League of Utah Writers

Hey there, Helicon West!

I bet some of you are back in Logan now. I hope your summers have been splendid. If you would like to do another fun thing before school starts, and you consider hearing other people’s creative work, sharing your own, and spending time with wonderful people to be a fun thing, I have some good news.

Tomorrow some prestigious–not just pretty good, prestigious–authors from the League of Utah Writers annual conference will read for you at 7:00 pm in the Bridger Room of Logan Library (225 North Main). This fine lineup of fellows includes: Owen Eagerton, Jack Remick, Darren Edwards, Chadd VanZanten, and Maxwell Alexander Drake.

Check out this flyer for more information on the readers to see what a talented group of people we’ve got: LUW flyer final

As usual, there will be an Open Mic after the scheduled reading. Come early and sign up, then read your creative piece seven minutes or less. It’s a great way to let people listen to your work because the Helicon West audience is particularly non-threatening.

Another thing for you to do: If you are interested in the League of Utah Writers conference, it’s not too late to sign up. First go to http://http://www.luwriters.org/registration2015.html to register, and then head to the Logan RIverwoods Conference Center on Aug 28-29th.

If you’re in Logan, we would love to see you at Helicon West tomorrow. It’ll be fantastic.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Please note, we’ve got a new banner picture. So pretty!

Mind Candy

We’ve got broadsides!

If you don’t know what a broadside is, they are 11 x 17 posters decorated with beautiful art and poetry. They are Helicon West’s official publication. If you would like to be published on a broadside, read one of your works under twenty lines long at Open Mic, and then submit it to Star Coulbrooke (star.coulbrooke@usu.edu) for consideration.

In the meantime, take a gander at these beauties.

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-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Silent Witness

Hey there, internet! Here’s Nikki Garrett and the first chapters of her works in progress.

Live readings are the best! You get to impress your friends when you heard the author show you the book they’re enjoying. Also, you get to hear a book out loud by its author, who knows it best, who loves it most.

The first segment Nikki reads is from her book “Silent Witness,” and she starts off with the most intriguing set up. It’s got mystery and tension. Where are we? Why can’t we talk? What is going on? Why is it happening? We stay so solidly in this character’s mind that we learn things as they cross her mind and absolutely no faster. It’s tantalizing, yielding more questions as the first few are answered. It makes for a steady stream of curiosity, moving listeners/readers deeper into the story. Aw yeah.

Furthermore, the character herself is exciting. She can’t or won’t talk. She has lots of contradictory feelings. Fear that paralyzes. Anger (ooh, I adore her ferocious anger. It makes me want to bite people). Complacency after abuse. Love? I want to know more about her.

Aside from her complexity, there is nothing more appealing in literature than fragile, damaged protagonists. They can go so many places. They can be scary or adorable or on-the-recovery. Their arcs are delicious. I don’t know where this one is going yet, but I want to know.

And the book isn’t published. So we’ll have to wait.

Nikki’s second story begins at 11:30. It’s currently titled “The Magical Storybook of Aunt Barboo” (apologies, Nikki, if Barboo is spelled incorrectly). It starts like “Magic Tree House” meets “Inkheart.” One particular strength is that Nikki clearly caters to her audience. Book-reading-children like to strongly identify with protagonists, so there are several. If one is not like you, one of the others will be. They also, for some completely incomprehensible*** reason, like friendly and childlike adults. Finally, they like to have a clear conflict to grudge against–in this case, the people reading the story will be entirely set against the book characters’ lack of reading. That’s clever.

***Note: reason is probably not completely incomprehensible

Here is the open mic video. Thanks to everyone who shared their time and labor and feelings!

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon blogger

Some Things About Helicon West

Hear ye, Hear ye!

Once upon a tomorrow (July 23, 7:00 pm) the minstrels and bards shall gather at the Library which is in Logan. They will meet in the Bonneville Room. They shall have refreshments from Cafe Ibis, and they will read the words of poets. The chiefest of these will be fiction writer Nikki Garrett.

Behold! Thou, o reader, may be one of them. Come early and sign thy name upon the scroll of people-who-will-be-reading. Bring forth thy works under seven minutes long and speak them to thy fellows! The time is at hand!

See how much fun you could be having?

On another note entirely, Helicon West takes its name from Helicon Mountain in Greece. In mythology, two springs sacred to the muses flowed on its slopes, one created by Pegasus. The mountain and the springs in particular were supposed to give poetic inspiration.

And we do poetry…west of that spot. What a great name! We’re a clever bunch.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon blogger

I Am Boy Thunder/ Isaac Timm

Because I am not reading, but hearing, I can’t tell if this is narrative poetry or fantastic prose. Who cares? Down with genres! Isaac Timm’s reading does not need to be constrained by literary convention.

He’s got a writing style that makes me want to do a documentary on the strange ways of the suburban human…those wild, Freudian animals foraging for food on Tuesdays, carrying their offspring on their backs, pausing to hold hands with their mates….more specifically, Isaac Timm has a writing style that makes me want to write poetry and be a more clever tender person. Nothing is better than work so well-done that it becomes inspirational.

There are a lot of poems in this video. Listen to all of them and be wild and free and melancholy and wounded. Here are some elements Isaac uses that I thought to be especially good.

February 14th 1985 begins at 5:55. One thing particularly excellent is the build up and use of tension, both internal and external. The external tension starts the poem: frustrated parents, a long car trip to a neurologist, an diagnosis never stated. For the purposes of the story, the lack of outright explanation only strengthens the tension. This is because near the end, the original stakes are replaced with the internal conflict: the narrator wants comfort, and wants to give comfort, but the people he trusts are both broken and he’s apparently not capable of giving strength. The really great thing is that while the first problem never went away, it gets replaced just for a moment by something deeper and bigger.

Sunday Morning starts at 10:00 in the video. It’s got a particularly effective opening line, partially due to subject matter, but more especially due to a really tasty simile. “North side of King’s Canyon Route 50. A semi truck burns like a paper lantern, aluminum sides flaking into the sky, leaving behind the trailer’s red bones.” He begins with a serious sounding location, like a news event, immediately catches audience attention. The simile follows, and bringing up the rear of this gut-impact sentence is some humanizing personification. After this strong opening, we get to hear about people’s reactions, which makes the personification of the truck a great tie-in to the next few lines.

Basically, all the poems are made of really strong writing, and explaining all the good things would take forever. So listen to them yourself and see what’s good.

Thanks, Isaac, for taking me on a journey I couldn’t walk alone.

Not to be forgotten, from the same Helicon West we also have the Open Mic readers: Ebony Tyler, Aaron Timm, Diana Hardy, Amy Nelson, Felicia Rose, Brittany McDonald, Tim Keller, and Lizzy. Thanks, all, for sharing!

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

Guess What Happens Tonight!

Guess. Guess!!!

It’s Helicon West!

I bet you already guessed that, due to the thematic content of this blog. If so, good job.

If you are so inclined, in town, and ready for some jolly good fun with the other inhabitants of Logan, tonight’s featured reader is Isaac Timm. You’ll find him at 7:00 pm in the Bonneville Room of Logan Library (225 North Main). Come find out what he’s got to say, and maybe share a bit of your own work! If you have a work or even a work in progress that is seven minutes or less, Helicon West would love to hear it.

-Jessica, your friendly neighborhood Helicon Blogger

PS: I’ve been wondering lately what “Helicon” refers to. Low frequency magnetic waves? A mythological river? A crater on the moon? A brass instrument?

Whatever it is, it’s a cool sounding word.