Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bill Truesdale

If it wasn't for Bill Truesdale's constant encouragement, I would've never thought of my zany email letter to him as a possible prose piece for House on Via Gombito: North American Women Writing Abroad (A broad!). (I had just returned from the USSR; I was abuzz, agog, as well as jet-lagged.)

Bill rejected my Peru travel piece and said—work on the letter. My flabber was ghasted. My shell was shocked. What letter? My email? So, from my emails, I drafted a train piece about traveling across the Russias. First big prose piece I'd ever tackled. Something like 10k words, it went through many drafts, and it also opened up the doorway to writing prose. And here I am, right now, writing prose....

Bill believed strongly in supporting emerging writers, and founded New Rivers Press in an old barn in 1968; Bill picked up lead poisoning from setting type as he set the first books by hand. The legacy press, with some 300 titles in print, is oldest continuously publishing press in the country. It was also the first book publisher to obtain a 501(c)3 nonprofit status, thus changing the role of small publishing forever.

So, yeah, I Bill, New Rivers Press editor extraordinaire. Bill died in 2001, after a long illness. Wherever you may be, Bill, riding that great zephyr in the sky, thanks for reading my zany eleventh-hour emails and seeing a potential story in them.

Nearly fifty women writers from North America contributed to the House on Via Gombito, an extraordinary anthology, published in 1991, long before the likes of Cheryl Strayed, Elizabeth Gilbert, and other women traveller-writers came into the limelight. These women writers (and myself) were pioneers exploring the inner emotional landscape of travel, as well as the outer landscapes, in a genre stolidly set in a male-dominated world of heroic adventure writing.

My memoir about traveling across the USSR, Night Train to Moscow: Waging Peace was reprinted in Writing the Rails: Train Adventures by the World's Best Loved Train Stories—by a subsidiary of Workman Publishers, Black Dog & Leventhal. It was a great line up (of mostly dead writers), Paul Theroux, VS Naipaul, Edith Wharton... I kept thinking they'd made a mistake including me.

Sadly the book was stood up and remaindered after 9/11. I never did get to do an author reading or book signing at Barnes & Noble. Alas, I do not have an electronic facsimile of my story, it's on the ever-growing 'to do" scan pile. It's done! Visit the page, Writing the Rails: Train Adventures.

C.W. "Bill" Truesdale

Maureen Hurley teaching silkpainting at Pleasanton

Maureen Hurley teaching silkpainting with Living History at the 2011 San Francisco Caledonian Club Scottish Highland Games. See you in the barn at the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton this Labor Day weekend! Tickets are $12 at the gate. KIds get in free.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Migraine cure

OMG! I've  found a fantastic cure for migraines—lemon curd tart smothered in fresh raspberries. Be sure to really push the berries into the curd for best results.

Fan o' the Week

Monday, August 20, 2012

CPITS Poetry & Writing Symposium

California Poets in the Schools

Passing the Gift Forward

A Poetry and Writing Symposium

September 14 - 16, 2012 Institute of Noetic Sciences Petaluma, California

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Maxfield Parrish sunset like no other

Did anyone catch the sunset tonight? My weenie flip cellphone (with serious technical issues) decided it wasn't gonna turn on, no matter what. So, sadly, no photo. I took mental pictures. What an incredible silhouette of Mt. Tam and the Bay replete with clouds that were etched straight out of a Maxfield Parrish painting. Weirdly there was also a hint of rain in the air—so we also had angel wings and buttermilk clouds lit from behind, glowing in shades of alizarin and woad. I raced home to get my cameras but I was too late. The sky had turned to dull pewter.

Susan Wooldridge said that were beams of light streaking out from "bimulous" clouds—it looked like a William Blake! Nothing like a little display of Godlight refracting through a sieve of clouds. Or smoke. So do ya think all that Chevron pollution is a contributing factor to that glorious sunset? It surely set the imagination afire. Jack Glider managed to get a photo from San Francisco but his fine photo was nowhere near as intense as what I witnessed.

Nice photo Jack Gilder! Did you snap any others? 
Tonight, I'll be at the ready
with my camera in hand. 
But no sunset was ever as grand
as last night's cloud confetti.

from a FB post, somewhat revised. Added 8/19