Posted by: wordrunner | December 1, 2021

December 2021

Dear Literary Folk,

Phyllis Meshulam Will Be Recognized
by Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
In ordinary times, our new Poet Laureate is recognized at a Board of Supervisors meeting within the first month or two of their term. When Phyllis became our Poet Laureate in April of 2020, the formal recognition fell off the agenda, as so many things did in the early days of COVID-19.

But I’m pleased to announce that Phyllis will finally have her moment of recognition. At December’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting on Tuesday, December 7, at 8:30 AM, a resolution will be read proclaiming that Phyllis is the Sonoma County Poet Laureate. There will be an opportunity for public comment.

Phyllis and others can speak on behalf of the resolution during the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting. Details for doing so are noted in the agenda at the link below

Members of the public can watch or join the meeting using one of the following methods.

Watch Livestream:
Once the meeting has started, click the “In Progress” hyperlink to begin viewing.

Join the Zoom Meeting:
Participate by computer, tablet, or smartphone application:

Go to:
Enter meeting ID: 984 8770 0261
Enter Password: 919371

Public Comment:
Public Comment may be made live during the zoom meeting or live, in person, in the Board Chambers. Available time for comments is determined by the Board Chair based on agenda scheduling demands and total number of speakers. Public comment during the meeting can be made live by joining the Zoom meeting using the above provided information.

Upcoming Literary Events
We’re heading into the holiday season with yet another COVID variant keeping us cautious about indoor gatherings, including literary events. But a quick scan of the December calendar shows quite an array of virtual events or hybrid events scheduled for the month, even a few live events for the vaccinated. Here are four that caught my attention.

Dan Coshnear and Richard Krause
Wednesday, December 1,
5:45-6:45 p.m. Unsolicited Press invites you to an online reading with short story authors Daniel Coshnear and Richard Krause.

Dan Coshnear, Separation AnxietySonoma County author Coshnear will be reading from his newest collection, Separation Anxiety, eighteen stories that explore how pervasive the disorder can be in everyday lives. Coshnear paints separation anxiety as an engine of change while being careful to tend to the delicateness of the disorder’s consequences. Dan is the author of a previous collection of stories, Jobs & Other Preoccupations (Helicon Nine Editions), which was awarded the Willa Cather Prize in Fiction. In 2003, Coshnear was awarded the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award, and in 2005 the Christopher Isherwood Foundation Fellowship. He teaches in a variety of university extension programs, including University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Coshnear works at a group home for homeless men and women with mental illness. He lives in Guerneville, California with his wife Susan and their children Circe and Daedalus.

Richard Krause grew up in the Bronx and on farms in Pennsylvania. He drove a taxi in NYC for five years and taught English for nine years in Japan. Oddly, those disparate occupations forge a finely hammered toughness into this collection, giving the reader plenty of quirky, desperate characters presented in a melodious, poetic fashion. Currently, he teaches at a community college in Kentucky. Krause’s collection, Studies in Insignificance, was published by Livingston Press.
Zoom link:

Artist as HealerWriting and Healing
Sunday, December 5,
1:00-2:30 p.m. Book launch for Nina Ayin Reimer’s Artist as Healer: Stories of Transformation and Healing. At Coffee & Moore, 6761 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. Book sale and signing. Indoor event. Please wear masks when not eating or drinking.

Tuesday, December 7, 4:00 p.m. Book Passages presents Michael J. Fox in conversation with Willie Giest. In No Time Like the Future: An Optimist Considers Mortality, Michael shares personal stories and observations about illness and health, aging, the strength of family and friends, and how our perceptions about time affect the way we approach mortality. Live, online, ticketed event. Buy book and receive email ticket, $18. Shipping of book not included. Details and registration:

The Egg ManLocal History/Family Saga
Sunday, December 19
, at 4:00 p.m. Sonoma County author Chris Riebli’s novel The Egg Man will be launched at Occidental Center for the Arts. Set in the North Bay region of California in the late 19th and early decades of the 20th century, The Egg Man is the story of Arnold Bert Miller—poacher, teamster, drinker, dreamer—an Everyman of his day, “nose to nose with the hard truths about himself.” This novel is a prequel to The Body’s Perfect, (2012) and traces two earlier generations of the Miller family. Proof of vaccination and indoor masking required.

Poem for December

A House Called Tomorrow
by Alberto Rios

You are not fifteen, or twelve, or seventeen—
You are a hundred wild centuries
And fifteen, bringing with you
In every breath and in every step
Everyone who has come before you,
All the yous that you have been,
The mothers of your mother,
The fathers of your father.
If someone in your family tree was trouble,
A hundred were not:
The bad do not win—not finally,
No matter how loud they are.
We simply would not be here
If that were so.
You are made, fundamentally, from the good.
With this knowledge, you never march alone.
You are the breaking news of the century.
You are the good who has come forward
Through it all, even if so many days
Feel otherwise. But think:
When you as a child learned to speak,
It’s not that you didn’t know words—
It’s that, from the centuries, you knew so many,
And it’s hard to choose the words that will be your own.
From those centuries we human beings bring with us
The simple solutions and songs,
The river bridges and star charts and song harmonies
All in service to a simple idea:
That we can make a house called tomorrow.
What we bring, finally, into the new day, every day,
Is ourselves. And that’s all we need
To start. That’s everything we require to keep going.
Look back only for as long as you must,
Then go forward into the history you will make.
Be good, then better. Write books. Cure disease.
Make us proud. Make yourself proud.
And those who came before you? When you hear thunder,
Hear it as their applause.

Copyright © 2018 by Alberto Ríos.

You can find more poems by Alberto Ríos and many others on the theme of generosity and hope.

Be Kind” by Michael Blumenthal
Go Give the World” by Otto Leland Bohanan
Hope is the thing with feathers (254)” by Emily Dickinson
On Giving” by Kahlil Gibran
May Perpetual Light Shine” by Patricia Spears Jones
To Rebuild” by Hallie Knight
A House Called Tomorrow” by Alberto Ríos
The Silver Thread” by Afaa Michael Weaver

I wish you all a healthy, civil, and creative holiday season, however you celebrate.
Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Joyous Kwaanza,
Glad Yule, Happy New Year, and many illuminating Epiphanies ahead.

Terry Ehret
Sonoma County Literary Update Co-editor


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