Monthly Archives: July 2013

Post-Residency by Joseph Carro

We all gathered in the common room of Chamberlain Hall and reminisced, speaking with smiles stretched across our faces and kinetic hand gestures painting our stories with extra detail. Some of us wouldn’t be coming back, and so there were trembling lips, teary eyes and long, unashamed hugs. Handshakes, hand waves and promises to keep in touch no matter what.

Those of us who were not yet in danger of leaving the program thought aloud about how we would handle our own sad goodbyes when the time came, while those new to the program spoke in weary or excited tones about their experiences and what they were looking forward to.

Some of us lingered into the small hours of the night and played games or arm-wrestled or had deep conversations, until there were only a handful remaining. Slowly, we trickled out to our respective rooms, slowing our steps so that it took just a little bit longer.

With that, the residency is ended. In the morning, some will have gone before I even thought of waking, while I will see others in various states of packing and rushing to eat breakfast as I load my own things into my car after I eat.

This has been an amazing residency, even though some of my best Stonecoast friends are in Ireland right now. I was given so much good feedback on my work that I really think I can shape up at least one of my pieces enough for publication. On top of that, I will be working on my third-semester project, which is really exciting to me. On top of that, I made some new, amazing friends….am now the MC for next semester’s readings and Follies….and I’ve created some lasting memories that I will cherish forever.

Be well and I wish you safe travels, my Stonecoast friends. To those who’ve graduated, know that most of you have helped me in times of need and confusion, and that won’t be forgotten. I wish you the best of luck in your lives and future endeavors.

To those who danced with me, sweaty as I was, thank you for indulging me in my craziness.

Faculty: You amaze and inspire me. Nancy, I can’t wait to work with you. Elizabeth and Theodora, thank you for your insights and kindness and enthusiasm. You all make me feel like a writer.

Dorothy: You have been amazing. Your trip to Brunswick mid-residency rejuvenated me and had me smiling. I’m a lucky man.

Now begins the next chapter, and much work is to be done. Wish me luck! (Good luck to you all, as well)

~

Joseph Carro is a third semester student in the Popular Fiction concentration. You can read his movie and book reviews on his Average Joe Review Blog.

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Five Years Later and What Do I Have to Show? Good Question

by Lisa Romeo

This is how it would be, surely: Five years after graduating on a hot July night, I’d return to the Stonecoast summer residency for a visit. I’d chat up alumni, swapping stories about our fabulous or lousy agents, latest book deal (surely we’d all be on book number two, at least). We’d compare who’s on a tenure track, who’s stuck in adjunct purgatory. We’d brag (modestly) about our multiple impending publications in top tier journals or major media outlets. We’d regale faculty with success stories. Awards. Grants. Offers. Options. Or maybe not. Not because we weren’t all successful in whatever corner of the literary world we’d chosen to occupy (we would be! we are!)—but we might just get smashing drunk and moan about how we miss graduate school with its immovable deadlines and objective productivity expectations and the smell of authorship just strong enough to pull us along and just weak enough that we needn’t fret about it—yet.

This is how it is: Five years after finishing my MFA program in creative nonfiction, I don’t make the drive to Maine, ostensibly because it conflicts with our family vacation. But I haven’t made the drive any other year either, partly because I fear standing around the Stone House—in my memory a magical place where my dreams still live, undisturbed, and where my confidence partially remains, stubbornly lodged—and sullying it with halting strained conversation about what I think of as, I don’t know, a failure to thrive. Because I can’t talk about an agent, a book deal, a secure teaching appointment, top literary journals, major awards, and I worry that if these are the status updates I’d have to spew at a Stonecoast gathering, I’d come up blank.

Oh, I’ve done things. Published stuff, taught, won, judged, jumped genres, edited, ghostwrote. Yet when I think about five years gone since my time at Stonecoast ended, I’m filled with—not regret exactly, but a yawning awareness of what’s not there.

The book.

The one with just my name on the spine, not merely in the list of contributors.

Surely by now there should be one, no? That’s what the voice in my head shouts, anyway, and it’s what I (perhaps ungraciously) believe I would be judged by in a room of further-down-the-road Stonecoast alumni.

I do know this: five years have clocked by faster than I anticipated or realized, though that is true about most of life. And while the commitment to craft and the hunger for a fuller literary life has grown more, not less important to me as the post-MFA years unspooled, so too has the score-keeping and CV-building and literary posturing—and the absence of that word “author”—inserted itself, sometimes mockingly.

And some days, I mind.

Some of the mile markers I had originally set for myself upon graduation—maybe overly hopeful, surely overly confident—simply fell away. Others got moved further into the future. Most are in a constant state of revision. Getting from one point to the next was, is, taking longer than I liked. But as one year has sloughed into the next, and X hadn’t happened on schedule, I watched myself begin to respond with less judgment that is my initial self-critical reflex. Instead: “Oh, not now? Okay, next year will be fine too. Or the next.”

So, some days, I don’t mind at all.

I’m not lazy or apathetic, but understanding that what seemed so clear to me in 2008 was an illusion, has been freeing, until suddenly, it isn’t. Like one day last month, when a particularly acute case of Stonecoast classmate envy hit. There had been, it seemed, a slew of good news: announcements of book deals, agents, impressive awards and fellowships and grants, teaching appointments that came with benefits and a title and without the need to drive to three campuses in as many days; film options, media coverage, a book translated into two dozen languages.

I have not been idle. I know this. There is, indeed, a completed memoir manuscript, or at least there has been for a few months now. Before that, there wasn’t.

I know exactly why there is no book of my own on the shelf in the room of my own where every day I write and revise and edit and submit essays and narrative nonfiction and journalism and poetry and pitches—but to journals and magazines and website, and not to agents and publishers and book contests.

The reason the book hasn’t happened in the five years since leaving Stonecoast will, I guess, please my Stonecoast mentors: it wasn’t ready. Not really. Not ready enough until recently, when in its seventh draft, I decided it was. So as for the not-an-author-yet thing, I can’t complain really. It’s not as if I’ve been querying and submitting and entering it like mad for five years and piled up rejections and no responses and agita.

Agents approached: Precisely one, who I was referred to by a writer friend frequently on the Times bestseller list. (Agent’s response: “Absolutely lovely, and not commercial enough.” Wrong agent, I know, but who wouldn’t have tried?)

Publishers approached: Precisely one, who I was referred to by a writer friend with four midlist books. (Editor’s initial response: “Love the sample – send me more.” I did. We’ll see.)

Book publishing contests entered: Three. Once, a finalist.

Reasons to complain: None

But to paraphrase a fellow Stonecoast alumna, the missing book in the CV is slowly, irritatingly becoming a career opportunity cost. Let’s face it – that book with only your name on the spine opens doors, turns walls into windows.

Maybe that’s not a valid reason for avoiding a residency reunion. Of course it’s not. Maybe I’m assuming former classmates, faculty and visitors would be far more judgmental than they are likely to be. Of course I am. Maybe I’ll even get over myself and show up next year.

~

Lisa Romeo graduated from Stonecoast in the creative nonfiction track in July 2008. She writes, teaches, edits, and mostly doesn’t complain, from her home in Cedar Grove, NJ, where she lives with her husband and two sons. She does not have an agent, book deal, tenure, a Pushcart or a quirky writer bio. Excerpts from her memoir, Father Figure: Meeting My Absent Father, and Myself, have appeared in Lunch Ticket, Barnstorm, and Quay, and are forthcoming in Pithead Chapel and Under the Sun. Visit Lisa’s website.

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July 2013 SCAA Board Elections

The Alumni Meeting that is held in conjunction with the July residency has been scheduled for Sunday, July 21 at the Stone House. The details are listed below.  The meeting will also include a live election to fill the open spots on the SCAA Board that were left open after then online elections. The details for the election are listed below.

If you would like to run for any of these positions even though you won’t be attending the July meeting, please send Erin Underwood an email at erin.m.underwood (at) gmail.com. I will send a confirmation to you that I have received your email. If you don’t receive a confirmation, that means that I haven’t received your email for some reason. All nominations must be received by July 19, 2013. Nominations may be made in person at the Alumni Meeting.

If you have any questions about the meeting or the elections, please feel free to ask.

ALUMNI MEETING:

  • Meeting:  SCAA Alumni and Graduating Student Meeting
  • Location:  Stone House
  • Date:  Sunday, July 21st
  • Time:  10:00 am

ELECTIONS:

In addition to the normal agenda items for the July Alumni & Graduating Student Meeting, we also need to hold onsite/live electionsto fill the opening that didn’t fill during the online elections this year.  As a reminder two of the Director positions were filled but a variety of other positions were left open. Plus, one additional Director decided to step down. Listed below are the 1) current open positions, 2) the two new Board members, 3) the continuing Board members, 4) a full listing of the Board positions with associated new/continuing member names and open positions, and 5) a listing of the outgoing members.

1) OPEN POSITIONS:

  • President (2 years)
  • Vice President (1 year)
  • Treasurer (2 years) — MUST BE A RESIDENT OF MAINE
  • 1 Director (2 year)
  • 1 Director (1 year)

2) NEW BOARD MEMBERS

  • Director: Patricia Barletta (July 2013-July 2015)
  • Director: Kathleen Saville  (July 2013-July 2015)

3) CONTINUING BOARD MEMBERS

  • Secretary: Jessica De Koninck
  • Director: Adam Kreutz Gallardo PF S’12

4) FULL LISTING OF BOARD, including NEW & CONTINUING MEMBERS & OPEN POSITIONS

  • President — 2 years — July 2013-July 2015
  • Vice President — 1 year — (July 2013-July 2014)
  • Secretary: Jessica De Koninck – (July 2012-July 2014)
  • Treasurer—MUST BE A RESIDENT OF MAINE — 2 years — July 2013-July 2015
  • 5 Directors:
    • Adam Kreutz Gallardo PF S’12 – (July 2012-July 2014)
    • Patricia Barletta (July 2013-July 2015)
    • Kathleen Saville  (July 2013-July 2015)
    • Director — 2 years — (July 2013-July 2015)
    • Director — 1 year — (July 2013-July 2014)

5) LISTING OF OUTGOING BOARD MEMBERS

Outgoing Board Members:

Special 1-Year Term to fill Vacancies July 2013-July 2014:

  • Vice President: Libby Cudmore PF S’10
  • Director:  Lynnette James PF S’12

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Community News & Updates July 2013

ALUMNI

Adam Kreutz Gallardo (Popular Fiction, S’12) is pleased to announce that he has signed a two-book deal with Kensignton Teen, a division of Kensington Publishing. His debut novel, Zomburbia, will be released in Spring 2014 and its sequel will be released the following year. The deal was facilitated by Ann Collette of the Rees Agency who has been a frequent guest of Stonecoast. Updates about progress on the books may be found on Adam’s Facebook page and on his website.

Melissa Heath (Creative Nonfiction, S’10) has been awarded a Calderwood Fellowship in Writing Instruction at hte Boston Athenaeum. The Calderwood Fellowship is a year-long fellowship offered in partnership with UMASS-Boston.

CityOfSoldiers_FinalTara Mantel‘s (Fiction, S’09) story collection, Elemental, is a Tartts First Fiction Award Winner. The collection will be published by Livingston Press in June 2014.

Sandra McDonald (Popular Fiction, W’05) is happy to announce the publication of her ninth book. City of Soldiers (written as Sam Burke), published by Dreamspinner Press, is a gay and asexual thriller about military veterans, a serial killer, and a supernatural secret buried under Philadelphia. She also sold the story “Story of Our Lives” to Asimov’s Science Fiction.

cover-2013-02Julie Scharf (Creative Nonfiction, S’10) has recently published her short memoir piece titled “A Boy Named Bobby” in the summer 2013 edition of Mused: Bella Online Literary Review.

Catherine Schmitt‘s (Creative Nonfiction, W’12) article on The Champlain Society, a group of students who camped and practiced science on Mount Desert Island in the 1880s, was published online by the Maine Historical Society in partnership with the Northeast Harbor Library and Mount Desert Island Historical Society.

Joanne Turnbull (Fiction, W’11) is the winner of the Jewish Community Alliance’s 2013 Linda & Joel Abromson Award. She will use the award to conduct writing workshops with seniors, helping them to craft “legacy letters.”

Tamra Wilson (Fiction, S’11) will present “What Makes a Southern Story Southern” as part of the Lifelong Learning Program at Eastern Carolina University on August 24. Wilson, a Road Scholar with the NC Humanities Council, developed her illustrated talk from work for her graduating presentation at Stonecoast. See Tamra’s website for more information.

trenna_yewll

Trenna Keating | Doc Yewll

Erin Underwood (Popular Fiction, S’09) now blogs for Amazing Stories Magazine. She has a new interview published by Amazing Stories with actress Trenna Keating, who plays the ultra-cool alien Doc Yewll from the new Syfy television show Defiance. You can find the interview with Trenna here.

STUDENTS

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam‘s (Popular Fiction) poem “The Ferryman” appears in the recent spring issue of Goblin Fruit. Read it here!

FACULTY

601033_10151660454956348_94644711_n-1Nancy Holder (Popular Fiction) has a story in The Living Dead, published by Orbit in the UK. “Passion Play” is about the crucifixion of a zombie during the Oberammergau Passion Play.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Fiction) has signed a second book deal with HarperCollins for her new novel Balm, a Civil War-era story of families struggling to recover from the wounds of war.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Via Alexandria Delcourt (Fiction): The Stonecoast Review is currently accepting submissions in Creative Nonfiction, Literary Fiction, Poetry, and Popular (genre) Fiction. If you have pieces to submit, we would love to read them. We are planning to put our first issue out in October, so please send us your best work! (We are especially in need of great CNF and PopFic.) You can find more information as well as our submission guidelines here.

CONFERENCES

Iota banner

Penny Guisinger (Creative Nonfiction, S’13) has launched an exciting new writers’ conference called Iota: The Conference of Short Prose. Featuring faculty members Sven Birkerts, Lewis Robinson, and Arielle Greenberg, Iota offers workshops in essay, short fiction, and poetry/hybrid forms. The conference will take place August 22-25, 2013, on beautiful Campobello Island, New Brunswick, which is just across the bridge from lovely Lubec, Maine. Participants will stay in the restored homes that make up the historic Roosevelt Campobello International Park, former home of Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. Iota was begun as Penny’s third-semester project, and she is eager to see it come to life! Registrations are due by July 22, and the conference costs between $375 and $650 (depending on lodging and meal needs). For more information, visit the conference website or call Penny at 207.733.2233.

Campobello Island

Campobello Island

KICKSTARTER

eb298203cd64e972dfa6a7192e579d03_largeNaomi Farr (Creative Nonfiction, S’12): Love nature-inspired weddings? Sweet Violet Bride is a nature-inspired blog (founded by Naomi) and soon to be a print magazine. It is currently on Kickstarter and needs your support! It would mean the world if you’d spread the word simply by clicking the Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons below the video on the Kickstarter page. Just two clicks make a huge difference!

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