This winter, the Cannon Beach Library encouraged writers from northwestern Oregon and southwestern Washington to submit a poem, story or essay on the theme, “Life on the North Coast,” for inclusion in a Writers Read Celebration.
From 49 submissions by 37 authors, a library committee selected 11 works by 10 artists from Clatsop and Pacific counties — the writers who read their literary responses to life on the North Coast. Although March entered more feline than ovine on Friday evening, readings by these local authors quickly took the chill off 59 people attending this celebration.
Local artists reading at Friday’s event included Katja Biesanz, John Ciminello, James Dott, Mindy Hardwick, Geno Leech, Jennifer Nightingale, Robert Pyle, Emily Ransdell, Debbie Simorte and Victoria Stoppiello.
The descriptions and metaphors embedded in their writings — as well as the emphases and comments inserted in their presentations — elicited smiles, applause and, at times, roaring laughter from an appreciative audience. Following the readings, authors received a writing journal, discussed the writing process and joined attendees for conversation, coffee, fruit, cheese and Wanda Meyer-Price’s homemade cookies.
The successful event has organizers are considering a similar reading next year. Which reminds me: For those who missed January’s “Evening with the Fisher Poets in Cannon Beach,” which also had the joint jumping, the Fisher Poets will return for another library performance at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 25.
Also, Marianne Monson speaks Saturday, March 9, at 2 p.m., as part of the library’s Northwest Speaker Series. In addition to several children’s books, Monson recently published two nonfiction books: “Frontier Grit: The Unlikely True Stories of Pioneer Women” (2016) and “Women of the Blue and Gray” (2018). Both present historical, biographical sketches based on women’s writings, speeches and letters. Monson’s historical novel, “Her Quiet Revolution: A Novel of Martha Hughes Cannon— Frontier Doctor and First Female State Senator,” is in press.
Monson — who earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University and master’s degrees in creative writing from Vermont College and in English pedagogy from Pacific University — was a managing editor for a publishing house.
She now teaches English and creative writing at Clatsop Community College.
Shawn Stephenson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist at the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Newport, will present “The Puffin Study” at the Friends of Haystack Rock meeting in the library, Wednesday, March 13, at 7 p.m. He will discuss the ongoing tufted puffin study at Haystack Rock, a status assessment of a seabird experiencing declining population. Stephenson earned a bachelor of science degree in fsheries and wildlife from Utah State University and a master of science degree in biological science from the University of Alaska.
Participants in Cannon Beach Reads will discuss “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” by J.D. Vance. In this national bestseller, Vance describes the decline of rural communities in the United States during the past 50 years. In this case, Vance focuses on the destruction of his own family in Appalachian Ohio and Kentucky.
Vance escapes the fate of many childhood friends in coal country through the support of his grandmother, who lived next door; his older sister; and four years of Marine Corps discipline. Kathy Bell will lead the Cannon Beach Reads discussion in the library, Wednesday, March 20, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. New participants are invited to attend, join in the conversation and sample Sandi Lundy’s cookies and other treats.