Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Snowbound in St. Louis, a Writer Reads—Jo-Brew’s novels of the family farm, and tools of the writing and reflective life

Stacks of Books with Globe

Eight inches of snow fell in St. Louis over the weekend, chasing this Northern California girl inside to catch up on her stack of reading. Hey, my snow boots are in the closet of my upstairs room at my father's house and I don't even own an ice-scraper for the car yet...but, I can turn a page.


First, there is a twin set of books by Jo-Brew---author of Preserving Cleo and Cleo's Slow Dance. While the Amazon reviews focus on the relationship aspect in Jo's books, I find the most fascinating aspect the on-going tension between country and town life. Jo's books give you good straight-forward writing about the type of daily challenges real people face.


My brother, Gary, was kind enough to get me a subscription (to tell the truth, I think it was to plump up his grandson's sales) to a magazine known simply as ST. LOUIS. Great stuff here about the people who shaped St. Louis "from visionaries and innovators to crackpots and crooks, we uncover the city's founding fathers--and mothers." This is a thick magazine that I'll have to keep going back to.

ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM for January-March tells me we have some serious quilt shows and programs in store for us. Since this is one of my favorite art forms, I can scarcely wait.

ST. LOUIS AMERICAN If you want to know what's really going on in the city, read the St. Louis American. It's the story of the city, told from an African-American perspective. I love it. I discovered a marvelous article, "The Final Matriarch," by Ruth-Miriam Garnett, a woman I met (twice) recently: first at The Poetry Center fundraiser and then at the Central West End MetroLink stop. Ruth-Miriam Garnett is the author of Laelia, published in 2004 by Simon & Schuster.


AARP, THE MAGAZINE for November/December 2007 has Morgan Freeman on the cover...oh, Baby! If that weren't enough, a plethera of informative and entertaining articles await inside. People, as soon as you hit that qualifying age, sign up...AARP is cool.

VIA, AAA TRAVELER'S COMPANION comes out of San Francisco for the California branch of triple A. It takes me back to my other home, quite nicely, as I read and view places I've been, and places I dreamed of going in Northern California, but never quite made it.


Clive Matson's Crazy Child workshops have a physical representation in The Crazy Child Scribbler: A journal for writers dedicated to writing from the core and keeping the pen moving. The Crazy Child Scribbler is a quarterly publication of poetry, fiction, and essays, published by Clive Matson. Issue Number One appeared in November 1993 and was one sheet, front and back. It was conceived by Craig Heath, who edited the first six issues. It's grown into what is typically an 8-page publication. Even Author's Guild recognizes The Crazy Child Scribbler as a valid publication credit. I edited a special edition of The Crazy Child Scribbler featuring Lake County Poet Laureates and finalists spring of 2002.

You can subscribe to the Scribbler and find out more about Clive Matson's work by emailing Clive at or writing him at The Crazy Child Scribbler, Clive Matson, 474 44th Street, Oakland, CA 94609. Subscription is on a donation basis and well-worth the money. Submission is only for previous students of Clive's workshops, so don't send him your stuff, okay?

The St. Louis Poetry Center's Winter 2007-2008 Quarterly Issue tells me what's hopping in the Greater St. Louis area on the poetry front. I met some of these fine folks at their fund-raiser this fall (wow: classic cars, posters...what a back-drop to a fine evening of company and poetry reading). Their mission statement is: "Our passion for poetry guides us to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the infinite possibilities of the written and spoken word. We conduct workshops, contests, outreach programs, and readings to promote poetry in the community." Boy, do they ever. You can find them in schools all around the city and even behind bars in the prison system. There's a contest to rename the Poetry Center's Publication, so if you have ideas, bring them on!

Story Circle Journal:The newsletter for women with stories to tell (vol. 11, No. 4, December 2007) is a publication of the Story Circle Network, a national not-for-profit membership organization made up of women who want to explore their lives and their souls by exploring them in writing.

I'll be on a publishing panel at their national conference in February---Stories from the Heart IV---in Austin, Texas. Y'll check it out, now! I gave my workshop "Always Coming Home" at their Land Full of Stories conference this year.

In an article titled "Blogging Our Stories," I noticed that Riehlife is briefly mentioned along with other fine bloggers.

SPAN CONNECTION SPAN stands for Small Publishers Association of North America. If you're considering self-publishing or even bringing your book out through an author-assisted self-publishing company like iUniverse, I recommend you join SPAN to learn more about trends in the publishing industry and what's really happening in every step of the publishing journey. They are dedicated to the success of the small publisher, self-publisher, and author.

AUTHORS GUILD BULLETIN This was the summer edition, sent to Northern California at my old address. I loved the interview Garrison Keillow did on Nonfiction Storytelling with Lawrence Wright, Robert Whitaker and James T. Campbell.

Authors Guild is a society of published authors and advocates for fair compensation, free speech and copyright protection.

So, there you have stack of snowy weekend reading....and I won't even tell you about the manuscripts I read...well, okay. After 22 years with UNICEF, Alan Brody is back in the United States, living in Iowa City, Iowa, with his wife Mary Blay-Brody, and doing some fantastic writing about AIDS in Africa. I drifted off to sleep with three other books in manuscript by my side written by my father, Erwin A. Thompson. The one that accompanied my to dreamland was our Riehl History Book packed with fascinating family history and stories of my ancestry.

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1 Responses »

  1. Just wanted to say hi. Please be in touch when time permits. Saturday am tea is always good.

    314 660-8058

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