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.


Memorial Day Remembrance: My Hero

Memorial DayMy dad served in WWII. He was in the Navy and part of clean up crews on beaches like Okinawa, where body parts would turn up when bulldozers swept across the sands. I think he was a Seabee, but I’m not sure. Dad didn’t talk about his time in the service. He was a country boy from Texas where the most brutal thing he encountered was pulling a cotton sack and doing farm work. He didn’t want to talk about the war or to relive finding all those body parts.

When he was discharged, we were in Phoenix, Ariz., with my grandparents (Dad’s folks), and from all accounts I wasn’t too happy when this interloper showed up. I was born when he was overseas. By the time he arrived in my life my older brother, my mom, and I were a happy little family. Right away he started taking up Mom’s valuable time leaving less for us. Reportedly at about age two I said I hoped the neighbor’s house he’d just walked into would burn down with him in it. I’m repeating what I was told, I certainly don’t recall saying that.

My father suffered from bouts of depression most of his adult life. Friends and co-workers never knew that. He kept it bottled up. He did have a short fuse, but he never took his anger out on any of us. I wonder now if he had undiagnosed PTSD. Back then that wasn’t even a point of discussion. Man up, get back to work, earn a living, support your family. No crying! Men don’t cry! Except that he did, in the silence of our home and only in the presence of my mother. But, as he used to say, little pitchers have big ears, and at least once I heard him.

There are no pictures of Dad in his Navy uniform, or mementos of his years away from family and familiar surroundings. There is one photo of him and his brother with their heads together showing them in Navy garb, their sailor hats at a jaunty angle. I have looked high and low for that photo and cannot find it. Dad’s younger brother joined the Navy not long after Dad did. I think in his naivete he believed they would be serving together. That didn’t happen.

Until she got pregnant with me, Mom was a Rosie the Riveter, or at least she worked in the shipyards. One toddler – my brother – and another baby on the way sent her home to Arizona to live with family.

I’m proud of my dad’s service, and my mom’s as well. They did what they thought was right. Both were patriotic to the core. When my dad returned home, there was no fanfare, flag waving, or banners. It was just us – reunited strangers who became a family. My dad called me his princess, and I thought there was no one braver, stronger, or more faithful. As a man he stood for what he believed in. As a father, he taught us kids right from wrong and loved us with every fiber of his being.

I don’t know what heroes are made of, but I do know Dad was my mine. I wish I had let him know that more often.

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