Aug. 23 Lit Salon Features Poet

ToolsLas Vegas Literary Salon will feature poet Kathleen Lujan and her new chapbook of poetry, Puddles of Years, Sunday, Aug. 23, 4-5 p.m. on Zoom. Get the Zoom link here. Lujan has carried her passion for the written word with her from childhood. It was where she focused her education and career trajectory. Read more about her here.

Thanks to the Las Vegas Arts Council and the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation we have a platform available to feature writers and talk about the art and craft of writing. A special thanks to Susie Tsyitee who hosts our Zoom events. Below is a video featuring Patti Romero and me – Las Vegas Literary Salon coordinators – talking about the concept in a broad sense and giving our thoughts on the premier event held in June.

What is Las Vegas Literary Salon? We want to encourage emerging, young, established, genre, literary, nontraditional, fiction, nonfiction, poetry – basically writers and writing across the spectrum. We will do this through workshops, events like the Zoom Writers Roundtable, tapping into the skills of experts in areas related to getting the book, essay, memoir, novel, whatever it is, from your brain to the page.

This is not for everyone. Some writers want solitude and choose not to network with other writers. I get that. But for those who do want to be part of a learning and networking community, come on board! And we want readers as well. You are important to the process. You consume our words and make them a part of your story from the time you start reading until you reach the end, and sometimes beyond. Along the way, we hope we’ve made you laugh or cry, pissed you off or lifted you up, perhaps even broadened your horizons.

5947-EERI-cvr.inddWhat’s next? We have scheduled Ray John de Aragon, a former Las Vegan and author of several books, for the Sept. 27 salon. He is a writer who uses careful research and stories to bring life to New Mexico’s deep and wide history, whether he is delving into fiction, writing nonfiction, or creating a melding of the two. De Aragon is prolific and dedicated, taking storytelling to the next level. He will be talking about his latest book, Eerie New Mexico, published by The History Press.

We have a lot of other ideas, and now we need bodies to help implement them and come up with more. Join us! Fill in the form below the video and let us know if you’re ready to join as an audience member or as a writer, or whether you need more information. Also consider donating to one or both of the organizations working through the pandemic to figure out ways to keep the arts alive and thriving!

Las Vegas Arts Council
Las Vegas NM Community Foundation

Patti and Sharon talk about LV Lit Salon #1

zoom_0 from Sharon Vander Meer on Vimeo.

Please sign up below to join Las Vegas Literary Salon or to find out more.


Sharon Vander Meer is an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow her at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. Please like, share, or comment – or all three!


The Sublime Experience of Poetry

Kathleen Lujan
KATHLEEN LUJAN

Poet Kathleen Lujan has carried her passion for the written word with her from childhood. It was where she focused her education and career trajectory.

Lujan has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and History, a Master’s Degree in American Studies (Southwest History and Literature) from NMHU, where she taught for four years. She also taught for 10 years at West Texas A&M University, where she received a Teaching Excellence Award in 1998-1990.

Lujan developed a writing and reading process called the ARQ (Active Reading Quest), which she presented at a seminar at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and presented to teachers during two-day seminars in New Mexico. She taught Language Arts at Coronado High School for two years and then five years at Lybrook School as the project coordinator for literacy for Alaskan and Native American children.

She is an awarding-winning educator who has conducted studies and seminars in India, England, Scotland and Italy, and served as adjunct faculty for Navajo Technical University to teach AP composition class at Alamo Community. She has always made time for writing with a focus on poetry. Her recently release chap book of poetry, Puddles of Years, is available from the author. Email her at katlujan62@gmail.com for details.

Lujan will be the featured writer at a Zoom Las Vegas Literary Salon event on Sunday, Aug. 23, at 4 p.m. The Zoom link for the event is here.

Q: What writers did you enjoy reading as a child?
Lujan: My father taught me to read at the age of five and I developed a passion for reading. I loved Greek and Roman Mythology. I had two red, cloth-bound books of mythology, which were at least five pounds apiece, and read them from front to back. I loved Homer, Hawthorne, Austen, Bronte, du Maurier, Dickinson, Keene… among so many others. I was a voracious reader. Even today, I usually have three novels going at the same time.

 Q: Did you write as a child?
Lujan:
I started writing poetry when I was about 12. I loved the rhythm and sounds of words and saying so much with so little.

Q: How did you get started as a poet?
Lujan:
At age 12, because of Emily Dickinson and her lyric poem: ​Success​.

Q: Do you find writing easy?
Lujan:
The only time writing is easy is to be totally in the present moment and letting the words come; not forcing the words to appear. And that’s not easy!

Q: How did you manage to fit writing in with other demands on your time? Are you good at managing your time?
Lujan:
Teaching, consulting, and traveling consumed large portions of my time, but I would always carry paper and a pen or find a napkin if a line or idea hit me in a restaurant, at a seminar, or during a class. I had pieces of candy bar wrappers and cocktail napkins that would have my scratches on them. I would empty out my purse on a Sunday, usually, and write poems from the lines I had scribbled down.

Q: Who are your favorite living poets?
Lujan:
My absolute favorite poem is on my refrigerator door held up by a portrait magnet of Frida Kahlo. The Everlasting Self, by Tracy K. Smith. You can find it on poets.org.

Pubbles of Years
PUDDLES OF YEARS

Q: How do you prepare yourself for writing?
Lujan:
P.P.P. (Prior Proper Planning). I never know when an emotion or a tanager or a kiss will inspire a poem, so trying to always have pen, paper, or now, a phone, to jot down the initial true thought or feeling is essential.

Q: What do well-written poems have in common?
Lujan:
I can only speak for myself and what calls me to read and reread what I believe is a well written poem. The “show me don’t tell me” aspect, a rhythm, which matches the image, idea, or emotion being expressed, and a required quiet to read and reread slowly to savor the words.

Q: Talk about your recently published chap book of poetry, Puddles of Years.
Lujan:
Puddles of Years ​is a compilation of poems which have been previously published and written over a twenty-year period. My sister kept after me to publish, and after my sister died last September, I was encouraged to retire and do what she asked me to do: finish the chapbook. I also received, from my brother, a folder kept by my father of all the poems I had written since I was twelve. No one in the family knew about the folder, myself included, until Dad died. When my brother went through his desk, he found it. He sent it to me and encouraged me to keep writing and complete the chapbook. Thus, the dedication to my Dad. I suggest the reader read the poems, enjoy, and take with you the sublime experience of poetry!

Zoom in for the Las Vegas Literary Salon interview with Kathleen Lujan, with Patti Romero as host.


Sharon Vander Meer is an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow her at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. Please like, share, or comment – or all three!


 

Dick’s patio open for business

Dick's back in the day
Dick’s in the early days

Dick’s has been around since 1940, managed and owned by the Dick Elias family. In 1974, the business was taken over by the Moore family and has, over 45 years since then, grown into a local favorite.

Owner Charlotte Moore, said Dick’s has evolved over the years from the liquor store, deli counter into a pub and restaurant.

“We have continued to reinvent Dick’s with the ever-changing times,” she said.

Dick’s has undergone several updates/remodels over the years. The three that created the most change happened in 1998. The owners built a two-story space over the parking lot as a two-level night club. The space is now the kitchen (bottom floor) and restaurant (top floor).

“In 2012 we acquired the Historic Serf Theatre adjacent to us, and in 2014 we restored it to house our special events venue, and finally in 2015 (five years ago), we transformed our liquor store/bar area from two areas to one room to house our pub/restaurant. The new pub area is cozy, brick walled reminiscent of an old historic building found in Chicago, New York, or Colorado,” Charlotte said.

Forward motion and innovative thinking could not overcome the unexpected reality of Covid-19.

“This has completely turned our business upside down, many new procedures are needed just to open daily,” she said. “Face masks are required as well as much disinfecting constantly, table condiments are eliminated, disposable menus are required. QR codes are used for menu access as well. Technology is the way of the future for sure!”

Food for thought
Food for thought

Just before the most recent closure to in-door dining, the Moore’s reupholstered many of their seating areas with virus-resistant fabric and increased to a higher level the percentage of disinfectant required in dishwashers, and running them at a higher temperature.

Now, the restaurant and pub customers are seated outside and served under a big tent placed on the sidewalk and parking spaces directly in front of Dick’s property. Social distancing is observed with tables spaced in keeping with health requirements. Masks are worn by patrons until they are seated for dining. Staff wears their masks all the time.

“We were only allowed 50 percent occupancy when we were serving inside. Our Venue (Historic Serf Theatre) is virtually non-existent since large gatherings are not allowed. This would have been one of our busiest years with weddings and graduation celebrations.

“Dining at Dick’s, for now, means being seated in our outdoor patio since indoor dining is prohibited under the current health restrictions. All tables/chairs have been strategically placed to assure social distancing. Condiments are available only in individual portions served on request. We have had difficulty getting crew to return. However, we have moved much of our venue crew to Dick’s to help with daily duties.”

Dick’s loyal patrons continue to accommodate to the changing rules at this popular eatery.

“We’d like our customers to be patient as we are conforming to special requirements. Many of us are running with a skeleton crew to provide our services. Things will be different for now and going into the future for the hospitality industry due to Covid-19,” she said.

“The most beneficial to me as a business person, is having such a great community to bounce ideas and advice on. Under Covid restrictions, daily tasks are a challenge.

“One great benefit is enjoying time in the kitchen – I call it ‘Back to Basics,’ which has given me control of so much – specifically recipes, labor and food costs. I have simplified my menu, which I hope will continue to bring my labor and inventory down as well as increasing our quality of food,” Charlotte said.

Her greatest concern moving forward is rebounding from closure for three months, becoming financially stable, and keeping staff and customers healthy.

“Throughout our 28 years here at Dick’s, we have had such a great crew working for us. They’ve become family/friends along the way, which has made Dick’s a special destination. We’d like to continue that tradition of providing a great place for celebrations of life. Cheers to many more years!”

Dick’s hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday – Saturday. For more about Dick’s, check out their website: dickspubandrestaurant.com


Sharon Vander Meer is an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow her at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. Please like, share, or comment – or all three!


 

Save the Date: 7/26/20 – Vera Jo Bustos Interview

Vera Jo BustosLas Vegas Literary Salon invites you to an interview with native Las Vegan, Vera Jo Bustos, author of A Mindful Journey. The book is the compelling story of Vera Jo’s personal growth through athletics and emergence as a motivational speaker. Listen to her demo video here to put a zing in your step today.

A graduate of West Las Vegas High School, Bustos was a standout student and athlete, and known throughout New Mexico as a three-time Athlete of the Year selection. She still holds records at WLV for points, rebounds, assists, and steals during her high school career.

Bustos went on to play at Adams State University, where she was All-Time career scoring leader, helped lead ASU to their second straight – and second ever – NCAA tournament appearance, led the Grizzlies to their first three post-season wins in 19 years and made it to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

Among her many successes was her year playing professional basketball in Thessaloniki, Greece. She averaged 11.2 points and 4.9 rebounds as a rookie in the Top Division Greek League.

She was inducted into the Adams State Hall of Fame in September 2019, one of the youngest inductees in Adams State history.

Bustos holds degrees in Exercise Science & Sports Psychology, and a Master’s Degree in Sport Administration.

At the conclusion of her athletic career, she coached at Western Colorado University for two seasons and the University of New Mexico for five seasons. She currently serves as the vice-chair on the New Mexico Athletics Commission Board.

Bustos’ memoir, which will be the topic of the LV Lit Salon interview on July 26, is entitled A Mindful Journey.

This is more than a book about an outstanding athlete; it is the story of a young woman growing into her gifts through facing and embracing opportunity. It wasn’t easy and required her to step beyond self-imposed boundaries and take on new adventures that brought on unexpected challenges.

A Mindful JourneyFrom Vera Jo’s website: A Mindful Journey gives the reader a first-hand experience of Greece and its culture. With humility and humor, Vera Jo tells a story of resilience powered by connection to others. She takes us with her as she discovers the honest and sometimes brutal truth of the struggles of learning a foreign language, the obstacles of self-doubt, homesickness and loneliness, and the heartache and heartbreak that accompanies constant defeat.”

The book is available by special order from Paper Trail in Las Vegas (454-1337), from Vera Jo’s website and from online booksellers.

Zoom in on Sunday, July 26. To get the Zoom link, sign up below.


Note: Content for this blog was drawn from Bustos’ website: mentalitysolutions.com.
Las Vegas Literary Salon is sponsored by the Las Vegas Arts Council and by the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation. Support the arts through your financial support of these organizations. Thank you.


Sharon Vander Meer: I am an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow me at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. I frequently write about my town, Las Vegas, N.M. Occasionally I use interesting and helpful content from other sources. I also invite guest posts. If you have a topic you would like to share, send to fsharon@msn. com.


 

Lit Salon celebrates writing

ToolsLas Vegas Literary Salon hosted its first event Sunday, July 12, thanks to the Las Vegas Arts Council and the Las Vegas NM Community Foundation. A special thanks to Susie Tsyitee who walked us through the Zoom technology and acted as host for the event. Below is a video about the event we hope you will watch. It features Patti Romero and me talking about Las Vegas Literary Salon in a broad sense and giving our thoughts on this premier event. Please note that this is a first “video interview” either of us has done and I was at the tech wheel, which in and of itself speaks of disaster! But, all things considered it gets our message across.

And what is our message? Writing is an art. We want to encourage emerging, young, established, genre, literary, nontraditional, fiction, nonfiction, poetry – basically writers and writing across the spectrum. We will do this through workshops, events like the Zoom Writers Roundtable, book fairs, tapping into the skills of experts in areas related to getting the book, essay, memoir, novel, whatever it is, from your brain to the page.

This is not for everyone. Some writers want solitude and choose not to network with other writers. I get that. But for those who do want to be part of a learning and networking community, come on board! And we want readers as well. You are important to the process. You consume our words and make them a part of your story from the time you start reading until you reach the end, and sometimes beyond. Along the way, we hope we’ve made you laugh or cry, pissed you off or lifted you up, perhaps even broadened your horizons.

The Sunday event was a success largely because of our five readers: Joy Alesdatter, Kathleen Lujan, Ray John de Aragon, Tim Hagaman, and Beth Urech. We thank them for the time and effort they put into preparing for their readings.

What’s next? We will be scheduling an event with former Las Vegan, Vera Jo Bustos in the near future. Look for details to be released soon.

We have a lot of ideas, and now we need bodies to help implement them, and come up with more. Join us! Fill in the form below the video and let us know if you’re ready to join, or whether you need more information. Also consider donating to one or both of the organizations working through the pandemic to figure out ways to keep the arts alive and thriving!

Las Vegas Arts Council
Las Vegas NM Community Foundation

Patti and Sharon talk about LV Lit Salon #1

zoom_0 from Sharon Vander Meer on Vimeo.

Please sign up below to join Las Vegas Literary Salon or to find out more.


 

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