Monday, December 29, 2014

in Port Angeles and Sequim: Poetry Workshops |

Workshops |

How to Write a Letter of Complaint

How to Write a Letter of Complaint

This might be a good exercise for a writing group or a class.  It should convince, be concise, etc.  Working as a group to write a letter of complaint sounds like a good project. What do you think?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Nat. Brut - H O M E

Nat. Brut - H O M E

Look for the submit button IF I link to a publication that accepts your work for publication.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

North Coast Writers; reading featuring Carmen Germain and Molly Hollenbach,,WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

PRESS RELEASE: North Coast Writers; reading featuring Carmen Germain and Molly Hollenbach

WHEN:  Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

CONTACT: Suzann Bick,, (360) 797-1245

            North Coast Writers present an evening of both creative non-fiction and poetry on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7:00 p.m.  Readers Carmen Germain and Molly Hollenbach will focus on their experiences of the natural environment in select locales of Italy, the Midwest, the Grand Canyon and the Pacific Northwest.     

The public is invited to this free reading at Wine on the Waterfront, 115 E. Railroad Avenue in Port Angeles.  Early arrival for seating and purchase of refreshments is encouraged.

            Germain grew up in Wisconsin, spending her early years as a "free range child," in the company of fields, forests, creeks, lakes and rivers.  After leaving the Midwest, she earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MA from the University of British Columbia.  Currently, she and her husband spend a significant part of each year in the North Coastal interior of British Columbia, an area of fragile beauty now imperiled as the land is being leased or sold to mining companies, eager to supply the fracking industry.  Germain recently retired from Peninsula College where she taught composition studies and world literature for over twenty years.  Additionally, she co-directed the Foothills Writers Series.     

            Like Germain, Hollenbach was raised in the upper Midwest, where a neighbor remembers her paddling on Saginaw Bay—a "real country girl."  She received her undergraduate degree from Carleton College, then earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Washington.  Much later, she returned to graduate school, and was awarded an MFA from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. 

Germain, whose main focus is poetry, published a collection, These Things I Will Take with Me (Cherry Grove Press), as well as a previous chapbook, Living Room, Earth. Her poems have appeared in such journals as Cold Mountain Review, Crosscurrents, Heliotrope, Pontoon, and Raven Chronicles. Currently, she writes e-reviews for Rattle and Verse Wisconsin.  As a visiting scholar/artist in Rome, Germain had the opportunity to focus on novelist Else Morante. Germain also lived in Umbria, where she interviewed a film maker who had known both Morante and her husband.     

            Considering herself something of a nomad, Hollenbach has at various times called Seattle, Portland, OR, and Mount Shasta, CA home.  She taught English at Peninsula College and Anthropology at Shoreline and Bellevue Community Colleges.  She also served as a senior writer and editor for the Salmon Recovery Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service, a reporter for The Islands' Sounder (San Juan Islands), and program director for KRAB radio in Seattle.  She currently resides in Port Townsend.

            Hollenbach's main interests are creative non-fiction and documentary film. She considers the time she volunteered as a park ranger at the Grand Canyon a pivotal experience. Her essay Rock Bhakti: Dreaming the Vishnu Schist was recently published in an anthology, On Foot: Grand Canyon Backpacking Stories (Vishnu Temple Press). Her work has also appeared in Communities Magazine, Resurgence, The Seattle Weekly, Winds of Change, and Pacific Fishing Magazine. Additionally, Hollenbach published a memoir, Lost and Found:  My Life in a Group Marriage Commune (University of New Mexico Press).  

            Works by both writers will be available for purchase and signing following their readings on December 2.

 Hope to see you and friends there.
Mary-Alice Boulter
North Coast Writers

Saturday, November 22, 2014

poetry readings - YouTube

poetry readings - YouTube

Short Story: Grandstanding


He was showing off.  Three of his friends were helping.  Moving faster than he would, ordinarily, carrying two rocks instead of one, heaving two sacks of concrete rather than one, and making jokes the whole time, coughing to cover his breathlessness as he continued a running conversation with the guys working around him.

A few days earlier they called him a pussy for wanting to hire professionals to do the work.  They said they would help with his new shed.  About an hour into the job of mixing and pouring, he grabbed at the center of his chest, yelled out, and collapsed on the ground in his side yard.  One of the guys ran to him and looked.  He dialed 911 and started chest compressions.  Another of the guys felt for a pulse in his neck and pressed his wrist to feel for a pulse.  Nothing.  He was gone.  Gone.  The ambulance was there in minutes.  The EMTs said he was gone.  They couldn’t get a pulse.  Nothing worked.

The fellows digging Dave’s grave worked quietly, pacing themselves.  One of them caught his breath and had a sip of water.  His pal reminded him to take it easy, as he had some heart trouble a few years earlier.

Short Story; Conditioning


Robert was hypnotized. She had a voice like chocolate and she smelled like lemon pie. Her teeth were perfect, and she was the color of sun. She signed Robert for a month’s membership even before he toured the gym.  He held his stomach in as long as he dared. When the trainer turned her back to show him the exercise room and all the new, chrome equipment, he caught his breath, and sucked it in again, tightening his pecs and squeezing his buttocks until his face flushed.

He was self-conscious, not happy with his size, and his clothes were all wrong.  He wore his old military dress shoes, black socks, corduroy pants and a tee shirt.  Being new to the big city was intimidating, and a young man from far away knew little about the ways of Amerikatsi.

Maybe he would buy some of the Adidas sneakers he saw on feet in the gym.  It had to be right. Robert was a mess. His mouth was dry and he was sure the back of this shirt was full of dandruff. He wanted to be beautiful for one of the American girls he saw in the city.

The gym was a short bus ride from the apartment he shared with his brother's family and his sister's fiancé, Dido, and their ferrets.  The whole flat smelled of smoke, pee and litter boxes, mixed with the aroma of his sister’s Armenian cooking and the dog kibble they fed the ferrets.

Gloria was the head trainer.  Her tattoo said something like "I love Harley Riders and...", the rest of the ornate lettering disappearing into the top  of her pink shorts. She had Robert do leg-ups--hundreds of reps.  Toes in, toes out, toes straight.  The next morning his calves and thighs burned. When he took a step, he had to put his legs out slowly and flat-footed so he could walk to the bus. Gloria saw him come in, and pointed him out to the other trainers and staff. They had a good laugh. Gloria had done what she always did with the newbies—especially the ones that she considered yokels.

Rod was a gym fixture, and the first one in every morning.  He was huge.  No neck, and lots of blue veins sticking out of his arms and his forehead, looking like they might pop.  He had a  high voice, and no body hair.  Working out by himself, in the corner, where the floor to ceiling mirrors were hung, he'd take off his shirt, and stand close to the mirror when he worked his arms and chest. He would yell to himself.  "Come on, baby!  Come on, bitch!  Work it!  You are a god.  Come on! "  No one saw any sweat.  The blue veins would rise and pump in his neck and arms, and Robert could see the blood moving through them. Robert winced. He was frightened and confused.

So intimidated and scared by what he saw and heard, Robert stopped going to the gym. He soon met his neighbor—a demure, Armenian woman, who loved Robert just the way he was. She told him that his size was just more for her to love.  Robert fell in love that day.

[…to be continued.]

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sonder Review| Submit| Submission Guidelines

The Sonder Review| Submit| Submission Guidelines

Theatrical performance and exposition on Tuesday evening, October 7, 2014.

North Coast Writers welcomes playwrights Jerry Kraft and Rebecca Redshaw for what promises to be a lively evening of theatrical performance and exposition on Tuesday evening, October 7, 2014.

            The public is invited to this free monthly presentation beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Wine on the Waterfront, 115 E. Railroad Avenue in Port Angeles.   The door opens at 6:30 p.m. and those attending are encouraged to arrive early for good seating and to purchase refreshments prior to the reading.

            Jerry Kraft, long time member of the North Coast Writers group, playwright, poet, and journalist, will offer "God Clicked," a dramatic monologue, as well as a short play, Sand Script, first presented in Seattle this August as part of the annual 14/48 Theatre celebration .

            Kraft has lived in Port Angeles for the last ten years.   He was involved with community theatre and taught a memoir writing class through the YMCA. He writes reviews of Seatttle theatre productions for and has also published poetry, short fiction and plays.  He recently relocated to Mount Vernon, Washington with his wife to accommodate her employment.

            Rebecca Redshaw, Port Angeles fiction author, playwright and director, will also showcase one of her short plays, Broadway Showtunes Game of Life.  Redshaw worked for over twenty five years in the Los Angeles film and television industry.  Using her technical expertise, she supervised the restoration and preservation of films for SONY Entertainment.  With eight produced plays to her credit, Redshaw has also enjoyed the participatory aspect of theatre.  She has published two books, Dear Jennifer and Sofa Cinema: An Easy Guide to DVDs, Vol. 1.  She also writes a regular column for the Sequim Gazette, focusing on DVDs. 

           Kraft and Redshaw will conclude the evening with a discussion of the challenges incurred in writing for a live audience and will answer questions.

     For further information, contact Suzann Bick, (360) 797-1245, email; or Mary-Alice Boulter, (360) 477-9972, email

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New poem

My dogs call me to task;
call me to my lesson
each dawn.
I wipe out their bowls
pour a measure of food
pierce a capsule
squeezing out half in a dish.
The big dog
accepts the remainder
from my fingers.

They have educated me
with their postures,
brilliant eyes
and soft muzzles.

Under their tutelage,
I have been taught
what they like
what I should pay attention to
what changes to make
and unmake
what speed to move.

I’ve learned that the little one
eats more slowly
prefers to eat by herself.
I’ve learned that the big one eats fast
always has room for more.

Watching them take
the kibble out of their dishes
listening to the
crunch of the hard bits
is delicious.

They move to the water bucket
after they eat.
The sound as they lap the water;
seeing it drip from their muzzles
makes me smile
lean in
to hear more closely.

If they had feathers they wouldn’t be more magical.



Nueva poema

Mis perros me llaman a la tarea;
llámame a mi lección
cada amanecer.
Me limpio sus tazones
verter una medida de los alimentos
perforar una cápsula
exprimiendo medio en un plato.
El perro grande
acepta el resto
de mis dedos.

Me han educado
con sus posturas,
ojos brillantes
bozales y suaves.

Bajo su tutela,
Me han enseñado
lo que les gusta
lo que debo prestar atención a
qué cambios hacer
y deshacer
qué velocidad a moverse.

He aprendido que el pequeño
come más lentamente
prefiere comer por sí misma.
He aprendido que el grande se come rápido
siempre tiene espacio para más.

Verlos toman
la croqueta de sus platos
la escucha de la
crujido de los bits duros
es delicioso.

Se mueven con el cubo de agua
después de comer.
El sonido ya que lamen el agua;
viendo gotear de sus hocicos
me hace sonreír
apoyarse en
escuchar más de cerca.

Si tenían plumas no serían más mágico.


How to Describe Eyes

How to Describe Eyes

How to Create a Successful Writing Blog

How to Create a Successful Writing Blog

Sunday, August 31, 2014

New story: Aunt Betty's Pomeranian

Cuddles spent a lot of time in Aunt Betty’s lap. He was like Betty in so many ways; cute, garrulous, liking attention, and very smart.

Cuddles greeted everyone with his tongue hanging out. People thought he was uncomfortable in the overheated house, but it was another tool that he used to ascertain those strangers that were a threat from those that wanted to greet and pet him.

Pomeranians are extroverted and enjoy being the center of attention but can become aggressive and dominant if not well disciplined. Aunt Betty shared the same traits as her dog, although her children and any children under her care learned that her stern manner was only revealed when absolutely necessary. Aunt Betty taught me to eat egg whites in this way.

My Aunt and her daughter stayed in my parents house and looked after me for a few days while my folks went on vacation. Betty cooked our meals, and made sunny side eggs for my Saturday morning breakfast; a breakfast I always looked forward to because Mom and Dad said I could have a cup of coffee on Saturday. Even at seven, I complained about the runny whites in the eggs, and refused to eat them. The texture was creepy and they looked like snot.

Betty disappeared into the kitchen for few minutes and appeared with a plate of scrambled eggs embedded with chunks of Romano cheese, piled on a toasted piece of sourdough. Not recognizing the usual puddle of the “white stuff”, I gobbled them up, being a growing boy…climbing trees, and swimming every day. I asked for more, not realizing this delicious treat was full of egg whites.

Aunt Betty was very clever, and chuckled to herself as a smile spread across her face, connecting her dimples, as I scraped the last bit of egg off my plate with a scrap of toast.

Cuddles caught my eye from his perch on a nearby chair. He had fallen under the spell of his master years earlier, and he seemed to be saying “watch out…she’s very clever, and you won’t be able to get anything past her.”

-tp 8/31/14

WriteTube - Say anything. Get anything.

WriteTube - Say anything. Get anything.

The best relationship advice you'll ever get, what cognitive science reveals about the perfect daily routine and the psychology of writing, and more

The best relationship advice you'll ever get, what cognitive science reveals about the perfect daily routine and the psychology of writing, and more

Monday, July 28, 2014

Short Story: The cue was "next to nothing."

His sturdy, white, Terrier, Bud, was named after the beer. Not Buddy Holly, not Buddy Rich, not the pizza joint in Detroit where he met his wife. Bud howled with excitement. The two men sipped their coffee and talked about the prognosis and how much time the doctor said he had. He was not concerned about his last days, but worried about finding a home for his dog. The Fireman pursuaded the man to take something. His penknife cost next to nothing and he carried it for thirty years. A small token.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Short Story. The cue was "The Biggest Surprise".

Uncle Doc

The biggest surprise was the day I found out why I am an only child. My mother got into some weighty and intimate conversations with one of her caregivers. Mom was very sick and was declining quickly, so her normally private nature was compromised, and she revealed a couple of family mysteries to “Mary”. My uncle Doc was a dwarf. He worked for the circus, and later in life, worked on the road crew in Connecticut, painting center lines. Mom and Dad were afraid to have more children, thinking that another child might be born with dwarfism. The chances of my brother or sister being a dwarf was one in 25,000. I didn’t believe Mary when she told me. I’m sure Mom made the whole thing up. She was testing Mary’s ability to keep a secret. Mary would be with mom until her last day.

-tp, 7/14/2004

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fourth Friday Readings in Sequim

Fourth Friday Readings in Sequim

Summer fun is happening at the Fourth Friday Readings on July 25, 6:00 p.m. at Rainshadow Coffee Bar, 157 W. Cedar Street in Sequim. EVERYONE gets to be a Featured Writer for the July Readings. Choose ONE of these prompts. Write a 5-minute poem or a short-short story... Prompt #1: Next to nothing Prompt #2: Time Out! Prompt #3: The biggest surprise Readings begin at 6:30 p.m. Please rehearse your writing so it fits into 5-minutes. Don't want to write to one of these prompts? You're welcome to bring another original writing for the 5-minute Open Mike readings. Guidelines are available: Come enjoy the inspired readings of Peninsula writers. Sponsored by Writers on the Spit. Category: Arts & Entertainment. Cost: Free. Contact Name: Ruth Marcus. Contact Email: Contact Phone: 360 681-2205. Friday, July 25, 2014, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Rainshadow Coffee Bar, 157 W. Cedar Street, Sequim.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Anne Lamott on how we keep ourselves small by people-pleasing, Walt Whitman illustrated, the "backfire effect" of our opinions, and more

Anne Lamott on how we keep ourselves small by people-pleasing, Walt Whitman illustrated, the "backfire effect" of our opinions, and more

"What makes Anne Lamott ’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (public library) so timelessly rewarding and one of the greatest books on writing of all time is that besides her wisdom on the craft, Lamott extends enormous sensitivity to and consolation for the general pathologies of the human condition – our insecurities, our social anxieties, our inner turmoils."

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Open Mic, 23rd at Rainshadow