Results for Category: Uncategorized

Homeless 101

I hope those interested in the issue of homelessness will attend and participate in this discussion. Here are the details:
While it is hard not to recognize homelessness across our urban landscape, few truly understand this growing epidemic. On Monday, September 8, 7-8:30 p.m., at The Window, the Downtown Rangers Homeless Outreach Program will be hosting a public forum designed to provide a first-hand perspective on one of the most important social challenges of our time. The program will include an insider’s look into homelessness from David Sweetland. David was a highly educated, junior college instructor when a “perfect storm” of alcoholism, clinical depression, and personal loss took his life in a very different direction. Now in recovery, David offers a personal view into the mindset and culture of life on the streets.  
The evening will conclude with a panel discussion from local experts, sharing additional perspectives and ideas on how everyone can help. The group includes:
* Matthew O’Brien, author of “Beneath the Neon” and founder of Shine a Light
* Timothy Burch, Director of Clark County Social Services
* Rosie Brown, Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, psychiatric caseworker
Please note: The Window is located at 150 N. Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 140, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 (at the Ogden, between Rachel’s Kitchen and WILD). Parking is available on the street or in the lot located on the northeast corner of Ogden Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 
David L. Gould
Downtown Project
Director of Imagination

French translation update

Stealing from a homeless person is the lowest thing you can do. Stealing from an artist is the second lowest.
This thought crossed my mind a few years ago, when a French publisher translated both of my books, actively promoted and sold them and didn’t pay me or my American publisher any of the advance or royalties promised in the contract. We looked into legal action, but the possibilities seemed limited (since the contract wasn’t worth millions and the publisher was based in a foreign country). So I learned to live with the fact that someone had stolen my work and was selling itand there was nothing I could do about it.
However, finding myself in Spain and en route to Paris, I decided to email the publisher and see if he cared to get coffee and explain in more detail why he never paid us. (Previously, he’d only indicated that his company was struggling financially.) To my surprise, he responded. He said that he wasn’t going to be in town while I was there, but a package would be at my hotel when I arrived. Entering my room and opening the cardboard box, I found 500 euros (about $670) and a translated copy of each book.  
The publisher explained that he hoped to make additional payments, and we’re in the process of mending our relationship. (We’re Facebook friends again!) Perhaps this will be a rare and unexpected happy ending in the publishing world. We shall see.
   

Another poem

“Almost all good poems are perilously close to being bad country songs.” OK, Dr. Revell. I’ll take that as a compliment.
Long Haul
It’s as if I’m standing still
and everything else is moving.
The signs:
Mercury, Beatty, Tonopah.
What are the Joshua trees
running from?
The road reflectors wink.
When hauling these loads
I’m headed in one of two directions—
closer to you or farther away.

Panel discussion and book signing

I’m participating in a panel discussion related to Vegas and writing on Saturday, March 8, at the Paseo Verde Library. The discussion will take place from roughly 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and then I’ll sign copies of my books (sold at a discounted rate). Please drop by and support local authors! Here’s the news release about the event: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           Contact: Tiffannie Bond/Melissa Biernacinski

COPY FOR PROOF                                               Imagine Communications

                                                                                     702-837-8996
Henderson Libraries to launch Local Author Showcase
More than 40 local authors to attend launch party, publishing workshop March 8
HENDERSON, Nev.  Henderson Libraries will host the Local Author Showcase Launch Party from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway, near the 215 Beltway. The Local Author Showcase will include a book publishing workshop, an author meet-and-greet, a discussion panel, and the unveiling of the new Local Author Collection.


More than 40 authors will be present at the March 8 event for a meet-and-greet as well as a local author panel at 12:30 p.m., hosted by Brian Rouff, author of “Dice Angel” and managing partner of Imagine Communications. The panel will include local authors Matt O’Brien, Deborah Coonts, David Schwartz and Gerard de Marigny.

At 2:30 p.m. budding authors can also attend “How Do I Publish My Book?,” a workshop led by Roger DeBlanck and Jonathan Sturak, who will discuss the changing face of modern publishing. Additionally, they will provide strategies for marketing books and establishing an online presence.

In celebration of the new Local Author Collection, refreshments provided by Whole Foods will be served at noon.
“Ultimately, the entire program is meant to inspire, encourage and empower the audience with tools and information needed to successfully publish a book,” said Gayle Hornaday, interim executive director of Henderson Libraries.
Established in 1943 as a single library in Downtown Henderson, Henderson Libraries operates four locations throughout Henderson. Henderson Libraries cooperates with other public libraries in Southern Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Clark County School District and all other libraries around the state to provide quality service for Nevada’s residents.
For additional information on Henderson Libraries, visit www.mypubliclibrary.com or call 702-492-6581.

First poem in 15 years

This is the first poem I’ve written in more than 15 years. I wrote it for a poetry workshop I’m taking at UNLV, as a graduate assistant in the MFA creative writing program. (My concentration is fiction, but we have to take some poetry classes, too.) The theme of the workshop is the “immediately accessible sublime” or, as I simply interpret it, that which is near and dear.
This is the second draft. The teacher Donald Revell and my remarkably talented classmates provided plenty of feedback, a lot of which I incorporated into the poem.
Breaking and Entering
Standing on the sidewalk
Screaming
Half English, half Farsi
Her refuge
Shattered
Interior lights on
Porch light off
The door splintered and ajar
Faceplate and screws
Sprawled across the floor
The scene is secured
Doors and drawers dusted
She enters
Past a palm print black on white
In the squad car
The officer asks questions
Despondent she responds
He pecks an antiquated computer
While reading aloud
“The victim stated that the jewelry
Was given to her
By her grandmother in Iran”
They leave us alone
Noticing a painting
She no longer likes
She observes
They never take what you want them to
With ink-stained hands
We push the suddenly mobile
Media center
Against the door
Drag the mattress into the living room
Everyone’s a suspect
The neighbor, the FedEx guy, the security guard
Finally a kiss good night
Then with all the lights on
We lie down and act like we’re asleep

On the death of an old friend

As some of you know, my first (and only) fulltime journalism job was with Las Vegas CityLife. After freelancing for the well-rounded alt-weekly for two years, I was hired as a staff writer in early 2000.  I spent eight years at the paper, including three as managing editor, and it proved to be an amazing and defining experience.
Sadly, CityLife  recently stopped publishing. I don’t have the time or inclination to perform a proper autopsy (I’m teaching, taking graduate courses, freelancing, etc., and, over the past several years, I lost touch with the paper), but several other people have weighed in on its demise. Here are four pieces on the subject, three of which include my thoughts or info about my time there. If you only read one of them, I highly recommend the last link (a meditative, metaphoric column by Chip Mosher that doesn’t directly mention the paper’s passing).