain literary magazine for almost four years, and I have an MFA in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
I’m currently finalizing a story collection, drafting a memoir, and researching a suspense novel set in the 1890s. And I’m tackling these projects the way I always do, one little step at a time, often unsure where my foot should land. When I have something to say about process or progress, I’ll put it in a post.
When you work hard at making a writing life, eventually you realize “the writing life”… is just life. You see to family and social obligations, you contribute to the community, you work. It’s building a full life while never letting the writing slip away.
So. If I’m not working out my dark side on the page, I’m letting it slide through my fingers as I dig in my haphazard, impulse-driven garden, or I pound it away with my feet as I run the slowest 5Ks in history, or I put it aside while I log my volunteer hours on the 24-hour helpline at the local domestic violence resource center. I actually forget about my dark side when I’m working my part-time job at the fabulous Lewiston Public Library, or I’m in the kitchen creaming butter and sugar (is there a more beautiful act?) or putting together a pot of stew.
Quiet time with my husband and our two gorgeous, snuggly cats makes the dark side go away entirely.
You can reach me at email@example.com or drop me a line at Facebook.
Local Writing Community
I’ve lived in Lewiston for 12 years, now, and I see our arts community growing all the time. True, I’m an extreme introvert with far too much affection for my couch, but I’m getting better at doing my part. Maybe I’ll see you at one of the writing hubs mentioned below?
Look for readings and author talks and other arts events at Lewiston’s Quiet City Books. I and my friend Josh Gauthier organized a series of themed readings at QCB this spring and summer—we tackled Fear / Hope in April, Broken / Whole in July, and Alone / Together in August—with two fall dates in 2018. We’ll speak to Fake / Real on October 5, and Chaos / Order on November 9. And we’re working on plans for 2019.
Look for workshops (in this area, usually held at the Auburn library) sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, and consider becoming a member. This is the premiere writing organization in Maine, so connecting with them is a great way to keep up on writing-related events. They have so much going on, you’ll want to spend a while at their website.
A low-key way to connect with area writers is to attend the MWPA-sponsored GATHER meet-ups. I host the one for Lewiston-Auburn, and you don’t have to be a member of MWPA to attend. We meet every other month, usually the third Wednesday of the month, at Guthrie’s cafe. This is a chance to talk about All Things Writing with fellow word nerds, and it’s a great way to connect with local resources and events.
You’ll find author talks, readings, book discussions, and other writing-related events at both the Lewiston and Auburn Public Libraries, as well as at Bates College. L/A Arts has been working some readings into their Art Walks, which happen on the last Friday of the month, May through October, and they’ve held a number of other really interesting writing-related events so far in 2018.
Keep an eye out next year for the Maine-ly Jewish Storytelling Festival created by Auburn writer, musician, and singer Lisa Mayer, where I was fortunate to read in July. The program was one of the best I’ve ever attended. And I have to get my butt to The Corner, a fantastic series of storytelling nights that somehow I keep missing. The one time I made it, I was blown away, and you will be, too. The season starts up again on September 14.
My Maine Photos
At my digital home I want to showcase the beauty of the Maine I know best.
Everyone loves our rocky coast and lighthouses, but there is so much more to the State. My photographer friend Joan Cyr took the local photos that grace most of my primary pages (all but “Posts”). All were taken in my part of Maine—Lewiston-Auburn and the surrounding area. I can’t thank her enough. These images are the reason I will love my life on this site.
Joan Cyr is a lifelong resident of Maine who enjoys garden, landscape, and wildlife photography. She has exhibited her work in Maine’s premier juried photography show at the BRAF Gallery in Boothbay, Maine; other area galleries; local art walks; and area businesses. Her photography is a reflection of her love of gardening, the natural world, and the unspoiled beauty of her home State. More of Joan’s work can be seen at joan-cyr.pixels.com.
On the photo above, “Auburn Riverwalk Bridge,” from Joan Cyr: This bridge is one of several historic truss bridges in Lewiston-Auburn. While driving by one February morning, I was awestruck by how the frigid temperature and low cloud-cover transformed it. See more of Cyr’s work here.