Write Your Story! Memoir Workshop

Old vintage books and cup with heart shape on wooden table

This upcoming Saturday (September 29) I’ll be holding a memoir workshop at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30AM. Here’s the official description:

Do you have a story to tell? Our memoir writing class offers an introduction to memoir as an art form and how to begin writing yours.

Be brave and bring a sample for the class to read and discuss (and if you don’t have anything to share, that’s OK too). Come tell us the story of your life!

Space is limited. Register online at saclibrary.org/events, by phone at 916-264-2920, or in person at the library.

See you there!

Between the Lines Book Club: 5 Facts about Willa Cather

between the lines book club logoBetween the Lines Book Club kicks off Fall with My Antonia, by Willa Cather. We’ll be meeting to discuss the book tomorrow (September 22, 2018) at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM. Here are five fun facts about Willa Cather!

  1. Cather enjoyed writing from a male point of view. The narrator in My Antonia is based on her, and the character of Antonia is based on her friend Annie Pavelka.

2. Cather won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours,  a book based on one of her relatives who left Nebraska to fight in WWI.

3. She published her first novel in 1912, when she was 39 (Alexander’s Bridge). However, she often referred to O Pioneers, which was published a year later, as her first novel.

4. Cather grew up a “tomboy” and as an adult wore a male hairstyle and dressed in male styles of clothing. She lived with the editor Edith Lewis for 39 years, a relationship that only ended with Cather died. Lewis and Cather are buried next to each other, in New Jersey.

5. Cather generally disliked women authors, but she did enjoy the work of Katherine Mansfield, the Brontes, Jane Austen, and George Eliot.

Bonus: The Willa Cather Foundation owns and protects 612 acres of native prairie and works to “return this land to its 19th century conditions.”

Save the Dates

me (Carrie) in Steampunk attire, speaking at Worldcon
I’ve been asked by one of my fans to post my upcoming speaking engagements for September and October here. The truth is, I’ve been asked by my mom. Because of my interest in classic horror, this is an unusually busy time for me. Here you go, Mom! Love you!

September 29, 2018: Memoir Writing Class

10:30AM, Arden Dimick Library

Do you have a story to tell? Our memoir writing class offers an introduction to memoir as an art form and how to begin writing yours.

Be brave and bring a sample for the class to read and discuss (and if you don’t have anything to share, that’s OK too). Come tell us the story of your life!

Space is limited. Register online at saclibrary.org/events, by phone at 916-264-2920, or in person at the library.

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October 5, 2018: Mary Shelley

10AM, Folsom Public Library

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley.

Come hear hair-raising stories about the turbulent life of Mary Shelley and the monster she created. Mary drew on her own interest in science and her experience with abandonment and loss to create the first science fiction novel – one which continues to terrify readers today. We will explore her life and the culture or the Romantics as well as the novel itself.

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October 12: Tarot Cards for Teens

4PM – 5:45PM Arden Dimick Library

Learn the history behind tarot with Carrie Sessarego. Get a reading and learn how to read the cards for others. Check out our selection of tarot and other similar books.

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October 20, 2018: Creators of Classic Horror

10:30AM – 12, Arden Dimick Library

Join us for 90 minutes of classic horror as we discuss the origins of Dracula, Cthulhlu, and the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. We’ll share some gossip about classic horror writers, and some insights into their work which continues to inspire so much of the horror genre today. Get your Halloween going in earnest with these early writers of terror!

 

 

Between the Lines Book Club: Race in My Antonia

between the lines book club logoWelcome to Between the Lines Book Club! Our book this month is My Antonia, by Willa Cather. We’ll be meeting to discuss the book on September 22, 2018, at Arden Dimick Library, at 10:30AM.

Most of the characters in My Antonia are “other” in some way. The Shimerda’s are strange to the Burden family, with their outpourings of emotion and their dried mushrooms. The Hired Girls all come from recent immigrant families, and are both admired and shunned by the area’s more well-established residents.

In Book 2, Chapter 7, Jim meets a blind, Black piano player, known as Blind d’Arnault. Jim admires d’Arnaults’s independence (he “refuses to be led”) and his musical ability. However, despite expressing admiration for d’Arnault, Jim describes him in racist and stereotypical terms.

This led me to think of the following questions:

1. How can we read between the lines, and how much does Cather intend for us to do so? Does Martha hide her mixed-race son because he’s “ugly”, or because she’s afraid he’ll be sold and/or she’ll be punished for the possibility that she was raped by her male owner? Is d’Arnaut really “docile” or is this simply what people around him like to believe? Does he retain a strong sense of personality separate from what we hear Jim say about him? Do Cather and Jim see d’Arnault the same way?

2. Is d’Arnault autistic? He is slow to talk, rocks back and forth constantly, and is a musical savant. How is he portrayed in contrast to Antonia’s disabled brother?

3. How does Cather’s description of d’Arnault differ from her proper “Americans,” the shrill and canny Shimerdas, the morose Russians Pavel and Peter, the ethereal scholar Gaston Cleric, and other characters?

4. What is the purpose of this passage?

5. A lot of readers and critics seem to ignore this passage altogether. How should we treat passages like this in older fiction (My Antonia was first published in 1918). How does the passage affect your opinion of the book overall?

Boosting the Signal

Author Jessica McDonald was one of our first guests here at geekgirlinlove. Jessica contributed the wonderful essay “Not Your Mystical Indian” to the anthology Invisible 2. She also posted “Magical Indians that Aren’t Magical Indians” on this site.

Jessica’s debut novel has its very own kickstarter page. To find out more about her new novel, Born to be Magic, check this out! Best of luck, Jessica!

 

Between the Lines Book Club: My Antonia

between the lines book club logoThis month our book club pick is My Antonia, by Willa Cather. This book was published in 1918, and tells about a community of farmers in Nebraska, both on their farms and in the small town of Black Hawk. The main characters are Jim Burden, and Antonia Shimerda, whose family recently immigrated from Bohemia. The book addresses immigration, social class, the role of women, and the nature of the American Midwest.

You can find an online study guide at Shmoop.com and read more about Cather at American Masters. We will meet to discuss the book on September 22, 2018 at Arden Dimick Library!

 

The Chimney Sweeper, by William Blake

white harebell (flower)
This Labor Day, take an action on behalf of child laborers all over the world by checking out these resources:

International Labor Organization

End Slavery Now

And here’s a word from William Blake:

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ” ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”
So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.
There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved, so I said,
“Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”
And so he was quiet, & that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight!
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black;
And by came an Angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins & set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the Sun.
Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father & never want joy.
And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark
And got with our bags & our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.