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Ballard Writer’s Pop-Up Park on 9.17.16

It’s time for “Ask the Writer” at our outdoor reading room on 6400 block of 32nd NW, Sunset Hill Green Market (west side). Visit us on Saturday, between 10-5 p.m. Tell a story to the new local radio station between 12-1:30. Exchange books and ideas with local writers. (New writers every hour).

Watch BWC on Youtube!

Friday the 13th 2015. New works by almost 13 Ballard Writers plus a real thirteen year old

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBH3eiXCyqsMLvT5CfPCsSw

 

 

Thirteen new works by 13 Ballard Writers on Friday the 13th November at Sunset Hill Community Association Clubhouse!

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Laurie Blauner Book Launch

Open Books will host the book launch for Laurie Blauner’s latest book of poetry “It Looks Worse than I Am” on Friday, October 17th at 7:30 p.m. The poetry collection is forthcoming from What Books Press in October, 2014 and was picked in their first Open Book Competition.  Blauner will also be reading from it in December at the Ballard library. Blauner_cover_v2

BWC Pop Up Park on 9.19.14

Meet other Ballard Writers as part of Seattle’s Park(ing) Day on Friday, September 19, 2014 in front of The Scoop at 6406 32nd NW. Hang in person with other BWC members, friends and family. Take advantage of the Ask the Writer booth, exchange books, tips and literary magazines. Officially from 9-3.

A note from Carol

I am so pleased to share my coming event  (Book Launch on 9.21.14) with BWC. What pleases me more is that this is a three way Ballard Celebration. Secret Garden Books, our independent bookstore, the lovely space at Seattle Creative Arts Center and then at my home where nothing can please me more than filling it with company. I am so excited about this, my second full volume of poems and pleased to have the opportunity to dedicate this book to Seattle Opera, one of Seattle’s precious treasures. Come celebrate all this with me. Sept 21st 2:00.

Jenny Zenner: A Wake of Happiness

jzheadshotA profile of Jenny Zenner

by Roselle Kovitz

 

 

 

A Wake of Happiness

Despite coming from an unexpectedly long meeting, getting caught in heavy traffic from Bellevue, and arriving late for our interview, Jenny walked into The Scoop @ Walter’s without a hint of stress. As soon as she sat down, she calmly, directly told me she was ready.

I’d met Jenny at several BWC events before we crossed paths earlier this year at Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco, a conference focused on mindfulness and technology. In each conversation with her, I noticed she had a calm presence and clear vision of what’s important in her life.

Raised on a fourth generation farm in Idaho devoted to sustainability, it’s not surprising that she finds connection and meaning in nature. “I really like those primitive truths–those that once you realize them you cannot deny,” she explained. “For example, eating actual food allows our bodies to do better.”

A 400-meter hurdler at Washington State University, Jenny headed back east to earn an MBA and M.Ed. in sport and exercise psychology at the University of Virginia. It was on a stopover in Seattle during a trip home to Idaho from grad school that brought her to Seattle. “When I listened to people talk,” she said of the brief layover, “I felt like I had arrived home. It felt like where I was connected and where my roots were.” After nearly nine years on the east coast, she moved to Seattle in 2005.

In 2008, she wove together her love of nature, exercise, nutrition, psychology, and eastern spiritual traditions into SEEDS, what she calls “a self-check mnemonic (sleep, eat, engage, dance, smile) to bring you positively into the present in as many moments as you can muster.”

Using this combination of practices, Jenny herself has found a way to live a full, yet healthy life. She has structured her work so she can spend time with her family, especially her two young sons. “When the boys’ great grandmother was ailing, I was able to take them to see her,” she told me. “The boys ran past the oxygen carts and down the hall, leaving a wake of happiness. I want my family to be able to do that whenever we can.”

In addition to nature and family, Jenny’s other passion is helping people. “Helping has been a key theme for me lately—and giving myself permission to serve.” A senior recruiter at Expedia and a part time yoga teacher, Jenny loves connecting people—to work, to resources, like yoga, and to each other. She also loves challenging them to be and to do their best. “I have lots of ways I can do that,” she notes.

One of the most recent ways she is doing that is by writing a book. It’s a combination of self-help and memoir, she says, weaving together themes of mindfulness, yoga, nutrition, and positive psychology. Writing it, she tells me, Is actually helping her to be a better person. “In learning memoir I found out you have to wait until the story is over [to write it].” With that in mind, she regularly asks herself how she wants to look in a particular “scene.” “I don’t want to have to edit it to make me look better,” she confides.

As we finish up the interview, Jenny gathers her things to head home to her husband and twin boys. “My boys,” she tells me, make me incredibly happy.” She then disappears out the door, back to that wake of happiness.

Book Launch on 9.21.14 with Carol Levin

Sept. 21st  2014. Ballard’s Secret Garden Books will host @ Seattle Creative Arts Center, 2601 NW Market St. a launch of “Confident Music Will Fly Us to Paradise” from MoonPath Press. 2 p.m. Carol-cov-D (1)

Don Kentop: Brooklyn to Ballard

Don Kentop has been reading his work in progress at the It’s About Time Writers’ Reading Series at the Ballard Library for the last few years. It’s a stunning work, highlighting an infamous chapter in American labor history.

 

Kentop

Brooklyn to Ballard by Peggy Sturdivant

from Ballard News-Tribune. February 12, 2014

While many in Seattle were focused on what would become a historic moment first in a New York stadium on New Jersey soil and then in downtown Seattle there was another historic moment taking place. Janet Yellen was sworn in as the first woman to be Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve. This interested me as a woman, as the daughter of an economist, but it actually came closest to home for me sitting across from Donald Kentop.

Like Yellen, Don Kentop was born and raised in Brooklyn. He graduated from Thomas Jefferson H.S. in 1952; Yellen graduated Valedictorian from Fort Hood H.S. in 1963. They were both educated in public high schools in Brooklyn, New York; neither of them at the legendary magnet Stuyvesant High School. Yellen couldn’t attend Stuyvesant because she was female.

Even before Yellen’s high school years Kentop was studying history at New York University. One day he happened to read a plaque on an academic building in Washington Square. That’s how he learned that NYU’s campus included the building formerly known as the Asch Building, the site of what was the deadliest fire in American labor history: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911.

Although the fire that led to the death of 147 workers, almost all young immigrant workers, mostly female, had been a scandal and a rallying cause for unions and worker safety in the early 1900s, it had been mostly forgotten by the late 50s, eclipsed by the sinking of the Titanic, the Stock Market Crash, and two World Wars. There were just three plaques. But with the 50th anniversary, just when Kentop had been recalled to the Army Reserves during the 1961 Berlin Crisis, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire regained its role in labor history, even as it continues to serve as grim counterpoint to ongoing conditions in factories overseas.

Kentop went on to live a full life, one that eventually brought his family to Seattle, and to Ballard. However the memory of that relatively inconspicuous plaque stayed with Kentop, from his years writing song lyrics for a friend’s music in Brooklyn, through the teaching degree he never used, the time in the Army, his marriage to a Canadian nurse he met at Columbia, years in sales for 3M and then a second act after traveling with his family in a VW Camper Van through Europe for a year in the 70s. An adventure that proved to him, “There were choices in life.”

After retirement as a Drug & Alcohol counselor at Ballard Hospital and later Ballard Swedish, Kentop returned to writing, which had mostly been a youthful pursuit. He was interested in poetry, at first thinking that it looked easy, so he could do it too. As he became more interested in the craft, completing a poetry program through the UW’s certificate program, he became less and less confident. “It’s very hard,” he realized.

For the last 10-12 years he has been involved in poetry groups and coordinated poetry readings in Fremont. He’s had a chapbook published through Rose Alley Press and used mostly free verse to explore social issues. Perhaps unconsciously triggered by a return to student days the subject of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire drew his attention. He began reading the newspaper accounts, oral histories from survivors recorded in their later years, trial transcripts, obituary notices.

The result is a book length collection of poems, “Frozen by Fire” that is in its final writing stages, and will be accompanied by archival photographs from Cornell University’s collection. Kentop has been reading selections at various literary events, including the monthly “It’s About Time Writers’ Reading” series at the Ballard Library. Once published Kentop hopes to be able to present his work at schools and organizations. Although there are excellent books and studies on the subject Kentop doesn’t know of any other poetry collections that are dedicated to the subject of the fire.

From the time that I first heard Kentop read from “Frozen by Fire” to when we sat down for an interview I was struck by how I would never have taken the tall, deep-voiced man with Brooklyn still in his voice for a poet. A stalwart attendee at the second Thursday of the month library event, but a self-described introvert, Kentop credits his wife Carol for getting him to interact as much with the world as he does.

Kentop always knew that facts and lives of that infamous day could not be reduced to a plaque on a building. The conditions that included so many immigrants, locked doors, underage workers and inhumane labor practices must not be forgotten, and they still exist. In less than half an hour the lives surrounding those of 500 people working on the upper floors of the Asch Building were tragically altered; 147 victims, and not a survivor, witness or victim’s family left unscarred. Over half of the fatalities were teenagers for whom education was not even a choice.

This collection has become the life work that Kentop is meant to share. First indicted but later acquitted the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory owners ultimately had to pay out just $75 for each life lost. Fifty years later a girl in Brooklyn still couldn’t attend the best high school. But now, 113 years later there can perhaps be some reckoning in history, as far from Brooklyn Kentop gives voice to the lives of young women who jumped rather than be burned alive, and a girl from Brooklyn becomes Chair of the Federal Reserve.

March 16, 2014 Book Launch at Elliott Bay Bookstore

Ann Hedreen, Esther Altshul Helfgott, and Collin Tong will do a reading from Tong’s new book, Into the Storm: Journeys with Alzheimer’s, on Sunday, 3:00 pm, March 16, at Elliott Bay Book Company.  A book signing will follow.

This is an anthology of stories by twenty-three writers, journalists, educators, and health practitioners from across the U.S.  many of the contributing authors are from the Northwest (e.g. Rita Bresnahan, Anthony Robinson, Connie Thompson).

Other contributors include CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen (“CBS Sunday Morning”).  The book’s website is www.collintong.com.  Please join us for this special event.