Workshop and TS32 Book Release Party

Hello Everyone, thanks so much to all of you who attended our September 16, 2023, Talking Stick 32 Book Release Party and the Sharon Chmielarz workshop entitled “Lift Up Your Pens.” Writers came from far and wide. Some stayed at beautiful Jack Pines Resort either Friday or Saturday night. Some stayed in Park Rapids. Some drove early and battled the road construction that was on all sides of us.

For Talking Stick 32, our judges were: poetry, Laura Hansen; creative nonfiction, Julie Jo Larson; fiction, Cindie Ekren. The winners for the new creative twist genre were chosen by our Editorial Board.

We had a great day. We had a good number of writers who brought some of their own previously published books and had them for sale. They included: Mike Lein, Ryan Neely, Sharon Chmielarz, Erin Marsh, Niomi Phillips, Marsh Muirhead, Sharon Harris. Writers started showing up early. Those who had been published in TS32 picked up their one free copy of the book and many purchased more. We also had older volumes of Talking Stick available. The workshop ran from 9 to noon followed by an excellent lunch of soup and sandwiches. Sharon Chmielarz gave us some excellent tips for revising our poems. Writers took turns reading short excerpts of their writing during the workshop.

After lunch, we had more writers arrive. The book release party started at 1 PM. Sharon Harris talked about the group and our history. Tarah Wolff and Sharon Harris realized that this year marked 20 years that they have been working on the Talking Stick books together—from TS12 through TS32. Tarah and Sharon have also done about 20 other books together, various poetry collections, short story collections, a few novels. Other JWB members help with reading submissions, serving on the Editorial Board, helping with proofing, helping with events, etc.

Then other JWB members introduced the winners of each genre. Other speakers were Sharon Chmielarz, Niomi Phillips, Ryan Neely, and Mike Lein. Each winner who was present came up to read their poem or story and receive their prize money. Then anyone else who was published in TS32 was invited up to read. Many stories and poems were very sad and touching. Many were humorous. All were enjoyable. Laughter and applause filled the event center.

At the end, we thanked everyone who helped with the event, everyone who attended, everyone who submitted to the book, everyone who had helped with donations, etc. We are proud of the fact that we have never charged a reading fee or membership fee but we still have been able to give out prize money.

Exhausted, we packed up our books around 3:30 PM. About a dozen JWB members and visiting writers went to the Cookhouse, the Jack Pines Resort restaurant. There we visited for several more hours and had an excellent meal. We hated to leave. Be sure to visit the Cookhouse when you can. Their Sunday brunch is especially spectacular.

For those in TS32 who were not able to attend, we will be mailing out your one free book over the next couple of weeks!