Hot Air

The Party’s Party

Monroe County’s Dems get together tonight for a pep rally in the ballroom at Fountain Square. The annual FDR Gala begins at 6pm and, per tradition, will feature all the players running for office this year. The mayoral contenders will be there as will dozens of party loyalists and current office-holders who aren’t up for election this time around.

Donkey

Donkeyshines Tonight

I’ll seek out among the throng two party sachems whom I hope to grill about their plans. One I bet would make a fine candidate for US Congress as early as 2016. The other has a slightly lower profile  but is still an invaluable player in party affairs. This person would be a swell candidate for the Indiana Statehouse. I’ll pitch the ideas to them and see how they try to slip and slide out of answering. I’ll let you know what they say in tomorrow’s post.

Part Of The Party’s Party

John Whikehart threw a house party for John Hamilton yesterday evening, illustrating the wedge the race for mayor has thrown into the Democratic Party here. Whikehart was outgoing Mayor Mark Kruzan’s deputy mayor. He quit the post in January and now is backing the opponent of Kruzan’s hand-picked candidate, Darryl Neher.

Also appearing at Chez Whikehart were Ivy Tech-Bloomington Chancellor Jennifer Vaughan, Waldron Center gallery director Julie Roberts, and real estate maven Trish Sterling.

In other Hamilton news, he’s throwing himself a fundraiser at the Irish Lion tonight at 5pm so there’ll be a Democratic conga line between that place and Fountain Square around six o’clock. Drivers, pedestrians, and crows beware.

The Disappearing Fringe

One of Bloomington’s most curious citizens asks whatever happened to the two-mile fringe?

When Mayor Mark Kruzan came into office, the city’s planning and utilities depts. had plenty of sway over the ribbon of land surrounding Bloomington’s official boundaries. In the ensuing 12 years, the county has come to control more and more of that area’s development. In the same period of time, the words Bloomington and annexation have become estranged. My curious citizen interrogator sez tax revenues from some of the new housing developments in the former fringe might have helped the city weather its current financial dire straits.

Writers Gotta Write

The Writers Guild at Bloomington has released its April schedule of events and one particular date caught my eye. For those of you wishing to get in on this often thankless but still weirdly rewarding writing racket, you ought to stop by the Monroe County Public Library Sunday, April 19, 2-4pm for a writing workshop on how to get your own personality down on paper — or, more accurately — the LCD screen.

The prob. with trying to write, as this three-plus-decade veteran of the keyboard clacking game has learned, is trying to find a way to write in a way that sounds like you speaking. Elementary schools generally beat the literary creativity out of us, ergo the need for creative writing programs in our universities. For instance, I’d been an obsessive writer as a young child, concocting ludicrous and imaginative stories about my classmates, teachers, school janitors, and neighbors until, for disciplinary reasons, I was compelled to write 1000-word punishment papers in the sixth and seventh grades. All of a sudden, I came to despise writing because of it. I didn’t get back into the act until I was in my mid-20s.

That old school horror story aside, our schools — especially in this day and age of standardization — labor to get kids writing in a dull, flat, unobtrusive, decidedly non-idiosyncratic manner. Don’t get me wrong, kids must be taught the basics — the standards, if you will — of grammar, usage, punctuation and all the rest. Only then can they be encouraged to violate those standards, strategically and tactically, in search of literary freshness and, well, art.

Anyway, we come out of school thinking we have to write in a certain style, aping some unnamed English country gentleman with a snifter of brandy on the table next to him and an iron rod firmly embedded in his backside.

That’s nonsense, of course. The best writing is that which causes us to hear in our imaginations a voice we’ve never heard before, a stranger’s voice, a fascinating, compelling voice that’s describing for us, naturally, a place we’ve never been before.

So if you feel the need to write, drop in to the workshop, “Jazzy, Snazzy, Bombastic, Shy: Putting Your Voice Upon the Page.”

Oh, hey, speaking of the Writers Guild, here’s a reminder: Board chair Tony Brewer will be creating Poetry on Demand tomorrow and Saturday at the Village Lights Bookstore‘s annual Poetpalooza in Madison, Indiana. The Pencil posted the Poetpalooza sked the day before yesterday.

And, while we’re at it, don’t miss the Writers Guild’s monthly First Sunday event, April 5, 3-5pm, at Boxcar Books, featuring readings by Tia Clark, Madelyn Ritrosky, and Tami Whiting.

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