Here’s the link to “her last day,” a new poem written by Laura McHale Holland in response to the murder of three women in Napa County yesterday by a military vet with PTSD. He barged into their place of work, took them hostage and wound up killing them and himself.
Photo titled “Inside Glass of Tea” by Ali Almazawi
Good news! The two poems I submitted for publication in the Redwood Writers 2018 poetry anthology were just accepted. One of them, to go on, is posted on my personal blog. Click here if you want to read it right now. I wrote a first draft of the other one, my grandmother’s flat, during a presentation by Albert Flynn DeSilver at a Redwood Writer’s conference a couple of years ago. He lives in Marin County, and his presentation was on poetry for prose writers. I highly recommend him as an inspiring workshop leader.
I don’t know yet when the club’s 2018 poetry anthology will be published. The theme is alluring: Out of silence … and then … The editors are whipping the manuscript into shape right now, and that always takes time. This may inspire me to write more poems. Maybe I’ll prepare a chapbook to share with people at the Bay Area Book Festival coming up in April. When you go to book festivals, what types of books are you drawn to? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author and publisher Suzanne Sherman asked me (Laura, the owner of Wordforest) to share a table with her at the Fourth Annual Bay Area Book Festival the week of April 28 and 29, 2018. It’s in Berkeley, Calif., and packed with events and exhibitors.
Here’s some of what’s on the festival’s About page:
“The Bay Area is teeming with readers, writers, creators, and thinkers. We have harnessed the power of this community to create one of the premier literary festivals in the world. The Festival is a two-day event complete with literary sessions presenting top authors from this region, the nation, and the world, along with an outdoor fair with hundreds of literary exhibitors. We also offer art installations, events for kids, and writing contests. We even have a mini film festival — a series of ten films on literature — with BAMPFA. We transform vibrant Downtown Berkeley into a literary utopia where readers of all ages and interests can find kindred spirits.
“The Festival kicked off in 2015 with the mission to create a free, inclusive, world-class literary event in the Bay Area. Since then, the Festival has welcomed more than 800 authors and is approaching 100,000 attendees.”
I haven’t exhibited at this event previously and I’m thinking about how to make the most of it. If you have ideas, please email me at laura [at] word forest [dot] com.
Note: The photo is of me with my sisters, who are central characters in my memoirs, Reversible Skirt and Resilient Ruin. From left to right, we are Laura, Kathy and Mary Ruth. (On the Reversible Skirt book cover, the order is Mary Ruth, Laura and Kathy.)
I just posted a poem in progress evoked by the devastating firestorms that swept through Sonoma County and other parts of San Francisco’s North Bay in October.
Please check it out at http://www.lauramchaleholland.com/poetry-2/3479/
and let me know your thoughts.
Several months ago, I wrote a guest post for Kathy Pooler’s Memoir Writer’s Journey blog. She posts weekly on Mondays and mixes her own posts with those of other writers she invites to share their views with her readers. The post I contributed is titled “One reason not to publish a memoir” and located right here: https://krpooler.com/?s=Laura+McHale+Holland
I want to have more conversations with readers and writers, particularly those interested in memoirs, healing and literary fiction. If you’d like me to contribute to your blog or podcast, or if you’d just like to share some thoughts with me, get in touch using this website’s contact form.
I look forward to hearing from you!
I joined three other authors for a lively evening of readings at Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa. We all read from our recently published memoirs. The four authors seated left to right are Patty Somlo, Nathaniel Winters, me (Laura McHale Holland) and Alicia Schooler-Hugg.
I read a slightly adapted excerpt (I had to trim and condense a bit to fit the time allotted) of a winter’s day in high school when a good friend and I cut school and drove along slush-filled streets while smoking Old Gold filters and listening to WLS AM radio. Where did we end up? You’ll have to read Resilient Ruin: A memoir of hopes dashed an reclaimed to find out.
Charlene Jones of Soul Sciences interviewed Laura for her Blog Talk Radio show.
Here’s the link to the show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/soul-sciences/2017/06/19/childhood-abuse-not-match-for-love-and-determination
And here’s Charlene’s introductory text:
We believe childhood abuse means a lifetime sentence but Laura McHale Holland proves that belief wrong. Her earliest memories of her beloved mother, dead by the time Laura was two, remain lost in the distant past, but her memories of Wanda, the Wicked Witch of the Western Suburbs, Laura’s nickname for the woman who became her step mother, remain clear. In her memoir “Resilient Ruins” Laura recounts her life under Wanda’s weird command, the ways in which young Laura acted out her loneliness including a suicide attempt, with unflinching honesty. Lacking any sense of frilly sentimentality the memoir punches through our notion that a difficult childhood consigns that person to a life of failure. Instead, award winning author Laura McHale Holland grew into a successful wife, loving mother and to our benefit continues to write about life as a beacon for so many of us.
Laura McHale Holland’s latest book, Resilient Ruin: A memoir of hopes dashed and reclaimed, won the National Indie Excellence Award in the New Adult Nonfiction category. Here’s a link to the awards page: https://www.indieexcellence.com/11th-annual-winners-80-120
This doesn’t mean it appeals only to people in their late teens and early twenties, but it corresponds to the time in Laura’s life recounted in the book. Those years present unique challenges and opportunities, as all of life’s stages do.
Here’s a link to Resilient Ruin’s page on this website: http://wordforest.com/book/resilient-ruin/
It contains links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Powell’s.
Questions? Comments? Ideas? Want to connect? Contact Laura via the Contact form here: http://wordforest.com/contact/
Come see author Laura McHale Holland read from her coming-of-age memoir, Resilient Ruin, at the following three events coming up this spring and summer. You can ask Laura questions about being an orphaned teen unhinged in the Sixties, as well as talk with several local writers and share insights:
Monday, May 8: Dine with Local Authors, 6 to 8 p.m., at Gaia’s Garden, 1899 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. I’ll be one of five local authors featured at this popular event where people get to have dinner with the featured author of their choice, listen to all authors read and then discuss the work with the authors. If you live in Sonoma County, come sit at my table and converse with me and others
Sunday, July 9: Redwood Writers 2017 Author Launch celebration, 2 to 4:30 p.m., at the Flamingo, 2777 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa. This is a chance to listen to authors who are members of Redwood Writers read excerpts from books published since last July. I’ll be reading from Resilient Ruin, my latest memoir, launched in November.
Tuesday, August 1: Hot Summer Nights, 7 to 8 p.m., at Copperfield’s, Montgomery Village, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa. I’ll be one of four authors reading from their memoirs during this bookstore event jointly produced by Copperfield’s and Redwood Writers.
The events listed above are all admission free. Gaia’s does request that those who attend make a $5 minimum purchase. The venue offers a tempting selection of food and drink, so it’s money well spent.
Charlene Jones, founder of Soul Sciences, just posted a recording of an interview she did with me that aired in February.
We talked about some of the life experiences recounted in my new memoir, Resilient Ruin: A memoir of hopes dashed and reclaimed; finding hope during dark times; overcoming trauma; forgiveness; women’s rights; today’s renewed activism; how important good parenting is for the health of our society; and more.
Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/2njzcve; I hope you’ll tune in and let me know what you think.
Thank you, Charlene, for including me in your podcast.