12 Winters Blog

Upcoming events and a finished manuscript

Posted in June 2011 by Ted Morrissey on June 24, 2011

I wanted to do a quick post as I haven’t written for a while, mainly about two upcoming events. Tomorrow, June 25, I’ll be in Peoria Heights, Illinois, for the Authors Row book fair as part of the city’s Duryea Days.  We’ll be set up in the 4700 Block of Prospect.  The book fair is organized by I Know You Like a Book bookshop.

I’m looking forward to the book fair, but I’m really looking forward to next week’s Poets and Painters event, Thursday, June 30, at the H. D.  Smith Gallery in the Hoogland Center for the Arts in Springfield, Illinois. It is a joint venture between Springfield Poets and Writers, of which I’m a proud member, and the Prairie Art Alliance. Artists have their work exhibited in the H. D. Smith Gallery, and members of Poets and Writers have selected a work for which to write an original poem. I’m working with artist Felicia Olin’s painting Tiny, Little, and have written a poem titled “Anima.” The artists and poets come together for the event, and the poems are read aloud — it’s the first time the artist hears the poem that his/her work has inspired. Other poets participating include Anita Stienstra (president of Poets and Writers, and organizer of the event), Joanna Beth Tweedy, Ethan Lewis, Pat Martin, Jean Staff, Job Conger, Vicki Bamman, Kat Corrigan, and Siobhan Johnson. The poems will eventually be posted on the Poets and Writers webpage.

I’ve been in novel-writing-mode for years, and haven’t written much of anything else, form wise, so it was fun to write a poem. Speaking of novel writing, in the past couple of weeks I completed the manuscript of An Untimely Frost and am just starting to share it with people. It’s a bit strange, after years of living with it essentially by oneself, to suddenly start shoving it out the door to meet new people and hopefully make friends. It’d be easy to hang on to a manuscript indefinitely, thinking it’s still not ready for perusal by strangers, but eventually you have to let it go.

I’m still making my way through Tolstoy’s War and Peace (on about page 650), and am enjoying it. My nightstand read has been Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, and I’ve also been enjoying it very much.

Two last mentions while I’m at it: My poet friends Lisa Higgs and Tracy Zeman are organizing a series of poetry workshops at the Vachel Lindsay Home (in Springfield, Illinois) in July, with the opening session being July 5. They should be informative and fun, and I definitely plan to attend.

Also, in recent weeks I’ve gotten to attend performances by my favorite local band, Thornhill. The band has several dates in July and August, so check out their dates page.


Men of Winter

Thornhill, Hitchcock and more

Posted in December 2010, Uncategorized by Ted Morrissey on December 19, 2010

I had the treat of attending an acoustic performance of the local band Thornhill last evening at the Walnut Street Winery in Rochester, Illinois. In a word, they were terrific. They performed for over three hours, and I was there to enjoy every note. The band — consisting of sisters Tina and Lynna Thornhill (lead vocals, rhythm guitar; bass, vocals), Joel Zulauf (lead guitar, vocals), Patty Kniss (percussion), and Terri Patterson (backing harmonies) — did a variety of covers, from classics by artists like Carole King, Heart, the Carpenters, and Neil Young (to name a few), new artists, like Neko Case, plus several cuts from their debut CD, Center of Town. They also performed an a cappella version of “O Holy Night,” and had other local musicians join them on stage for inspired renditions of Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee” and KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” In addition to Thornhill’s excellent musicianship, their rapport with the audience, which included long-time Thornhill devotees and newcomers like me, was easy-going, lighthearted and often laugh-out-loud funny. Throw into the mix the winery’s unique and intimate setting, and all in all it was a memorable evening to be sure.

Music-lovers in central Illinois should keep an eye out for Thornhill appearances, and check the band’s dates page on its website.

While I’m posting, I want to give a nod to Dr. Tena Helton’s graduate English class at the University of Illinois at Springfield for their impressive project presentations based on the films of Alfred Hitchcock. The students used a variety of technology/media applications to explore various aspects of such Hitchcock classics as Rear Window and Psycho.

As I’ve discussed recently, my novel Men of Winter has now been released in three formats: print paperback, Kindle, and ebook. Over winter break I’ll be starting to organize readings and other promotional projects. The Comments page of my website has been … light on traffic since I started it, but hopefully now that people are reading Men of Winter some folks will use the Comments page to initiate a dialogue about the novel and, really, anything related to writing, publishing, etc. It would be great to have an interactive readership.

I’m a little more than a third through Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and still enjoying it very much, and I continue to work on the Authoress, my novel in progress, feeling that I’m nearly finished with a draft of chapter 20. It has been a busy week, with final exams, writing portfolios, and research papers to grade — plus my home laptop was out of commission for a few days due to a nasty virus — so my reading and writing suffered a bit; but I hope to more than make up for the lost time over break.


Punkin House Books