Calling on all writers, age 18 and older, from Kenosha and Racine County. ArtRoot, a committee of artists and advocates, is accepting applications for a six-month tenure as Racine Writer-In-Residence. You can download application information and materials HERE. The person selected to receive this honor will serve from July 1-December 31, 2021 and receive a $1,200 stipend (75% upfront and 25% upon completion of expectations and an evaluation form.)
As much as I love the sound of Tom Waits – blues shouter, field hollerer, junkyard dog howler, carnival barker – I also am jazzed by the man’s countenance and love to draw pictures of him.
“You’ve got to get obsessed and stay obsessed,” says Iowa Bob in the novel, Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving. Some lines stay with you. I read Irving’s novel forty years ago and still think of this phrase nearly every day. Obsessions – read: passionate interests – are the fuel of life.
It’s been a week of making art, writing, listening to podcasts, reading new books, and getting a second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. I look forward to engaging with mankind again. However, as I’m both an introvert and an HSP, my engagement will find me in the wading pool of society rather than its deep waters.
You’re probably familiar with the Muses, those Greek goddesses of the arts and science, whom many through the ages have called upon for inspiration, yet you may not know of the Muses of Mirth, birthed here in southeastern Wisconsin by the multi-talented Monne Haug of Kenosha to not only inspire clever souls but to feed them, too.
Writers are rock stars. I wouldn’t cross the street to see Mick Jagger, but I’ve driven 500 miles on two occasions to see my literary heroes, Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient) and Robertson Davies (The Deptford Trilogy), in Stratford, Ontario. In early adulthood, I wore a maroon T-shirt with the J.D. Salinger book title, The Catcher In The Rye, printed on it, replicating the paperback edition’s cover.
Where do you live? You might reside in the town where you were born or you may have moved around so much you’re not sure where you are anymore. You might have found a connection with a place in your travels that’s so strong it feels like home to you. If you’re a writer, artist, or a professional daydreamer, you probably live most of the time in your imagination.
My friend, composer Karel Suchy, calls it KeRacine, pronouncing the word, in his cool Czech accent, like you’d say, “ker-o-sene.” With this term, he’s referring to the Wisconsin cities of Kenosha and Racine, but it’s more than a mashup of names for him. He’s talking about a powerful energy, fueled by the the creative culture that burns bright here.
I’m convinced I was a border collie in another life. While I lack some attributes of this breed – agility, high energy, and intelligence – I share a common instinct for herding. Dogs may do it for the purpose of providing protection; I do it when I dream up projects and need people to turn them into reality.