Interview with Noelle Myers of the Northern Ink Writers’ Group of Grand Forks, North Dakota

I sat down with Noelle Myers, the moderator of the Northern Ink Writers’ Group, which meets every two weeks in the Grand Forks Public Library in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The Red River, which flows through Grand Forks north to the Hudson Bay, catastrophically flooded the city in 1997. The Grand Forks Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of the flood.
We talked about Northern Ink’s Life in the North anthology; fiction genres; literary charities; writers’ conferences; constructive criticism; narrative construction; creating a new genre; geological and economical fiction; the “new adult” genre; “heat” or sex in fiction; rules for publishing and “pirate rules”; taboo subjects in fiction; the difference between romance fiction and women’s fiction or literary fiction; science fiction and Hugo Gernsback; sub-genres; anthologies; the purpose of life; being a better writer; the UND and NDSU sports rivalry; sports, arts, literature, and other frivolity; beauty; collegiate sports funding; online writing groups and writing sprints; dead-tree books and Nooks; antique children’s books; book collecting; the Grand Forks Flood of 1997; antique stores; the library swap shelf; support and encouragement; the Grand Forks Herald and its Pulitzer; and writers’ characters.
“There’s like 20 different -punks.”
-The Voice before the Void

Northern Ink
The Laughing Girls Poetry Reading Series and The Laughing Girls on Facebook
Teegan Loy at Dreamspinner Press
Written? Kitten!
WriteOrDie.com
PaperbackSwap.com

Interview with Noelle Myers of the Northern Ink Writers’ Group of Grand Forks, North Dakota

The Voice before the Void

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse by Charles Eastman

Battle of the Little Bighorn Anniversary:
June 25 is the anniversary of the great victory. As of 2016, it’s been only 140 years.
From one of his popular books, here presented are dramatic biographies of three men by the Dakota writer Ohiyesa, more widely known as Charles Eastman.
-The Voice before the Void

3 Lakota Heroes: Red Cloud, Gall, and Crazy Horse

from Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains

Charles Eastman

“Red Cloud”

The Sioux were now entering upon the most stormy period of their history. The old things were fast giving place to new. The young men, for the first time engaging in serious and destructive warfare with the neighboring tribes, armed with the deadly weapons furnished by the white man, began to realize that they must soon enter upon a desperate struggle for their ancestral hunting grounds. The old men had been innocently cultivating the friendship of the stranger, saying among themselves, “Surely there is land enough for all!”

1865-1880 - Sioux - Red Bear, Young Man Afraid of his Horses, Good Voice, Ring Thunder, Iron Crow, White Tail, Spotted Tail, Yellow Bear, Red Cloud, Big Road, Little Wound, Black CrowRed Cloud was a modest and little-known man of about twenty-eight years when General [William S.] Harney called all the western bands of Sioux together at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, for the purpose of securing an agreement and right of way through their territory. The Ogallalas held aloof from this proposal, but Bear Bull, an Ogallala chief, after having been plied with whisky, undertook to dictate submission to the rest of the clan. Enraged by failure, he fired upon a group of his own tribesmen, and Red Cloud’s father and brother fell dead. According to Indian custom, it fell to him to avenge the deed. Calmly, without uttering a word, he faced old Bear Bull and his son, who attempted to defend his father, and shot them both. Continue reading

“Under Fire (Breakfast)” by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

World War I:
Influential early poetry of the war.
-The Voice before the Void

“Under Fire”

(later retitled “Breakfast”)

Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

We eat our breakfast lying on our backs,
Because the shells were screeching overhead.
I bet a rasher to a loaf of bread
That Hull United would beat Halifax
When Jimmy Stainthorpe played full-back instead Continue reading

“Fencing” by The Voice before the Void

“Fencing”

The Voice before the Void

Brandishing practice swords
And filing little foils for use
In fanaticism
Or farcicals
Practice a pursuit of perfection
And forget failures
For swordpoints sting, waver,
Thrust
And piles of prison release papers
File into rust cabinets
Bend, lunge,
Thrust
And parry
Swords are for beheading
Crimes for forgetting
Sport is state-sanctioned
Fun is funded
Sports halls sprout
Ubiquitously
Players bow, furrow
Ceremoniously
Games begin
Surreptitiously
One wrong move
And you blow out your knee
One false foot
And you lose your head

“Armistice Day” by Roselle Mercier Montgomery

Armistice Day Special:
Until war is abolished.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Armistice Day”

Roselle Mercier Montgomery

I think I hear them stirring there, today,
Who have lain still
So long, so long, beside the Aisne and Loire,
On Verdun hill.

I think I hear them whispering, today,
The young, the brave,
The gallant and the gay–unmurmuring long,
There in the grave. Continue reading

“A Piece of Steak” by Jack London

Masterfully leveraging one visceral motif through a story of high suspense, London imparts a beautiful meditation upon a great and awful truth.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“A Piece of Steak”

Jack London

With the last morsel of bread Tom King wiped his plate clean of the last particle of flour gravy and chewed the resulting mouthful in a slow and meditative way. When he arose from the table, he was oppressed by the feeling that he was distinctly hungry. Yet he alone had eaten. The two children in the other room had been sent early to bed in order that in sleep they might forget they had gone supperless. His wife had touched nothing, and had sat silently and watched him with solicitous eyes. She was a thin, worn woman of the working-class, though signs of an earlier prettiness were not wanting in her face. The flour for the gravy she had borrowed from the neighbour across the hall. The last two ha’pennies had gone to buy the bread.

He sat down by the window on a rickety chair that protested under his weight, and quite mechanically he put his pipe in his mouth and dipped into the side pocket of his coat. The absence of any tobacco made him aware of his action, and, with a scowl for his forgetfulness, he put the pipe away. His movements were slow, almost hulking, as though he were burdened by the heavy weight of his muscles. He was a solid-bodied, stolid-looking man, and his appearance did not suffer from being overprepossessing. His rough clothes were old and slouchy. The uppers of his shoes were too weak to carry the heavy re-soling that was itself of no recent date. And his cotton shirt, a cheap, two shilling affair, showed a frayed collar and ineradicable paint stains.

But it was Tom King’s face that advertised him unmistakably for what he was. It was the face of a Continue reading

“Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Thayer

Baseball Season Special:
As quintessential a piece of American literature as Moby-Dick, and as dark in its humor and ethos: arrogance leads to downfall, and life is so reliably disappointing as to be comedy.
⁓The Voice before the Void

“Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic, Sung in the Year 1888”

Ernest Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon of the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that–
We’d put even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was a lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat. Continue reading