Mill Valley Literary Review—since 2012
Issue #23 Winter 2022 features:
Our Salon Interview plus poems: Poet Lisa Delan from Jeff Kaliss.
The Literary Agent Who Lived the Plot of My Novel
memoir by Jeb Harrison.
Rabbits and more: Book reviews by Nick King.
“I Was a Teenage Runaway: Haight-Ashbury 1968″. HIGH light reel of upcoming memoir by Carol Green.
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WINTERTIME… and the living is creative. The following Winter Issue Intro and creative update from ever-kinetic Sands Hall, MillValleyLit contributor. Sands creative achievements include author, playwright, director, musician, teacher, and workshop leader at Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.
Dear Writers and Readers—
What a launch into the New Year! On Boxing Day, Nevada County (CA) was visited by an enormous snowstorm, reminding us that there’s a reason it’s called Nevada: The snow was deep and wet and very heavy, and resulted in massive numbers of downed trees. They crashed through roofs, they tumbled onto cars, they fell across roads and highways, creating a massive snarl of blockages and outages. In my case a falling tree yanked my powerline right out of the pole; a branch dropping on my roof further complicated things. I was without power for eleven days. I have a well that depends on electricity, and at first it was kind of fun heating snow to flush toilets and wash dishes, but when the snow melted, the lugging of water became a lot less delightful.
Grateful for friends who offered showers (bliss), heat, light, meals, Scrabble games, love. And thank goodness for the library, where many of us found warmth and outlets and Internet. I burned a lot of candles, and was inordinately happy to have a headlamp.
It has been gratifying to hear from a number of you how glad you are to receive the news I send; thank you! And of course let me know if you’d like to be removed from this list.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mag Dimond on her fascinating podcast, BOWING TO ELEPHANTS. We had a marvelous, wide-ranging talk about constructed belief systems, organized religion, and finding your true purpose.
We also talked about my memoir and what I learned during my time inside the Church of Scientology; why I love teaching; and why, if I could invite anyone in the world, dead or alive, to a dinner party, Mary Magdalene would be at the top of the list.
Here’s Mag’s blog post about our interview, and you can listen to it on iTunes or on Spotify.
In a week, I’ll be launching into rehearsals for the lovely play, TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I read a lot of scripts before selecting this one, as I wanted a celebration of being human, in all its sad, funny, terrifying, delightful, and ultimately resilient ways. This play, based on Cheryl Strayed’s book about her journey as the anonymous advice columnist, Dear Sugar, touches all those points and many more. We have assembled a terrific cast and crew and I’m looking forward more than I can say to once again creating live theatre. Produced by Sierra Stages, it will open—if all goes well in the Covid world (this is an ensemble play and one infection would jeopardize the entire production, so we’re vaxed and masked and careful)—March 4 at the historic Nevada Theatre, in Nevada City.
What with directing TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS in January and February, as well as a staged reading of my play FAIR USE in Boise in the middle of March, I’m taking a break from teaching until April. (FAIR USE wades into the controversy regarding Wallace Stegner’s “borrowing” from the life and writing of Mary Hallock Foote as he composed his novel, ANGLE OF REPOSE; it performs 3/19. Let me know if you’ll be in Boise and I’d be delighted to send info!) So while I won’t be teaching for a bit, I have two openings for coaching clients. Send an email if you’d like more information about that
And May 14-21 I’ll be Writer in Residence for a beguiling idea: The Writers Salon. This is a writing retreat in a gorgeous part of the Sierra, during which the participants—limited to six—focus on their writing projects, gathering each evening for craft talks and dinner and sharing of writing. See details here.
Applications are now OPEN for Community of Writers, deadline 3/28: Poetry (June 18-25) and Fiction/Nonfiction/Memoir (July 18-25). Unless things go awry, we’ll be IN PERSON this summer! If you’re not already on the COW’s mailing list you can do that here. In addition to receiving info about the Summer Workshops, you’ll be the first to hear about their many online opportunities.
Speaking of: Starting January 20, for six weeks, a marvelous opportunity for every kind of writer: THE SHORT COURSE: Reading Milosz, taught by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Hass. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The 2022 Sierra Writers Conference takes place February 10-12. Due to Omicron, it’s moved online, so no matter where you are, if you have internet, you’ll have access to the speakers and workshops. This year’s theme is STORIES MATTER: Reimagining Past and Future; the focus is on speculative fiction—and what fiction isn’t full of speculation?! The Conference also offers critique workshops. Space is limited, but you can apply to work with a specific person. For more info, and to register, visit the website.
I have had an astounding dance with many fine novels in the last few months, including Lauren Groff’s MATRIX, Brian Doyle’s MINK RIVER, a rereading of A.S. Byatt’s POSSESSION (which I first read—consumed—in 1991!), Anthony Doerr’s CLOUD CUCKOO LAND, and Zehn Joukhader’s MAP OF SALT AND STARS. I’m not adding adjectives—each of these is magnificent in many different ways.
Finally I’m including the link to a short video of a project in which I was lucky enough to be invited to participate. BACKSTORY takes the title of a well-known play and asks writers and actors to play with it, sometimes providing actual backstory for one of the characters. Recently the title was TWELFTH NIGHT, and I was asked to explore Olivia. I had so much mischievous fun and I think especially those of you who know the play will too. You can see all of the “takes” on Twelfth Night, plus dozens of other Backstories (Subscribe!) produced by the Victory Theatre Center, here.
Sending you my very best, and my hope that this year brings health, peace, and every kind of joy and satisfaction, including in our writing.
Issue #22 follows:
That mysterious Mill Valley scent of foggy redwood, madrone and chaparral. Our history of hikers, hippies and city escapers—to creeks, to waterfalls and canyons, so wild, yet accessible. The Sleeping Lady’s spirit high above, the convergence of harmonious, creative and inspiring energies. That feeling—that omnipresent vibe has prevailed, whispering to us, “Do something! Do something meaningful, something good.” J.Macon King, as quoted in the Marin Independent Journal.
From an earlier issue: Poetry of San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin click here.
Previous “Hometown Issue” #21:
Previous hometown issue #21 highlights:
Note: Click on “pie” above left for our tasty menu.
Bay Area Beats, Hippies, Music and War: Scotty DeWolf in blast-from-the-past conversation (below current interview).
Previous issue #20:
For National Poetry Month (April): We were pleased to feature San Francisco’s new Poet Laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin in an interview by Jeff Kaliss, with a three-course sampling of Tongo’s charged poetry.
Jeb Harrison looks at Hemingway, the recent three-part, six-hour documentary film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Hemingway examines the visionary work and the turbulent life of Ernest Hemingway, one of the greatest and most influential writers America has ever produced…
Hemingway in Mill Valley? Several Hemingways lived in Mill Valley, CA. At link scroll past current pieces.
Sneak preview of MillValleyLit editor Jeb Harrison‘s For Want of Grace: Collected Stories.
arrhythmia, latest haiku book by Bruce H. Feingold, reviewed by Poetry Editor, Jeff Kaliss, in On My Nightstand.
“The Mill Valley Literary Review drags the literary journal kicking and screaming into the 21st century.” San Francisco Magazine
Previous Issue #19 features:
Drew Stofflet’s “Dark and Sooty.” A creative Wine, Wine, and Song review. “…the musical landscape of early 1970s-era Davis was a different sort of stalker music, like a lion or tiger was in the room, or just outside of it, in the alley, peering through the window with burning eyes.”
MillValleyLit promotes the work of emerging writers, interviews well-known authors and should-be-known personalities, reviews books, and reports on the literary scene. MillValleyLit has hosted events and salons and been featured in numerous publications such as San Francisco Magazine, Marin Magazine, Marin Independent Journal and Marinscope newspapers.
Explore Susanna Solomon’s fantastical musings through Parisian imagination and delight. Three short stories by one of Marin County’s own and our former correspondent. The time-bending “The Clock” , the ghostly “Shakespeare & Company” and Twilight-Zone-esque “The Teddy Bear.”