Valley Writers Read - 2013 Schedule

Valley Writers Read - 2013 Schedule

January 2,  Mark Arax, “The Big Valley” 
Fresno born, Mark Arax is a nationally recognized author.  He reads his own story.  In “The Big Valley” Arax describes much of our Central Valley -- its farms, cities, town, and neighborhoods. The story focuses primarily on agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley. He even takes us down to the  popular agricultural fair in Tulare where they sell huge farm tractors for a quarter of a million dollars. 

January 9, Hope Nisly, “Whack Her Good, Lord!” 
Written by Reedley author Hope Nisly, she reads her own story. “Whack Her Good, Lord!” is about Ivanna who in her youth comes down with an ear malignancy that the doctors can't cure.  We catch up with her in middle age.  At this juncture, we find her working in a restaurant where a religious group meets every week.  Somehow they find out about her hearing problem and try to help her by “laying on hands.” 

January 16,  Jim Ashford “Serengeti” 
The author lives in Fresno and reads his own story.  It is about Howard, a very wealthy and alcohol-loving man who, year after year, thinks nothing of spending thousands of dollars going 'on safari' in Africa to hunt and shoot wild animals in order to display their heads in his sumptuous trophy room.   But his wife Tricia thinks he does all this just to prove that he's a real man. 

January 23,  Evelyne Holingue, “Welcome Home” 
The author lives in Coarsegold and reads her own story.  The story involves Juliette who lives pretty much in isolation up in the foothills.  One day a visitor drives up.  It's young Natasha who tells her she's been in a traffic accident and killed somebody.  They return to the scene of the accident, and it turns out Natasha actually ran into an already wrecked car.  They find a note which the owner had left saying “Hit a buck.  I'm fine. Car totaled.”

January 30,  Liza Weiland  “Tommy Waddel” 
Liza taught at Fresno State; she reads her own story.   This is a love story about a teenaged girl who is attracted to young boy named Tommy Waddel.  As the two of them become more and more enamored, we learn how her relationships with family, fellow students, and community members change.  And the conclusion, Tommy announces that he'll be moving soon.

February 6,  C.B. Mosher  “Sarampion” 
Dr. Mosher lives in Mariposa and reads his own story.  “Sarampion” is Spanish for “measles.”  The story takes place in Mexico's hinterland where a doctor is faced with a case of the measles.  Since his hospital doesn't have any anti-measles medicine, he is faced with the possibility of a very serious epidemic.  So he ascends an old Mayan pyramid hoping to find some other cure for the measles.

February 13, Gabriele Case, “The Long Way Home” 
Gabriele lives in Fresno and reads her own story.  The story is about Raymond, a returning veteran who has just returned from Afghanistan and suffers from post-dramatic stress disorder.  He somehow can't get all those battle experiences out of his head, starts drinking, quarreling with everybody, and refuses to get help.  He finds a baby in front of his church, falls in love with it, and cares for it religiously.  The experience helps him reach out for help from a veterans' organization.

February 20, (two stories)  Deb Borofka, “With Me Still” and Janet Stevens “Dust to Dust” 
Both authors are from Fresno and read their own stories.  In “With Me Still,” the narrator meets a woman who hails from her own home town in Oregon.  It brings back memories — especially of her grandmother with whom she spent so much time as a youngster.   Then, in “Dust to Dust,” the author, Janice Stevens, visits the home of her ancestors in North Dakota.  She meets with a few remaining relatives and revisits some of the memorable sites of her family's history—places like abandoned homes, barns, farms, cemeteries and schools.

February 27,  Janet Nichols Lynch,  “Tone”  
Janet lives in Visalia; she reads her own story.  The story is about Phyllis, a fine classical concert pianist.     Unfortunately, she is a performer who becomes extremely nervous before performances.  One time before a concert, she  became so upset that she accidentally cut her daughter with a knife as she was fixing dinner.  On several occasions her doctor advised her to quit playing altogether.

March 6,  (two stories)  Jack Hernandez “Called,” and Oscar G. Williams “Scamming”  
Both authors read their own stories.  Hernandez is from Bakersfield; he originally wanted to become a minister, but tells us that one can also be “called” to become a teacher.  He says, “My sense of  'calling' has grown stronger fed by student successes.”    Oscar G. Williams lives in Fresno; his story is about Fred and Mildred, two computer wizards, who have figured out how to scam the scammers.  Mildred acts like she's an elderly widow, and when the scammers call her to tell her she's just won a lot of money, she acts like she believes them and follows their instructions; meanwhile Fred, using his computer skills, empties all the money out of the scammers' accounts.

March 13  Bonnie Hearn Hill,  “Part Light, Part Memory” 
Bonnie Hearn Hill is from Fresno and reads her own story. The story is about the very end of the Civil War and takes place in Texas.  General Lee has already surrendered at Appomattox, and yet there are some former slave holders who are still treating emancipated Black citizens like slaves.  They still consider it a major crime for a White person to teach Black people how to read and write.

March 20,  Howard Hendrix,  “Last Memory of Oblivion” 
Howard Hendrix lives at Shaver Lake; he reads his own story. This is a science fiction story.  A couple of super computer geniuses, Paul and Nene, have been hired by the giant Interprotation Company to stop all “God spam.”  Religious leaders protest vigorously, but that doesn't stop them.  Once the program goes on line, first the street lights go out, then the city lights, and finally the lights from the twinkling stars. 

March 27,  Franz Weinschenk,  “Catherine Haw Chin” 
Franz lives in Fresno and reads his own story. This is a story from a book entitled “Home Room” which is about the lives of the author's former students at Edison High School in Fresno.   Catherine Haw Chin, who passed away a few years ago, is one of those students.  She worked for the Fresno County Courts for well over 40 years. At first she collected traffic fines in the Old Fresno County Court House.  Then she became a court clerk for numerous Superior Court judges where she witnessed many dramatic trials.

April 3, Coke and Joell Halowell - "Take Me to the River"
This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear several short stories from the book "Take Me to the River: Fishing, Swimming, and Dreaming on the San Joaquin." This collection of stories about the San Joaquin River was edited by Joell and Coke Halowell. The book is the result of a decade long series of interviews with people who have deep connections to the river.

April 10,  (two stories) Stephen D. Gutierrez  “Valley Song” and Charlie Warnes “The Branch Office From Hell” 
This week on Valley Writers Read we hear two stories from local authors. Our program begins with a "Valley Song" a short story from Stephen D. Gutierrez, winner of a 2012 American Book Award for his book "Live from Fresno y Los." Gutierrez, who now teaches at CSU East Bay, previously taught at Fresno City College. In “Valley Song” we hear a story about the life and struggles of Mexican-American boxer. Our second story comes from Fresno author Charlie Warnes. In his work “The Branch Office From Hell" we hear about a character who is sent to a very unprofessional insurance office. 

April 17,  Anne Richards Da Vigo,  “Two Women”  
Although Anne Da Vigo is a graduate of Fresno State, she currently lives in Sacramento.  She reads her own story. “Two Women” is a story about two totally different women.  While Naomi is elderly, wealthy and bossy, her nurse Mary, is just the opposite; she is patient, compassionate and sympathetic.  And then there are Naomi's greedy  relatives who are ready to abscond with her valuable paintings.

April 24,  Earline Holguin,  “Vineyards of the San Joaquin Valley” 
The author is from Madera and reads her own story.   This is a memoir about what is was like to live on a grape ranch right next to the San Joaquin River. It gives the listener an insight into growing and harvesting grapes, especially Thompsons, which are used to make raisins.  The author also tells us about the time a skunk invaded their house, and about the time a feisty rooster tried to stop the author and her sister from collecting eggs in the hen house.

May 1,  David Borofka,  “Mid Clair” 
The author lives in Clovis and reads his own story.  This is the story about Professor Grimshaw whose wife was in the habit of insulting him all the time-- so much so that he moves into the garage and sleeps in the Buick.  Things get even more complicated when he has an affair with one of his students who plans on suing him for sexual harassment.  Meanwhile his wife's therapist tells him that it is HE who needs to come in for therapy.

May 8,  Jim Benelli, “Spaghetti Farming In Kansas” 
The author resides in Auberry and reads his own story.   This is a satirical story about a millionaire, Nick Worthmore and his wife Penny who, when they stop to get their car repaired in Kansas meet Guiseppi Bandini who somehow talks them into purchasing a spaghetti farm for cold cash.  Inasmuch as Worthmore is extremely wealthy, somehow we don't feel all that sorry for him.   

May 15,  Susan Norman, “Learning the Ropes” 
Susan Norman lives in Oakhurst; her story is read by Leigh Murray. The story is about CJ, a precocious teenaged girl who had been sent to a school for delinquents. The parents come to see their daughter on visiting day and watch the youngsters climb a complicated jungle gym.  That afternoon, CJ's mother decides to climb the jungle gym herself.  This forebodes some big changes in family relationships.

May 22,  Ed Miller,  “Blur”  
The author lives in Fresno and reads his own story. The story is about a dinner date that went sour. The De Tellos invited their friends Gina and Jerry out to dinner. After a lot of drinking, their guests got into a terrible fight. That night the De Tellos get an incomprehensible phone call – just a lot of screaming, and the next day Gina was found shot.

May 29  Valerie Schultz  “The Rufus Gene” 
The author lives in Tehachapi and reads her own story.   The story is about a family who move into an upscale  neighborhood and, unfortunately, Rufus their mixed-breed dog got into the neighbor's yard and impregnated their purebred Samoid. This got the neighbors very upset.  There are other family setbacks, and, in the end, it seems like their new neighbors were telling them, their children, and Rufus to move back into their old neighborhood.

June 5  (two stories)  Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco “Military Cemetery,” and Anne Leath Biggs, “Leaving Rapunzel's Window”
Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco resides in Merced and reads her own story.  Anne Leath Biggs is a Fresno resident and also reads her own story.   The first story tells us about an encounter between two young women and a couple of men they met at a bar.  The first man is in the service and reveals that he's killed someone “with a knife.”  The second story describes the author's childhood in a middle-class neighborhood on Michigan Avenue in Fresno.   

June 12,  (two stories)  Angelo Angarano, “Born Again Golfer,” and David Creighton “Golf!  A Four-Lettered Word” 
Both authors reside in Fresno. and  both read their own stories.   In the first story Angelo Angarano tells us what happened to an avid golfer when he enlisted a Zen Buddhist golf pro to help him answer the question “What is the trajectory of an unhit golf ball?”   In the second story David Creighton describes what happened to a golfer who dumped three consecutive golf shots right into the middle of a lake. He also threw his golf cart into that lake!

June 19,  Sally Stallings “The Yellow Dressing Room” and “Back Stage”
This writer lives in Fresno and reads her own story. The story is all about Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet.  The author gives us a good look at what happened to both young and old—both backstage and out front at various Christmas performances of the popular ballet.  She describes how her daughter prepared for and then actually performed in a production of the great Tchaikovsky masterpiece at Fresno's Saroyan Theater.

June 26,  Steve Yarbrough, “A Life of Ease” 
For many years, Steve Yarbrough was an instructor at Fresno State; he reads his own story. The story is about a supposedly happily married minister in a small church in Mississippi who is attracted to a female parishioner.  Things like that aren't supposed to happen to minister, priests, or rabbis, but, as Yarbrough's story points out, maybe those folks aren't all that much different than the rest of us.