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The Art of Being There: Immersion and Narrative in Nonfiction and Biography by EDWARD HUMES

Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes workshop.

The Art of Being There: Immersion and Narrative in Nonfiction and Biography

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A principal method for accomplishing this feat of turning life into narrative is immersion – the art of insinuating oneself inside a place, process, institution or person’s life, then using first-hand storytelling to reveal character, drama and import. Immersion nonfiction is about getting inside a story, in search of the insights, depth and detail that can imbue nonfiction prose with the same richness seen in great novels, and that can illustrate and expose important issues of culture, society, justice and government through highly dramatic and human narratives. Immersion writing has a storied history in America, dating back to such turn-of-the-century muckrakers as Nellie Bly and her classic “Ten Days in a Mad-House,” and continuing with such modern masters of the craft as Tracy Kidder and John McPhee. Whether your goal is short-form writing or long, 500 words or 50,000, the same approach and skills will serve a writer well.

 

This course will serve as a mini-boot camp for immersion research and narrative building. We’ll use the landscape and rich resources of our workshop setting as fodder for a series of “quick fire” research and writing exercises including:

 

— the sense of a place (treating setting as character)

 

— bringing characters to life

— interviewing 101

— using the historical to inform the present

In class we’ll analyze a series of short readings in a variety of narrative nonfiction genres, including crime, biography, environmental/nature and other specialized topics of interest to the group. We’ll explore in-depth the research methods and techniques for “getting inside,” for developing setting and character, and for building coherent narratives with strong beginnings, middles and ends while remaining true to your source material.

A Full Manuscript Critique from New York Times Bestseller Jacquelyn MItchard

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Open only to six students, #1 New York Times Bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard (‘The Deep End of the Ocean’) will host a full-manuscript intensive critique. Each student will receive advance digital copies of the other writers’ manuscripts and, at Lismore Castle, Mitchard will lead a full half-day session on each completed book of fiction or creative non-fiction. Admission to this class is based on individual manuscript potential, and application must be made well in advance of the conference in order to assure that the extra demands of a full-book seminar can be met. Mitchard also will provide a written critique with editing and revision suggestions to each participant. Contact conference organizer Nancy Gerbault for guidelines and specifics.

Jacquelyn Mitchard has written nine novels for adults, including several New York Times bestsellers and several that have enjoyed critical acclaim, recently winning Great Britain’s People Are Talking prize and, in 2002, named to the short list for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. She has written seven novels for Young Adults as well, and five children’s books, a memoir, Mother Less Child and a collection of essays, The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship. Her essays also have been published in newspapers and magazines worldwide, widely anthologized, and incorporated into school curricula. Her reportage on educational issues facing American Indian children won the Hampton and Maggie Awards for Public Service Journalism. Mitchard’s work as part of Shadow Show, the anthology of short stories honoring her mentor, Ray Bradbury, currently is nominated for the Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson, and Audie Awards. She served on the Fiction jury for the 2003 National Book Awards, and her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, later adapted for a feature film by Michelle Pfeiffer. Mitchard is the editor in chief and co-creator of Merit Press, a new realistic YA Fiction imprint. A Chicago native, Mitchard grew up the daughter of a plumber and a hardware store clerk who met as rodeo riders. A member of the Lac du Flambeau Chippewa tribe, she is a Distinguished Fellow at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. Mitchard taught Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction at Fairfield University and was the first Faculty Fellow at Southern New Hampshire University. Her upcoming YA novel, What We Lost in the Dark, will be published in January by Soho Teen. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children.

AWC Short Short Story competition results

 

First we would like to thank everyone who entered our writing competition.

Our winners are:

1st Darothy Durkac — “What He Did With The Insides”

2nd Kelly Creighton — “Until They’ve Hatched”

3rd Hugh McQuillan — “Music To Drive By”

Shortlist

Soojin Kim — “You Sound Well”

Ellen McCarthy — “In The Rain”

 

From Robert Olen Butler:

I have to say that I was truly impressed with the high quality of submissions in this contest.  The decision process was arduous and nuanced.  The top twenty or so would have been among the winners of more than few flash fictions contests I’ve judged.  And I saw real potential in virtually all of them.  Ireland must have been a powerful lure for nascent talent.  That I might have a chance to work with some of these writers is very exciting for me as a teacher.

 

The three winners are:  First place, “What He Did with the Insides.”  Second place, “Until They’ve Hatched.” Third place, “Music to Drive By.”

 

As you know, I took pains to judge these anonymously.

 

And please send all the submitters my warmest regards.  There’s not a one of them I wouldn’t be sincerely delighted to work with.  Honestly, given my years of experience judging contests, that surprises the hell out of me.

 

Best,

 

Bob Butler

Short-Short Story Contest, judged by ROBERT OLEN BUTLER

 

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Judge: ROBERT OLEN BUTLER–Pulitzer Prize Winner & F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature

 

Three Winning Stories will be published in the 2014 February edition  of:

THE STINGING FLY MAGAZINE

 

How deep can you dive into your imagination? How breathless can you make readers feel? How brief can you make your best stories? Dazzle us with your brilliant brevity and you might just win a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience during that magical month of December with Abroad Writers’ Conference at Ireland’s historic and awe-inspiring Lismore Castle in County Waterford.

 

In 500 words or less write a standout story that seduces us, sings to us, shakes us, grabs us by the throat, or that’s so quiet we have to strain to hear. Any subject and any genre, but whatever you do be interesting and make us care. Take the leap, you just might be about to lose and re-find yourself inside a twelfth-century castle in picturesque, hospitable, and literary-loaded Ireland.

 

1st Prize: Free Admission to award-winning author Ethel Rohan’s 3 Day “Brilliance of Brevity” Workshop*. single room for seven nights, conference & a Celebratory dinner in the castle with Judge, Robert Olen Butler.  Value $1, 085.

 

2nd Prize: A scrumptious full banquet dinner at Lismore Castle with conference luminaries: Robert Olen Butler, Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Gristwood, Mariel Hemingway, Edward Humes, Claire Keegan, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Anne Perry, Michelle Roberts, Ethel Rohan, Alex Shoumatoff, Patricia Smith, Jane Smiley, and Lily Tuck.

 

3rd Prize: A complimentary pass to conference events at Lismore Castle.

Entries Accepted June 1st through July 15th,   Winners Announced August 15th, 2013

$10 Entry Fee: https://abroadwritersconference.submittable.com/submit

For Full Contest Details Visit: http://www.abroadwritersconference.com

For Full Conference Details & Registration Visit: http://www.abroad-crwf.com

*A $500 value to be used in full payment for Ethel Rohan’s “Brilliance of Brevity” 3 day/15 hr. workshop or can be applied as a $500 discount toward a conference package purchase

Michele Roberts will be teaching a workshop at Lismore Castle

Michèle Roberts
(Hertfordshire, England, May 20, 1949)

Michèle Roberts

Michèle Roberts

Michele Roberts is an English writer of mixed French-English background, the author of numerous highly acclaimed novels, dramas, poems, short stories and essays. She examines the nature of love and the female identity, based on her experience as a woman, of two cultures – French and English, and, later, comparing women through history blurring time, paces, and identities. This way she attempts to re-write the history and to imagine what the future might have been in the light of different historical events. Inspired by the Feminist Movement, she is deeply concerned with the identity of women, but not only the way society view it. She pictures the women as a productive and successful member of society, but also as an individual in search for true self, regardless of social restrains. Her heroines are “whole”, individuals who recognize and live in peace with their own contradictions and differences. They love, interrogate the nature of love, sexuality and explore the possibility of sharing the experience in more than one-way, symbolically representing a conflict between the public and the private, and modes associated with masculinity and femininity.
One of the most significant themes in her work is the mother-daughter relationship. Her style uniquely combines fantasies and myths, described in classical and religious language.
She was Poetry Editor for Spare Rib (1974) and City Limits magazine (1981), formed a writers’ collective (with Sara Maitland, Michelene Wandor and Zoe Fairbairns) as a feminist activist with the Women’s Liberation Movement, serves as a Chair of the British Council literature advisory panel, and is a regular book reviewer and broadcaster (contributor to “Night Waves” and “Woman’s Hour”), as well as a strong literary translation supporter.
She won the Gay News Literary Award 1978 for “Piece of the Night”, the W.H.Smith Literary Award 1993 for “Daughters of the House.” Michele Roberts is Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Major works:

A Piece of the Night, 1978
The Visitation, 1978
Tales I Tell My Mother, 1978
Touch Papers, 1982
The Wild Girl, 1984
The Mirror of the Mother, 1986
The Book of Mrs Noah, 1987
More Tales I Tell My Mother, 1987
The Seven Deadly Sins   (contributor), 1987
The Journeywoman, 1987
Food, Sex & God: on Inspiration and Writing, 1988
In the Red Kitchen, 1990
The Seven Cardinal Virtues   (contributor), 1990
Psyche and the Hurricane, 1991
Daughters of the House, 1992
During Mother’s Absence, 1992
The Heavenly Twins, 1993
Flesh & Blood, 1994
All the Selves I Was, 1995
Child-Lover, 1995
Impossible Saints, 1998
Fair Exchange, 1999
The Looking Glass, 2000
Playing Sardines, 2001
The Mistressclass, 2002
Reader, I Married Him, 2006
Paper Houses, 2007
The Secret Gospel of Mary Magdalene, 2007                                     The Heretic’s Feast, 2012                                                   Ignorance, 2012

Mariel Hemingway: Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness

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November 19, 2011, McLean Hospital presented the McLean Award–the hospital’s highest honor–for her commitment to serving as a champion of mental health issues, including suicide prevention. “It’s about overcoming stigmas and giving people the permission to address that this is their life. We’ve just got to get rid of the stigma, and the shame.” Mariel Hemingway
http://youtu.be/oGhCPchPSPw

“Our families are not bad. Mental illness is not separate–it’s a part of me.  It’s now time for me to step into the shoes of helping other people with this journey.” Mariel Hemingway

Every family, even famous ones, have secrets. The Hemingways are no different.

“We were, sort of, the other American family that had this horrible curse,” says Mariel Hemingway. She compared her family to the Kennedys — but the Hemingway curse, she said, is mental illness.

Hemingway, granddaughter of acclaimed author Ernest Hemingway, explores the troubled history of her family in “Running from Crazy,” a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. Barbara Kopple is the director; Oprah Winfrey is the executive producer.

“Knowing that there’s so much suicide and so much mental illness in my family, I’ve always kind of been ‘running from crazy,’ worried that one day I’d wake up and be in the same position,” Mariel Hemingway, 51, said at a support group for families of suicide, as shown in the film.

Mariel will be giving a talk at Lismore Castle about her family history with mental illness.

Sunday December 15th, Mariel Hemingway will be giving a four hour workshop based on her book, Running With Nature.

Running With Nature is a lifestyle, it’s about how to achieve our individual balance in life. How to alleviate depression, relieve stress and boost our daytime energy.

The information contained in her book and workshop is based upon her personal experiences and it’s not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other healthcare provider. Any attempt to diagnose and treat any physical condition should be done under the direction of a healthcare professional.

Karen Joy Fowler’s new book, ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’

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Karen Joy Fowler’s ‘We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves’

By Ron Charles

You know Karen Joy Fowler, though probably only for her least representative novel — that charming bestseller “The Jane Austen Book Club.” It landed with perfectly calibrated Janite wit in 2004 during a wave of renewed enthusiasm for Austen and book clubs. But aside from that domesticated crowd-pleaser, Fowler is also the author of genre-blending works of historical fiction and fantasy. Her stories have won the Nebula Award, the Shirley Jackson Awardand the World Fantasy Award. In 1991, she co-founded the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, a prize “for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.”

One never knows what to expect from her.

Her new novel, for instance, involves an ordinary Midwestern family: two parents and three children.

The younger daughter is a chimpanzee.

And why not? If Gregor Samsa can turn into a cockroach and Edward Albee can ask, “Who is Sylvia?”, a chimp for a sibling doesn’t seem so far down the evolutionary tree. In fact, just as most of us have decided that we should probably stop torturing chimps to death in the name of science, an outrageous community of simian novels has been congregating in the branches of the library, from the “autobiography” of Tarzan’s sidekick, “Me Cheeta,” by James Lever, to “The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore,” by Benjamin Hale.

But there’s nothing fantastical about Fowler’s new novel with its drawing-room title, “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.” In fact, the plot is inspired by several real experiments, including the work of Winthrop and Luella Kellogg, scientists at Indiana University who raised their baby son alongside a chimp for almost a year in the early 1930s.

Fowler places her story in the 1970s and extends the experiment to five years. Dr. and Mrs. Cooke live in a farmhouse with a gaggle of graduate students in Bloomington, Ind. They have a son named Lowell and two new daughters, Rosemary and Fern. Rosemary never stops talking; Fern never starts. But their parents have “promised to love them both exactly the same.” So far, so normal.

In a witty, conversational voice, Rosemary reluctantly parcels out the details of her “chimped-up household.” She doesn’t mention her sister’s body hair issue until page 77. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact,” she says. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share. . . . In my defense, I had my reasons,” she adds. “I tell you Fern is a chimp and, already, you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. You’re thinking instead that we loved her as if she were some kind of pet.” She’s right, of course. Fern’s identity is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The mechanics of this weird family arrangement are irresistible: How did the Cookes care for these two toddlers, feed them, dress them, keep them from hurting each other? “What was the goal of the Fern/Rosemary Rosemary/Fern study before it came to its premature and calamitous end?”

As an adult looking back on her famous childhood, Rosemary is curious about those questions, too. But the answers are elusive because once Fern left the family, no one mentioned her again, and it’s not at all clear what precipitated her departure. All Rosemary can do now — many years later — is try to excavate memories of their time together and catch lingering impressions of her sister still persisting in her own personality.

All this sounds like rich material for a novel, but there’s more. “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” isn’t just about an unusual childhood experiment; it’s about a lifetime spent in the shadow of grief. Clearly, something traumatic happened when Rosemary was 5, something that turned her from a loquacious little girl into a quiet young woman. But unearthing the details of that event means digging in a mental landscape strewn with psychological land mines. Others can’t or won’t tell her the truth. Her own memories are confused and clouded. She’s grown wise and skeptical about the slippery nature of family history. “Language does this to our memories,” she says, “simplifies, solidifies, codifies, mummifies. An oft-told story is like a photograph in a family album; eventually, it replaces the moment it was meant to capture.”

Although the story moves erratically over almost 40 years, it focuses on a few chaotic days in 1996 when Rosemary was a fifth-year student at the University of California at Davis. An unlikely friendship with an unstable fellow student triggers a series of confusing feelings. “This, finally, was the moment the hypnotist snapped her fingers,” Rose says ruefully. Curious but wary, and with a wry reference to the damage done by Sigmund Freud, she begins reconstructing what happened to her and her family, handling old memories worn “thin as Roman coins.” Refreshingly, she has the humility to admit that she can’t tell whether she’s making some of this up: “I was completely buried in the unremembered, much disputed, fantasyland of the past.”

Plot is not the novel’s strongest suit. The wackiness that stumbles into the final chapters feels incongruous with the book’s poignancy and its serious themes. But Rosemary’s voice and her efforts to understand — and forgive — herself are moving. Fowler has such a sprightly tone, an endearing way of sloughing off profound observations that will illuminate your own past even if you have no chimps swinging in your immediate family tree.

It’s also impressive how gracefully Fowler resists the impulse that could have turned her novel into a shrill PETA poster. Toward the end, she offers a stomach-churning summary of animal research done during the 20th century, but that’s more a lament than an argument, an acknowledgment that “the world runs on the fuel of this endless, fathomless misery.” What does it mean to be human, she asks, and what does it mean to be humane? Although there’s little doubt where her sympathies lie, Fowler manages to subsume any polemical motive within an unsettling, emotionally complex story that plumbs the mystery of our strange relationship with the animal kingdom — relatives included.

 

Charles is the fiction editor of The Washington Post.

Karen Joy Fowler will be joining us at Lismore Castle, December 9 – 16, 2013. Karen will be teaching a five day Fantasy Writing Workshop, limited space.

 

WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES

Karen Joy Fowler

Marian Wood/Putnam. 310 pp. $26.95

Getting to Know Best-Selling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard

Getting to Know Best-Selling Author Jacquelyn Mitchard

By Joan Brunwasser

I grew up with the story of Our Lady of Angels fire all around me. It was more than an event, it was a sunset on the bright stable way people saw their world. That fire blew that neighborhood up. There was no one who didn’t know someone who’d died in OLA. I was struck by how surviving an event could be just as paralyzing as dying in that event — that the survivors were changed forever.

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Trial by Fire, The Backstory of Second Nature

 


me, literally, today by Chris Cohen [photo credit]

My guest today is best-selling author, Jacquelyn Mitchard. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, written in 1999,  was also the first selection of the Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club, making for a stellar career kickstart. Welcome to OpEdNews, Jackie.


hardcover book jacket by Jacquelyn Mitchard website

 

JB: I just finished reading Second Nature, a novel based on the 1958 fire that killed 92 children in their Chicago school.  What made you choose this as the backdrop for your book?

JM: That happened when I was a baby, and I grew up with the story of Our Lady of Angels all around me. It was more than an event, it was a sunset on the bright stable way people saw their world. That had been a close-knit, West Side neighborhood, filled with brothers who married sisters and cousins and grew up down the block from each other, who played cards and had dinner together on Sunday nights.

That fire blew that neighborhood up. People didn’t just move to the suburbs; they moved to Miami, to California, as far as they could from that school, because there was no one who didn’t know someone who’d died in OLA. A friend’s older brother died in that fire, and his presence in that house was as real as any of the living children, even those who never knew him. I was struck by how surviving an event could be just as paralyzing as dying in that event — that the survivors were changed forever.

JB: I grew up in Chicago, too, and that fire has haunted us ever since. You chose Sicily Coyne as your central character. At the time of the fire, she’s a 13-year old student. Why a girl and why that particular age, Jackie?

JM: Twelve or thirteen is the time in a girl’s life when she’s at the end of childhood and becoming aware of herself as a woman. It’s when her awareness of her body image is at its most self-critical. She’s not a little kid. Little kids adapt to injury; their awareness of themselves in a wheelchair or having lost hair to chemotherapy or sustaining a wound, those are real, but, if the kid has a reasonably supportive family, those things are tempered by the resilience of being accepted, at the deep heart’s core, for who you are rather than how you look. Sicily had this sense of herself, too.

So in a very real way, she became trapped in a damaged face — that was all anyone could see — and she was screaming, “Hey, look! I’m still me!” The burn itself was a source of both bitterness and toughness, but her sarcasm and bitterness came from being seen, yet unseen. And I’m just very attracted to understanding the psychology of that age of person, which is why the imprint for which I’m the editor -in- chief is a Young Adult imprint. It’s the age of being epic, living a week in an hour, a year in a month, a lifetime in a year.

JB: And, boy, has a lot gone on for Sicily. She’s a woman/child who had to grow up fast because of that fire and losing both of her parents.  Yet, she’s also very unsophisticated and sheltered in many ways. It’s an  odd combination. Can you talk about this?

JM: Like many “sick kids,” Sicily has been both coddled and deprived. Life itself has robbed her of so much; and yet she’s given everything but what she can’t have — the chance to be normal. She has every material advantage and she’s protected from the realities of paying bills and jockeying for social position.

People may whisper about her, but there’s a kind of holy deference for a kid who’s part of a local legend: her prerogatives are in line with her losses. And the aunt who adopted her, Marie, is torn between those two poles, as well — deeply and nearly neurotically protective of Sicily, but also determined to push her into as normal a life as is possible, for Sicily to be “not as good as, but better than.” The reason that some readers found Sicily annoying is that she really never grew up: she’s stopped, an accomplished adolescent but in her reactions and her emotional landscape, still a middle-school kid.

JB: Interesting. I didn’t find Sicily  annoying. I found her situation incredibly and painfully poignant. I admit I’d never really thought about what surviving such an experience might be like before.

JM: Many people thought of her as “spoiled” and “shallow.” Many other readers found her affecting and real. I think it often depends on what you’ve been through in life, and maybe what you’ve been through in books, what you tend to gravitate toward. Sometimes, people just really don’t have a big tolerance for real life in fiction, even though they say they want characters who are “real.” Like take Kinsey Mulhone, in Sue Grafton’s wonderful mysteries. She’s tough, thin, single, smart, and she never gets past the age of about 36. She goes down easy, like a cool drink on a hot day, so the story can gallop off everywhere.


when my last child was born, six years ago by Arty Hitchcock [photo credit]

JB: The Cappadora family was featured in your first book, The Deep End of the Ocean and you bring them back in Second Nature. In fact, we see that Beth Cappadora becomes surprisingly close to Sicily.  Why does using utilizing the reappearance of characters from one book to another seem like a good idea?

JM: With continuing characters, you have to be careful about flaws because unless it’s a very literary novel or the flaws are the point (I’m thinking here of John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany), you have to convince readers to embrace a character who has flaws, because there’s a belief about how you’d react in the same circumstances and that way is usually very positive or even heroic — and that’s exactly how I am too!

You try to think you’d be the best at this. But the psychology in this book is based on real accounts of people who are disfigured, and it affects people in ways that aren’t always attractive. It’s the same way as dealing with depression in another person. Depressed people are sad, and it’s awful that they’re sad, but they sometimes behave in ways that are deeply provocative or upsetting to other people. They’re not fun to be with.

Personally, I thought Sicily was just what she should be, smart and strong but also naive and bewildered, and really able to put up a good front by talking tough. As for the Cappadoras, it wasn’t a marketing decision. So many people, thousands of people, have asked me, what happened to [Beth's son] Vincent? And I knew that Vincent would not have grown up to be a perfect human being, either, not given his temperament.

I thought, what if Sicily — with this new face which actually would be aesthetically very good, given that this book is set about ten or fifteen years in the future, when face transplants won’t be so uncommon — were to run toward love and fall for just the most attractive, worst possible guy, in the encyclopedia entry about commitment issues for reasons of his own past?

But it was natural, because she already loved Beth, who had documented this whole process [face transplant] because of Sicily’s past, because of the fire and its being the stuff of legend on the West Side of Chicago. Why think up new people to populate a place you already know, if the people who already know are already there, frozen in time, like the game Statue Maker? They were perfectly interesting people.


with son Rob, 1999 by Jill Krementz [photo credit]

JB: Agreed. All that medical information, both about burns and recovery and the whole field of organ transplants, was fascinating. And I found the most compelling images to be Sicily’s prosthetic nose, on the one hand, and her inability to eat properly, a routine task we do daily and take completely for granted. Was it hard to find the right balance between giving enough grisly details to make it real without grossing readers out or turning them off?

JM: Readers still found it grisly! I did an insane amount of research on burn injury and musculature and anatomy. For me, the prosthetic nose was one of the tenderest details, the way she had to take care of it because it was, you know, the Cadillac of prosthetic noses. It was just fascinating, like the way a prosthetic nose, for example, attaches (with magnets!).

I majored in Biology, and, I have nine children, thus, you know, nothing grosses me out. I’d have gone on forever. But yes, had to back off on some of the detail. Burn victims go through an incomprehensible hell — so, by comparison, the face transplant, even though it required, well, removing Sicily’s existing face, was relatively simple compared with the fifteen surgeries she’d had to try to mend the tissue on her face. In real life, that would have been more like thirty surgeries, each more appalling than the last.

JB: Magnets? Yikes! What a concept. The book is very steeped in firefighter culture and lore. It sounded very authentic to me. How did you accomplish that? Did you get to ride around with them?

JM: Oh, yes I did! I spent two weeks with the gallant ladies and gents at Madison Wisconsin’s Southside Station 6, and they taught me with generosity and detail. Firefighters in a number of cities surrounding Chicago also answered my questions. You know, there is no better job on earth than theirs. Indeed, they could get badly hurt; they could die. But who can do what they do, deny instinct for the greater good, as they do?

Despite danger, there is such intense training, minute attention to safety and detail, that tragedies such as what happened to Jamie Coyne are almost unknown. But authentically, if they happen, they happen in those kind of gruesome old buildings where fire can’t escape. My pal Eric used to be an English teacher before he became a firefighter, and he told me, “You know, you admire police. They lay it right down every day. But when the police show up, people grumble. When we show up, everybody cheers. Here come the Marines!” They’re just so cool. I guess they know it, but can you blame them?


my favorite, my ‘Wuthering Heights’ picture by James Schnepf [photo credit]

JB: Lucky you! Thank you, Jackie. Let’s take a break here.

When we return for the conclusion of our interview, we’ll talk about the time she called Buckingham Palace, how she juggles her writing and her family of nine children, and her quirky ambition now that she’s no longer afraid of heights. Please join us! 

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Mitchard’s website

Submitters Website: http://www.opednews.com/author/author79.html

Submitters Bio:

Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of transparency and the ability to accurately check and authenticate the vote cast, these systems can alter election results and therefore are simply antithetical to democratic principles and functioning. Since the pivotal 2004 Presidential election, Joan has come to see the connection between a broken election system, a dysfunctional, corporate media and a total lack of campaign finance reform. This has led her to enlarge the parameters of her writing to include interviews with whistle-blowers and articulate others who give a view quite different from that presented by the mainstream media. She also turns the spotlight on activists and ordinary folks who are striving to make a difference, to clean up and improve their corner of the world. By focusing on these intrepid individuals, she gives hope and inspiration to those who might otherwise be turned off and alienated. She also interviews people in the arts in all their variations – authors, journalists, filmmakers, actors, playwrights, and artists. Why? The bottom line: without art and inspiration, we lose one of the best parts of ourselves. And we’re all in this together. If Joan can keep even one of her fellow citizens going another day, she considers her job well done. Joan has been Election Integrity Editor for OpEdNews since December, 2005. Her articles also appear at Huffington Post, RepublicMedia.TV and Scoop.co.nz.

MARIEL HEMINGWAY will join Abroad Writers’ Conference at Lismore Castle

TRAVELERS ADVANTAGE MARIEL HEMINGWAY

 

MARIEL HEMINGWAY

Academy Award nominee Mariel Hemingway is an internationally known actress, model, writer, talk show host will be joining Abroad Writers’ Conference at Lismore Castle, December 9 – 16, 2013.

Mariel will be joining our panel discussing Stretching the Truth in Historical Fiction. As the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway and an actress, Mariel has a first hand experience of spins of truth. Joining her in this discussion group are: Tudor Historian, Sarah Gristwood; Booker finalist and Historical fiction author, Michele Roberts; and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jane Smiley.

At our conference, Mariel will also be presenting her new documentary film, Running From Crazy. This thought provoking and powerful personal journey documents her family history and gives her  to answers to the mental health struggles within the family, 7 family members committed suicide including her sister, father and grandfather.

On Sunday, December 15th, Mariel will be teaching a workshop on Healthy living. She’ll be discussing her latest book, Running With Nature.   Running with Nature is her jouney back to balance, it’s a guide to finding your true self in nature, health and emotional wealth.

As the granddaughter of illustrious author, Ernest Hemingway, Mariel was always destined to be well-known and publicly recognized. However, at the young age of 13, Mariel became famous in her own right when she made her silver screen debut in “Lipstick”. Four years later her work in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan” earned her an Oscar nomination. She has since made 30 films and numerous television appearances in series and as a host of several environmental and humanitarian documentaries.

Now at the age of 51, Mariel is the mother of two daughters, Dree 25 and Langley 23. For over 25 years, she has been pursuing her passion for yoga and health and is now seen as a voice of holistic and balanced health and well- being. As part of that role she has leads wellness retreats all over America, sharing her insights about movement, silence, nutrition, and home. In 2003, she published her powerful bestselling memoir, Finding My Balance. A truly insightful and inspiring story, of her life’s journey through the eyes of yoga and meditation. Mariel’s second book called “Mariel Hemingway’s Healthy Living from the Inside Out” (Harper Collins San Francisco 2007), is a how-to guide to finding ones balance and health through self-empowering lifestyle techniques and is a huge success for Mariel and especially for those whom incorporate her inspiring advice. Her 2009 book is a gluten free, sugar free, cookbook called Mariel’s Kitchen.

Mariel’s passion is her love of the outdoors…connecting with nature and becoming younger through food breath exercise and nature. She has partnered with Robert Williams, an eco adventurer whose life has been dedicated to adventure, healing and nature in a new book and lifestyle company called The WillingWay book launch date March 12, 2013. They are traveling all over the country sharing what they know about anti aging, connecting in nature, having fun and feeling great.

Mariel is also outspoken in her advocacy for mental health.

Check out what Mariel’s up to-

Her Latest Blogs: http://runningwithnature.com/blog/

As Curator for OPEN SKY: http://www.opensky.com

In her documentary, Running From Crazy: https://www.facebook.com/RunningFromCrazy

On Twitter @MarielHemingway

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mariel-Hemingway-Official-Fan-Page/115100505194946