Writing As A Craft - The Arts Series
March 13 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Even the most seasoned writer can hit a wall and have trouble getting the thought to the page. Then there’s the solitude. The art of writing comes with great struggles, but provides even greater rewards. Returning this spring, local award winning author Seth Borgen will help guide your creative writing process in a trio of workshops designed to give your writing a boost with feedback, discussion, and a push to keep your process going. With his new short story collection If I Die in Ohio set to hit shelves this year, Seth is proof the struggle can pay off. Patrons are encouraged to bring their material and be ready to jump into the discussion. Register today online or call the Library (330.335.1294).
An excerpt from Seth's story, Nuclear Summer:
My son Johnny had a couple good grabs at first. Malcolm’s son Beau pitched three innings of one-hit, one-run ball. Toby didn’t have a son or any children or a wife but thought that appearing at sporting events was sort of expected of him as the mayor of Great Bend Township. It got a little hairy there at the end when one of the boys lost the strike zone, but the Cardinals bested the Padres 4-3, the teams good-gamed each other across the diamond, everyone played fair and got good exercise, and then it was time for ice cream.
The three of us—Malcolm, Toby, and I—sat on cement benches that arced around a cement table in front of the McDonald’s shaped-like-a-house, eating the vanilla soft-serve it took ten minutes to get and smoking the cigarettes we already had.
“My wife hates things shaped like other things,” I said. “Staplers shaped like little animals. Hats shaped like food.”
“You know what else she hates, partner?” said Malcolm. He called everyone partner. “You.”
“It’s not that she doesn’t love me. She just loves this other guy a lot more.”
“Buck and Lizzie aren’t married anymore, and Great Bend has a McDonald’s,” Toby said. “This has not been my most effective term.”
As mayor, Toby felt responsible for the McDonald’s. More specifically, he worried that the voters were going to hold him responsible. No one wanted it, including him, yet here it was. The whole affair, he often said, was a real blow to his credibility. Still, he’d eaten dinner there almost every night since it opened the previous April. It’s a mystery what he thought that did to his credibility.
“Christ, Toby,” I said. “Does anyone even run against you?”
To preserve the local economy, Toby passed a law declaring that no chains could open in Great Bend as long as they looked like chains. McDonald’s skirted the intent of Toby’s law by building a McDonald’s shaped-like-a-house. Window panes. Wood siding painted cream. Maroon shutters and gutters to match. Even a damn welcome mat. Toby leaned back, shook his head slow, and balanced his cone on his belly. “The Great Bend Bugler isn’t going to forget a thing like this.”
“You know why they call ‘em chains, don’t ya’?” Malcolm smoked Winchesters, those little cigars with the white plastic filters. Between the cowboy hat he always wore, his blonde mustache, and furrowed brow, he could have been one of the cowboys in the Winchester ads. “The more you’ve got, the heavier you get.”
“I love it when you get all folksy and homespun,” said Toby. “You’re from Seattle.”
“Yeah, west Seattle.”
Malcolm invested himself in fatherhood like nothing I’d ever seen. His dad flew an F-4B Phantom II in Vietnam that never found its way back. Malcolm said his father existed for him as a series of images—a gray terry-cloth bathrobe behind a snapping newspaper, a cold leather jacket hugging him goodbye before dawn—but he could piece the images together into a living memory the way you can read in dreams. Individual words that never become coherent ideas. Malcolm swore that his son would know, if nothing else, him.
He said to me once that there was nothing he wouldn’t burn to the ground if it came between him and Beau. That kind of parenting seemed a little excessive to me. I told him I approved of the sentiment and all, but I never found raising a son or doing anything else in Great Bend to require that kind of deliberate energy. Malcolm said that kind of thinking was probably why Lizzie left.
Cardinals and Padres and parents buzzed around the patio, a line of them snaking from the registers all the way out the doors. Johnny, Beau, and a few of the other boys, their cleats tied over the shoulders, their red stirrups slacked behind their heels, stood in the parking lot gazing at a Jaguar XJR-S7. We were all in shadow, but the low-hanging sun made a golden awning over our heads. Above that, the sky was a clear, cobalt blue. That stars would be out in less than an hour seemed insane.
|Location||Meeting Room A|