CD Wright Women Writers Conference

The inaugural CD Wright Women Writers Conference at University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR on November 2 and 3 was a smashing success. 

Below, Et Alia's Erin Wood visits ESSE Purse Museum in Little Rock's SoMa District on Friday with Emily Shearer of Minerva Rising Press. The two became friends at AWP 2017 in D.C. in February. 

Erin participated in an engaging writing workshop at ESSE along with a dozen other women, who grew to know one another and each other's writing through the contents of our purses. 

Tayari Jones was Friday's keynote speaker, who captivated the audience with a reading from her forthcoming novel, An American Marriage

Below, Eliza Borne, senior editor of The Oxford American Magazine, speaks on "The Topography of Contemporary Publishing," and Poet/Memoirist Jo McDougall speaks as part of the panel "A Call to White Women: Because the Warp is Everywhere."

During the conference, McDougall joined Erin's Women Makers of Arkansas project. 

Below, Erin Wo-mans the Et Alia booth at left, and gets a shot with friends Emily Shearer and Kim Brown at Minerva Rising at right. 

THV 11 This Morning Hosts Grace Vest + Rocky and Judy Ostroski

This morning, THV 11 hosted HOME SWEET HOME: Arkansas Rescue Dogs & Their Stories author Grace Vest, and Judy and Rocky Ostroski. Rocky was rescued from an attic following Hurricane Katrina by Judy’s husband Steve, who was in the National Guard and deployed to New Orleans when he found Rocky. Our small, local press appreciates THV 11 for the opportunity to share incredible rescue stories like Rocky’s, and to highlight Grace’s project to draw attention to rescue dogs needing homes across Arkansas.

PHILIP MARTIN: "A dog is something like an angel . . ."

In his column yesterday, Philip Martin wrote of dogs:

"I know how dear and fine these creatures are, and how vulnerable. While anthropomorphising is incorrect, dogs do have a psychology. They have motives and emotional insight and are capable of remorse and empathy. They are not like us. For all I know a dog's brain may be a blameless swamp of light and shadow, but they possess more than the suggestion of a soul. A dog is something like an angel, a being composed largely of love, designed to help us cope with this rough life."

Read the rest of his piece, sharing some of the stories from Home Sweet Home: Arkansas Rescue Dogs & Their Stories, at Arkansas Online

We are proud to have Philip Martin in our family of Et Alia authors. In his collection of poems, songs, and journalism, The President Next Door, you'll discover more about his life with dogs as he shares contemplations about a beloved dog's seizures, the plight of animals during Hurricane Katrina, and the deep and abiding joys of canine companionship. 

Women Makers of Arkansas/Women Makers of the South Nominations OPEN!

Women make Arkansas. Women make the South. We want to show how.

Nominations are officially open for two related book projects until February 15, 2018. Nominate yourself or your favorite food producers, distillers, artists, photographers, jewelers, fashion designers, authors, craftswomen, and other creatives by emailing womenmakersofarkansas at gmail.com. 25–40 makers will be selected for each book project. Books will be edited by Erin Wood and published by Et Alia Press in Fall 2018 and/or Spring 2019.

In your email, please include:

  • Subject line:  
    • Women Makers of Arkansas Nomination; or
    • Women Makers of the South Nomination
      • Note that Arkansas nominees will automatically be considered for South. The subject line is simply for organizational purposes.
  • Brief Nominee Biography (175 words or fewer)
  • Brief Description of Nominee’s Art, Craft, Product, etc.
  • Contact Information. If nominating someone other than yourself, please note whether they are aware of your nomination and/or whether you are making them aware. If selected, we'll need to do follow up interviews and procure images, so want to make sure nominees are willing participants. 
  • Website (if available, though not required)
  • Any Press or Publicity Links, or other brief pertinent information you think we should know.

Depending on the number of submissions, the nomination date may close earlier, so act quickly to ensure that you or your nominee(s) are included for consideration. Please use a separate email for each nomination. Each selected maker will receive a gratis copy of the book in which she is featured, and will have the opportunity to purchase additional copies at a discount. 

We can’t wait to learn how you or your nominee(s) shape Arkansas and the South through craft!

Join us at Hillcrest HarvestFest this Saturday!

Join us in Little Rock this weekend for Hillcrest HarvestFest!

Come to our Et Alia booth and:

  • Meet The Mud & The Lotus: A Guide and Workbook for Students of Yoga author Courtney Denise Butler. Courtney can sign your book and talk to you about all things yoga, yoga business, and writing.  
  • Purchase your just-released copies of Home Sweet Home: Arkansas Rescue Dogs & Their Stories, with $1 from every book sold to be donated to Rock City Rescue. You'll want to stock up early on this book that is sure to be a favorite of the holiday season. 
  • Get special deals on our books to be revealed the day of HarvestFest. 
  • Learn about submitting to our Neglected Histories of Arkansas Contest, judged by poet and professor of creative writing HK Hummel and Arkansas Arts Center Executive Director Dr. Todd Herman. 
  • Meet members of our team and learn more about our Little Rock-local small press for big voices. 
  • Get your signed copy of Scars: An Anthology edited by Erin Wood. 
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Mud & Lotus Author Offers Advice on Choosing Yoga School

Considering getting your yoga teaching credentials but not sure which yoga school would be best for you, how much to spend, or whether you even need to attend school at all (versus a yoga workshop or retreat)? There are many factors to consider and author of The Mud & The Lotus: A Guide and Workbook from Students of Yoga, Courtney Denise Butler, offers guidance in this video. 

What yoga school is right for you? Advice from veteran yogini, Courtney Denise Butler. 

Congratulations to Scars: An Anthology Contributor Maurice Carlos Ruffin!

Congratulations to Maurice Carlos Ruffin for his notables in both Best American Short Stories 2017 and Best American Essays 2017! Maurice's essay, "The Last Mark of Boyhood" appears in SCARS: An Anthology.

You can read Ruffin's essay, "Fine Dining," which appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Fall. Ruffin's story "The Children of New Orleans" appeared in AGNI, no. 83.

What a great year, Maurice, reflecting many years of hard work before it! 

Interview with Courtney Denise Butler: PART I

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Enjoy PART 1 of a two-part interview with The Mud & The Lotus: A Workbook and Guide for Students of Yoga author Courtney Denise Butler

 


What is your favorite pose? 

I can't say that I have a favorite simply because I look at postures as healing and balancing for whatever is going on in my life. Therefore, postures are more prescriptive in nature, and I appreciate the balancing power in all of them. 

What is your favorite place to meditate? 

Wherever I am. At home, I have a bonus room with a meditation cushion, and in the nearby window I have some meaningful items that make me feel peaceful. I often sit facing this window with its lovely view and meditate there with my little tokens of love and beauty to focus my energy and attention on all that is beautiful in the world. It’s so easy to be taken with all that is painful in this world, it's important to have a place to go to that consciously reminds us of love. 

Would you share a mantra that soothes you? 

MAy all beings be happy and free.jpg

What sorts of challenges did you encounter in writing The Mud & The Lotus? 

I am very self-disciplined and motivated when I feel passionate, so motivation to write came easily. Being interrupted was a challenge because I had four teenagers living at home when I wrote the book, and four animals in the house. Another challenge was living on my savings and working only part time. I saved for a year to be able to work part time in order to have time to write the book, then I scheduled days and blocks of time simply for writing. In totality, the book took two and a half years from beginning to completion. 

Once it was complete, my challenge was reading and rereading it over and over again, always wanting to make changes. I suffer from a learning disability that causes me not to see mistakes very easily—my mind reads the word as I think it is on the page and not as it may actually be. I’ve never been diagnosed, but others in my immediate family have dyslexia and dyspraxia and I’ve experienced symptoms that align with those diagnoses. It helps to put text in various fonts and color backgrounds, and to print out the work several times so I catch things. I also am fortunate to have had wonderful proof readers and a great editor to assist me with these challenges. 

Especially if you have a learning disability, but really no matter what, it’s scary to put yourself out there in print, online, and in person. I try to remember that it’s okay (and human!) to make mistakes. For every person that may find something to criticize, it is important to remember there are many more that we are hopefully helping—even (maybe especially?) by sharing our flaws and admitting our vulnerabilities.

What are the parts or pages of your book that you look at and think, "Heck yeah!" 

I am so grateful for the cover art. It makes me happy every time I see it. When I read the blurbs by people who mean so much to me it makes my heart so full that people have been so benevolent to me and my work.  Really the fact that this book was a team effort with proof readers, friends who helped, the editor and publisher, the graphic designer, the photographer. The hand-drawn illustrations make it really special . . . it was my concept, but the team that worked with me to bring the concept to completion. Well that makes my heart overflow with gratitude because they took my ideas and made them even better. 

There are many I could give, but a specific example is the way the layout designer, Amy Ashford, and editor, Erin Wood, took my cautionary notes, personal stories, and teaching tips, and organized them, integrating them into the layout so that they have their own graphics and are easily identifiable throughout. I hope these sorts of details will make the text a really useful resource for readers. 

You make a lot of yoga being a lifestyle (versus a workout or a religion), and about it being for everyone. What do you mean?

The word yoga means to "yoke" or "bind" together. It can mean joining the mind to the body through practice (breathing, asana, meditation, or our actions in the world), and/or joining yourself with nature or the God of your understanding, and being connected to the greater world beyond our own little world. 

Doing postures (“asana”) is simply one way of making this connection. Postures can help to balance the body; However, postures are not the only way. When you conserve resources you are doing yoga, when you pray for others you are doing yoga, when you help someone without expecting anything in return that is also yoga. Living yoga as a lifestyle likely means your days are filled with your actions and behaviors aligning with the principals of connecting to your inner self, the God of your understanding, or to something bigger than yourself, and connecting your actions to your love for others. It also means when the “little you” takes over—the Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, Greedy you—that humanness we all share provides us with the tools to get back on track. When we become conscious about these natural human tendencies, we can recognize them for what they are and return to a balanced state. Yoga provides us with countless possibilities in many forms (breathing exercises, postures, meditation, service work, and on and on) for balancing out the inevitable imbalances in our lives.  

 

Stay tuned for PART 2 of this interview with Courtney Denise Butler, in which we’ll talk about perceptions of her as a yoga practitioner in her small hometown decades before yoga became a household word, what all those crazy letters after her name mean, and what it was like to be among a handful of yoga therapists worldwide to do beta testing for the new standards of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.