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October 2006

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By Richard Frisbie

       When Edward E. Gordon pondered his current book, he was thinking of a 2010 "crossroads" that will be reached when 79 million Baby Boomers retire.
        But his publisher decided that a "meltdown" would have more sales potential than a mere "crossroads" so the book title is The 2010 Meltdown: Solving the Impending Jobs Crisis.
        His audience of authors at the Oct. 10 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association understood perfectly the advantages of greater sales potential.
        Gordon, a polished speaker accustomed to addressing corporate and government leaders as well as university classes, said that only 40 million Generation Xers are coming along to replace the retiring Baby Boomers.
        And, in general, they will be less educated, less skilled. He said the current high school graduation rate here is only 52 percent.
        The result will be a mismatch between high-skill jobs that can't be filled with qualified workers and low-skill workers who can't find jobs, "techno-peasants."
        We'll all be living in a world without enough people who know how to keep all our fancy technology working.
        This applies to the skilled trades as well as to health care, manufacturing and information technology.
        Some examples: the average age of airplane mechanics is 52 and the nationwide shortage of welders has already grown to 100,000.
        Other nations, including India and China, also face problems with workplace demographics, but Gordon foresees a threat to America's position in the world and standard of living.
        He recalled that the public school system was developed to cope with the vast influx of immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century.
        He said that business and government must now combine forces to restructure education to deal with modern needs.
        "There is no such thing as good, cheap education...minds are the real renewable resource."
        Gordon, a Ph. D. in psychology and history, is president of a management consulting firm that advises public and private agencies "on change and performance issues." He has written 16 books.

Novemeber Program

        Tom Ciesielka, who does publicity for a living (see Pages 2 and 3) besides writing his column for Literary License and the SMA Web site, will lead a panel discussion of how to get editors to pay attention to your book. Joining him will be:
        Cassandra West, an editor in Chicago Tribune Tempo section. She's also edited the paper's WomanNews section and been an assistant editor in the Books section. Before joining the Tribune in 1994, she held a variety of editing positions at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Kansas City Star.
        Jessa Crispin, the editor and founder of the literary webzine She has written for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Book Standard, the Chicago Reader, the Washington Post, Guardian and other
        Cheryl L. Reed, Chicago Sun-Times Books Editor.. Prior to her appointment in June, Reed was a project reporter at the paper and broke many stories involving disabled veterans. Reed is the author of Unveiled: The Hidden Lives of Nuns, which involved more than four years of research. She has worked at a number of newspapers across the country where she won many awards for her investigative reporting, including the Harvard University Goldsmith Prize.

Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

When: 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. program, Tuesday, Nov. 14.

Reservations NOT needed. Public invited. Reception and presentation $5 for nonmembers. SMA members and teachers and students with ID free. Snacks and cash bar.

Other Coming Events
        Jan. 9–"The Bradbury Chronicles and the Life of Ray Bradbury.' Introduction: Tom Frisbie, SMA President. Speaker: Sam Weller, winner of the SMA's 2006 biography prize for his biography of the noted Ray Bradbury science-fiction writer.
        Feb.13–Children's literature, details to come.
        March 13–"Researching and Writing Biographies of Dead Artists." Introduction: Tom Frisbie, SMA President; Jim Schwab, Program Chair. Speaker: Gerry Souter, president of the Midwest Writers Assn. and co-author with is wife of 34 books, including adult biographies on artists: Frida Kahlo, Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper, Diego Rivera and Mark Rothko.
        April 10–Poetry, details to come.
        May 8--92th Annual Banquet and
Awards Presentation.

Board Meetings
        Usually on the third Wednesday of each month: September through June, except December.

By Carol Jean Carlson

Poet and Artist in Duet
Poet Ron Offen has teamed up with New York City artist William Anthony in his new book of poems, Off-Target (d'cypher Press, 2006). Offen's poems have been published in over 100 literary publications, and he is the founding editor of Free Lunch: A Poetry Miscellany.
        Anthony's work can be found in the collections of many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.
        Over the years, each man created a work in response to that of his collaborator—a drawing would inspire a poem, a poem would engender a drawing. The result of the collaboration is a book that is at once humorous, weird and yet profound.

A Double Play
October has been good to Richard Lindberg. Two of his books have come out in a single month: Total White Sox: The Definitive Encyclopedia of the World Champion Franchise (Triumph Books) and Shattered Sense of Innocence: The 1955 Murders of Three Chicago Children (Southern Illinois University Press, part of the Elmer H. Johnson and Carol Holmes Johnson Series in Criminology) with co-author Gloria Jean Sykes. The latter is the story of the infamous Schussler-Peterson murders.


One and Another
        Arnie Bernstein is updating his book Hollywood on Lake Michigan for Lake Claremont Press for publication in 2008. And he's recently signed with the University of Michigan Press for publication of his true crime book Terror in Michigan: the Bath School Bombing of 1927.

Two at a Time
        Raymond Bial, author and photographer in Urbana, Ill., has two new books, just out. Nauvoo: Mormon City on the Mississippi River (Houghton Mifflin) is a photo essay.
        Shadow Island: A Tale of Lake Superior (Bluehorse Books) is a mystery for ages eight and up.

On the Money
        Tom Ciesielka, author of our column on book promotion, was Bill Moller's guest on WGN radio's The Money Show on Sept. 23. Subjects listed for discussion included: Using past successes to drive your future career or business goals, working with others to advance your dreams, recognizing that the road to success is paved with appreciation, being honest with yourself before promoting yourself to others, avoiding short term gains that could hurt your long-term life vision.
        Tom Ciesielka has worked in public relations for more than 15 years. His clients appear in media outlets such as: CNN, The New York Times, National Public Radio, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today and Good Morning America.
        His agency, TC Public Relations, is located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. It serves book authors, law firms and entrepreneurial businesses in the Midwest and across the country. He's promoted best-selling authors such as Andrew Greeley and John Maxwell, and books from publishers such as Yale University Press. He's also worked on civil rights and free speech cases.
        Prior to starting his own public relations agency, Ciesielka was the marketing director for the Museum of Broadcast Communications where he produced and promoted exhibitions on the development of American soap operas, rock & roll music on television, and Walt Disney's innovations in broadcasting.
        He's particularly proud that he's represented both "kings and queens." Andrea Nierenberg, known as the queen of networking and Frank Yankovic, America 's Polka King. In 1995, Ciesielka won an Emmy Award for the national PBS documentary special he produced on Yankovic.

Multi-Media Experience
        Gerry and Janet Souter's book from Random House, to be released Oct. 17, is The Founding of the United States Experience. This slip-cased hard-cover oversize volume recounts United States history from 1763 to 1815. The illustrated volume contains 33 removable reproductions of historic documents.
        The Souters gathered all the 200 plus illustrations and material from archives around the country in addition to writing the text. They needed not only the fronts of the archival documents, but--when possible--the backs as well. Also included is a 70-minute CD featuring reenactments of voices and events produced with the help of a radio production workshop held at Columbia College.

Has Expertise, Will Travel
        Jim Schwab, as an editor for the American Planning Association and author of environmental books, has become much in demand as an expert.
        He sends in the following speaking schedule:
        "On Nov. 15, I will be presenting ‘The Evolution of American Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery' at the International Symposium on the Development Experience of Post-Disaster Reconstruction, a bilingual Chinese-English conference in Taichung, Taiwan.
        " Before that, I will be presenting a workshop on planning for wildfires on Nov. 2 in Denver for the Backyards & Beyond conference of the national Firewise program.
        "Just to keep things hopping, First Unitarian Church of Hyde Park in Chicago has me speaking Oct. 15 at 11:45 a.m. on ‘Anticipating the Phoenix : Planning for Recovery After Disasters.'
        "I just accepted a Jan. 21 date to keynote the workshop, ‘Out of the Rubble: Transportation and Land Use Community Resilience and Recovery' as part of the Transportation Research Board annual conference in Washington , D.C. , Jan. 21-24, a rather big production that draws about 10,000 people.
        "After that, I am a keynote speaker also for the Feb. 8-9 conference in New Orleans , ‘Disaster Planning for a Carless Society,' focusing on evacuation issues connected with natural disasters."

Documentary to Repeat
        Milton Nieuwsma of Holland, Mich., is looking forward to new attention for the documentary based on his book, Surviving Auschwitz: Children of the Shoah (originally published as Kinderlager (a 1998 SMA award winner). The book was reissued as Surviving Auschwitz when the documentary went national, via PBS, last spring. It's supposed to be broadcast again in April 2007.

Editorials Win Award
        The Chicago Journalists Association has given Steve Huntley an award for his editorials in the Chicago Sun Times about clout and payoffs in city and state government.

A Tale of the Goat
        "The Billy Goat rocked Sat. afternoon as friends of Rick Kogan gathered to celebrate the publication of his charming new book, A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, A Curse, and the American Dream. Rick happily stepped aside to let his high spirited, curly-haired, blue-eyed daughter Fiona --to whom the book is dedicated--take the spotlight."
        That was the report on a listserve maintained for former staff members of the Chicago Daily News.
        Book signings were held Oct. 13 and 14 in Chicago's famed Billy Goat Tavern for Kogan's book,
        It's about that very oasis and the colorful characters who have frequented it over the years.

Historian Leads Tours
        Irving Cutler, currently promoting his new 384-page book, Chicago: Metropolis of the Mid-Continent, Fourth Edition, at local libraries, churches and other locations as well as bookstores, also leads popular tours of historic sites.
        On Oct. 31 he will serve as guide for members of the Arlington Heights (Ill.) Evangelical Free Church on a day-long tour of Chicago's historic religious institutions.
        Cutler told the Daily Herald that Chicago's churches, mostly built by immigrants, help tell the history of the city and its diversity.
        "To the immigrants who built them, they were part of their fabric of life."
        Cutler is former chairman of the geography department at Chicago State University."

Book "Performs Sterling Service"
        Publishers Weekly speaks well of Joseph Epstein's newest book, Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy's Guide (Atlas/HarperCollins, Eminent Lives Series):
        "Epstein performs sterling service in marshaling the vast amount of material on this enigmatic 19th-century Frenchman, and gives readers a clear understanding... Tocqueville is much more than a source of useful epigrams and half-remembered misquotes."


By Thomas Frisbie

Margaret Beaton is a freelance writer, editor and author. Her books include Syria (Children's Press, 1998), Senegal (Children's Press, 1997) and Oprah Winfrey (Children's Press, 1990).
        Of Syria, the School Library Journal said: "Beaton discusses the totalitarian government objectively, explaining both the good that President Hafez-al-Assad's government has done Syria and the drawbacks of his regime. She does not flinch from discussing Syria's backing of terrorism, but her factual presentation gives a political and international context to it, fitting it into a larger arena."

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