Tags Posts tagged with "Nicole Galland"

Nicole Galland

— Illustration by Kate Feiffer

NickiGalland-headshotBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Trying to untangle a messy Island ethics or etiquette question? Send it to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole:
My wife has a significant birthday coming up, and she wishes to celebrate by spending a long weekend on a foliage tour in New Hampshire. The dates coincide with the best Derby fishing according to historical records, and I feel certain that I will miss out on a winning fish if I accompany her. Years ago I suggested that we postpone our wedding until after the Derby and she simply ignored the question. What is your advice about asking her to postpone her birthday until October 19th?
Confidentially Yours,
Derbyguy

Dear Derbyguy:
Answer quickly: what’s more important to you, winning the Derby or making your wife happy?

If you had to think about that for even for a nanosecond, then you are such a diehard fisherman that you might as well go ahead and ask her. (If you’re not one, don’t ask her. Really. Not for a “significant birthday.”)

So perhaps the question really is, how will you respond to her saying no? Trust me on this: she will say no. Her ignoring your request to postpone your marriage for Derby season implies either (a) she thought you were joking, in which case she will think you are joking again, or (b) she knew you were serious, and but had to convince herself you were joking so that she could bear to go through with marrying you.

Speaking of her marrying you: if your wedding conflicted with the Derby, then your anniversary must as well. Stop reading this right now, and go buy her a nice card. Avoid any fish imagery. Maybe get her some flowers too. I think dahlias are still in bloom.

Once you’ve done that, I guess you can go ahead and ask her about delaying her birthday. Spoiler alert: She’ll still say no. But at least you’ll have gotten it out of your system.
That’s my take.
Nicole

***

Dear Nicole:
How long should I wait between picking something up at the Dumptique and selling it at a yard sale?
Confidentially Yours,
Rags

Dear Rags:
I can only think of three reasons why you would be asking this question:

One: You are so broke that you are trying desperately, from genuine need, to literally get something for nothing.

Even if you’re that hard up, don’t rob other needy people of their chance to get decent free clothes. If you’re done with the clothes, recycle them back to the Dumptique, or donate them to one of the Thrift Shops.

Two: You’ve come up with a rather sleazy way to game the system, and get something for nothing. In which case: Boy, are you pathetic. You’re robbing needy people of their chance to get free clothes. At least confine your unethical schemes to things that don’t harm people in genuine need. Target those with disposable cash. Sell seashells to tourists or something.

Three: As a frugal Yankee, you’ve gotten due use out of an item, and want to continue to wring maximum benefit from your thrift.

In that case, wear it until it’s in tatters. And then return it to the Dumptique because really, who’s going to pay for that thing at a yard sale?
That’s my take.
Nicole

Illustration by Kate Feiffer

NickiGalland-headshotBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Interested in Nicole’s take on your messy Vineyard-centric ethics or etiquette question? Confidentiality ensured. Send your question to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole:
I’m a recent transplant and I am fishing in the Derby for the first time. Let’s say I land a huge bass. Then let’s say someone, maybe even a good friend, asks me where I caught it. Am I ethically obligated to be truthful?
Confidentially Yours,
Hooked

Dear Hooked:
First of all, you’re not a transplant, you’re a wash–ashore.

The one inviolable Derby rule is not to elbow your way into anyone else’s turf, on the beach or in the water. That’s why people never leave their primo fishing spot for years at a time, not even to eat or sleep: as long as you are where you are, nobody else can get too close, but as soon as you leave, somebody else moves in, and then you’re the one who can’t be too close.

Anyhow, keep in mind: fish do this thing called “swimming.” They’re biting off Noman’s … until they’re not. They’re practically offering themselves up on the North Shore… until the tide changes.  Your honesty wouldn’t help your friend, or anyone else, find where the fish are – only where they were. In fact, if you send someone to a bogus spot, it could turn out to be a bonanza for him or her.

But that’s not really the heart of your question, which is: Is it okay to lie? Even to a friend? Isn’t that awful? Well, yes, generally… but as you said, it’s the Derby, so anything goes. Even St. Peter would probably obfuscate to throw other fishermen off the scent during the Derby. And as Nelson Siegelman (revered author of the Gone Fishin’ column) assures me, “During the Derby, a fisherman asked where he or she caught a fish is likely to answer with one of four locations:  up-Island, down-Island, the north shore and south shore. (Furthermore…) fishing may be one of the only sports where it may be expected that participants will lie. But just as skillful casting is a talent, lying well requires a certain style so that the person you are lying to does not walk away insulted.”  I know a man who knows a man who caught a 40-pound striper on Chappy… and immediately drove to the Squibnocket parking lot for everyone to see it. By the standards of Derby Shenanigans, that’s wicked awesome. If you’re going to BS somebody, try to top that. Worse case scenario: your friend still manages to hook a bigger fish than you, and buys you a beer.
That’s my take.
Nicole

Dear Nicole:
This is one of those Vineyard Shuffle questions. My summer landlady asked me to leave a day early because her cleaning lady is fishing in the Derby and needs to do the “moving-out clean” the day before I’m scheduled to actually move out. But I can’t get into my winter rental a day early because those summer renters will still be there. Is it ungracious or un-Vineyardy of me to refuse to leave? I want to support anything Derby-related but I have nowhere to go.
Confidentially Yours,
Stranded in Oak Bluffs

Dear Stranded:
Legally, of course, you have a right to stay till the end of your lease. And while it would not be ungracious of you to refuse to leave, it would be very gracious of you to agree to the arrangement. If you want to “do the right thing” by old-school, Vineyard Shoulder-Season standards, consider this:

Anything involving the Derby gets instant street cred. That’s how the Island is wired. If your only hesitation is that you need a place to stay, consider the ultimate form of Vineyard Shuffle: staying on a friend’s couch for one night. Looking unkempt because you’ve been fishing gets the highest marks, but looking unkempt because you’re facilitating someone else to fish is also pretty good.

I don’t know why the cleaning lady had to change her schedule for the Derby, but given that she did, it was pretty cool that your landlady said yes and it would be pretty cool if you said yes, and so by extension, if you need to crash on someone’s couch or guest room and they say yes, that makes them cool too – because it’s the Derby. The more people are involved in the great Derby Chain of Roughing It, the greater the collective Insider Cool factor is.
That’s my take.
Nicole

Illustration by Kate Feiffer

NickiGalland-headshotBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Interested in Nicole’s take on your messy Vineyard-centric ethics or etiquette question? Confidentiality ensured. Send your question to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole,
My only daughter has left the Island for college and I’m having a hard time letting go. (I suspect I shouldn’t be driving by her elementary school every day and repeatedly downloading the ferry schedule.)  I am trying not to text and call her too often. It’s a struggle and my waistline is expanding because of it.  But what makes it even worse is all my so–called friends who keep saying their kids call and text and, isn’t it so great they’ve  even skyped with their child’s roommate. How can I get them to stop talking?
Confidentially yours,
Empty-nester

Dear Empty–nester,
You can’t get them to stop talking. Even if there was some way to get them to stop talking to YOU about it, they’d all be talking amongst themselves, without you, and you’d know it (it’s a small Island), and then you’d feel like a pariah.

So the real problem to tackle here is either your own rate of texting/angsting, and/or your expanding waistline.

I haven’t seen your waistline so I don’t feel qualified to comment on it, but maybe it’s a good time to mention that many Island yoga, dance and Pilates studios and gyms are moving into their autumn schedule — as are you — and it might not be a bad time to sign on. Or at the very least, when you drive obsessively in front of your child’s school, do it on a bicycle to burn some extra calories. Or better yet, whenever you feel the urge to drive by her school or call her, divert that energy into something you can now do that you could not before you were an empty-nester. Go skinny-dipping in the afternoon. Take a nap. Watch Jerry Springer. Throw a gourmet potluck.  Get overly–invested in town politics. Go out dancing. Fall in love (all over again with your spouse, if you have one). If none of these appeal to you, look to your childless friends or friends with long–grown kids for inspiration.

You’re preoccupied with your absent child mostly because you love her very much, but maybe also just a little because you’re the Helicopter Parent Generation, and you’ve probably invested more energy and self–identity into your kid than your parents’ generation did, so you don’t have that generation as a model for how to cope. How to cope is: see above.

And keep the long view in mind: Congratulations if your kid isn’t constantly checking in with you! Let your friends gush over how effectively they are prolonging their children’s dependency on them. Proudly let them know you have a child who is self–sufficient enough that she doesn’t need to check in with her parents on an hourly basis. Some day soon, when your friends’ kids have also attained that level of independence that yours has already achieved (I’m guessing second semester freshman year), all your friends will look to you as a model, and that will feel awesome. It’s a win all the way around.

That’s my take.
Nicole

***

Dear Nicole,
It’s picking season and I found the beach plums. Must I ask the property owner on whose land I found them for permission to pick?
Confidentially yours,
Oak Bluffs

Dear Oak Bluffs,
There are two schools of thought on this topic, neither of which I agree with.
One of them says: Of course you have to ask! Otherwise it’s stealing! And also trespassing, which is always illegal and immoral!

The other one says: Of course you don’t have to ask! It is set down in the Constitution of the Republic of Martha’s Vineyard that we’re all allowed to forage for beach plums!

If we were anywhere but Martha’s Vineyard and it were (almost) anything but beach plums, I’d easily side with the first position. Actually, I do side with the first one — but because it is Martha’s Vineyard, and beach plums — a certain karmic grandfather clause applies.

If you have discovered (either from trespassing or use of easements) beach plum bushes on the property of someone (a) unfriendly (b) with an enormous bounty of beach plums, who (c) has never shown any interest in harvesting said beach plums, it really doesn’t matter what anyone says about it, we both know you’re going to go get those beach plums, so why are you even asking me?

If you choose to tread that path, however, maybe offer beach plum jelly to the property-owners, with a note saying, “If you like this, I’d be honored to keep you in a steady supply in future years, and here’s how you can help me do that…”

That’s my take.
Nicole

— Illustration by Kate Feiffer

NickiGalland-headshotBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Interested in Nicole’s take on your messy Vineyard-centric ethics or etiquette question? Confidentiality ensured. Send your question to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole:
What do you do when you mistakenly break into the middle of the Presidential motorcade? Should you stay with it or try to veer off?
Confidentially yours,
Clutching the Wheel in Chilmark

Dear Clutch:
First, the official response: I have no idea. I’m sure there is some official caveat but nobody bothered to inform me. Second, the practical response: It’s true that you won’t get held up in traffic, but tourists will gawk and locals will roll their eyes, which — if you’re a real islander — are two of the few things worse than getting stuck in summer traffic. So there is no net benefit to staying with the motorcade. If you can get to your destination some other way, divert.

Third, my actual response: To quote a professional wise–guy friend: “The value of any life experience can be determined by how good an anecdote it makes.” So, in the interest of having a good story, stick with the motorcade as long as you possibly can. Forget about your actual destination; just go with the flow. Eventually, some member of the Secret Service or the police escort will question you. Depending upon whom the President is hanging out with, this is the perfect opportunity to pitch your television series, request a puppy playdate (“Hey, I also have a Portuguese Water Dog!”), or offer your helpful and well–informed views on the situation in Iraq.  I have no idea what will happen, but I bet it will make a better anecdote than simply driving away.
That’s my take.
Nicole

Dear Nicole:
Some people seem to manage the whole Presidential Visit thing just fine without any headaches or inconveniences. What is their secret?
Confidentially Yours,
Stuck in traffic

Dear Stuck:
They vacation on Nantucket.
That’s my take.
Nicole

Dear Nicole:
I think it’s rather nice that President Obama and his family vacation here, however I am sick and tired of hearing about all the Obama sightings. I really don’t care that my friend’s friend’s houseguest saw the President golfing. How can we put a stop to the incessant chatter about Obama sightings?
Confidentially yours,
Edgartown

Dear Edgartown,
There are a number of ways to stop “the incessant chatter about Obama sightings.” One option is simple honesty. Say, for example, “You know, I must admit I’m tired of hearing about all the Obama sightings.” But that seems rude, and we all know nobody is going to do it, so let’s move on to other options.

The tried and true Vineyard MO is (as I have perhaps suggested in earlier columns) passive aggressiveness. If you want to be passive aggressive as a form of politeness, you could simply pretend not to have heard or understood the statement, and respond with a pensive silence or perhaps a bland comment such as, “Hm, hasn’t the weather been lovely lately.” If you want to be passive-aggressive as a form of contempt, the best approach is, “I bet people who talk about Obama sightings have really boring lives,” (or some other demeaning remark). But I won’t like you very much if you go that route.

Or you could be more pro-active in your refusal to engage in such banter. Distraction is a good way to do this. If, for instance, somebody says, “My mother’s best friend’s dog-groomer saw Obama at the package store,” a recommended response might be: “Look! A raccoon!” This should be followed by a lively narrative about a raccoon cub you took into your house as a child, who ate through both the linoleum and the insulation in the kitchen. It’s almost certain that somebody else at the gathering will have a story about raccoons, insulation, linoleum or kitchens, and so you will have successfully diverted conversation, at least for the nonce.
That’s my take.
Nicole

And they answered

On Monday, August 11, more than twenty writers with ties to the Vineyard will gather at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury to discuss the art, craft and business of writing. This day-long event is open to the public and free of charge.

In anticipation of the event on Monday, The Times asked some of the day’s participants a few probing questions. More information, and detailed schedule, here.

Nancy Aronie

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Ice house. I froze;  that’s why they call it ice house, silly.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would have to say no to the big money contract. I can’t write about what I don’t know and I’m not good at research, which is why I’m so in love with Geraldine Brooks’s every book.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
I am a phone person. If I’m not working because I’m procrastinating, like I am right this minute, I’m talking to my sister or a girlfriend (funny word) or my husband and eating at the same time.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Air conditioned Chilmark Library or… truth? Running the Chilmark Writing Workshop. (Can’t really call this a job.)

What was the last book you read?
The Girls from Corona del Mar
 by Rufi Thorpe. Loved it. Actually the last book and I loved it more was We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler).

Geraldine Brooks

Geraldine Brooks gardening
Geraldine Brooks gardening

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Never.  It’s one of the most beautiful crossings in the world.  What churl would miss it?

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Late, for me. Lambert’s Cove in July.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
A tragic love story, with Booming Ben as the bereft lover.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Noticing that there’s just that one bush that needs deadheading. Six hours later…

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
One that you don’t have to show up for on a perfect day.

What was the last book you read?
Ward Just’s brilliant American Romantic.

Kate Feiffer

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I usually can’t wait to get out of the car by the time I get on the ferry.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Lambert’s Cove

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
A picture book. I’d title it, Heath Hen Comes Back to Roost If I were a cookbook author, I’d title my book, Heath Hen Comes Back to Roast.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
It used to be doodling, but now that I’m selling my drawings, I can no longer call doodling procrastination, so now I dawdle instead of doodle.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Lifeguard at Lambert’s Cove beach

What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Joshua Horwitz’s War of the Whales.

Nicole Galland

Katharine Pilcher, Chrysal Parrot and  Nicole Galland dressed up for the skillet throw at the fair
Katharine Pilcher, Chrysal Parrot and Nicole Galland dressed up for the skillet throw at the fair

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I let my dog decide that.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Have yet to take it. Isn’t that pathetic? Hopefully will have taken one at Lambert’s Cove Beach by the 11th.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would write a time-traveling bodice-ripper about the torrid affair between the man who witnessed the death of the last heath hen and the brilliant female geneticist who, generations later, was able to reconstitute the heath hen from DNA samples. Spoiler alert: she is his great-granddaughter. Other spoiler alert: heath hens are delicious.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
There are so many to choose from. This time of year? Picking blueberries.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Gay Head lighthouse keeper.

What was the last book you read?
Besides the manuscript of my own work-in-progress? I have to admit that I read Gift From The Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh while trying to sleep, but I’d like to add that just before that I read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.

Meryl Gordon

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I always go on the top deck so I can see the Island coming and going.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
I took my first swim at the Makonikey beach this summer. It was rocky, but two days later the sand was back.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
I procrastinate by seeing how many different places I can to go on the island to pick up food for one meal. Should I drive to Larsen’s in Menemsha or go to Net Result in Vineyard Haven? Norton Farm or the farmstand at Beetlebung? Fiddlehead Farm for cheese, Eden’s for fresh blueberries, Scottish Bakehouse or Sweet E’s for dessert? You can take all day shopping here for what I could do in 10 blocks in Manhattan, but it’s more fun.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I wish I were a naturalist but I fear I could not do the Heath Hen justice.

Best summer job?
I was a waitress on Nantucket right after I graduated from high school — it was pretty great to have days on the beach and nights at work.

What was the last book you read?
I loved Ward Just’s American Romantic.

Jessica Harris
Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I get out of the car and do two things on the ferry after the trip from New York. I have a beer and a bowl of kale soup of chile. It’s a part of my sacrament to signal my return once again to the Vineyard.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
I am a non-swimmer and have not been in the water in years. Bathing suits are no longer a part of my life.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would write a children’s book about the last heath hen (and maybe a dodo as well) hiding out with Nancy Luce and her chickens.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Reading.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Probably taking tickets at the Flying Horses… so much JOY!

What was the last book you read?
For a project I’m working on, the libretto for Porgy and Bess. For pleasure, The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker – one of the mysteries of the French countryside featuring Bruno Courreges..

Tony Horwitz

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I never stay in my car on the ferry unless I’m comatose from driving. Instead, I go on the deck to enjoy the view of my laptop screen—a sure sign I’ve lived on the Vineyard too long.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
I haven’t taken a beach swim yet this summer, how sad is that? High hopes for August and warmer water.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I’m a history nerd, so if asked to write about the heath hen I’d go through old recipes. A controversial cookbook about eating a species back into extinction — bestseller!

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
For authors, checking email is the best procrastination ever invented. It feels like work and writing but isn’t, and generates more email to procrastinate over later.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
The best summer job is being a writer, because all you do is talk about it at book festivals or while drinking cocktails on beautiful lawns. Then you go home and check your email again.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Living Hell: The Dark Side of the Civil War (Michael C. C. Adams). As the title suggests, it’s the reading equivalent of water-boarding. But I’m supposed to be writing about PTSD in the Civil War, so I needed to know more about amputations, mass graves, imprisonment, disease, and torture.

Ward Just
Ward Just

Ward Just

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Yes

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
No swimming this summer.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
What is a heath hen?

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Golf on television.

What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Geraldine Brooks’s plague book.  A wonderful novel.

Richard Michelson

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Only until the end of the chapter of whatever book on tape I am listening to, then I walk Mollie upstairs so she can allow everyone to pet and admire her (yes, she is my dog).  On my last trip, however,  Geraldine Brooks was personally reading Year of Wonders to me over the car speakers and I almost stayed on the ferry a couple of extra trips back and forth till I found out if she was really going to kill off those poor children.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Inkwell of course, as is fitting for all writers.

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I am already writing the book (sans the “lucrative” and “contract”). Why would I give my ideas away?

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Answering silly questionnaires that have nothing to do with writing.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Leading the Oak Bluffs dog parade (memo to self: check with Kate Feiffer if this is so).

What was the last book you read?
Americannah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Tina Miller

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
I go up in the lunch area with my computer to catch up on stuff

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
First and only so far at the opening at Quansoo

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
A mystery.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
I do it, I am okay with it, I own it!

Joan Nathan

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
No, I never stay in the car on the ferry. I either have my standard meal of chili (one of the only times I eat chili) or I catch up on answering emails.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Ice House Pond.

Describe the book you would write if you were offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
I would write something brilliant to answer that eternal question: What came first – the hen or the egg.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Cleaning my house and weeding in my garden, or folding laundry, or anything but getting to my work!

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
The job that my daughter Daniela had – she was a kayaking instructor for the Vineyard Preservation Trust.

What was the last book you read?
Sacred Trash – The Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza
 by Adina Hoffman and Peter Cole.

Alexandra Styron.
Alexandra Styron

Alexandra Styron

Do you tend to stay in your car on the ferry?
Never. I like to take the dog up to sniff the sea air.

Where did you take your first swim this summer?
Off our dock in Vineyard Haven. Late June. It was very quick and very bracing!

Describe the book you would write if you offered a lucrative contract to write about the heath hen?
It would be a novel, in which the heath hens return as zombies. Obviously.

What is your most effective method of procrastination?
Looking at real estate porn online and answering questionnaires.

What do you think is the best summer job on the Island?
Lighthouse keeper.

What was the last book you read?
Life After Life
 by Kate Atkinson. It’s superb!

Join us for panel discussions, book signings, workshops and other literary delights. First come, first seated.

Updated

When: Monday, August 11, 2014
Where: Grange Hall in West Tisbury

Panel discussions upstairs at the Grange
Schedule:
8:00-8:45

Morning Edition: Writing for Radio
They say radio is the most visual medium. Find out how it’s done.
Sean Corcoran, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rob Rosenthal and Mindy Todd

9:00-9:45
Writing Children’s Books
Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, children’s book authors and illustrators often wonder, What’s the use of a book without pictures or conversations?
Richard Michelson, Florence Friedman Minor, Wendell Minor and Kate Feiffer

10:00-10:45
Writing in a New Media World
Have digital books, video gaming and self-publishing helped or hurt writers?
Susan Branch, Tony Horwitz, Nicole Galland and Jan Pogue

11:00-11:45
Narrative Non-fiction
When truth is stranger than fiction, write the truth and let it read like fiction.
Meryl Gordon, Joshua Horwitz, Alexandra Styron and Tony Horwitz

1:00-1:45
The Recipe for Cookbook Writing
It takes more than adding a pinch of salt.
Jessica Harris, Susie Middleton, Joan Nathan, Catherine Walthers and Tina Miller

2:00-2:45
Writing Workshops
Tough love or loving support. What works?
John Hough, Jr., Nancy Slonim Aronie and Lara O’Brien

3:00-3:45
From Journalism to Fiction
When journalists turn into novelists
Geraldine Brooks and Ward Just

4:00
Closing Thoughts
Peter Oberfest
David McCullough

Downstairs at the Grange
Author signings with the Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books, informational booths, The Journal Project with Barbara Parker’s journals, writing workshops sponsored by Noepe Center for Literary Arts and more.

Free Writing Workshops at 10 am, 1 pm and 3 pm
The Noepe Center for the Literary Arts will feature writing workshops. Taught by poets and writers Justen Ahren and Michael G. West, the sessions are free to anyone with any level of writing experience. The workshops are designed to foster and encourage people to write and explore “the images imprisoned within them (Rilke).” noepecenter.org

IW-Justen-Ahren-credit-Rob-Berkley-web Justen Ahren is the author of A Strange Catechism, his acclaimed new collection of poems, the West Tisbury Poet Laureate, and founder and director of the Noepe Center for Literary
Arts in Edgartown and the Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency.

IW-Michael-WestMichael G. West is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and several new ones scheduled to appear next month from Sepiessa Press. He has published recently in Samizdat Literary Journal and Chrysanthemum and has also published three novels, Dutch Reckoning, XOC – The White Shark Murders and BUZZD – The Bee Kill Conspiracy.

Outside
The Flatbread Mobile Pizza Oven and the self-published authors tent.

Indy Authors Book Tent
Amelia Smith, Jib Ellis, Tom Dresser and more will sell their books and dispense advice on how to self-publish.

Panelist bios:

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing From the Heart: Finding your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and the founder of the Chilmark Writing Workshop. She was the recipient of the Eye of the Beholder award at The Isabella Stewart Gardener museum and she received The Teacher of the Year Award at Harvard University the three years she taught there. She is a commentator for NPR ‘s All Things Considered. chilmarkwritingworkshop.com.

Susan Branch is the author of twelve  Heart of the Home lifestyle books published by Little Brown and Company since 1986.  Her thirteenth book, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside, was published last year by Vineyard Stories.  It has been a best-seller in English Travel books on Amazon.  She and her partner Joe Hall recently launched Spring Street Publishing, dedicated to the publication of Susan’s future books. Susan sends her popular Newsletter, WILLARD to over 52,000 subscribers a month; approximately 400,000 people from all over the world follow her blog at susanbranch.com  and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

Geraldine Brooks is The New York Times bestselling author of Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, March (winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), and Year of Wonders, and the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons. geraldinebrooks.com.

Sean Corcoran is the managing editor for news at WCAI and WGBH Radio. He is a graduate of The George Washington University and the Columbia University School of Journalism. After nine years of newspaper and magazine reporting, Corcoran moved to public radio in 2005. The following year he received the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award — the highest award in broadcast journalism — for a 20-part series about hidden poverty. Since then, Corcoran has received a Gabriel Award, and numerous other national awards for his investigative series. Corcoran’s radio stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and BBC iAmerica. capeandislands.org.

Nicole Galland, who hails from West Tisbury, is an award-winning performer and screenwriter who swore off the performing arts* to write historical fiction. (*Despite this oath, she co-founded the Vineyard Playhouse’s Shakespeare for the Masses.) Her novels include The Fool’s Tale; Revenge of the Rose; Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade; I, Iago; and Godiva. With six collaborators, she co-created the Mongoliad, originally a serialized, interactive narrative project (and now a popular print-book trilogy). She is currently working with people geekier and smarter than herself to create ungodly chimerical hybrids of literature (yes, actual literature) and online games. nicolegalland.com

Kate Feiffer is the author of eleven books for children, including Double Pink, Henry The Dog with No Tail and The Problem with The Puddles. Kate is collaborating with MJ Bruder Munafo and the composer/lyricist team of Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee to turn her book My Mom is Trying To Ruin My Life into a staged musical, which is scheduled to have its world premiere on the Vineyard in 2015. An editor of MV Arts & Ideas magazine, Kate is one of the organizers of this event, so if you have nice things to say about it, tell her. katefeiffer.com.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry extending her work  to  all media at various times. Hunter-Gault joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards. Her most recent book is To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the  Civil rights Movement  for young readers.

Meryl Gordon is the author of “The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark,” and “Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach.” She is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times and New York Magazine. She is the director of magazine writing at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. A native of Rochester, N.Y., and a graduate of the University of Michigan, she lives in Manhattan but has been spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard since 1994. She is married to the political journalist Walter Shapiro. merylgordon.com.

Jessica B. Harris is the author or editor of seventeen books, including twelve cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. She has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has written extensively for scholarly and popular publications. Harris consults internationally, most recently for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on their new cafeteria. Dr. Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Université de Nancy, France, and New York University. Dr. Harris is a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. in New York and at work on several new projects. Africooks.com.

Joshua Horwitz is the founder and publisher of Living Planet Books, which specializes in works by thought leaders in science, medicine and psychology. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three daughters. warofthewhales.com.

Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. His books include the New York Times bestsellers Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, and A Voyage Long and Strange. His latest work is Boom: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush that Could Change America Forever. Tony is a native of Washington D.C. and a graduate of Brown University. He has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Tony lives year-round in West Tisbury with his wife, novelist Geraldine Brooks, and their sons Nathaniel and Bizu. tonyhorwitz.com.

John Hough, Jr. grew up in Falmouth and now lives on Martha’s Vineyard. He is a graduate of Haverford College, a former VISTA volunteer and speech writer. He is the author of six novels, including Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg. His most recent book is Little Bighorn. He teaches creative writing in his living room in West Tisbury. johnhoughjr.com.

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.”  He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. His books include: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, John Adams, 1776, and Truman. Mr. McCullough is presently working on a biography of the Wright brothers.

Richard Michelson’s many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker. He has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award (2X), the National Jewish Book Award (3X) and is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His most recent book for children, S is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his Oak Bluffs gingerbread cottage, and his next adult collection, More Money than God is forthcoming in the Pitt Poetry Series. Michelson is the current Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA. RichardMichelson.com.

Chef/writer/farmer Susie Middleton is the author of Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press, 2014), as well as the best-selling Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books 2010) and The Fresh & Green Table (Chronicle Books 2012). The former editor and current editor-at-large for Fine Cooking magazine, Susie writes for many national and regional magazines and blogs regularly about cooking and growing vegetables — as well as life on the farm — at sixburnersue.com. Susie and her partner, Roy Riley, founded Green Island Farm in West Tisbury in 2010.

Tina Miller was born on the Vineyard, studied cooking in France and opened her first restaurant at age 24 in the location where State Road is today. She is also a cookbook author of Vineyard Harvest and has written for Bon Appetit, Edible Vineyard, MV Magazine and Vineyard Style. She lives with her two sons and husband in West Tisbury.

Florence Friedman Minor is former film editor for ABC News. Florence works with her husband, Wendell Minor, creating books that entertain, teach and inspire children. She manages the business aspects of their studio and also  writes books that Wendell illustrates. If You Were a Penguin, her second collaboration with Wendell, was chosen by the state of Pennsylvania for their “One Book” Literacy Program, and If You Were a Panda Bear, celebrating the eight species of bears, was a Summer 2013 Kids’ Indies Next List selection. Florence currently has a book about rabbits under contract, and is working on several other book concepts; minorart.com.

Wendell Minor is nationally known for the cover artwork he has created for books by Pat Conroy, Fannie Flagg and David McCullough, among others. He has illustrated 54 children’s books, collaborating with Jean Craighead George, Charlotte Zolotow, Robert Burleigh, Mary Higgins Clark and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.  He has authored six books of his own. Reviewers are raving over Wendell’s brand new book, Edward Hopper Paints His World,  which is being sold for the first time at this event; minorart.com.

Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks; six focus on Jewish cooking, two highlight Israeli cuisine, and two focus on American cooking. Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, which made both the New York Times’ and NPR’s lists of the best cookbooks of 2010; joannathan.com.

Peter Oberfest and his wife Barbara became partners in owning and publishing the Martha’s Vineyard Times in 1995. In a remarkable example of magical thinking, they became sole owners of The Times and its web and print publications this past May. Peter also maintained a strategy and organization consulting practice for more than 40 years. Peter was educated in the New York City public school system, the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research; mvtimes.com.

Lara O’Brien Lara O’Brien was born in Dublin and raised on the wild and wondrous hill of Howth. She now lives on the sister Island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, four children and writing companion Tukka Rex, a great golden, and talking dog. Lara published her first book, a novel for middle grade readers,  Chesca and The Spirit of Grace last  fall; laraobrien.com.

Jan Pogue is the founder and owner of Vineyard Stories, which has published more than 40 Island books since 2005. She has a long history in publishing, writing, and editing. She authored twelve corporate histories, including the story of the founding of the American Cancer Society. Previous to becoming a publisher, she was a journalist at several newspapers, among them USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered topics as disparate as hunting alligators in Louisiana and the real story behind the founding of Atlantic City as a gambling center. She has lived on the Vineyard since 2003 and is proud of the fact that although she lives in Edgartown, she has friends all over the Island; vineyardstories.com.

Mindy Todd is the host and executive producer of The Point on WCAI which examines critical issues for the Cape, Islands and Southcoast. She brings more than 30 years of experience in radio and television to the job. Her career has covered nearly all aspects of broadcasting.  She has been a radio disc jockey, a traffic reporter, a television news anchor and reporter, a program director, talk show host, and even a ski reporter.She has received numerous awards, most recently another National PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) and an Associated Press award. In February 2012 Mindy was named Managing Director of Editorial; capeandislands.org.

Rob Rosenthal is the lead instructor at the Transom Story Workshop, an eight-week intensive for new radio producers in Woods Hole. He’s taught documentary radio for 14 years. Rob’s also a producer of documentaries, features, audio tours, and multi-media. For several years he’s produced a podcast on audio storytelling called HowSound; capeandislands.org.

Alexandra Styron is the author of the 2011 best-selling memoir Reading My Father and All The Finest Girls, a novel. Her work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, Alexandra currently teaches memoir writing in the MFA program at Hunter College. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York, and has spent every summer of her life on Martha’s Vineyard; alexandrastyron.com.

Catherine Walthers is a food writer and author of four cookbooks, including Raising the Salad Bar, Soups + Sides and her newest, Kale, Glorious Kale, being released this August. She also works as a private chef and offers cooking classes for groups in her West Tisbury “Kitchen Lab.”

Islanders Write is sponsored by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas Magazine and co-sponsored by WCAI, The Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books.

 

Join us for panel discussions, book signings, workshops and other literary delights. First come, first seated.

When: Monday, August 11, 2014
Where: Grange Hall in West Tisbury

Panel discussions upstairs at the Grange
Schedule:
8:00-8:45

Morning Edition: Writing for Radio
They say radio is the most visual medium. Find out how it’s done.
Sean Corcoran, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Rob Rosenthal and Mindy Todd

9:00-9:45
Writing Children’s Books
Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, children’s book authors and illustrators often wonder, What’s the use of a book without pictures or conversations?
Richard Michelson, Florence Friedman Minor, Wendell Minor and Kate Feiffer

10:00-10:45
Writing in a New Media World
Have digital books, video gaming and self-publishing helped or hurt writers?
Susan Branch, Tony Horwitz, Nicole Galland and Jan Pogue

11:00-11:45
Narrative Non-fiction
When truth is stranger than fiction, write the truth and let it read like fiction.
Meryl Gordon, Joshua Horwitz, Alexandra Styron and Tony Horwitz

1:00-1:45
The Recipe for Cookbook Writing
It takes more than adding a pinch of salt.
Jessica Harris, Susie Middleton, Joan Nathan, Catherine Walthers and Tina Miller

2:00-2:45
Writing Workshops
Tough love or loving support. What works?
John Hough, Jr., Nancy Slonim Aronie and Lara O’Brien

3:00-3:45
From Journalism to Fiction
When journalists turn into novelists
Geraldine Brooks and Ward Just

4:00
Closing Thoughts
Peter Oberfest
David McCullough

Downstairs at the Grange
Author signings, informational booths, informal writing workshops sponsored by Noepe Center for Literary Arts and more.

Outside
The Flatbread Mobile Pizza Oven

Panelist bios:

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing From the Heart :Finding your Inner Voice (Hyperion/Little Brown) and the founder of the Chilmark Writing Workshop. She was the recipient of the Eye of the Beholder award at The Isabella Stewart Gardener museum and she received The Teacher of the Year Award at Harvard University the three years she taught there. She is a commentator for NPR ‘s All Things Considered; www.chilmarkwritingworkshop.com.

Susan Branch is the author of twelve  Heart of the Home lifestyle books published by Little Brown and Company since 1986.  Her thirteenth book, A Fine Romance, Falling in Love with the English Countryside, was published last year by Vineyard Stories.  It has been a best-seller in English Travel books on Amazon.  She and her partner Joe Hall recently launched Spring Street Publishing, dedicated to the publication of Susan’s future books. Susan sends her popular Newsletter, WILLARD to over 52,000 subscribers a month; approximately 400,000 people from all over the world follow her blog at www.susanbranch.com  and is active on Facebook and Twitter.

Geraldine Brooks is The New York Times bestselling author of Caleb’s Crossing, People of the Book, March (winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction), and Year of Wonders, and the nonfiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, the author Tony Horwitz, and their two sons. www.geraldinebrooks.com.

Sean Corcoran is the managing editor for news at WCAI and WGBH Radio. He is a graduate of The George Washington University and the Columbia University School of Journalism. After nine years of newspaper and magazine reporting, Corcoran moved to public radio in 2005. The following year he received the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award — the highest award in broadcast journalism — for a 20-part series about hidden poverty. Since then, Corcoran has received a Gabriel Award, and numerous other national awards for his investigative series. Corcoran’s radio stories have appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and BBC iAmerica. www.capeandislands.org.

Nicole Galland, who hails from West Tisbury, is an award-winning performer and screenwriter who swore off the performing arts* to write historical fiction. (*Despite this oath, she co-founded the Vineyard Playhouse’s Shakespeare for the Masses.) Her novels include The Fool’s Tale; Revenge of the Rose; Crossed: A Tale of the Fourth Crusade; I, Iago; and Godiva. With six collaborators, she co-created the Mongoliad, originally a serialized, interactive narrative project (and now a popular print-book trilogy). She is currently working with people geekier and smarter than herself to create ungodly chimerical hybrids of literature (yes, actual literature) and online games. www.nicolegalland.com

Kate Feiffer is the author of eleven books for children, including Double Pink, Henry The Dog with No Tail and The Problem with The Puddles. Kate is collaborating with MJ Bruder Munafo and the composer/lyricist team of Paul Jacobs and Sarah Durkee to turn her book My Mom is Trying To Ruin My LIfe into a staged musical, which is scheduled to have its world premiere on the Vineyard in 2015. An editor of MV Arts & Ideas magazine, Kate is one of the organizers of this event, so if you have nice things to say about it, tell her; katefeiffer.com.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry extending her work  to  all media at various times. Hunter-Gault joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.  She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, then worked as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times. In 2005, she returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after six years as CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief and correspondent. Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards. Her most recent book is To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the  Civil rights Movement  for young readers.

Meryl Gordon is the author of “The Phantom of Fifth Avenue: The Mysterious Life and Scandalous Death of Heiress Huguette Clark,” and “Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach.” She is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, the New York Times and New York Magazine. She is the director of magazine writing at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. A native of Rochester, N.Y., and a graduate of the University of Michigan, she lives in Manhattan but has been spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard since 1994. She is married to the political journalist Walter Shapiro; merylgordon.com.

Jessica B. Harris is the author or editor of seventeen books, including twelve cookbooks documenting the foods and foodways of the African Diaspora. She has lectured widely in the United States and abroad and has written extensively for scholarly and popular publications. Harris consults internationally, most recently for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on their new cafeteria. Dr. Harris holds degrees from Bryn Mawr College, Queens College, The Université de Nancy, France, and New York University. Dr. Harris is a professor at Queens College/C.U.N.Y. in New York and at work on several new projects; Africooks.com.

Joshua Horwitz is the founder and publisher of Living Planet Books, which specializes in works by thought leaders in science, medicine and psychology. He lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three daughters; warofthewhales.com.

Tony Horwitz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the New Yorker. His books include the New York Times bestsellers Confederates in the Attic, Blue Latitudes, and A Voyage Long and Strange. His latest work is Boom: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers, and the Energy Rush that Could Change America Forever. Tony is a native of Washington D.C. and a graduate of Brown University. He has also been a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Tony lives year-round in West Tisbury with his wife, novelist Geraldine Brooks, and their sons Nathaniel and Bizu; tonyhorwitz.com.

John Hough, Jr. grew up in Falmouth and now lives on Martha’s Vineyard. He is a graduate of Haverford College, a former VISTA volunteer and speech writer. He is the author of six novels, including Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg. His most recent book is Little Bighorn. He teaches creative writing in his living room in West Tisbury; johnhoughjr.com.

David McCullough has been widely acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history,” “a matchless writer.”  He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize, twice winner of the National Book Award, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. His books include: The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, John Adams, 1776, and Truman. Mr. McCullough is presently working on a biography of the Wright brothers.

Richard Michelson’s many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by TheNew York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker. He has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award (2X), the National Jewish Book Award (3X) and is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His most recent book for children, S is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his Oak Bluffs gingerbread cottage, and his next adult collection, More Money than God is forthcoming in the Pitt Poetry Series. Michelson is the current Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA; RichardMichelson.com.

Chef/writer/farmer Susie Middleton is the author of Fresh From the Farm: A Year of Recipes and Stories (The Taunton Press, 2014), as well as the best-selling Fast, Fresh & Green (Chronicle Books 2010) and The Fresh & Green Table (Chronicle Books 2012). The former editor and current editor-at-large for Fine Cooking magazine, Susie writes for many national and regional magazines and blogs regularly about cooking and growing vegetables — as well as life on the farm — at sixburnersue.com. Susie and her partner, Roy Riley, founded Green Island Farm in West Tisbury in 2010.

Tina Miller was born on the Vineyard, studied cooking in France and opened her first restaurant at age 24 in the location where State Road is today. She is also a cookbook author of Vineyard Harvest and has written for Bon Appetit, Edible Vineyard, MV Magazine and Vineyard Style. She lives with her two sons and husband in West Tisbury.

Florence Friedman Minor is former film editor for ABC News. Florence works with her husband, Wendell Minor, creating books that entertain, teach and inspire children. She manages the business aspects of their studio and also  writes books that Wendell illustrates. If You Were a Penguin, her second collaboration with Wendell, was chosen by the state of Pennsylvania for their “One Book” Literacy Program, and If You Were a Panda Bear, celebrating the eight species of bears, was a Summer 2013 Kids’ Indies Next List selection. Florence currently has a book about rabbits under contract, and is working on several other book concepts; minorart.com.

Wendell Minor is nationally known for the cover artwork he has created for books by Pat Conroy, Fannie Flagg and David McCullough, among others. He has illustrated 54 children’s books, collaborating with Jean Craighead George, Charlotte Zolotow, Robert Burleigh, Mary Higgins Clark and astronaut Buzz Aldrin.  He has authored six books of his own. Reviewers are raving over Wendell’s brand new book, Edward Hopper Paints His World,  which is being sold for the first time at this event; minorart.com.

Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks; six focus on Jewish cooking, two highlight Israeli cuisine, and two focus on American cooking. Her most recent book is Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, which made both the New York Times’ and NPR’s lists of the best cookbooks of 2010; joannathan.com.

Peter Oberfest and his wife Barbara became partners in owning and publishing the Martha’s Vineyard Times in 1995. In a remarkable example of magical thinking, they became sole owners of The Times and its web and print publications this past May. Peter also maintained a strategy and organization consulting practice for more than 40 years. Peter was educated in the New York City public school system, the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate Faculty of The New School for Social Research; mvtimes.com.

Lara O’Brien Lara O’Brien was born in Dublin and raised on the wild and wondrous hill of Howth. She now lives on the sister Island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, four children and writing companion Tukka Rex, a great golden, and talking dog. Lara published her first book, a novel for middle grade readers,  Chesca and The Spirit of Grace last  fall; laraobrien.com.

Jan Pogue is the founder and owner of Vineyard Stories, which has published more than 40 Island books since 2005. She has a long history in publishing, writing, and editing. She authored twelve corporate histories, including the story of the founding of the American Cancer Society. Previous to becoming a publisher, she was a journalist at several newspapers, among them USA Today and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she covered topics as disparate as hunting alligators in Louisiana and the real story behind the founding of Atlantic City as a gambling center. She has lived on the Vineyard since 2003 and is proud of the fact that although she lives in Edgartown, she has friends all over the Island; vineyardstories.com.

Mindy Todd is the host and executive producer of The Point on WCAI which examines critical issues for the Cape, Islands and Southcoast. She brings more than 30 years of experience in radio and television to the job. Her career has covered nearly all aspects of broadcasting.  She has been a radio disc jockey, a traffic reporter, a television news anchor and reporter, a program director, talk show host, and even a ski reporter.She has received numerous awards, most recently another National PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) and an Associated Press award. In February 2012 Mindy was named Managing Director of Editorial; capeandislands.org.

Rob Rosenthal is the lead instructor at the Transom Story Workshop, an eight-week intensive for new radio producers in Woods Hole. He’s taught documentary radio for 14 years. Rob’s also a producer of documentaries, features, audio tours, and multi-media. For several years he’s produced a podcast on audio storytelling called HowSound; capeandislands.org.

Alexandra Styron is the author of the 2011 best-selling memoir Reading My Father and All The Finest Girls, a novel. Her work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Vanity Fair. A graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, Alexandra currently teaches memoir writing in the MFA program at Hunter College. She lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York, and has spent every summer of her life on Martha’s Vineyard; alexandrastyron.com.

Catherine Walthers is a food writer and author of four cookbooks, including Raising the Salad Bar, Soups + Sides and her newest, Kale, Glorious Kale, being released this August. She also works as a private chef and offers cooking classes for groups in her West Tisbury “Kitchen Lab.”

Islanders Write is sponsored by The MV Times and MV Arts & Ideas Magazine and co-sponsored by WCAI, The Bunch of Grapes and Edgartown Books.

 

— Illustration by Kate Feiffer

NickiGalland-headshotBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Interested in Nicole’s take on your messy Vineyard-centric ethics or etiquette question? Confidentiality ensured. Send your question to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole:

I am what you call a seasonal resident, which is, in my opinion, a resident without any of the perks. Yet, I buy locally, donate locally, volunteer, recycle, etc. I feel like I’m actually a better “community member” than people who flash their Islander Club card at Cronigs, and everywhere else they can, and get excursion rates on the ferry, yet still whine about how expensive everything is. I find it’s unfair that aside from the gift of just being here, seasonal residents don’t get any additional perks. Don’t you?

Confidentially yours,

Seasonal

Dear Seasonal:

You’re absolutely right. It’s unfair. It’s also unfair that seasonal residents don’t get the unspoken burdens of year-rounders. Feuds, grudges, shared tragedies, dysfunctional town politics that cause neighbors to give each other the cold shoulder for years. We’d really love to hand some of that off to you. If you figure out a way to earn year-rounder status while enjoying your winters elsewhere, please feel free to write again and explain it to us. Have a nice day. Don’t forget your bok choy!

That’s my take.

Nicole

***

Dear Nicole:

How do you negotiate group gatherings where you have to share the space with your ex-husband, your ex-in-laws and your ex-teacher whose class you used to cut and everyone else you’ve spent a lifetime avoiding?

Confidentially yours,

Exed out

Dear Exed out:

If you have successfully avoided them for this long, I am really impressed. But I’m not sure why you want my advice – I have no idea how to avoid them, and you do. I’d love to know your secrets!

Perhaps you mean that you’ve avoided them by being a hermit (or their being hermits), or the rare fluke that somehow small-town life has not caused your paths to cross for years – until suddenly one day (at the Artisan’s Festival or the CSA pickup or a potluck wedding) you find yourself in a perverse version of This Is Your Life.

It’s true; this can happen on the Vineyard. It’s one of the karmic quirks of living here a long time, so don’t rail against it. If you can’t actually walk away from the face-off, then consider it a fantastic opportunity for self-reflection. Literally. Vineyard society can be like a funhouse mirror – it often brings out one’s more distinctive qualities, sometimes to an exaggerated level.

For instance, if you tend toward loner status, it’s pretty easy to avoid humanity completely for nine months out of the year. On the other hand, if you lean toward overcommitting yourself to too many worthy causes or social opportunities, that’s easy to maintain here, too. Hold grudges? C’mon in, we have an aisle just for that. If you’re a name-dropper, you will never have more opportunities to drop names than while living here. You can also mix and match all of these qualities: for instance, I know a loner who has an Arya Stark-like List of all the famous people he wants to kill, which he brings out whenever he crashes fundraisers that his civically-minded overinvolved cousin is hosting. Otherwise, nobody ever sees him. So we think of him as crazy, but we know he isn’t really: it’s just that he lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

All of which is just to say: when you find yourself having to face people from your past whom you’d rather not face, just be chill about it. They’re either equally uncomfortable (which allows for mutual magnanimity) or else probably oblivious to your awkwardness. They’re probably not sitting there thinking, “Ha ha! That person is so uncomfortable with the fact that I’m here! I win!”

If they actually would think that, then, by default, they’re sort of losers anyhow, aren’t they?

That’s my take.

Nicole

— Illustration by Kate Feiffer

Nicole-GallandBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Interested in Nicole’s take on your messy Vineyard-centric ethics or etiquette question? Confidentiality ensured. Send your question to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole,

Should we return the shopping carts to the queue in the grocery store or is a shopping cart valet service built into the high cost of groceries here?

Confidentially yours,

West Tisbury

Dear West Tisbury:

There is no shopping cart valet service. I’m sure that when a grocery-store worker sees an orphaned cart out in the parking lot, they will take the time to go outside and return it to the queue. Or other shoppers might grab it on their way in to the store. That these behaviors reflect well on the people retrieving the carts doesn’t somehow make leaving a cart in the parking lot an okay thing to do.

You’re paying so much for groceries because you live on a “seasonal resort” island with inflated prices that are reflected in, not caused by, the high cost of groceries.

The grocery stores are not gratuitously charging more than they need to and pocketing the extra change. If they were, then I’d encourage you to petition them about providing valet service to justify their prices. (I stand by that – if I’m wrong, and you can prove that grocers are gratuitously overcharging and simply pocketing the extra, I will personally write to them asking them to provide valet service for their shopping carts. But remember, valets expect tips).

When grocers thrive on Martha’s Vineyard, they pay the community back quite generously – for example, by supporting locally-sourced enterprises or making significant donations to local causes and charities. They do not pay the community back with shopping cart valets. It’s all about priorities. If that’s the kind of perk you want for buying organic kombucha, try Los Angeles. On Martha’s Vineyard, the perk is that you get to have a grocery store.

That’s my take.

Nicole

***

Dear Nicole,

It’s March on Martha’s Vineyard and I feel like it’s not safe to leave the house. Are people prickly or what? I feel like I can’t breathe without someone snapping at me to stop. Yesterday, I got yelled at by a friend, a co-worker, and someone I didn’t know in a store. I got honked at twice. Even my dog growled at me. Should I simply ignore the March madness or should I play ball?

Confidentially yours,

Oak Bluffs

Dear Oak Bluffs:

If you’re asking about basketball, I’m not qualified to advise, but I think the real gist of the question is: “Wow, why is everybody so cranky this time of year?”

Before I go further, excuse me, but I have to ask: Is it possible that your pals feel cranky toward you all the time, but this is the only time of year when there aren’t a thousand distractions keeping them from showing it? Or could it be they’re being unpleasant because of their own internal sensors, and your internal sensors just happen to be hypersensitive right no?

March (and early April, for many) is an uncomfortable time for most Vineyarders. We like a life of heightened significance; we prefer to be so overwhelmed by External Stuff that we seldom have time to just sit and wallow with our own personal mess. Generally this island provides exceptional amounts of External Stuff, from summer crowds to ferry schedules to winter storm watches… but this is the time of year when wallowing with our own mess is most likely to happen. The preparations for summer haven’t begun; the glow of the Christmas season has faded; there’s no cordwood to lay in; major planting awaits a few more weeks. Having no External Stuff to get cranky about, we channel our crankiness in more intimate directions, like our friends and neighbors.

As much as we like to say this is the season of renewal and regeneration, the truth is, this is the season of mud and muck – metaphorical as well as actual. Traditionally, Town Meetings took place in April because that was how long it took the roads not only to thaw, but to drain from the thaw. In March, the roads went from frozen to impassable due to the sticky mud. We are all creatures of our environment, and thus, we’re all currently in our own sticky mud – and wow, do we all hate that. If only there were deadlines: logs in need of splitting, a rental property in need an emergency paint job, all the seedlings needing to be planted NOW, charity auctions to order tents for. But no, it’s our last moment of calm, and for all the Vineyard’s bucolic public image, few of us actually do calm very well.

Look on the bright side. Soon the mud will dry up, and there will be lots of External Stuff to be cranky about. In no time at all, you and your friends will start being cranky together about summer people, and stop being cranky at each other.

In the meantime, just try to be nice.

That’s my take.

Nicole

— Illustration by Kate Feiffer

Nicole-GallandBemused readers ask novelist Nicole Galland for her take on navigating the precarious social landscape that comes with living on the Vineyard. Nicole, who grew up in West Tisbury, is known locally as the co-founder of Shakespeare For The Masses at the Vineyard Playhouse. Her combined knowledge of both this island and the world’s greatest melodramas compels her to help prevent unnecessary tragedy wherever possible. Interested in Nicole’s take on your messy Vineyard-centric ethics or etiquette question? Confidentiality ensured. Send your question to OnIsland@mvtimes.com

Dear Nicole,

A close friend recommended my husband for a job at a house site that she was working on. When he got the job, we all went out to dinner and celebrated — burger night, State Road — delicious. We paid. But now our friend is undermining my husband every opportunity she gets. I desperately want to say something to her, but my husband asked me not to, so I won’t. I am fuming. In my fury I sent my soon-to-be-former friend an email telling her we are short of cash and would she mind paying us back for her burger. Was that so wrong?

Confidentially yours,

Edgartown

Dear Edgartown:

Yes, that was so wrong. So very wrong.

When you treat someone to dinner, you are displaying generosity not only from the wallet, but from the heart. (In this particular case, you are also displaying gratitude, since she helped your husband get the job.) The subtext of your email wasn’t just: “We need to take back our money” but also, “We need to take back our kindness.” Even if you are very upset at this woman — even if it’s justified — why would you want your retribution to consist of showing her you’re just as unkind as she is? Is the “win” here to be the unkindest person? Well, the race isn’t over yet, but you’re definitely gaining on her. Does that make you feel better?

Except, hang on: her unkindness (undermining your husband) has real-world impact, while your unkindness, at worse, sets her back about 15 bucks. If you really need to be unkind to her, at least be savvy and get more bang out of your nastiness buck. Watch House of Cards if you need some inspiration. Or go to a selectmen’s meeting.

But let’s backtrack, because there are so many moving parts to this scenario before we even get to your unfortunate email.

First, how exactly is she “undermining” your husband? Is she talking trash about him to colleagues? Physically sabotaging his work? Any idea what her motivation is for doing so? Why doesn’t your husband want you to confront her about it? And why are you “obeying” him even though the stress of doing so is clearly causing you to lose all sense of perspective?

Regardless of the answer to any of those questions, what you did is most unfortunate. You don’t ask someone to repay you for a meal that you treated them to, period. If that $15 is actually going to make or break you, then ask her (or someone else) for a loan of $15, but don’t make it about the burger!

That’s my take.

Nicole

***

Dear Nicole,

Is trespassing really trespassing when the seasonal resident is away?

Confidentially Yours,

West Tisbury

Dear West Tisbury:

Well, technically and literally, yes, it’s still trespassing, but the sensibilities of trespassing change. (I’m sure I’ve just enraged several readers, but I’m in this deep already, so I’ll keep going.)

I assume you are talking about trespassing in uncultivated nature and not somebody’s vegetable garden or, God forbid, house. That’s an important distinction. Legally it’s not an important distinction, but on a practical level, here on Martha’s Vineyard in the way-off-season, it’s an important distinction. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

So with that in mind: It is never okay to violate somebody else’s privacy. Trespassing in somebody’s living area — even external spaces, like a yard or garden — shows complete disrespect for their private space. Would you like somebody sunning themselves in your driveway when you’re at work?

Please notice that I didn’t say “shows complete disrespect for their private property.” I’m talking about people, not their property. People have feelings of violation. Trees and stone walls aren’t so sensitive. If your presence in a place makes you a happier person while doing no harm to that place, or to its absent owner, who but a petty tyrant would take issue with that?

When I was a kid, my best friend and I routinely romped and had spring picnics within the boundaries of Seven Gates farm, blithely disregarding the “No Trespassing” signs. We also romped around in other wooded and overgrown areas that were owned by others — we had no idea who. Nobody ever saw us, we never did any damage, we never left any trash. I see nothing wrong with what we did. The purpose of a no-trespassing law is to protect the owners and their property; no harm was done or intended to either.

By coincidence, thirty-five years later, newer friends of mine have bought property in Seven Gates and built their house in almost precisely the same spot where the childhood friend and I used to have our spring picnics. It is no longer uncultivated wilderness. They are year-round residents, but even if they weren’t, I’d never dream of going near that spot now without an invitation from them. To do otherwise would be to violate their space — and that is harmful. Even if I intended no harm to them, it is disrespectful, and disrespect is a harmful thing.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider romping in certain other parts of Seven Gates in the off-season — areas where I would encounter nobody, and leave no evidence of my presence. The trees and lichen-covered stone walls would welcome me as they always have. As I said above: who but a petty tyrant would object to that?

That’s my take.

Nicole