Tag Archives: Auntie’s Events

Drunk Monks and Mountain Climbing

clips in time

Last Saturday, I went to Julie Lilienkamp’s reading of Clips in Time: Emotionally Powerful, Organic, Adventure-Essays and Epic Poetry at Auntie’s Bookstore. I hadn’t actually read her work at that point, so I didn’t know what to expect.

I’m (perhaps unfairly) skeptical of unfamiliar authors who write about their own real experiences. I feel this way for the same reason I am periodically annoyed with Facebook, or people who try to strike up a conversation while standing in line at the grocery store: Many people either

1.) Just don’t have many stories that are interesting to people who don’t already know them.


2.) They aren’t very good at telling their interesting stories.

In Ms. Lilienkamp’s case, I need not have worried. She has had the kind of life that leads to tales worth telling. (The adventurous sort.) I also have to give props to anyone brilliant enough to take the experience of climbing a mountain and seeing a monk who’d had too much to drink that morning, (Yes, that morning.) and think to write a poem about it. I bought a copy right away and asked her to sign it. (Which she did, with a very thoughtful personal inscription.)

She also allowed me to take a picture, so I wouldn’t have a repeat of the Patrick McManus reading. (Neither of us was really photo ready, so please judge- or don’t- accordingly. I’m the tall geeky one with the glasses.)


The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I wish I’d written it myself, but I don’t climb mountains. I stay home and type. That’s why I mostly write fiction.

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The Difference


I stumbled into my first Inland Northwest Writers’ Guild meeting on a December Wednesday several years ago. (My memory is not what it used to be, so I don’t remember precisely which year.) And I stumbled because the sidewalk was icy, okay? Don’t worry, this post contains no alcoholic beverages.

I was nervous as I climbed the stairs to what was, at the time, the third floor of Auntie’s Bookstore. A guild sounded so official. Probably these people were serious if not professional writers. Probably they’d all been published.

I felt like an impostor. I’d never even finished anything besides short stories and articles. Most of those had been for school. What was I doing here? I’d been a closet writer all my life. I was always “working on something,” or “had a great idea for a book,” but when people asked me what I wanted to do after college, I almost never had the guts to say I wanted to write. I’d usually come up with some kind of day job for myself. Besides, lots of my friends were working on their own novels. If so many people in a place as small as Deer Park were trying to get published, what chance did I really have? What separated me from every other schmuck with a novel or screen play in a desk drawer?

Yet, here I was. I’d straightened my hair, put on a skirt, tights, button-down shirt, blazer, and nice boots. I wanted to look professional. This seemed like a big deal. The truth of the matter was, I wasn’t finishing a novel on my own. I wasn’t sending things out to publishers. I felt lost about the whole thing. Maybe these people would have some answers for me.

The third floor of Auntie’s was packed with chairs. There was a stage with a podium at the front of the room. There was juice and cookies. This didn’t look so scary. This kind of looked like a church social. Everyone was dressed casual. Many of the people were older, but there were a few who were my age.  Linda, an author and an Auntie’s employee, and Bonnie, an author with professional marketing experience, ran the meeting. I’d guess the audience was somewhere around thirty or forty people. Maybe more.

We all went around and introduced ourselves, then Linda asked if anyone had any news to report about being published, or getting a rejection letter.

I don’t remember whether anyone had any news at that meeting, but I remember the way Linda phrased it, “Any wonderful rejection letters.” I loved that. It made me realize we were all in the same boat. The published authors coming there to network, the newbies like me, none of us could control whether a publisher would accept our work. All we could do was send out our best product possible, do our research, and keep trying.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that many of the people who talk to me about wanting to write a book seem excited until I start talking about monthly meetings, weekly critique groups, rejection letters, and revisions. Then their eyes start to glaze over. Maybe for some people, it’s something they just like to daydream about and they don’t want reality getting in the way of that.

In reality, writing is work. It’s not something you always feel like doing or have energy for. It’s not always easy, but if you let that stop you, you’re a hobbyist, not a writer. Writers Guild is still held every month at Auntie’s Bookstore. There are still snacks most times. We meet on the second floor now, on one half of the mezzanine, but it isn’t crowded because we’ve got about half the group we had when I started. Bonnie has left to persue other interests (she really did have alot going on.) Linda is still there, still running the group, and I still see her every month when I show up. There are fewer of us now, but we are still here.



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So… about last night…

I know I promised to post every day in April. For yesterday’s post, I’d planned to attend the Patrick McManus reading and then do a post about it when I got home.

Let me explain what happened:

I woke up at 5AM yesterday morning, went to college as usual for my (gag) math class,


Did my homework,


Checked my blog to see if there were comments that needed approving,

Worked on my novel for so long that I forgot to eat lunch,


Met up with my parents and my brother, got an early dinner and coffee,


and went to Auntie’s for the reading…


Which it turned out had an open bar courtesy of Sante, the restaurant next door…


Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I only had one small glass.

Still… I may have ‘got lit’ in more than one sense. heh heh

(See Get Ready to GetLit! if you don’t get the reference.)

Patrick McManus was great, and I got my copy of his latest Bo Tully mystery signed. Awesome!


Also, my mom was friends with one of his daughters growing up, and they’re going to reconnect,

so it was a great event no matter how you look at it.

BUT, although I maybe slow at math, I now know that

me+no lunch+caffine+wine= incessant giggling


and forgetting to take a picture at the reading for my blog

and falling asleep after my mom drives me home instead of posting… yeah..

So now I know. Please, no shouting in the comments section.


PS- I will be posting again today. I’m counting this as yesterday’s post.



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Get Ready to GetLit!


Okay, I know that sounds like Cinco de Mayo is coming early for me, but Lit is short for literature. The annual Spokane festival celebrating the arts (and especially literature) is coming up this April 8th-14th. This week, Auntie’s Bookstore is already gearing up for the festivities. Tomorrow, April 4th, Patrick McManus is reading at Auntie’s at 7PM. April 5th, there will be an Open Mic night, also at 7PM. April 6th, there will be a reading by Julie Lilienkamp at 2PM.

For more information on events at Auntie’s Bookstore, go to http://www.auntiesbooks.com

They also have a link to the GetLit! website.


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