Posted by: wordrunner | December 1, 2013

December 1, 2013

Got Publications? Let Sonoma County Literary Update Help You Celebrate!

Dear Literary Folk,

This month, the Literary Update is launching a new feature. Many Sonoma County writers are published each month in local, national, and international literary journals. We’d like to recognize these publications, provide links (when possible) to read the pieces and to highlight these journals as well.

Ed Coletti will be hosting this particular new page. If you have a publication in a literary journal within the last 30 days you’d like to announce, send the following information to Ed at

Your name
Title of the piece
Name of the journal and date of publication (issue/volume)
Link to journal’s website (if available)

This also gives me the opportunity to remind those of you with chapbook and book-length publications to send your announcement to the Literary Update for its Sonoma County in Print Page:

Include a book cover image (jpg), brief book description, and information on how your readers can find out more about you and your work or order a copy. Please send this announcement as plain text, preferably in an email (no flyers, pdfs or docs with special formatting).

Here is a sampler of some of the literary events happening around the county and beyond this month.

Amy TanCopperfield’s Presents Amy Tan
Monday, December 2, 7:00 p.m.
Copperfield’s in Petaluma presents Amy Tan, reading from The Valley of Amazement. Location:140 Kentucky Street. Details:

A Child's Christmas in WalesTwo Chances to See A Child’s Christmas in Wales, by Dylan Thomas
Performed by The Rebound Players.
Thursday, December 5, 7:30 p.m. at the Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission, San Rafael. Admission $3.00 Marin Poetry Center members, $5 non-members
Saturday, December 7, 7:30 p.m. Rebound Bookstore, 1611 4th St, San Rafael. Admission free.

Eric Johnson demonstrating letterpress at Iota PressIota Press & Co-op Holiday Open House
Sunday December 8th, 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Iota Press & Co-op hosts a Holiday Open House. Location: 925c S. Gravenstein Hwy., Sebastopol. They’ll have many new books and cards on display for gifts. . .and there will be an opportunity to print on the old presses. Details:

Virgin of Guadalupe with border of roses Alabanzas a Tonantzin / Praises to Tonantzin
December 15, 6:00-8:30 p.m.
Our friends Theresa Whitehill and Jabez Churchill up in Ukiah are hosting a special evening in honor of the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Readings are in Spanish and English, with some translation back and forth. All are welcome to bring offerings of poetry, music, and refreshments. Location: Grace Hudson Museum, 431 South Main Street, Ukiah. Details:

Sigurd Olson at QueticoI usually end with a poem for the month. This time, I want to share a wonderful prose piece by an author whose work I discovered while visiting Ely, Minnesota. Sigurd F. Olson was an award-winning conservation activist and best-selling author who lived in Ely most of his life. This piece was excerpted from The Singing Wilderness, one of his many books, available in bookstores or from the University of Minnesota Press. You can read the essay in its entirety at this link:

In this excerpt, the author describes ice skating under the northern lights. Enjoy!

Terry Ehret, co-editor

To download a pdf with most of the pages on the Sonoma County Literary Update site, click here.


A Sense of Place: Northern Lights

The lake lay like a silver mirror before me, and from its frozen surface came subterranean rumblings, pressure groans, sharp reports from the newly forming ice. As far as I could see, the surface was clear and shining. That ice was something to remember here in the north, for most years the snows come quickly and cover the first smooth glaze of freezing almost as soon as it is formed, or else the winds ruffle the surface of the crystallizing water and fill it with ridges and unevenness. But this time there had been no wind or snow to interfere, and the ice everywhere was clear—seven miles of perfect skating, something to dream about in years to come.

Hurriedly I strapped on my skates, tightened the laces, and in a moment was soaring down the path of shifting light which stretched endlessly before me. Out in the open away from shore there were few cracks—stroke—stroke—stroke—long and free, and I knew the joy that skating and skiing can give, freedom of movement beyond myself. But to get the feel of soaring, there must be miles of distance and conditions must be right. As I sped down the lake, I was conscious of no effort, only of the dancing lights in the sky and a sense of lightness and exaltation.

Shafts of light shot up into the heavens above me and concentrated there in a final climactic effort in which the shifting colors seemed drained from the horizons to form one gigantic rosette of flame and yellow and greenish purple. Suddenly I grew conscious of the reflections from the ice itself and that I was skating through a sea of changing color caught between the streamers above and below. At that moment I was part of the aurora, part of its light and of the great curtain that trembled above me.

Those moments of experience are rare. Sometimes I have known them while swimming in the moonlight, again while paddling a canoe when there was no wind and the islands seemed inverted and floating on the surface. I caught it once when the surf was rolling on an ocean coast and I was carried on the crest of a wave that had begun a thousand miles away. Here it was once more—freedom of movement and detachment from the earth.

Down the lake I went straight into the glistening path, speeding through a maze of changing color—stroke—stroke—stroke—the ringing of steel on ice, the sharp, reverberating rumbles of expansion below. Clear ice for the first time in years, and the aurora blazing away above it.

From “Northern Lights,” The Singing Wilderness, by Sigurd Olson


%d bloggers like this: