St. Louis Writers Guild Hosts Book Launch and Holiday Book Fair at Kirkwood Train Station
by Diana Davis, Walrus Contributor
What if you threw a launch party on a rainy night for St. Louis Reflections, and the anthology failed to be delivered by the publisher? Neither the absence of the book nor the weather failed to dampen the spirit of the evening. In fact, the Kirkwood Train Station was elbow to elbow with 65 writers, members, sellers and friends for the December 13 book “launching.”
St. Louis Writers Guild President Brad Cook, who developed the concept of the anthology to celebrate the guild’s 90th anniversary, promised (with fingers crossed) that the book would be in the following day and that he would have all the authors sign a copy for the St. Louis Public Library archives to preserve it for posterity.
Guests were invited to enjoy wine and cheese while they shopped the room full of STWG members selling chapbooks, short story collections and novels for Christmas gift giving. Among those were Jenny Beatrice with Walrus Publishing’s Flood Stage, a volume of poetry featuring 55 poets from the St. Louis area; Patricia Bubash, a counselor for Stephens Ministry, who wrote Successful Second Marriages, conversations with nine couples who have achieved success in their marriage; Heather Huffman, who presented five novels titled Ring of Fire, Throwaway, Jailbird, Ties that Bind, and Suddenly a Spy; Marcel Toussaint, who was wearing his
National Gold Metal from the Veteran’s Creative Arts Festival with his chapbook, Terms of Internment; Debbie Fox, a Californian who returned to Missouri with her chapbook, Living in my Skin, Even if it’s Purple; Judy Moresi with her novels, Tribal Fires and Widow’s Walk, and her short story, Dreamspell Revenge plus a collection of short stories titled, Echoes of the Ozarks, Vol. III; and Jeannine Dahlberg, with her historical fiction novels, Oresund Bridge, Riding the Tail of the Dragon and Candle in the Window, the first chapter of which took second place from the National Association of American Pen Women.
When the anthology readings commenced, the buzzing crowd quieted, paying rapt attention to one author after the next including:
Linda O’Connell, who read her teenage tale about when she was a McKinley high student and store clerk, teen idol/singer/composer Chuck Berry came in and she got his autograph. As she waited for her bus to go home on that blustery day, a gust of wind whipped the signature from her hand and whisked it into a sewer to be lost forever. She had written so forlornly of her loss, that members called out, advising her to visiting Berry at Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop for a new autograph.
Bill Adams, who read his informative essay titled: Sportsman’s Park remembering his first Cardinals’ game at the old ballpark on Grand Avenue, which happened to be Stan Musial’s last game for the St. Louis Cardinals. His wife, poet Faye Adams, read a delightful piece titled, St. Louis Writers Guild where she compared her grandmother, who raised seven children alone after the death of her grandfather, to the
authors who belong to the St. Louis Writers Guild.
Lynn Obermoeller shared her nostalgic piece about penny candies at Hendel’s Market in Florissant, when it was still a Mom and Pop grocery store. She also shared some penny candies to bring the audience into the experience.
Thelma Corbitt read a story about the duel between Charles Lucas and Thomas Hart Benton; Ross Braught read a mystery story called, A Scent of Honeysuckle; and Dwight Bitikofer read an eerie story titled Seven about the 2008 murders of the Kirkwood mayor and city council members.
Peter Green lightened the mood when he read A Little Guy Who lived Up to His Name, a story about Walter Greathouse, who told members of the Tennessee Valley Authority, (in bathroom terms) to quit expelling gas and to bring forth feces or to remove themselves from the commode. Patricia Bubash kept the laughter going with her essay, Where Did You Go to High School?
Ditto for Morton Levy who did a tongue-in-cheek reading called, Dinner at Fred Harvey’s when, after seeing Judy Garland singing and dancing in the movie version about the first chain of restaurants titled The Harvey Girls, he had his parents take him to dinner there when he was seven. He was disappointed when it turned out that his eatery lacked the movie stars, but then philosophically decided that seven was old enough to come to reality about the Harvey girls, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
These fine tales were a mere sampling of the 45 poems, stories, essays and memories included in the anthology. At evening’s end, Brad Cook was pleased to announce that the bookless launch party was a great success, with more than 50 books sold on order. “It was the best book release party without a book I have ever attended,” he declared. To order your copy of St. Louis Reflections ($9.99 plus $4 shipping) visit STLBooks.