EG in the house!!!

Hettenhausen Center for the Arts, located on the campus of McKendree University, Lebanon, Ill.

So, I’m still floating high on the energy that I soaked up last Wednesday night as I sat and listened to a most prolific author share her thoughts on surviving, as Prince once said, “this thing we call life.”

I got to share perhaps what will become a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenal event with my husband Kevin on the evening of April 12 as we journeyed to the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts on the campus of McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., to take part in the last of their Distinguished Speakers series on campus for the season.

Now I have several “favorite” authors that I enjoy reading and following…but there are only two that serve as my secret mentors inside my mind as I travel through my daily world as a writer. These two women have had life roll out in many ways that are nearly parallel to that of my own.

Two authors, two females, that have rocked my world both personally and professionally. And I finally got to see one of them live and in person! I am still in awe, shock and excitement over it all.

I wish I could say it was J.K. Rowling…but I guess I’m going to have to be patient a bit longer before meeting that mentor of mine.

But I can finally report that the other amazing role model in my world of authorship is really real—and really authentic.

ELIZABETH GILBERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know—Big Magic, Eat Pray Love, The Signature of All Things, Pilgrims, Stern Men, The Last American Man. The journalist, the magazine and short story writer who became a best-selling author and not just once—yeah her!!!!!

It was incredible. The love, the synergy. The anecdotes she shared (a broken vagina?) …the wisdoms she quoted. She was real, genuine and just as you might imagine her to be. Portraying authenticity is part of what motivates her too, as Gilbert noted, “I really want to be seen smokin’ what I’m sellin’.”

SIGNED!!!!

For me, her words offered a validation that the path of my thoughts that continue to lead me toward all my future books, short stories and other published pieces was on target. I’m going to keep on doing it my way, writing not only what I know but how I know. Rules are good guidelines, but I will still break them whenever I deem it necessary.

My own Elizabeth Gilbert library collection so far…

If any of you still haven’t checked out any of her works, first I say shame on you. Then I say, get to it. Whether you’re a fellow writer or a fellow reader, I’ll use Liz’s words from that evening and encourage you to go ahead and allow yourself to “dance with the mystery of consciousness and inspiration.”

As Gilbert described her journey, she said, “It’s kinda epic and beautiful and worth it.” I say the same back to you, Liz. Oh, and by the way, to help Liz’s own project along I’ll ask, “What are you excited and passionate about today?

Until next time…peace, love, light…and words…always!

P.S. Sorry about the less-than-quality photos of Liz herself…I was so awestruck I forgot to adjust my camera settings. She kinda looks angelic, doesn’t she?

Poetry: Why Even Bother? – guest blog post by Melissa Crockett Meske

My guest post is up on Trish Hopkinson’s blog…take a look…

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Poetry has always been a part of me. Not necessarily always in its purest sense, but verses of organized thought run through my head without pause during all my waking hours. They have done so since I can remember.

Most of the time, this poetry inside my head has transmitted itself in a more lyrical fashion. Revealing a secret here: I love to sing! And I have done so since before I knew the meaning of the words I was singing. My sisters always seemed to get more recognition for it than I did, however, so I kept that part of me mostly on the down low. Guess my secret’s out now!

A couple of years ago, for the first time in more than 30 years, I signed up for voice lessons at the local music store. I had hoped to train my voice once more to work well enough…

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New Book by George Kidwiler

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Be watching for this book when it’s released, which will be very soon. This is an exciting adventure just waiting for you to explore. The first in the series by author George Kidwiler, I was lucky enough to edit this book and it was truly a rewarding experience! A great read for anyone…think Indian in the Cupboard with some Night at the Museum with a touch of Harry Potter…

Trish Hopkinson: Why I Write

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Premier Provo Poet Trish Hopkinson, co-founder of Rock Canyon Poets, has stopped by for a visit. For those of you who know Trish, you won’t want to miss this. For those of you who don’t, be sure to keep reading to learn more about why Trish writes, and why she ever did.

 

Then watch for me to return the visit next Sunday, May 22 when I stop by Trish’s blog at trishhopkinson.com.  My topic, “Poetry: Why Even Bother?”


Why I Write by Trish Hopkinson

In response to Terry Tempest Williams essay by the same name.

There was a time in my life when I tried to fill in the blankness with other art forms—photography and scrapbooking, calligraphy and lettering, a little graphic design, or the simplest of artistic prospects, like creative chore charts for my children. My practical, perfectionist side took over and muted my words, my pen, my urge to write. There seemed no specific purpose in pouring out poetry while swallowing wine, or a cold brew late at night. Years past and my happiness subsided; I felt incomplete, lacking, and sullen. Nothing was filling in the blank. Then I heard about a local poetry event, a poetry slam at a bookstore. I went. I never looked back. I had to learn the hard way why I write.

I write because I am selfish— a selfish poet. I write so the words will soothe my head. I write so monologue can escape. I write to serve my mind its medicine, dribbling it out like moldy penicillin that I drink up when my throat goes dry. I write to create a vaccine for sadness and insanity, like heart heroine. I write, not to print or publish, but as a passion placeholder; not meant to impress, not meant to be permanent. I write to recycle memories, damaged and raw, unrefined cud of thought. I write to force it up and spit it out. I write to remember, to form a poetry blanket of brain insulation, a cushion from the cold. I write to extract the byproducts of being, biodegradable and organic, like the warmth of childhood grilled cheese and tomato soup. I write to indulge in crucial comfort food, to fatten up after a poetry fast.

I write for me. I write because there is something intensely ironic and humane about being human. I write to lift up the heaviness of tangibility, to keep my thoughts light and my breathing deep. I write for my children, to show them that being selfish has a place and makes you more accessible to those you love. I write to uncover sympathy and turn it over, to expose the soft belly of empathy, to peel away layers of hardness, and to be someone’s friend when they need me. I write to relieve the busy-ness behind my eyes, the thoughts that keep me awake when I should be sleepy, and the unsettled havoc of the work week.

I write from gray, from the edges of blackness and whiteness. I write to interpret the static, the noise, the many alternate voices. I write to establish a persona, to determine my roles and how each role alters others. I write to find the mother, wife, daughter, sister, student, friend, and poet wandering within. I write as a woman, as an aspiring artist, as an extension of myself. I write out of necessity, out of bursting urges. I write with determination and courage. I write bravely, when all else is quiet, shy, and scared. I write to share secrets and solve mysteries. I write for relief. I write to fill in the blankness.


Trish Hopkinson has published two chapbooks, “Emissions” and “Pieced Into Treetops” and have been published in several anthologies and journals, including The Found Poetry Review, Chagrin River Review, and Reconnaissance Magazine. She is a product director at a software company by profession and resides in Utah with her husband and two children. To learn more, visit trishhopkinson.com

The Curse Mandate: A Review

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It’s been over a year since I’ve shared a book review with all of you. I can’t wait for you to read what I have to say about The Curse Mandate. This is the third in the Dark Choir series by J.P. Sloan and published by Curiosity Quills Press. Jump on over and take a look at it…the Meske review…click here and enjoy!

A special offer … one week only!

cover_frontI have 15 signed copies of my poetry collective, “The Dirt Still Looks the Same,” for only $8 each, with free shipping thrown in. This is a one-week only special, expiring on Dec. 2, 2016 or until they are sold out, whichever comes first. They usually retail for $12.95 each, plus shipping. This would make an excellent stocking stuffer for the literary lover in your world. Let me know if you’re interested in a signed copy, at this special price,  by sending an email to mcmeske214@gmail.com and I’ll let you know how to order…this is my way to say thanks for supporting one writer’s dreams!

News update

enews-sept-2016-issue-09122016Here’s my latest newsletter…to receive your own copy as soon as it comes out, text MCMESKE to 22828 or visit my contact page to sign up…

My book launch celebration and signing party is this coming Saturday, Sept. 24…I hope to see many of you there…and for those who live too far away to join me in person, I’m hoping to post video and photo highlights of the event shortly after, so stay tuned!

Book launch celebration and signing party Sept. 24–read all about it!

newsletter-graphicI will be publishing my latest issue of my mostly-monthly author e-mail newsletter on Monday morning, Sept. 12, 2016, including details on my upcoming party! If you haven’t signed up to receive it, text MCMESKE to 22828 or click here to sign up today. You won’t want to miss the inside scoop! Join me along the trail…I’d love to have you on the journey!