Monday, February 22, 2016

To Be Curated, Inside a Project with Awst Press

Awst Press
So, it's official, I have been curated.  And I couldn't be happier, really.  What does that mean?  I'm part of an innovative project run by Awst Press, an Austin-based small press, that specializes in new writers and writing.

The project: Awst chooses a guest curator who selects a handful of writers whose lives and work will be featured with Awst over the course of a few months; the project culminates in a chapbook of new work by those writers.

My curator is writer, filmmaker, teacher, and performer Owen Egerton. For the next two weeks, Awst Press will, from behind the glass of your computer screen, display my stories, words, answers to questions; my new story, "The Wandering House," will be available as a printed chapbook for purchase.

And so it has begun. Come with me to Awst Press:

Follow Awst on Twitter: @AwstPress

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

That Day in Southword Journal

"That Day," one of the pieces from my childhood memoir, The Girl's Made of Bone, is now available to read in the new issue of Southword Journal.  It comes from a cycle of memories from early childhood.

To read other pieces from The Girl's Made of Bone, see the following:

Saturday, January 30, 2016

"I will be an arts president." ~ Senator Bernie Sanders

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Literary Valentine's Day in Spokane, 2/14/16

There's nothing better to do on Valentine's Day than to read strange, dark fairy tales . . . except to hear new fairy tales performed by the writers themselves. I'll be one of several poets and fiction writers telling stories at The Bing Crosby Theater. So, join us.

All you need to bring is your heart in a box, or a ticket.

When? 7 PM
Tickets: $17

It is a red poster with different shaped eyeballs on it with red pupils. The text reads Lilac City Fairy Tales: Marry a Monster. An evening of poetry, prose, and music.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Chapbook: The Unique Stocking Stuffer for Readers

Dimensions of this Chapbook: 4" x 6"
Typical dimensions of a stocking: More than 4" x 6"


Picture of the chapbook against a typewriter headpiece and against gray and white fabric
"How The Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble"
by Erin Pringle-Toungate

What's the Chapbook? "How The Sun Burns Among Hills of Rock and Pebble" is a longer story that revolves around the disappearance and death of a sister, an agricultural fair in the rural Midwest, and a man who has been shot.
Beginning Excerpt:
                But aside from the black crepe ribbons that flap on the white poles of the fair entrance archway, anyone who didn't live in the town last summer or close enough to hear the nightly news or who didn't ask about the luminaries lining the dirt avenue that ran along the fair's midway last night, wouldn't know that a young woman named Helen Greene disappeared from last summer's Agricultural Fair.
                Under the fair entrance archway linger the men who served pancakes at the church last month and sell fabric poppies at the one lighted intersection on Memorial Day weekend. They wear neon yellow vests over their T-shirts and bellies. Just before dark, the traffic into the fairgrounds will become steady, and when dark falls, they'll swing their flashlights and raise their hands in greeting to the people they recognize, and they recognize most everyone.
                Tonight, the carnies will speak in tongues and the town will drop screams from the rides, buy tickets, carry whorls of cotton candy back to their trailers and leaning homes--until somewhere in the middle night, the sound of the fair will become one constant chord, like the interstate in the distance or the light rushing through glass bulbs.

Publisher: The Head and The Hand Press, Philadelphia 2015
Original Publisher: The Minnesota Review
Awards: Finalist in The Kore Fiction Contest, nominated for Pushcart Prize
Length: 43 pages
Price (including shipping): $6.25

 Ordering Info:
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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Call for Fiction, Literati Quarterly Winter 2015/16 Issue

Hello, you!

Fall Issue!
The Fall Issue of The Literati Quarterly is now up, which I'm very pleased to announce for a number of reasons:
  • I'm the fiction editor over there now
  • The poetry editor and I designed this issue
  • I interviewed Tara Snowden (see page 63!), the featured artist of the issue, whose work I have admired for a number of years
  • We have new fiction by Michael Martone, Kate J. Reed, Jack Kaulfus, GJ Jensen, and Austin Eichelberger

Winter Issue!
Call for Winter 2015/2016 issue of The Literati Quarterly 

The Literati Quarterly is now accepting poetry, fiction, plays, translations, essays, art, interviews, reviews, or a hybrid thereof, for the Winter Issue. Work that touches on life, loss, darkness, love and friendship are preferred. The issue will be dedicated to the life of the editor-in-chief's significant other, who died tragically this Summer.

More information for the fiction side of the issue:
  • Longer stories preferred over flash (stories of at least 10 pages and capping at about 20 pages)
  • Stories desired that prize the language as much, or more than, the plot
  • Cleverness-for-the-sake-of-cleverness is not an asset here
Deadline for submission is December 6th.

Go read the Fall Issue now!
And here's the LQ on Facebook


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Midyear Memo: Words, Here

Untitled by Crystal, via Flickr
Used under CC license
Fall is threatening, friend, and so I wanted to update you on my projects this year, and let you know where some of my words will appear this Autumn.  I started working on a memoir-in-verse this Spring that I hope to have completed by mid-Winter. Luckily, I've been receiving good feedback about the poems, or micro non-fictions, as I'd like to call them, which began appearing out in the world this summer.  As the pieces are published, I'll update this post with links.  Here's to a wonderful autumn, wet with leaves and love, love always, now that I'm a mother.


Old News
The Floating Order, my first collection of short stories, is still in print from Two Ravens Press (2009).


I enjoy speaking with readers, sharing my work, and visiting classrooms. 
Please contact me to set up an event.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Who Did You Read This Summer? Share the 2015 Summer Library Series

Well, dear readers, we have arrived at the end of the 2015 Summer Library Series.  All summer long, authors have reminisced about their childhood memories in the library, from Philadelphia to Switzerland to Roma, Texas.  Thank you for following the series, whether you discovered it this season or have been with us from the beginning.  
Children gathered around a table of books,
Central Circulating Library at College and St. George Streets,
Toronto, Ontario
Used under CC license
Please thank the contributing authors by rereading their work, telling your librarian about this series, by sending the writers a personal note via their websites, or by sharing your favorite author's reflection on your Facebook wall. 
Any time an author hears from a reader is incredibly wonderful, as it helps assure us that readers do exist--for much of what we hear is that readers don't exist or that people just don't read like they used to or [fill in any other anecdote about the death of reading]. 
One effect of this is an intensity of doubt that jeopardizes a writer's confidence while writing, before writing, or after writing for the day.  And any time an artist starts to doubt the importance of art and the world is a bad time for the artist and the world. 
So, as readers, please help other readers discover these writers, just as you have. 
I'm very proud to have hosted another successful season, and I hope you've found the series one that you think about in the passing moments.  May you check out an abundance of books from your local library between now and next summer.  Our communities depend on it.

by Simone Zelitch 
Bustelton Library
The Bustleton branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia looks like a highway rest step: a single-story structure with long, narrow windows and a corrugated green roof.  It’s located next to Washington High school, which was an easy walk from our house in Northeast Philadelphia.  My mother claims that she took out fifteen books a week for me.  I never came along which made the process more efficient, but could be the reason why I have no early memories of libraries, no sentimental images of choosing my own read-out-loud book and watching a librarian stamp it with the due-date.  It also may explain why I couldn’t grasp that these library books were shared property.   I’d dog-ear pages, crack spines, and stain whatever I was reading with whatever I was eating at the time.   You might say that I left my mark.  [Continue reading]


Bookmobile, TimberlandRegional Library 1 
"No longer in service, this old TRL bookmobile now resides on private property
just south of Amanda Park, Washington. Photo taken 19 Dec 2011. Library Service to this area of rural
Washington is now provided by the Amanda Park branch of Timberland Regional Library."
Used under CC license

By Maya Jewell Zeller

Where my family lived wasn’t a town. It was a series of backroads off Rural Route 4, a river bend tourists would have driven past—or did—if it wasn’t for their interest in the covered bridge, promised like a Meryl Streep movie, if you take the turn indicated and head down the hill, past the tangle of maple and alder, sword fern and salmonberry, through the field of hay grass and thistle with the nettled edge. [Continue reading]
by Regi Claire
Primarschule MÅ«nchwilen,
Photo by Roland Zumbuehl

When I was eight, I read a whole library. A library? Yes. Housed in a small attic room with a combed ceiling, up a steep flight of wooden stairs from the stone-flagged second floor of my village primary school. But why the sink and cupboards? Why the thick cigarette smoke? Well, the library must have been an afterthought. [Continue reading]


Liz Rognes


Summers in Lake Mills, Iowa meant long, hazy, humid days. My mom would drop my siblings and me off at the town pool for morning swimming lessons, two miles away from our farm, and then we would walk a few blocks to my grandma’s house, wrapped in our towels, our skin smelling of chlorine and salty sweat. My Grandma Bea was an Irish Catholic Democrat, the kind who fervently believed in social justice and local participation. She was on the Board of Directors for the public library, and she or my mom would take us every week for story hour or just to check out books. When we were old enough, we could walk by ourselves from Grandma’s house to the library across the street: a small, unassuming building on the outside, but on the inside filled to the brim with books and stories about the big, exciting, incomprehensible world outside of our little Iowa farm town. [Continue reading]
This Book: One Week
Emilia Rodriguez


Photograph shows a girl with long dark hair, her back to the left side of the picture. She wears a green and red plaid shirt. She has a hesitant expression.
Emilia Rodriguez as a child,
Used with author's permission

We didn’t stay in places very long when I was young.  My parents were born in Mexico.  My father was not a U.S. citizen.  We moved to Fort Worth, TX when I was in the first grade.  Until then, all of my classes had been bilingual.  Spanish was my first language.  My English was shaky.  I could read a little and watch cartoons, but holding a conversation was difficult. [Continue reading]

Ben Cartwright 
The Cartwright Family,
Used with author's permission
Dear Spokane Valley Library (1980),
My mother was losing it.  School canceled for a week, noonday sky black and missing the sun's round punctuation, so faces covered in surgical masks (because of St. Helen's) we clambered into the Volkswagen bus.  Ash in the streets made crests and troughs under our tires.  Laneless, we stuttered over Sprague, crept around the S-curves of Main, wipers set to high and accomplishing nothing.  My mother, driving blind and sobbing, triggered a sympathy response in my sister, and their chorus of lamentation as I held my finger to my small mouth, made the noise a librarian makes when she (the ones I loved were always she) tells the world to remain silent, to keep a kind of order, for a while.  Your square door was lit yellow and bright.  It was the end of the world.  I left the van first. [Continue reading]
Walking to East Branch
Carol (Ryan) Pringle
The East Branch Library, Evansville, IN
From EVLP History
Opened in 1913, the year of my mother's birth, the East Branch of Evansville, Indiana system (now called East Branch of Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library) was the library of choice for our family, as it was within walking distance from our home 6 blocks away.  By the time I was old enough to read and walk to the library with Mother, my sister, and brother, it was 1945; Dad was finishing his World War II Army service, so wasn't home to walk with us. [Continue reading]

Please visit again.
Photograph "Chesapeake Library" by Bill Smith
Used under CC license

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 Summer Library Series: Walking to East Branch by Carol (Ryan) Pringle

Hello, hello! Welcome to the Summer Library Series, an annual weekly exhibit of wonderful essays in which professional writers reflect on their childhood in the library. This week's edition is a slight departure from the formula, as our author is not a professional writer, although three of her children are.  She is a dedicated reader of the series and was very pleased to contribute this reflection. I bring to you the origin of my love of the library, my mother.  Please enjoy her memories of the East Branch Library in Evansville, Indiana.
Walking to East Branch
Carol (Ryan) Pringle
The East Branch Library, Evansville, IN
From EVLP History
Opened in 1913, the year of my mother's birth, the East Branch of Evansville, Indiana system (now called East Branch of Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library) was the library of choice for our family, as it was within walking distance from our home 6 blocks away.  By the time I was old enough to read and walk to the library with Mother, my sister, and brother, it was 1945; Dad was finishing his World War II Army service, so wasn't home to walk with us.
The building itself was in an ideal location between Stanley Hall Elementary School and Bayard Park.  (After I was invited to write of my experiences, it occurred to me that there was no library in our elementary school.  Neither did our classrooms have novels and non-fiction books to read, unless the teacher read to us from a book she'd acquired. So, access to a nearby library was essential in broadening our world).  On the east side of the library, Bayard Park afforded us a place to slide, swing and teeter totter during the summers of our youth, as well as to hold special school activities, celebrating the end of school.
Carol as a child,
used with author's permission
As one of many Carnegie libraries, East Branch seemed a huge building in this young child's eyes.  More space was dedicated to adult books and reading materials than to children's, as the number of children's authors was less prolific than in today's world.  Even the books each of us owned were few in number, so our twice-a-month trips to exchange our books that were due (very important that we not have an overdue book) for new ones, were vital to our joy of reading.
It was an enforced rule to be QUIET in the library, and if we needed to speak to each other or to the librarian, it had to be in hushed tones.  Otherwise, "SHHHHH" was the most used word heard. I decided the librarian's job entailed keeping the room quiet, no matter how mean a look she maintained . . . oh yes, and stamping the book to indicate when it was due back.  I wouldn't have dared ask her a question about a book (or anything else) for fear of her shushing me.  On the other hand, years later, a friendly librarian was hired and it was like having a cheerful breeze floating through the room.  
Two images stand out in my memory of those young years--one was the stereoscopes that were set on a library table for anyone to look through at 3-D pictures.  The stereoscopes were somewhat like the modern View-Masters but were more cumbersome in their structure.  Still, it was fun to look at the scenes from this interesting non-toy.
Children using stereoscopes,
Cincinnati, OH public library
The second image is the experience of a Summer Reading Program circa 1949, in which the program's final activity, as a reward for having read and reported on a certain number of books (10?  20?), was a trip to Lincoln City, Indiana, where Abraham Lincoln once lived, as well as the location of his mother's (Nancy Hanks Lincoln's) grave.  The process of attaining this reward was interesting in itself, as the title of each book read was placed on a paper "log" and added to the building of a "cabin" there in the library.  It was no easy task for me to read and report to that strict librarian, regarding the number of books required, but the struggle brought great satisfaction in completing the program and receiving the reward!
By the time I was a Brownie Scout and then a Girl Scout, the basement of the library became the meeting place after school for our troop.  I clearly remember the "flying up" ceremony from Brownie to Girl Scout held there and also recall one of our meeting in which we performed "Snow White," my role being that of the Mirror.  How meaningful that role still is in that "reflecting" is one of the main things I continue to do in my daily thoughts.
Having pondered these memories, I now realize what a dear part of my childhood the East Branch Library was, from the feeling of family togetherness in walking to get there, to the sharing of the experience of reading, to the disciplines of quietness and being prompt in returning what we'd borrowed, to the sense of community in knowing others shared this space.  Although libraries have dramatically changed in their services, including computers and other ways of accessing books around the state and country, they continue to be a vital part of my life in the community in which I now live.
Carol (Ryan) Pringle grew up on Linwood Avenue in Evansville, Indiana and now lives in Casey, Illinois. She has her bachelor's and master's degrees in elementary education from Indiana State University and is about to begin her last year of educating children before retiring next spring at age 76. She is an active member of the Martinsville, IL Methodist church, enjoys singing, and walks her dog three times a day.  She is also a grandmother of five. You can read past interviews I've done with her: "Christmas Began at 1104 South Linwood" and "The Woman Who Helped Author Me."
If this is your first time travelling with the Summer Library Series, you can catch up by visiting all the places we've been this season: Philadelphia, Washington, Switzerland, Iowa, Texas, and Spokane. Past seasons of the series are housed here. The series will continue through August, so please check back next Thursday, and share with friends and strangers until then.