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Literary dreaming

January 9, 2011

Okay, I’m here amid the snow-covered Green Mountains, hanging with my writing buddies at the end of  a long day of readings and workshop, and I get to spinning out part of my dream scenario for Pottstown’s revitalization. This particular version includes a writing center in Pottstown, where my buddies and other writers – maybe they’ve published books, maybe not yet – can stay in a gorgeously renovated Victorian bed/breakfast writers’ retreat for 1-4 weeks, for a modest weekly fee. Writers are always on the lookout for a reasonably-priced retreat, where they can get some work done. (Maybe we’d entice them with a tour of The Hill School, where Tobias Wolff spent some time, or maybe a trip to Shillington, home of John Updike.) We might even be able to get some writers to visit a class in the schools, do a program at the library, or give a reading at night. Some of my people here like the sound of all this. And, you never know — if we built a solid network of authors who had already been to Pottstown, the next step might be to invite them all back, along with others, and begin hosting an annual literary arts festival. Wouldn’t that just turn the world’s perception of Pottstown on its head? Would make a really good story, too…

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14 Comments
  1. Steph Carmody permalink
    January 9, 2011 4:08 pm

    Sue, I like the way you think! Hope you and all your buddies are finding inspiration at this latest workshop/retreat. The best thing about being a writer, in my opinion, is the juices flowing and the satisfaction felt when you’ve got it out there for others to read (who am I kidding – no writer ever really feels like a piece is perfect and can’t be edited further…haa!).

    The sounds of a reno on a grand victorian as a b&b have so many possibilities. The synergy you referred to is just the kind of shot in the arm the community needs! Resources and rich history do seem to make good bedfellows. I hope people are listening!

    My best to you as you continue to dream big in the snowy solitude!!

    • January 9, 2011 8:22 pm

      Thanks, Steph! You are right, though – there is a satisfaction just getting stuff out there for readers, even if it’s not “perfect” or “finished,” which it never is.

  2. michele Repko dunleavy permalink
    January 9, 2011 7:14 pm

    Of course this would turn heads Sue!! Pottstown reminds me so much of Phoenixville and has potential to atract people… i am sorry to hear you are snow -bound , yet it’s good you get to chill with fellow authors and reflect. Pottstown is a project and a work in progress so be patient, good things will come. i love P-town and all that it provided me in my youth-challenges, diversity, fun, excitemnt…
    Good place to be AND to come back to….
    Take care, be careful walking/driving and have fun- ENJOY!!!

    • January 9, 2011 8:21 pm

      Thanks, Michele! Having fun and being inspired. Hope it’s all good with you!

  3. January 10, 2011 10:13 am

    This would be a wonderful thing. Writers can always use the support.

  4. Andrew Kefer permalink
    January 10, 2011 11:52 am

    Sue, I hope you’re enjoying the peace and serenity of Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains! I’m going to piggyback on your optimism and dream in print. I would like to see people come to Pottstown to experience a sustainable, vibrant downtown that contains great restaurants, galleries, and shops that specialize in ‘green’ services and products, as well as ‘Schuylkill River Trail’ products and services.

    I would like to see a community that attracts young singles who want to be part of a burgeoning arts and culture scene, middle-class families who are attracted to affordable, safe, stable communities and a highly regarded school system. Finally, I want to see Pottstown become a place that attracts seniors who want to be part of a walkable, exciting community filled with activities that keep them young.

    I would like to see a community that is known across the country for low taxes, high quality services and a transparent government. I would also LOVE to see a community known as a place where people work together towards a common future. Here’s to a Pottstown that becomes the model for a Normal Rockwell community of the 21st century!

    Andrew Kefer

    PS, don’t forget to include writer field trips to the Pearl S Buck House, and the John O’Hara residence in Pottsville! Have a great day and enjoy the rest of your trip!

    • January 10, 2011 11:54 am

      AMEN! Thanks for putting it all in writing, Andrew!

  5. January 10, 2011 1:23 pm

    We sure miss you Sue! Your vision, (yours too Andrew), are exciting and so do-able. We’re on the way.

    Have fun in Vermont. I am planning to win the HGTV Dream Home in Stowe, VT and we can have a writers retreat there too *LOL*

    • January 10, 2011 5:33 pm

      I’m having a blast and will give a short reading tonight, along with other students. Actually, my 4-minute piece is about the Polar Bear Plunge! If you get the place in Stowe, we can just add it to the literary retreat empire!

  6. January 10, 2011 3:05 pm

    Taking your literary dreaming literally … the aforementioned literary arts festival could be held during the first or second weeks of November, to coincide (maybe a good thing, maybe not) with the annual writers conference conducted by Montgomery County Community College. In the past the conference has been limited to the Blue Bell campus with simulcasts to Pottstown. Betcha’ we could talk President Karen Stout and Director of Communications Alana Mauger to shift some events this way, or create new ones for the occasion.

    The 2010 conference, BTW, featured Keynote Speaker Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize and Hugo Award winning author of “Wonder Boys,” “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” and “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” as well as an agents’ panel, workshops, and agent appointments.

    Is 2011 too soon, or you wanna shoot for 2012?

    • January 10, 2011 5:32 pm

      Hi, Joe —

      Yes, there could be some really good synergy here with the College. In any event, let’s go for 2012! (I’ll be writing a thesis and preparing a lecture next fall.) Let’s get together to brainstorm when I get back. Thanks!

      Sue

      • January 12, 2011 3:02 pm

        More grist for this mill: Steel City Coffeehouse runs a Writer’s Night on Wednesdays.

      • January 12, 2011 5:03 pm

        Hey, Joe – I didn’t know they had a Writer’s Night. I knew they had live music and some open mics. To feed the dream a little more… an independent bookstore that holds regular readings, brings in authors, has couches/space for book clubs, has student interns learning how to run a business, coordinates programming with the library… we get a bigger mass of literary stuff going on all the time so the lit festival is a natural extension of all that… I’ll have to work my schedule so I can check out Steel City the next time I’m in the area (actually, I will be in town on Wed., Jan.19th so maybe then.)

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