Authors Talk: Heidi Czerwiec

Authors Talk: Heidi Czerwiec

Today we are pleased to feature Heidi Czerwiec as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, she takes the time to discuss her nonfiction piece, “The Perfumer’s Organ,” published in SR’s Issue 23. The essay is part of a larger work-in-progress that examines “perfume as a physical and cultural object.”

“The Perfumer’s Organ,” which contains five short sections that each explore a different association with the piece’s title, was “born during a self-organized retreat at [her] in-law’s lake cabin” where she was armed with research and notes about perfumery.

Research is an important part of Heidi’s creative process, which you can see reflected in the essay’s footnotes. For this particular nonfiction piece, she looked to her research for recurring language. She explains, “For instance, ‘perfumer’s organ’ is a musical metaphor which let me tie in how perfume is composed of notes that create an accord.”

Heidi first learned the term “Perfumer’s Organ,” which describes a perfumer’s shelving system, from Perfumer Mandy Aftel, but she originally misinterpreted the phrase to mean “the nose.” As Heidi continued her research and writing, the term began to take on new meaning and she fell in love with the “rich suggestiveness of the term” that gave her a way to “organiz[e] so much of what [she] had been researching about perfume.”

Heidi calls her aesthetic a “weird mix of strict structures and loose associativeness,” which this nonfiction piece encapsulates beautifully. Because the essay captures her aesthetic so well and the title phrase helped her see the various connections she wanted to make, the work has become “one of [her] darlings” that she “love[s] irrationally” and is happy to share with all of our SR readers.


You can read Heidi’s work, “The Perfumer’s Organ,” in Issue 23 of Superstition Review.


#ArtLitPhx: Friends of Contemporary Art Film Series

This summer Phoenix Art Museum proudly presents Friends of Contemporary Art Film Series: Who Are We? The Art of Memory—Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

 Jim Carrey heads the cast of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Gondry from Academy Award nominee Charlie Kaufman’s original screenplay. The two-time Golden Globe Award winner is joined in the movie by three-time Academy Award nominee Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, and Elijah Wood. 

Joel (Jim Carrey) is stunned to discover that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. Out of desperation, he contacts the inventor of the process, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), to have Clementine removed from his own memory. But as Joel’s memories progressively disappear, he begins to rediscover his love for Clementine. From deep within the recesses of his brain, Joel attempts to escape the procedure. As Dr. Mierzwiak and his crew (Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood) chase him through the maze of his memories, it’s clear that Joel just can’t get Clementine out of his head. 

Free for Circles and FOCA Members, $5 for Members, and $10 for the general public.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
(dir. Michel Gondry / USA 2004 / 108 min / Rated R / English) 

EVENT INFORMATION

Date: Wednesday, July 24

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information, click here.

Intern Update, Ellen O’Brien

Today, we are pleased to share an update for former SR student nonfiction editor Ellen O’Brien. Since her work with SR, Ellen has graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication. She also recently accepted a position as an investigative reporter with News21.

News21, part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative for the Future of Journalism, is a national initiative led by five of America’s leading research universities with the support of two major foundations will advance the U.S. news business by helping revitalize schools of journalism.

Congratulation, Ellen!

#ArtLitPhx: Mind Your Business Book Club

Introducing “Mind Your Business,” a book club for business leaders, managers, entrepreneurs—anyone interested in the art and science of doing business!

On the second Monday of each month, Javelina CEO Catherine Alonzo leads a discussion of a business book at Changing Hands Phoenix, home of our First Draft Book Bar. Ranging from how to build and scale a business to how to lead a team, you’ll read business book classics as well as new hits. (And get 10% off when you purchase the selection of the month at Changing Hands.)

ABOUT THE BOOK 

Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things. 

In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort–even their own survival–for the good of those in their care.
     
Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a “Circle of Safety” that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.

EVENT INFORMATION

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Date: Monday, July 8

Time: 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.


Guest Post, Marcia Aldrich: Against Time

I don’t remember exactly what triggered writing “The Year in Review.”  At the time we were staying in Borrego Springs, a small town in the middle of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California, and in the afternoon I liked to climb to the top of the garage of the house we were renting and sit on the viewing deck the owner had built for stargazing. Borrego Springs is the only International Dark Sky Community in California, and I’ve never experienced such a sky of stars than I did in Borrego. The city asks that homeowners turn off their outdoor lights at night to enhance the depth of the dark. But I also loved to climb up on the roof and watch the sun set. From the top I could see the desert plains spread out behind me and the mountains rise; I could see the sun dip below the palm trees. It was a fabulous view and had the advantage of allowing me to write. That day I carried my notebook and pen and wrote what came to be “The Year in Review” in one fell swoop as if I was in a class and had been handed a prompt. But, of course, this was not an assignment, just what welled up inside me and asked to be written. Perhaps it was something about the sweep of the horizon from the rooftop that asked me to look at the year I had just completed. 

It’s a catalogue, a close relative to the list, both of which I love because they attempt to catch the moments of our lives before they’re forgotten, erased, or written over by new moments. Time is what they are about—the relentless forward motion of time, pulsing ahead and carrying us with it helplessly. These reviews are little life rafts we hold onto to keep us from falling out into the current. They are my attempts to be steady and stay upright, to know where I am and who I am at a specific moment in time. It’s a kind of reckoning, an attempt to get at something I’ll call the personal truth of my life.

Essay Daily published an experiment called What Happened on June 21st last year. They invited anyone interested to write about what happened that day. They received about 250 reports. I was one of the 250 respondents. Now they’ve culled 25 accounts and published them as a slim book and mine is one of them. I mention this experiment because it is related to my experiment of writing a year in review essay—the tasks are similar. One could easily be overwhelmed by the enormity of all that happened in a given day, a given year. What did I experience in one unit of time? So much of our lives is deemed mundane, routine. We walk our dogs everyday—but what makes any particular walk worth noticing? And then, there are those so-called profound experiences when something shakes us awake. Sometimes the mundane becomes profound and sometimes the profound peters out in the end. It’s a complicated dance trying to capture the rhythm of a life, whether it be a day or a year. What details are most telling and how do these details jostle together to create a life while always moving forward? I have found that some of my most telling moments happen while I’m going about my life and they would pass away unremembered if I did not try to write them. That’s one thing we writers do: we write against the erasure of time.

#ArtLitPhx: Found in Translation

This month Changing Hands will discuss Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler, a voracious reader, or a dreamer who wants to see the world, all are invited to Changing Hand’s newest book club focused on international literature. Sometimes visiting other countries doesn’t always give travelers an insider’s view into foreign cultures; sometimes we are still too outside, too different, to get at the heart of a place. Often the best way to understand distant lands and peoples is to read their literature, to get inside the head of a foreign author, to hear their myths and fairy tales molded around words they penned in their mother tongue.

In Found in Translation, Changing Hands will delve into a work of international literature in a small group setting while enjoying coffee, beer, or wine drinks from First Draft Book Bar, located in Changing Hands Phoenix.

Stop by Changing Hands Phoenix or Tempe (or order online by clicking “add to cart” below) to get your copy of Mirror, Shoulder, Signal for 10% OFF.

Then meet us at First Draft Book Bar to discuss the pick and enjoy happy hour prices all through the event.

FREE PARKING / LIGHT RAIL

  • Don’t want to drive? Take the Light Rail! It lets off at the Central Avenue/Camelback Park-and-Ride, which has hundreds of free parking spaces across the street from Changing Hands.

ABOUT THE BOOK 
Sonja is ready to get on with her life. She’s over forty now, and the Swedish crime novels she translates are losing their fascination. She sees a masseuse, tries to reconnect with her sister, and is finally learning to drive. But under the overbearing gaze of her driving instructor, Sonja is unable to shift gears for herself. And her vertigo, which she has always carefully hidden, has begun to manifest at the worst possible moments.

Sonja hoped her move to Copenhagen years ago would have left rural Jutland in the rearview mirror. Yet she keeps remembering the dramatic landscapes of her childhood—the endless sky, the whooper swans, the rye fields—and longs to go back. But how can she return to a place that she no longer recognizes? And how can she escape the alienating streets of Copenhagen?

In Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, Dorthe Nors brings her distinctive blend of style, humor, and insight to a poignant journey of one woman in search of herself when there’s no one to ask for directions.

EVENT INFORMATION

Location: Changing Hands Bookstore, 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix 

Date: Wednesday, July 10

Time: 7 p.m.

For more information about the event, click here.

Authors Talk: Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Authors Talk: Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Today we are pleased to feature Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo as our Authors Talk series contributor. In this podcast, she shares poetry from her collection, Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications, 2016), which explores her time volunteering with No More Deaths (No Más Muertes) in 2011 along the Mexico-United States border. Additionally, the book reflects on her own family’s immigration story as well as her life in Los Angeles.

She invites Catherine Gaffney, a long-term volunteer with No More Death who began working for the organization in 2009, to discuss humanitarian aid efforts along the border that influenced her poetry.

Bermejo and Gaffney also talk about No More Deaths’ recent news: Dr. Scott Warren, a No More Deaths volunteer, was put on trial last month for giving aid to two individuals he encountered in the desert. If convicted, Warren could have received up to 20 years in prison. The case resulted in a mistrial due to a hung jury. According to breaking news on the No More Deaths’ Instagram, a retrial was announced today, July 2nd, “in Scott Warren’s case on harboring counts. Conspiracy charges dismissed. Trial to begin Nov 12.”

Bermejo says, “What led me to volunteer with No More Deaths was this desire to have a more personal understanding of the border—and what we call ‘The Wall’—and so my plan was to go out there and see this space, and work in this space, and feel the sun, and walk in the sand, and then come back and write about this experience.”

Looking back at the October 2016 release of her book, Bermejo lightheartedly laughs at her “naïve thought that this (her poetry) was somehow going to help.” Seeing how border issues have become increasingly dire, she questions how a book of social justice poetry could influence real-world problems.

Gaffney and Bermejo end the conversation by talking about the importance of literature. For Gaffney, Mexican literature has been an important part of learning about the borderland. She believes that literature helps her “get that sense of reflection and quiet and peace, and know that, even in the midst of all that cruelty, people are worried about beauty and beautiful things…and that’s something that matters.”

Bermejo sees this importance as well, concluding, “We need literature and art to even imagine a better world,” making writing, even if it may cause doubt in the writer or seem inconsequential at times, an important part of our lives.


You can also read Xochitl-Julisa’s email interview, “¿Qué importa?” in Issue 19 of Superstition Review.


#ArtLitPhx: SOULS Installation Screening

The film, SOULS, is playing on a loop in Whiteman hall as part of the Artist Grants exhibition from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on July 3. The film screening is included with general admission.  

SOULS is a visual exhibition, photographic art & and film installation that captures the totality of mortality, blackness and Afro-futurism. Through the lens of a child, we attach the isolation of death and mortality, combined with an exploration of space and afro-futurism. Attached within the exploration of mortality, we search the African-Diaspora for clues of what goes on within the “beyond.”

This film and installation was inspired by the passing of a late grand-mother whose resilience and strength was linear, within the fact that it not only allowed her granddaughter to love her blackness freely—but it allowed her to see it clearly. SOULS attaches the meaning of the stars to mortality. Through SOULS, we capture and travel through the loss and visceral connection of what it means to truly deteriorate. 

(dir. Malakai / USA 2019 / 15 min / Not Rated / English)

EVENT INFORMATION

Date: Wednesday, July 3

Time: 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix

For more information, click here.

 

Contributor Update, Tasha Cotter: ‘Us, in Pieces’

Join us in congratulating SR poetry contributor Tasha Cotter. Tasha’s debut novel, Us, in Pieces, is available for preorder and will be released in July.

This coming-of-age love story is told by two alternating narrators, Adin and Lilly, who are close friends in college until Lilly disappears from Adin’s life without explanation. Close to ten years later, they reconnect unexpectedly and have to question where their relationship stands while old, unspoken feelings resurface.

More information about Tasha and her latest book can be found here. You can also find her poetry from SR’s Issue 16 here.

Congratulations, Tasha!

Contributor Update, Cathy Ulrich: ‘The Sky Goes Quiet’

Join us in congratulating SR fiction contributor Cathy Ulrich. Cathy recently published a short fiction piece with Cheat River Review titled, “The Sky Goes Quiet.” This new astronaut story features hospital visits, love, and photo albums. Cathy writes from her home in Montana and works as a fiction editor for Atlas and Alice. Her work has been published in several journals including Monkeybicycle, Fiction Southeast, The Citron Review, Paper Darts, The Atticus Review, Cheap Pop, among others.

To read more about Cathy and her publications, click here. You can find her fiction piece, “In the Crowded Spaces,” from Issue 18 here.

Congratulations, Cathy!