Tucson

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New Fiction: Miss Brompton Falls 1938

Published October 26, 2018 by Philip Ivory

For years I’ve been interested in Menacing Hedge, which identifies as “a quarterly journal of poetry, fiction and artwork, which is committed to fostering access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose.” This month, I”m excited that Menacing Hedge is featuring my 11th published piece of fiction, a short story called “Miss Brompton Falls 1938.” 

I’m not really sure if this story is a feminist fable, or an old-timey stew of sex and violence. Maybe you can let me know.  Either way, it’s my third published piece that originated from my participation in the NYC Midnight online challenge, which requires you to concoct a story within a limited time frame based on a number of parameters that are arbitrarily assigned.

 

In this case, I was given drama for my genre, a beauty pageant for a setting, and a cash register as an object that had to be included. Sometimes it’s really difficult to incorporate all these elements, but in this case they came together in a fairly organic way.

The cash register suggested a general store, and that made for an odd but interesting setting for a beauty pageant. I hit on a Depression-era setting, which brought with it associations with economic desperation and the era’s fascination with outlaws. As I continued to revise the piece, the original parameters became less important, and the story took on a life of its own.

I had fun writing a period piece, trying to make sure the slang and the cultural and consumer references were as true as possible to this era. Mostly, though, I was concerned with the idea of portraying a woman whose inner state is in deep conflict with the situation she finds herself in, although circumstances make it impossible for anyone but the reader to understand why.

Click on the picture above to read it. You can also choose to listen to the audio file of me reading the story. 

My thanks to Menacing Hedge, NYC Midnight and a number of loyal writing friends, including Alice Hatcher, Bryn McFarland and Renee Bibby’s Writers Studio Master Class, who provided invaluable feedback that helped me fully develop the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Role at Writers Studio

Published October 20, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I’m pleased to announce I’ve been asked to assume a new role at the Tucson branch of Writers Studio. In addition to continuing to be a teacher on the intermediate level, I’ll be serving as assistant director and working closely with branch director Reneé Bibby. 

Here’s some info about the program and its philosophy, from our web site at writerstudio.com:

“The Writers Studio, founded in 1987 by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz, offers ongoing writing workshops — both on site and online — designed to help students discover and nurture their own voices. We welcome students at all stages, from those who have only dreamed of writing fiction or poetry to those with MFAs hungry for additional serious, ongoing instruction. Students provide the desire to write and the willingness to learn, and we provide the structure, the technical know-how, the professional feedback and the friendly community to enable them to reach their full potential.”

Janelle Drumwright, who has done an amazing job as Tucson branch assistant director for years, is relocating to another city. I hope I can carry on in her spirit and continue to bring the Writer Studio discipline and devotion to craft to students looking to expand and improve their skills. I’ll also be involved in outreach to potential students and planning of special events.

I started as a student in the program, and its emphasis on craft and the importance of creating a distinctive persona narrator for every piece of writing has been extremely helpful to me. It jump-started me after a long period of non-writing and put me on the road to getting work published. I can definitely attest to the program’s effectiveness.

New classes will be starting in January. Writers of all experience levels are welcome. Online classes are available as well as our in-person classes here in Tucson. Feel free to send me any questions about the program at philivory@writerstudio.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Public Reading: “The Wonder That Was Ours” by Alice Hatcher

Published September 8, 2018 by Philip Ivory

I just attended a public reading by my friend Alice Hatcher of selections from her debut novel “The Wonder That Was Ours” at the east side Barnes and Noble here in Tucson. Alice did a fantastic job talking about her writing process and the evolution of her novel, which includes a wily set of cockroaches who provide outrageous narrative voices … hence the giant inflatable cockroach (see below) gracing the ceiling at B&N!

If you missed the reading but want to sample her novel, check out the generous excerpt in the current edition of Tucson Weekly. Buy the book at Barnes and Noble online.

Kudos also to Stephen Russell, seen standing in the last photo, another friend to Alice and manager at Barnes and Noble who along with his staff set up a wonderful community event. Stephen also celebrated his last day at Barnes and Noble today. Best wishes, Steve!

The event was a great success, standing room only with all of the available in-store copies sold. An exciting start for a significant new literary talent: My friend, Alice Hatcher.

 

Debut Novel by Alice Hatcher: The Wonder That Was Ours

Published September 4, 2018 by Philip Ivory

My good friend and fellow Tucson writer Alice Hatcher had her debut novel published today, The Wonder That Was Ours, and I couldn’t be more excited. Congratulations, Alice!

I’m eager to get my copy, because Alice is an awesome writer, who combines a sense of history and social awareness with wry humor and an ability to create compelling characters who are flawed but deeply human.

If you’re in Tucson, come out this weekend to see Alice read from her novel and take questions at Barnes and Noble at 5130 E. Broadway at 2 PM on Saturday, Sept. 8.

The Wonder That Was Ours won Dzanc Books’ 2017 Prize for Fiction and can now be ordered through Amazon.

A former academic historian, Alice has published stories, essays and poems in such places as Alaska Quarterly Review, The Beloit Fiction Journal, Notre Dame Review, Lascaux Review, Fourth Genre, Contrary, Chautauqua, and Gargoyle, among other journals.

Adrienne Celt, author of Invitation to a Bonfire and The Daughters, says: “Hatcher’s unique narrators offer a bird’s-eye view of history, with all the glory and devastation that entails: an ambitious experiment that ends in an achingly compassionate achievement. This book is funny, warm, and piercingly intelligent―and it will probably break your heart.”

For more on Alice’s work, check out http://www.alice-hatcher.com.

Be sure to come out and meet her on Saturday. I’ll see you there!