Category Archives: Idaho Writers

Once upon a time four writers had a dream. They made their dream come true.

I’ve tried to write this column a dozen times in the last month. I’m having trouble because I’m deeply moved by the subject. How to be honest. How to convey what I’m feeling. How to let go and move on. No matter how many different ways I begin, I end up in the same place, so please bear with me.

Once upon a time there were four women who loved to write and tell stories so much they formed a critique group that met regularly for years. Once a week they gathered to pour over their stories, offering suggestions and comments, and most of all encouragement. If a writer was entering a contest, she’d challenge the others, “You should enter too.”

Once a year these writers scheduled a writers’ retreat, taking a weekend to write, explore and laugh. One year they tramped around the Idaho ghost town of Silver City. Another year they explored Idaho City and its cemetery. Rocky Bar. The Hagerman valley. They attended bookfests and conferences and cheered each other on.

Eventually the writers organized what they called the Other Bunch Press. They held workshops; they published a book.

Life happens and things change. Jennifer Sandmann moved to Washington and Dixie Thomas Reale is writing stories from the clouds, or maybe the ocean where she loved to “swim” with the whales. Patricia Santos Marcantonio and I remain here in southern Idaho writing our fingers to stubs and loving every minute of it.

If you’ve been following us on Facebook you know that things are changing here at Other Bunch Press. We’ve changed our name as well as our website. What hasn’t changed is our passion for telling stories and sharing our love of writing with others. Our motto, “Everyone has a story, what’s yours?” remains the same. Our passion for bringing writers together is constant.

Pat and I are carrying on, happy to announce the formation of our new partnership, River St. Press. We’re releasing a middle grade book this spring called Billie Neville Takes a Leap. Please watch for it, it’s the story of a little girl who has a dream to be a daredevil like Evel Knievel. We’re also working on the third book of our Snake River Plain series, an anthology of family recipes, which we plan to release in early 2015. We will continue to hold workshops and bring writers together. We will continue to tell our stories.

We are grateful for your support and continued interest. Please come with us as begin our new adventure as River St. Press.com.

-Bonnie Dodge

 

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What does a room of my own mean to you?

When asked what one needs in order to write, Virginia Wolf said she needed “500 pounds and a room of my own.”

What do you think she meant? Was she saying that she needed exactly “500 pounds” as money in her day was measured? I do not think so. I think she was saying that she needed an income comfortable enough that the basic necessities of life were covered. Enough money that she did not have to worry where her next meal was coming from, or wonder if she could pay the rent. After all if I am always hungry and worried that I may be thrown out into the street and be homeless at anytime, I’m not going to be able to focus on similes and metaphors.

I believe “A room of my own” could mean a whole house or just a small corner of a room. It doesn’t matter. Many years ago I was sorting boxes of old magazines I wanted to keep for reference, into order by date of issue. I had so many magazines that I had to spread them out on the living room floor. It was the only space large enough. I’d spent an entire afternoon lining them up into rows and moving them from one area of a row to another as I worked through many years and months of dates. I was about halfway through when I had to stop to get dinner for my family.

When the evening dishes were finally done and the kitchen back in order I returned to the living room to resume my sorting. My magazines had been gathered up and thrown into a huge heap in the corner of the room. Nobody would admit to the deed, but I knew then the living room was not “my room.”

In my room or my own space I can spread out my projects and nobody will bother them. I can lay my papers and books on a table or on the floor if I wish and leave them there all strung out and in disarray. If this is truly “my own room” when I come back my papers will be exactly where I left them. Nothing will be touched. That I believe is what she means by “A room of my own.”

I recently staked out a room of my own from vacated rental space that the tenant no longer wanted. It is 20 feet by 22 feet with a huge storage area. It is in an area where I do not think I will be able to re-rent it easily, So, it is mine.

In my room I will put my favorite books, a library table, a music maker of some sort, my computer and printer, plenty of reference books, a big easy chair or recliner, reading lamp, coffee table, inspirational pictures on the wall, and enough shelves in my storage area to hold paper, ink supplies, glue, staples, paper clips, pencils, notebooks, paper cutters, laminating machines. I want plenty of daylight and maybe even a dorm sized refrigerator and microwave for snacks. The room will be comfortable enough that I will want to spend time there.

Who knows I may even store some folding chairs in the closet for friends or students, in case I decide to invite someone over or host a seminar in my space.

Right now I am measuring for carpet and plan to put a curse on any who disturbs my space. There will be an amulet above the door.

Dixie Thomas Reale

Hauntings from the Snake River Plain book trailer and book signing

A book signing will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, at Hastings Books, Music and Video on Blue Lakes Blvd. No. in Twin Falls.

Come meet some of the authors.

Thanks Shoshone for a great book signing!

We had fun in Shoshone last night sharing local ghost stories. Thanks for making this a great event.

Karma Metzler Fitzgerald reading her story in Hauntings from the Snake River Plain.

 

 

 

 

 

Check us out on television: http://www.kmvt.com/news/local/New-Book-Of-Local-Ghost-Stories-Released-For-Halloween-173629001.html?fb_action_ids=413100472076500&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=246965925417366

Thanks Magic Valley!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks everyone for stopping by and saying hi this weekend at the Thousand Springs Arts festival. What a great place to gather and the weather couldn’t have been better.

Idaho Writers Tell Ghost Stories in New Anthology

Check out what we have planned for September and October.

http://magicvalley.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/idaho-writers-tell-ghost-stories-in-new-anthology/article_4e1ee095-a8e8-5d64-98b0-3d936b719bf6.html

The Wild Bunch

We’re always on the lookout for new stories. Recently, we toured the old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise snooping out ghosts and haunted shadows. We made so much ruckus, we landed a notorious mugshot.

IDAHO AUTHORS’ HOLIDAY BOOK FAIR

The Other Bunch will be joining Jennifer DeNaughel, Betty Hare, Cliff Johnson, Niels S. Nokkentved, Jack Goodman, and Merri Halma at a holiday book fair December 11, 2010, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Zulu Bagels & Java Jungle, 1986 Addison Avenue East, Twin Falls, Idaho. Stop by, say hello, and support these local authors. Their books will make great stocking stuffers.

Question of the Month: How Do You Want to be Remembered?

One of the first exercises I tackled when I started writing was to create my own obituary. The point of the exercise was to get me to think about what I wanted to accomplish with my writing. Why was I writing? How did I want to be remembered? What kind of stories did I want to leave behind? That was many years ago and I wish I had kept the exercise because I can’t remember what I wrote. I’m sure I wrote something like “her books are entertaining and character driven” because I always wanted to see my books on the same shelf as Charles Dickens.

This may be a depressing topic for the month of December when things are festive and people are thinking about Christmas, but because it is the end of the year, it is a good time to reassess goals accomplished, and maybe set some new ones.

I’d like to share a story about my friend Mary Inman. Mary joined the Twin Falls Chapter of the Idaho Writers League back in the early 1990s, about the time I left my job at the bank to pursue writing full time. Mary was one of those interesting characters who had more ideas and experiences to recount than she had hours in the day. She was health conscious and walked everywhere she could. She was usually bubbling with energy and ideas. Always interested in life and history, Mary created Gramma Maudie, and from her rocking chair gave many presentations about life on the Oregon Trail. Mary organized walking tours of the original Twin Falls Village, and wrote a book about Twin Falls, Idaho, called Twin Falls Centurybook, 1904-2004.

Not only was Mary interested in history; she was also interested in conserving the planet. She started a xeriscaping club that met once a week at the Twin Falls city council chambers. She did all the legwork, sent out notices, arranged for knowledgeable speakers, organized fieldtrips to the South Hills to view native plants, and xeriscaped her yard to set an example.

Mary was the kind of person who wasn’t afraid to take a canoe down the river alone, or sleep in her car. Instead of shying away from strangers and “No,” she’d extend her hand and ask, “Do you have my book yet?” She was positive, full of energy, and probably had no idea how many lives she touched.

Mary Jane Inman died October 27, 2010, at her home. She was 82. At her request, her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered. Also at her request, no service was held, nor did an obituary run in the local paper. She was a pleasure to know, and I will miss her.

As 2010 draws to an end, take time to reflect on what you stand for. You don’t have to write an obituary, but it would be a good time to determine what you have to say, and what you want to leave behind.

Like my friend Mary, I want to be remembered for making a difference. I want to create characters that live long after my demise. I want readers to ponder my poetry after the books are closed and put away.

What would you like people to say about you when you are gone? Decide how you want to be remembered, and then get busy and do the things that will make it happen.
-Bonnie Dodge

Bonnie Dodge awarded 2010 Writer of the Year Award

At the state conference held in September 2010 in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, the Idaho Writer’s League named Bonnie Dodge 2010 Writer of the Year. Dodge earned the award for the significant body of work she published in 2009 consisting of articles for newsletters and websites, and as co-author and graphic designer of the anthology, Voices from the Snake River Plain.