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Literary License Newsletter heading

October, 2002


      Like such other illustrious institutions as the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, SMA has been experiencing database problems.
      We now think we have solved the difficulties. Please look at your mailing label. If it says "2003" next to your name, you're a member in good standing. But if it says "Last Issue," that means our records show you haven't paid your dues for 2002-2003, and this will be your last issue of Literary License.
      If you believe we have made a mistake (which is possible), please contact the SMA treasurer, Robert Remer, 5840 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60660. Phone/Fax 773-561-6280.
      Please give this your attention. Besides losing their Literary License subscription, members who haven't paid will not be listed in the forthcoming yearbook and will be deleted from the membership list on the SMA website.
      One of the important benefits of membership is having your own page within the SMA website. The SMA webmaster even sets it up for you if you ask.
webmaster's note: Please click here for instructions.
By Richard Frisbie

      The Dallas Morning News, commenting on Robert Vivian's writing, noted that he can find "beauty in the details" of anything.
      Vivian gave proof of this as he read from new essays at the Oct. 8 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association. His previous collection of essays, Cold Snap as Yearning, won the SMA nonfiction award last May.
      In a piece titled "Every Day a Flower Opens," he wrote poetically of seeing an old woman on a Chicago street who symbolized for him the kindness and gentleness of so many old women performing simple tasks like folding clean laundry and making coffee.
      The essay form, Vivian commented, is "very liberating." It allows a writer to take the self as "starting point toward the universal."
      "The Fog Sweepers" links the dense fog in Michigan, where he is an assistant professor at Alma College--"fog deep as trees," filled with "forebodings of deer dashing across the highway"--to memories of childhood visits to Michigan relatives.
      "Shadows Moving Porchwise," the title piece of the new collection, which Vivian is about ready to send to his agent, sees a "kaleidoscope that won't stay still" in an old man in a Nebraska blizzard, who is a "precursor to my fate."
      Vivian, who has won numerous literary awards, said he thinks one reason his lyrical essays find acceptance is that "as life gets faster, people are driven inward."
      He also has written a number of published monologues. One of his plays has been produced off-Broadway.
      In a discussion of writing methods, he said that although he readily turns to his computer for prose he feels more comfortable writing plays and poetry longhand.


Riding Across Cuba
       Ken Paterson, one of our more adventurous members, was profiled in the Chicago Tribune recently part way through riding a horse 600 miles across Cuba.
      "I want to try to build my little bridges to people who are muy simpatico," he told the paper's man in Havana.
      Paterson obtained the co-operation of the Cuban government because on previous trips to Cuba he had shown that he himself was simpatico. In 1999 he entertained an SMA membership meeting with a slide show about the Hemingway sites in Cuba.
      While in Cuba, he spent time with Gregorio Fuentes, age 101 when Paterson met him, who had been first mate on Hemingway's fishing boat. Fuentes is considered to be the model for Santiago in The Old Man and the Sea.
      Paterson sent Literary License a snapshot of himself riding his horse across the patio of the plush Hotel Nacional in Havana, en route to order a beer in the cantina. He was no doubt thirsty after riding up to 20 miles a day in a hot country.
      Because the clutch burned out on his support vehicle, he had to break off his journey with 200 miles to go, but he plans to return to Cuba soon to finish what he described to Cuban officials as "A Ride Through History: From Pinar del Rio to Santiago de Cuba."
      Not surprisingly, that's also the working title of the book he plans to write.

Mysteries With Exercise
       Alzina Stone Dale just placed two more of her "Mystery Walking Guides" (New York and Chicago) with iUniverse (publish on demand).
      This will keep them in print indefinitely.
       She will appear at Magna Cum Murder Mystery Conference at Muncie, Ind., Oct. 25-27 to run a session on "How to Write a Mystery Guide Book."
      Her Newberry Library Seminar on "Chicago Mystery Writers Past and Present" begins Oct. 24. One of five sessions will cover Sara Paretsky, another the late Chicago Police Captain Hugh Holton, whose papers are at the Newberry.

New Musical Coming
       Joanne Koch, associate professor of English at National-Louis University and co-chair of their master in written communication program, is co-author with Sarah Cohen of the new musical, Danny Kaye, Supreme Court Jester, which will have benefit presentations in November in Albany, N.Y.
       Co-chairs of the benefit are Beverly Sills, Kitty Carlisle Hart and Pulitzer-Prize winner William Kennedy.
       Danny will also tour Chicago and San Francisco this season.
       Koch, who heads the Chicago Writers' Bloc new play development group, was among the playwrights in the group receiving grants from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the Dramatists Guild Fund.
       So honored was her play with music, A Leading Woman, based on a 1919 actors' struggle, which shut down Broadway.
       Koch and Cohen are also co-editors of Shared Stages: Plays by and About African-Americans and Jews to be published in 2003-2004 by University of Wisconsin Press.
       It will include Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy, John Henry Redwood's No Niggers, No Jews, No Dogs, Herb Gardner's I'm Not Rappaport, Michael Henry Brown's The Day the Bronx Died and Koch's and Cohen's own multi cultural musical, Soul Sisters, which has toured 27 universities around the country.

All About Greeley
      The Arizona Alumnus magazine recently published a profile of Andrew Greeley that answers some of the questions people ask about the best-selling novelist.
      Father Greeley, a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, is a professor of sociology at the University of Arizona in the spring and at the University of Chicago in the fall.
      In spring he says Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Tucson. In the fall it's St. Mary of the Woods in Chicago.
      His substantial earnings as a writer help support his research in sociology.
      Besides a weekly column in the Chicago Sun-Times, he has written 64 non-fiction books on sociology and religion plus 49 works of fiction.
      How can he write so much?
      '"Celibacy,' he says without hesitation. `It gives me plenty of time to write--I have no family to occupy my time. And'--he arches his eyebrows--`Irish glibness,' another term for his evident gift of Blarney."

Guest of Honor
      Barbara D'Amato, prolific mystery writer, will be the guest of honor at the mystery writers' Malice Domestic conference in 2003.

Read the Book First
      Rosellen Brown conducted a "keynote reading" from her latest book Oct. 11 at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago.
      The book, Half a Heart, is now out in paperback.
      The Guild Complex newslet-ter suggested to attendees that it would be a good idea to read the book before turning up to discuss it.
      The program, sponsored by the Guild Complex, was part of a "women writers'" conference.
      Brown's earlier novels include Civil Wars, Tender Mercies and Before and After, which was made into a film starring Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson.


      Richard Babcock, editor of Chicago magazine. His new book, Bow's Boy, is due out in November. Set in the 1960s, it deals with Vietnam war repercussions in a small town in Wisconsin.
      Elizabeth Taylor Bland. Her 10th Marti McCalister mystery, Windy City Dying, will be released in November. Characters include the children who appeared in her first novel, Dead Time.
      Randy Garrett, co-author of Victims of Justice, the story of the Rolando Cruz death penalty case which has been a factor in the Illinois elections for governor and attorney general.
      Eldon Ham, an attorney who has represented well-known athletes. Author of The Playmasters: From Sellouts to Lockouts--An Unauthorized History of the NBA and The 100 Greatest Sports Blunders of All Time.
      Kathy Heskin, author of Marriage: a Spiritual Journey. Her husband, Neil, runs Earthen Vessels bookstore in Arlington Heights, Ill.
      Burt Levy writes about the world of cars, including the novels The Last Open Road and Montezuma's Ferrari.
      Sterling Plumpp, author of numerous books, ranging from Johannesburg & Other Poems to Blues: the Story Always Untold and Ornate With Smoke (1997).
      Maurice Possley, Chicago Tribune writer. Putnam is publishing a paperback edition of Everybody Pays: Two Men, One Murder and the Price of Truth, a non-fiction book Possley co-authored with fellow SMA member and Tribune writer Rick Kogan..
      Rick Telander, Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist and author of String Music and Heaven Is a Playground.
      Rob Warden, executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University. Author or co-author of several books having to do with various kinds of corruption in the judicial system.

SMA is grateful to the following contributors to the Awards Fund, not previously acknowledged:
Joella Z. Cramblit
Jamie M. Gilson
Rick Kogan
Harriet K. Nye
Kenneth H. Paterson
Frances Podulka.

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