Buffalo Street Bookmarks ‘Works in Progress” series on August 4, 2013 brought our some surprising voices, poetry, and prose. Jenna Goodman provides a brief review of those who addressed a crowd almost two weeks ago.

New writer and photo-shopper Robin Botie read from the first chapter of her work In the Wake of Marika. Robin’s daughter Marika died at age 20 from complications after battling, and beating, leukemia. Robin’s honest and vulnerable memoir focused on balancing the bonds, and spaces, between mother and daughter during the process of diagnosis and treatment process.

Writer Casey Martinson presented his post apocalyptic short story Champ. On the road with little food and dwindling supplies near ‘Old Buffalo’ a couple have radically different ideas on what to do with a lost dog. Martinson’s unique combination of time, place, and conditions give the readers an idea of what choices must be made in a world where everything is calculated on survival.

In 1968 boundaries between the US and Canada in the area of Minnesota were influenced by national treaties and an earlier unwillingness of one Indian tribe to relocate to a reservation. Jill Swenson read from her new work, Kakaygeesick Dreams, about a visit to the nursing home in Warroad. It is there the main character meets 124 year old Ojibwa Chief John  Kakaygeesick.Jill reading at BSB

The poetry of Elmira Prison inmate William Blake was read aloud by Jan Friesweick. Blake’s unique point of view comes from his lengthy time as a resident in solitary housing. Filled with self-reflection and his search for self-worth, Blake’s poetry yearns for meaning from inside ‘the box’.

Kate Klein presented a passage from her work Eternal Girl, an adaptation of the biblical Prodigal Return parable. In Kate’s version, Jesus drops in on sisters Mary and Martha to share stories from the road and glasses of wine. While Mary listens raptly to Jesus’ stories, in the kitchen Martha works and worries over their meal. By the end of the chapter, readers will wonder what is the greater virtue, words or food.

A terrible act of violence is contemplated in Keith Gilmore’s first chapter of a novel about Ray Eisen and his girlfriend Clara. The couple wanders town, browsing second hand shops while experience two very different realities.

The event closed with ghostwriter Beth Evans reading the first chapter of her current as yet titled novel. Beth’s work presented a sharply drawn portrayal of a young healthy woman facing frightening medical news from her doctor. With strong pacing and character development Beth builds a stage for a work rich with realistic detail and authentic struggle between emotional and physical strength.

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