Traveling Chuckanut Drive is always a truly fabulous adventure. The scenery is breathtaking, dramatically high above the water, and there are several delightful restaurants, fascinating oyster beds, parks, and trails to hike. The road was built partly with prison labor and is at the north end of old US 1, labeled #11 from Burlington to Bellingham, Washington. You can even take the train from Mt. Vernon and travel north across miles of beautiful and productive farmland, then you will be on tracks running below the road along the waters of Puget Sound. I plan to write in more detail about that trip and wonderful Bellingham. My excitement now is that, very recently, Chuckanut Drive took me on a Cultural Adventure further into the Culture of Books.
Chuckanut Writers’ Conference Guide
Village Books, Fairhaven
Whatcom Community College, Syre Hall
I attended the 4th annual Chuckanut Writers’ Conference June 27 and 28, 2014; Lucky Me, I’ve attended the last three. Imagine the joy of being with over 200 participants–writers, literary agents, editors, marketing personnel, students, community leaders, educators–sharing the love of poetry, non-fiction, fiction, and screenwriting with 17 faculty members who shared their knowledge in plenary sessions and led out in workshops. One of the most fun plenary sessions was hearing each of the authors, including Bruce Barcott, Brian Doyle, Thor Hanson, Kristina Kahakauwila, David Laskin and Jim Lynch, read from their own works. Several of the faculty are especially known for their writing about the Pacific Northwest.
A truly helpful and exciting feature of the conference was the opportunity to hear from marketing and publishing experts. Conference participants were encouraged to sign up for appointments with Marketing Representative Alice Acheson; Felicia Eth, Felicia Eth Literary Representation; Gary Luke of Sasquatch Books; and Elizabeth Wales of Wales Literary Agency. I took it all in and even found the nerve to read an excerpt from my book These Precious Moments at the Nonfiction Open Mic on Saturday night. Ara Taylor, representing Red Wheelbarrow Writers, was the emcee, and the event was hosted by the folk at the delightful Magdalena’s Creperie, 1200 10th Street in the Ferndale area of Bellingham.
All this is possible because of Co-sponsors Whatcom Community College and Village Books, one of the best independent book stores I’ve ever experienced. Located at 1200 11th Street, it features three floors of new, used and bargain books, writing implements, gift items and the Calaphon Cafe. They also can help folk self-publish. Outside the store there is a large, lovely community area, well used by residents, strolling, sitting, talking, playing music, attending outdoor events, perhaps seeing a film on the huge screen painted on one of the adjacent walls; ‘Dirty Dan” is there, too.
Village Books Store reflected in Magdalena’s Creperie window.
Emcee Ara Taylor at the Non-fiction Open Mic in Magdalena’s Creperie.
Conference Site: Whatcom Community College, except for Open Mic venues.
Whatcom Community College (WCC), 237 W. Kellogg Road east of I-5, offers many workshops and classes for the community. I’ve attended workshops on blogging, marketing and publishing, and others, learned a lot and have been greatly encouraged in my thinking and writing. Also, annually, the “Whatcom Reads” authors are featured in events at both Village Books and WCC.
The Chuckanut Radio Hour was a precursor to the conference on Thursday evening, and featured musician Sarah Goodin, truly delightful, and non-fiction author Brian Doyle. His work beautifully features Oregon in Mink River and Plover. I love the descriptive terms he uses to broaden our thinking about the wonders of Oregon: “Atmosphoregon”, the four-hundred mile high part; and “Subterroregon”, the four-hundred mile deep part, and the 400-hundred mile “impacific “part.
Village Books owners Chuck and Dee Robinson have won praise and appreciation, including the Mayor’s Art Award, for the The Chuckanut Radio Hour, a monthly feast of music, essays, The Chuckanut Players, and interviews with interesting people: writers, historians, community leaders and other interesting folk. Check the Village Books website for the Radio Hour schedule and location, and for Author Events are scheduled regularly at Village Books.