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Life, Love, and Literature:      

Continuing the Conversation

June 2014


In This Issue
Serenity and Inspiration
Check Out Our Website
Quick Links to Our Site

 The Grateful Read

Dear Friends of Creative Writing,


With graduations, Father's Day, and weddings popping up like dandelions, June is the great trifecta of celebratory causes. Ooh ooh! And all those summer birthdays. And need we mention beach time? All of which call for terrific reads--whether for gifting or self-indulgence--and we have you covered. Big time.


Want a hefty sampling of some bright shiny new books? Our ARCology series most recently featured master of many genres Linda Rodriguez's third Skeet Bannion mystery. Every Hidden Fear stands alone, resolute and strong. But we dare you not to crave more of the smart and sassy women of Brewster, MO.


Even without the dynamite title, Lee Upton's story collection The Tao of Humiliation is loaded with so many wonderful characters it would be hard to ignore. Lee's been compared to everyone from Grace Paley and Edith Pearlman to M.C. Escher and Borges!


In a geographical departure from other offerings, Jonnie Martin's debut novel Wrangle takes readers to a horse ranch in Texas for a tough gritty taste of quarter horse racing, family strife, and romance with a drawl. Grab your saddle horn and hang on for a wild ride!


If it's volume/s you're after, Bonnie Zobell employs a conveyor belt system for moving books onto her bedside table. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore's is laden with classics from Woolf, McEwan and others to her contemporaries. Julia Fierro's "embarrassment of riches" comes from fellow writers who, like her, have just released books. Linda Rodriguez's night stand blossoms with titles from fellow Native Americans and other cultures. And cautious reader Lee Upton has a gloriously eclectic assortment.


Elsewhere on the site, Ross Howell's "Combat" provides a fitting Memorial Day reminder of the incalculable toll war can take on families.


Peace, love, and good reads to you and yours.




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Serenity and Inspiration


Get outside; enjoy the season's surplus of Vitamin D. We've given you plenty of ideas for conversation starters, mental getaways, and perfect gifts for all of this month's special occasions. And of course there's always the mother of all book gifts, the deceptively inexpensive little edition that details 250 other books, Best of Books by the Bed #1 (we're working on #2 right now!). So get busy, people. There's no excuse for ever finding yourself without a good read.



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The much-anticipated Don Wallace The French House: An American Family, a Ruined Maison, and the Village That Restored Them All book tour starts June 4 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at upscale watering hole Downtown and Vine, 1200 K St. #8, Sacramento, CA. From there Don heads back to where the magic began, his Long Beach birthplace, for First Friday Bixby Knolls on June 6 (Atlantic Ave. from Bixby Rd. to San Antonio Dr.) 6:30 - 9:30 pm.


Then it's off to Barnes and Noble June 8 for a French-themed joint appearance with Michelle Gable, author of A Paris Apartment, Encinitas Town Center, 1040 N. El Camino Real Drive, Encinitas, CA. The next day will find Don reading at Apostrophe Books, 5229 E. 2nd Street, Long Beach, CA at 6 pm. Also on June 9, we will run an excerpt from The French House, so be sure to check the website.    


Fiction author and Soto Zen priest Catherine Gammon is once again offering her popular "Writing as a Wisdom Project" June 29 at Brooklyn Zen Center, 505 Carroll Street in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, NY.



We Wanted to Be WritersAbout the Book
We Wanted to be Writers is a series of conversations among nearly 30 writers-students and their teachers-who were at the Iowa Writers' Workshop in the mid-70s. In the book, we discuss what we learned in the Workshop-and what we didn't learn-and what we learned in the decades since about life, art, the creative process, teaching, the lit biz, and more.
Our goal is to provide advice, counsel and analysis, maybe some inspiration, and a cautionary tale or two. Along the way, we also hope to entertain with some good yarns and a little gossip....

Among the talents that emerged in those years-writing, passionately jousting, criticizing, drinking, and debating in the classrooms and barrooms of Iowa City-were the young versions of writers who became John Irving, Jane Smiley, T.C. Boyle, Allan Gurganus, Sandra Cisneros, Joe HaldemanJayne Anne Phillips, Marvin Bell, Michelle Huneven, and many others.

The book is available from Red RoomAmazon, Barnes and Noble, and other booksellers. Booksellers please order directly from the distributor, W.W. Norton. For special sales please contact Kathryn Mennone.

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Check Out Our Website
At our website (wewantedtobewriters.com), you can find out more about our contributors, read excerpts from the book, watch the book trailer, and link to a bookseller to order a copy. We also provide links to resources for writers and teachers of writing, including links to our contributors' websites.

Special features include:
  • For Teachers:  Most of us teach writing, or have taught it. Many of us have set up creative writing programs, or have headed them, or are heading them now. In the book, we discuss teaching, best practices, and of course that question that no one seems to tire of asking: Can writing be taught? On the site, we'll expand on the conversation in the book with a variety of materials on the topic.
  • Ask the Writers:  If you have any questions about writing, the creative process, teaching writing, the lit biz, or anything else having to do with writing, please send them in and we'll weigh in.
  • Resources:  For young writers just getting started, interrupted writers returning after other pursuits, and anyone else who's ever felt the irresistible lure/tyranny of the blank page.

We hope you find this site is a useful resource. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

small book cover
We Wanted to be Writers: Life, Love, and Literature at the Iowa Writers' Workshop � by Eric Olsen and Glenn Schaeffer � A Herman Graf Book � $16.95 paperback original (Can. $21.50) North America (X) � CQ 24 � ISBN 978-1-60239-735-4 � 5 �" x 8 �" � 320 pages � 24 b/w photographs � Reference � AUGUST
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