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 fiancĂ©, 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.]