Monday, June 4, 2007

Grub Street Rag, 6/4/2007

"Sit down, and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it." --Colette

Welcome to the Grub Street Rag, a newsletter of the Boston literary scene sent out every Monday by the slug salters at the world headquarters of Grub Street. As always, if you are receiving this e-mail in horror, please advance to the bottom of the page to unsubscribe yourself.

Hooray of the day
Do we have news to report or what? Grub member Matthew Sandel's 10-minute play, "Hugs and Kisses," was a finalist for the recent Boston Theater Marathon 2007. Master Class novelists Iris Gomez and Randy Meyers have both been chosen as semi-finalists for the 2007 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Novel-In-Progress competition. Instructor Mike Heppner has a new story on , and exhorts us to "go now while it's still free." And last but not least, Grubbie Tom Meek's "Quin Quimby" is a finalist in the 48 Hour Film Contest. Congratulations to all--what an inspiration you are!

Debut News
We're so excited about our Night of Debuts this Friday, June 8th at 7:30pm, featuring authors Jennifer McMahon, Tish Cohen and Patry Francis. Jennifer's book, PROMISE NOT TO TELL, was mentioned on NBC’s Today Show Saturday morning as one of ten “sizzling beach reads” for this summer and scored a 4-star review in People, while Tish Cohen's book sold out on Amazon the day it debuted, and Patry's book The Liar's Diary has gained a huge national following. More details below. If you'd like to come, RSVP, please: 617.695.0075 or

Softball Department
Grub Street Word-Slingers 5 CFKAIBT 31
ANDOVER – The name of the field has changed (from Gillette to Proctor & Gamble), but it remains a house of horrors for the Grub Street Word-Slingers, who were defeated in Sunday’s home opener before a soggy crowd of one.

“You know it’s bad when you’re down 6-0 before the game starts,” said veteran infielder Jeff Stern, referring to the stiff penalties incurred by the team when only one of the four required female players – bemused rookie Diana Beaudoin – showed up. For each of the missing women, the CFKAIBT were awarded two runs. Worse: the Word-Slingers got an out every time one of the missing women came up in the batting order. If they’d managed to mount any rallies, these outs would have been total rally-killers.

After three scoreless innings, the sleeping beasts of the CFKAIBT roared awake in the fourth, adding six runs. The Word-Slingers chipped away inning by inning with a run or two, but by the sixth, as the rain turned to mist, so did any hope of an Opening Day Miracle. The CFKAIBT hit so many home runs that the official scorer lost track, which means that 31 is a fairly conservative estimate.

Worst: these CFKAIBT were a surly, humorless bunch – inscrutable and off-putting as their name. “If you’re going to trounce us, at least laugh at our self-deprecating jokes,” said doused flamethrower Chris Castellani, whose attempts at gallows humor between pitches fell continually flat. It was obvious that the CFKAIBT did not belong in the Recreational League. Less obvious is where the Word-Slingers belong.

Next game is Sunday, June 10th, 12PM at Trum Field (Somerville) vs. the Irish Cannolis. Will they cream the Word-Slingers, or be devoured?

Whitney, Chris, Paige and Sonya

In addition to our ongoing workshops, Grub Street offers numerous writing-related events around town. See our website for a long-term view of all we do. Here is a sample of what's on the horizon:

Reading/Book Party: Friday, June 8th, 7:30pm, A Night of Debuts
Come hear the work of Jennifer McMahon, Tish Cohen and Patry Francis.We'll have champagne and a selection of desserts, and the event will also feature a fun contest. Tish, Jen, and Patry will each pick one name from a hat, and the winner will receive a free consultation with the author on their query letter and first manuscript page. This is an excellent opportunity to hear three great readers and get feedback from authors who have achieved huge success.
FREE (donations accepted and appreciated) Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. RSVP, please: 617.695.0075 or

Saturday Serial: Saturday, June 9th, 10AM – Noon, Metaphor Mastery
What makes a metaphor memorable? When does it enrich a moment, enlighten a character, and when is it just awkward or distracting? Learn how great writers have freshened images through some powerful and unlikely associations, and try your hand at new ways of likening a truck, a village, or a human heart. Coffee and donuts await you!
FREE (donations accepted and appreciated) Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. RSVP, please: 617.695.0075 or

Tuesday, June 19th, 7pm, Harvard Book Store and Grub Street present The Boston Premiere of Out of the Book
Harvard Book Store, with help from Powell’s Bookstore in Portland, Oregon and Grub Street Writers of Boston, presents the Boston premiere of Out of the Book – a new series of short films about notable authors. Join us on June 19 for a special evening featuring readings, music, and a new film featuring bestselling novelist Ian McEwan. McEwan’s new novel, On Chesil Beach, focuses on the first night between a young married couple. What better way to celebrate the debut of this film than a group of talented writers talking about other “first nights”? Grub Street’s own Pamela Painter, Jon Papernick, and Elizabeth Benedict will read their own short pieces about wedding nights. Directed by Doug Biro (Herbie Hancock: Possibilities) and shot over four days in England and the United States, the film includes interviews with McEwan in London, on location footage from Chesil Beach and Oxford, and original soundtrack, commentary from peers and critics, one perplexing glimpse at British media, and more.
$7 Grub members (show your card at the bookstore); $10 non-members. Tickets are available at the store or over the phone with a credit card at 617-661-1515. Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Harvard Square.

SEMINAR: Monday, June 18th, 7pm – 10pm, What We Talk About When We Talk About Voice
What is "voice," and what do writers and critics mean when they discuss it? How does voice differ from other literary elements like point of view, tone and style? In this one night-seminar, fiction writer Becky Tuch and poet Jennifer Elmore will lead you through this discussion as well as writing exercises that will examine the complex concept of voice. You will explore issues of voice in well- known novels, short stories and poems, as well as in your own works- in-progress. Experimenting with voice is a productive way to stretch your writing skills and/or end your writer's block! Come prepared for writing exercises and to leave with new ideas for your own work. Instructors: Becky Tuch and Jennifer Elmore.
$45/$40 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

SEMINAR: Monday, June 18th, 7pm – 10pm, Travel Writing
Ever thought travel writing would be a great way to make a living? Dashing off a few pages on your last vacation experience can seem easy, but can you shape the story into a form that is original, well-written and most importantly, saleable? In this highly informative seminar taught by a freelance travel writer for The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler and The Washington Post, students will receive a comprehensive overview of the travel writing field: the types of stories, the markets available to freelancers, how to shape stories and write pitch letters, what publications actually pay, plus more esoteric craft matters such as what makes a good travel memoir. Instructor: Ethan Gilsdorf
$45/$40 members, Grub Street Headquarters, 160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

SEMINAR: Monday, June 18th, 7pm – 10pm, Truth In Fiction
Fiction relies heavily on a writer's creativity and imagination, but generally there are kernels of truth and personal, human experience in even the most outlandish stories. In this seminar we will examine the way that our daily lives, our experiences, our feelings, even our darkest secrets and most emotional days can color our un-truths, and can yield vibrant and emotive writing that will have readers asking, "Did this really happen to you?" The key here is finding the balance between drawing on the key elements of your experiences, and using key emotions and elements to create new characters and new situations. We'll begin by free-writing, and then examine some passages from popular books--some that work, and some that don't work as well--and then we'll spend the rest of the time working on putting pieces of the experiences of our lives into another language: fiction. (Be prepared to share your work with others). Instructor: Brian Sousa.
$45/$40 members, Grub Street Headquarters,
160 Boylston Street, Boston, MA.

On the Horizon:
6/23: Writing Workout for Novelists
6/23: The Writers' Toolbox
6/23: Screenplay Lab
6/25: Nuts and Bolts of Journalism
6/25: The Dialogue-Driven Story
6/25: Words and Images

Grub Street wants to promote YOU!!! Please send events for consideration to Our apologies if we can't fit you in.

Meeting House, the new online journal of New England Fiction, is accepting submissions for its first issue. We want to highlight the best fiction from New England writers, and we're looking for stories of any genre. Send your best to meetinghouse@newenglandfi For more information, visit our website,, or email

--JOB OPPORTUNITY: Temporary Copywriter at Oxfam America
Work for a great organization, and have fun too: Check out

--READING: Monday, June 11th, 6:30pm, ANNE FADIMAN reads from At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays
Harvard Book Store is delighted to host Anne Fadiman at a reading of her new collection: At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays, a book that Publishers Weekly is calling "a perfectly faceted little gem." In At Large and At Small, Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favorite genres, the familiar essay—a beloved and hallowed literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth and its miniaturist focus on everyday experiences. With the combination of humor and erudition that has distinguished her as one of our finest essayists, Fadiman draws us into twelve of her personal obsessions: from her slightly sinister childhood enthusiasm for catching butterflies to her monumental crush on Charles Lamb, from her wistfulness for the days of letter-writing to the challenges and rewards of moving from the city to the country.
FREE, Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge.

--READING: Tuesday, June 12, 2007, 7:00 PM Julia Glass, The Whole World Over
Says Kirkus Reviews: "Readers who love quirky characters and a gentle wit that breathes affection even as it skewers human foolishness and frailty will follow [Glass] anywhere." Julia Glass is the author of the National Book Award winning novel The Three Junes. She is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and winner of three Nelson Algren Awards and the Tobias Wolff Award. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.
FREE, Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Center, 25 White Street, Cambridge.

Welcome to the end of the e-mail, where, like a cyclops with an eye patch, we offer you the chance to win a prize. If Raymond Carver were still alive, what would he be celebrating today, June 4th? Email your answer to Whitney. Winner receives a gift certificate for ice cream at J.P. Licks.

Answer to last week's quiz: In Ian McEwan's Enduring Love, John Logan, a doctor, dies trying to save someone in a hot air balloon. Winner: Joel Murphy.

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