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Write It Loud

By Bob Woodiwiss · February 18th, 1999 · Pseudoquasiesque
I argued against it at last year's WURST (Writers United to Rapturously Stroke Themselves) meeting. I told them, "Don't. Don't pit Writers History Month against Black History Month this February. Black History owns February. We'll be crushed, ignored."

Jack Canfield (of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series) echoed my feelings, suggesting we move WHM to November. "The best November's got is 'Starving Third World Children Month,' " he argued. "We'll kick the living shit out of those little losers. And we can take that momentum right into the Christmas book-buying season."

No one listened, though. And no one's listening now. To us, to writers, I mean. WHM is already half over and turnout at our events has been, at best, anemic. So, in a last ditch effort to salvage what was supposed to be a heritage-building campaign, a campaign to showcase and promote the contributions of writers past and present, I'm begging you to please look over the events below and attend the one closest to you.

Boston, Feb. 18 -- The world's foremost Anthony Trollope expert takes questions about what in God's name possessed him to use the one lifetime he was granted to become the world's foremost Anthony Trollope expert.

Philadelphia, Feb. 19 -- A Jules Verne retrospective that focuses on the futuristic author's uncannily predictive writings. Included are his (newly discovered) journals from 1887-90, which describe in detail sneeze guards, Ticketmaster, Pamela Anderson and toaster pastries.

New England, Feb. 20 -- Celebrations throughout the region commemorate Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who on this day in 1829, abandoned his dream of being a journalist when it was pointed out to him that all his reporting rhymed.

New York, Feb. 21 -- A tribute to William Burroughs and his groundbreaking "cut ups," the writing style he created by randomly assembling words and phrases cut from existing pages of text. At the New York Public Library, readers will be challenged to use Burroughs' own technique to review these works by randomly sequencing the words "this," "technique" and "blows."

America OnLine, Feb. 22 -- A real-time online discussion of Dante's Divine Comedy with -- who else? -- best-selling contemporary comedy writers Tim Allen, Paul Reiser, Ray Romano, Ellen Degeneres and Jerry Seinfeld. Find out what's so divinely funny from people who know divinely funny.

Des Moines, Feb. 24 -- Professor Deirdre Sporkin leads a three-day workshop for writers. Titled "Fitzgerald and Hemingway: A Divergence of Style," the goal of the workshop is to guide budding novelists to a clearer understanding of whether they should destroy themselves slowly with alcohol or quickly with a shotgun in the mouth.

Seattle, Feb. 25 -- Dean Koontz reads from his new memoir, which is largely an account of how the constant mispronunciation of his last name led him to change the original "u" to a "double o."

Austin, Feb. 27 -- The University of Texas Literature Department releases the results of its decade-long investigation into why American men who correctly pronounce the names "Proust," "Flaubert" and "Camus" are always assumed to be gay.

Nationwide, Feb. 28 -- Writers History Month comes to a close with the adoption of the hotly contested but long overdue federal ban on Mark Twain impersonations. ©



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