Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fall Into the Baltimore Book Festival with the MWA

Howdy Maryland Writers! It’s that time, again. I can already smell all those books, crisp, yet stale, piled and stacked in the shadow of the Washington Monument. The Baltimore Book Festival is almost upon us, and we here at the Baltimore Chapter have ways for you to get involved.

First and foremost, we need volunteers to man the MWA booth/tent throughout the weekend. If you do volunteer, you are welcome to bring your own publications to sell, while you’re there. Please understand that if you bring books to sell, you will be responsible for all transactions. If you are interested in volunteering, please email our Secretary, Neal Patterson (, with your availability. He will put together a schedule, which we will make public well before BBF weekend (hopefully). Unless you request otherwise, you will be scheduled for a two-hour slot.

Now, what many have been waiting for: your chance to read at the Baltimore Book Festival. We will be closing out the festival on Sunday, September 30 at 5:30pm on the City Lit Stage with our presentation of:

Me, Myself & I: The Art of the Monologue

Everyone enjoys a good rant, whether insightful, pithy, humorous, or just irresistibly self-aggrandizing. Members of the Maryland Writers’ Association (MWA) offers a panoply of the best the ego has to offer, from magnificent monologues to spectacular speeches to salacious snapshots culled straight out of celebrity memoirs. Join MWA members as they offer an entertaining spin on first person, singular.

We will be holding auditions at our chapter meeting on Monday, September 24th at Ukazoo in Towson. If you’re interested in participating, please bring an entertaining monologue to read. The monologue can be culled from any literary source you choose. We only ask that you keep it to six minutes or less to give as many people the chance to audition as possible. Sign up will begin at 6:30pm, and the meeting will begin promptly at 7:00pm. We recommend you arrive early, as we will have to stop at 8:30pm.

The Board will then choose who will grace the stage at the festival. A few rules to keep in mind.

  • While you do not have to be an MWA member to read at the audition, this is an MWA event. If you are chosen to read, it is expected that you will become a member by the time of the reading.
  • The Board reserves the right to have participants alter their readings for time, content, or any other reason deemed necessary.
  • The six-minute rule for auditions will be strictly enforced. Your audition will be timed, and if the buzzer goes off, you’ll be asked to step aside for the next reader. Going over your time, however, will not disqualify you from participation.
  • Auditions will end at 8:30pm. Ukazoo asks that we wrap up by 8:45pm, and we need time to inform the winners. Arrive early to best guarantee a chance to audition.

Well, that’s all, for now. Be sure to “follow” our blog to receive the latest news, as soon as it becomes available. We look forward to seeing you in a few weeks, and to the creative twists you will all bring to the art of the monologue. Until then, happy writing.


A-maze-ing Night

A funny thing happened on the way to last night’s chapter meeting. Really. Shirley—your resident VeeP & whirly, curly poetry goddess—and I dropped into Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up some Munchkins for the meeting. I figured folx might enjoy something to snack on while sipping their coffee. Okay, wanted something to snack on while I sipped my coffee. Funny thing was, they were out of Munchkins.

Now, up to this point, Shirley & I were running fine on time. But how does a Dunkin’ Donuts not have donut holes? I mean, all the other crap they carry, nowadays—artisan this, gourmet that—you think they could at least stick to their original mission and make sure they have DONUTS. They had full sized donuts, sure, but those tiny, delicious pieces of negative space work easier for larger groups. Besides, I don’t want any of the ladies who grace our meetings to accuse me of ruining their lovely figures.

The guys behind the counter offered us regular donuts, which we declined for the above stated reasons, and possibly some artisan this and gourmet that. I really couldn’t tell you because their English was limited to the words donuts, munchkinsartisan, & gourmet. Ultimately, we were assured that if we returned at 3:00AM, Munchkins would be made available to us. Apparently, our options were to find a bar where we could party with Towson students until closing, then amble our way toward the neon Double D, or go elsewhere. As tempting as partying with college co-eds sounded, Shirl & I opted for the latter.

Of course, now time was getting slim. Time had gotten out of hand at the last meeting where our guests, fresh off a plane from the West Coast that morning, were a bit delayed. I was forced to stall, which led to a slightly embarrassing, but utterly hilarious, discussion about zombie erotica (to benefit charity, no less!). We didn’t want another instance of waiting leading to chaos, as fun as that can be. We decided on Trader Joe’s. I remembered they sell these lovely brownie bites sprinkled with sea salt. Perfect.

We pulled into the Towsontown Center garage near the Macy’s and cut that first right, which leads directly to Trader Joe’s. We ran in, first aisle, there they are plus some donut holes, register, done. Time to spare.

The easiest way to get to where you came from is to leave the same way, right? Not in Towsontown. On the way out, the path veered us into the maze that is the Towson Town Center garage complex. It took us through loops and spirals before, precious minutes later, finally dumping us back onto Dulaney Valley Road. Our plans to arrive by 6:30 had been thwarted by negligent donut artistes, communication breakdowns, and a vortex of white concrete that sucked us in and nearly refused to spit us back out. I think next time I’ll just bake cookies. After all, cookies sound funnier than Munchkins, with more “K” sounds in the word. Although, I think “eating a Munchkin” sounds funnier than “eating a cookie.”

Maybe you had to be there…

Big thanks to everyone who made it to our monthly gathering. Thanks to Gerald Levin for his informative & entertaining presentation on humor and how to incorporate it into our writing. Hopefully, he inspired you all to find your inner Woody Allen—the humor, not the creepy dating your own daughter thing.

Anyhow, it was great to see such a big crowd. New faces. Not so new faces. Faces we haven’t seen in a while. If attendance keeps growing, we may have to find a bigger venue. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, would it. We’ll make sure we’re close to decent, yet inexpensive, little pastries and far from devious labyrinths that make you feel like your soul is being sucked out.

Stay tuned, right here, for information on volunteering at the MWA tent & auditions for YOUR CHANCE to read at the Baltimore Book Festival. Much Love—PREZ

August Meeting

We’re pleased to announce that Gerald Levin will be our speaker at our August chapter meeting. Just in time to get serious about returning to work and school, Gerald will offer a presentation on using humor in your writing on Monday, August 27, 2012 at 7:00PM at Ukazoo Books in Towson, MD. 

Gerald’s presentation will cover:

§  How writers from different eras have used humor.

§  What some prominent writers have said about writing humor.

§  10 techniques for writing humor.

§  Snippets of humorous pieces by notable writers.

§  Sources that can kick-start your humor writing.

Also, Gerald will offer suggestions on how to select a piece for our September chapter meeting for those who want to audition to represent the MWA at the Baltimore Book Festival.

Gerald H. Levin prefers to inject humor — often bits of quirkiness — into his short stories. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Baltimore. By day, he writes for the Maryland Office of Tourism.