Twin Cities Book Festival – Where the “right words” rule

The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning. ~~ Mark Twain

The Great Minnesota Get-Together 2017 is history, and yet the Fairgrounds will come alive October 13-14 as bibliophiles gather from far and wide to celebrate “the right word.”  It’s the annual Twin Cities Book Festival.   (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival/

Sponsored by Rain Taxi, the free and open tribute to the book is the call for “word people” to meet and learn from bibliophiles who write, publish, read, edit, sell, and otherwise shape and share the “right words.”  It’s a time to refresh the mind and soothe the soul of the faithful who cling to the idea that the right words not only read well but speak truth.

The agenda for TC’s Book Festival is robust, overflowing with exhibits, speakers, opportunities to meet and greet – the Festival calls for serious preparation!  If, perchance, you can’t attend, the website itself offers a great read and reminder of the many faces of the state’s book world!  The online guide to the Festival includes authors of every genre, publishers, booksellers (new and used) along with myriad options, including but not limited to food vendors — Be sure to save time to experience the Poetry Bus! (http://www.raintaxi.com/twin-cities-book-festival-poetry-bus/)

 

 

 

 

 

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Community newspapers serve and create relationships

National Newspaper Week (October 1-7. 2017) is far too little time to learn and think about the robust range of newspapers on which we daily depend but occasionally take for granted.  To characterize the genre characterized as “community newspapers” is an overwhelming task.  In general community newspapers are either targeted to a specific geographic area or to a community of interest.

A good way to get a sense of the character and scope of Minnesota’s community newspapers is to dip into the Minnesota Newspaper Association listing for  “special interest newspapers: http://mnnews.com/index.php/special-interest-newspapers/   If you don’t find what you’re looking for, try this listing: http://www.usnpl.com/mnnews.php   You will no doubt  be surprised at the diversity of newspapers and of the communities they inform, entertain and to whom they give voice.

Community newspapers meet the interests of more than 150,000 of us who read one or more community newspapers on a regular basis.  We read to get a feel for the opinions of our neighbors or members of a shared interest group, to follow our elected officials, to understand a shared history, to shop for bargains, to find out what’s playing at the local theater, musical venue or athletic facility or just to follow the garage sales.

Community newspapers have played a major role in the nation’s editorial history.  It all began on September 25, 1690, when Benjamin Harris published Publick Occurrences: Both Foreign and Domestic.  And therein lies a short history with heavy free press implications: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Harrison

The history of what we now characterize as “community newspapers” reflects the nation’s growth and diversity – social, religious, geographic, and political.   Though today’s community newspapers may be digital rather than paper, the content remains targeted to a special readership. And many community newspapers can still be found at the newsstand, primed to be read on the bus or by the millions of Americans who prefer print or lack access to broadband….

Bottom line, as long as our right to a free press, our commitment to independent thinking, our inclination to connect with like-minded folk, and our freedom vote remain unfettered we celebrate the powerful role that community newspapers play in our communities and in our democracy.

 The bigger the information media, the less courage and freedom they allow. Bigness means weakness – Eric Sevareid, The Press and the People

 ADDENDA –   

 

 

 

 

Minnesotans honor Indigenous People’s Day

Although we are in different boats you in your boat and we in our canoe we share the same river of life. Oren Lyons

The second Monday in October presents a dilemma for some Americans.  In some states and cities  — and with advertises – the day continues to be commemorated as Columbus Day, a federal holiday.  For Minnesotans,  Monday, October 9, 2017, is officially commemorated as  Indigenous People’s Day.   The historic designation resulted from protracted deliberations about the inconsistency of celebrations of Columbus Day.  St Paul and Minneapolis were early adopters of the change; eventually the State of Minnesota declared that the second Monday in October officially honors the heritage of the indigenous people whose lives and wisdom are imbedded in the culture of the state.

To learn more about the evolving day of recognition, Wikipedia offers further clarification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_Peoples%27_Day.  MPR offers a recap of the decision here: . http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/04/27/307445328/minneapolis-renames-columbus-day-as-indigenous-peoples-day

Since the first celebration of Indigenous People’s Day communities throughout the state have sponsored a variety of commemorative events that have helped Minnesotans to learn about our heritage and to appreciate the refocus of the feast.   Some sample local initiatives:

For those of us who continue to struggle with our knowledge of the state’s history, the State of Minnesota Indian Affairs Council helps to fill the gap with this informative and readily accessible background piece: “Overview of Indian Tribes in Minnesota.” https://mn.gov/indianaffairs/tribes.html

In recent months, the Minnesota History Center has hosted a major program and exhibit that shares the talents and artistic work of American Indian artists who have been in residence at MHC for several months.  The exhibit is currently open at the History Center. http://www.minnesotahistorycenter.org/exhibits/renewing-what-they-gave-us

Also from the vast resources of the Minnesota History Center staff members have suggested a few books of particular relevance to Minnesotans’ commemoration of Indigenous People’s Day:

Towns, cities and community throughout the state will join in a host of programs and activities on Indigenous People’s Day 2017.  Some examples of the many planned activities:

You cannot destroy one who has dreamed a dream like mine. (Gaa wiin daa-aangoshkigaazo)   

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ADDENDUM:  http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/10/06/christopher-columbus-no-monuments-murderers

August 9 – The United National also sponsors the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People – Learn more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_the_World%27s_Indigenous_Peoples

November 4 – Native American Family Day at the Minnesota History Center – Noon-4:00.  Free admission, featured speakers and artists from local Native American community.  “Renewing What They Gave Us” exhibit of original beadwork, birth bark and textile pieces by American artists from the Upper Midwest.

 

 

Minnesota Newspaper Museum shares story of a proud legacy

Journalism is what we need to make democracy work. Walter Cronkite

One way to commemorate National Newspaper Week 2017 is to stress about the decline of print, the intrusion of corporate interests, robots, the proliferation of alternative facts and the perils of weaponized information.

Another way is to go back to the roots, to explore the ways in which freedom of the press lives in the minds and hearts of Americans.  Belief in the right and power of the press is embedded in the Constitution.

The history of the role of the press begins with the ways in which, since the founding of the nation, the news has been shaped and shared by newspapers.  Journalists gathered and wrote the news – newspapers delivered it.  At times this was, and remains, the work of one devoted individual or family.

To understand the history of the ways in which newspapers functioned in earlier times, there is no better place to learn than at the Minnesota Newspaper Museum at the Minnesota State Fair.  Now in its 30th year, the Museum, now located at 1416 Cosgrove Street (street level of the 4-H Building) is a beehive of letterpress equipment operated by volunteers knowledgeable and eager to share digital age visitors with the basics of setting the type that tells the story.

Back in the day, the Minnesota Newspaper Museum received Legacy Grant support to create a videotape record of the Museum, then in a different site on the Fairgrounds. It’s a bit dated, with an emphasis on production, the video tells the story of the commitment to a free press and the role of every link along the information chain that continues to link publishers to readers. http://legacy.mnhs.org/projects/904

Since 1987 the Minnesota Newspaper Museum, sponsored by the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation and staffed by a host of volunteers and Friends, has been one my favorite and most frequently visited exhibits at the Minnesota State Fair.  Several years ago I delved a bit into the history of the Museum, reflected in a post that tells more history, including the story of The Maynard News, a State Fair special edition (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/maynard-mn/)

Years later I continue to marvel at the power that lies behind those cumbersome machines and in the hands of those press operators. The posters and flyers that proliferate at the exhibit tell the backstory of the journalists who pursued and shared the facts because they believed that words matter and that the strength of the democracy is the responsibility of the informed electorate who receive and act on the print words conveyed by the newspaper.

The Minnesota Newspaper Museum at 30 makes a powerful statement and a chance for Fair visitors to learn and think about the rich legacy of the press in Minnesota.  Here’s the official Fair guide description of the 2017 Newspaper Museum

A newspaper living-history exhibit with demonstrations of the Linotype and Miehle printing press. See how type is set for the newspaper “The Maynard News.” The lead to set type is heated to 550 degrees and creates one “line-of-type” at a time. This Miehle Printing Press prints newspaper pages, one side of one sheet with each revolution. To print the other side of the page, the operator must turn the pages over and print on the back side of each sheet. Demonstrations begin at 10 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Operated by the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation.

Location: State Fair Buildings -> 4-H Building
Date: Sun, Aug 27
Time: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm 
On the map: View on the State Fair Map

And here’s how Facebook captured the response of Fair goers who followed those clear directions at this year’s Great Minnesota Get-together. https://www.facebook.com/TheMaynardNews/ It goes without saying that every visitor learned about letter press publishing – and about the legacy of a free press is Minnesota.

Journalism can never be silent: That is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault. It must speak, and speak immediately, while the echoes of wonder, the claims of triumph and the signs of horror are still in the air.— Henry Anatole Grunwal

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” *

A recent issue of Access Press overflows with both information and reminders.  Front page information is that Stuart Holland who has managed the Minnesota Radio Talking Book Network since 1986 is retiring.  His retirement prompted the newspaper to published a great review of the RTB history written by Jan Willms.  It’s a good read and a good reminder.  http://www.accesspress.org/blog/2017/09/08/retirement-awaits-new-chapter-for-radio-talking-books-holland/

But don’t stop there, subscribe to Access Press online or pick up a free copy at a convenient newspaper rack.  AP is a timely and indispensable source of information about what’s happening in the disabilities community – a tool for anyone who has a disability or who is in a position to share the news with friends, family, patrons, the faith, academic or other community.  So many resources, so many opportunities to share the word!  Much more about the mission, content and programs of Access Press here: (http://www.accesspress.org)

“Feast” is the theme of Interact Visual Artists’  exhibit (https://interactcenter.org/artists/visual-arts/) open through October 8 at Birchwood Café in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. (http://birchwoodcafe.com)  The exhibit explores the subject of food and the relations and perceptions of food and art.  Individual artists assume varying relationships with food by exploring different ethnic foods and approaching the issue in a variety of media and styles.

October 5 – Talk of the Stacks features journalist and food industry authority Larry Olmsted, 7:00 PM at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.  Olmsted’s book, is entitled Real Food Fake Food: Why you don’t know what you’re eating and what you can do about it…. The event is free, doors open at 6:15; programs begins at 7:00 PM

October 12 – The City of Minneapolis is offering a class for group that are interested in creating a cooperative.  Sessions run October 12-December 7.    Details here:  http://webbercamden.org/2017/09/27/city-of-minneapolis-free-class-on-creating-a-cooperative/   To learn more about the history and present state of coops check this recent talk given by Tom Pierson at the Seward Coop –https://seward.coop/posts/1048

October 18 – The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) announces the Autumn Open House, 5:30 – 7:30 PM at the historic Crosby Mansion, 2105 First Avenue South.  RSVP by Friday, October 14 at iatp.org/open-house.  Speakers include IATP ED Juliette Major and Tara Ritter, Senior Program Association for Climate and Rural Communities.  Free and open RSVP by 9/14. (https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15ed34ccdaf2ec36 .  IATP is also developing a robust distance learning component, including an informative podcast series on NAFTA(https://www.iatp.org/blog/201709/trade-ag-your-ears-our-new-podcast-uprooted)  Take time to explore the many facets of IATP, a robust and timely resource essential in this world of global/corporate economic flux. (https://www.iatp.org/nafta-portal)

October 20 – Insurgent knowledges: Book talk with Damien Sojoyner and Sabrina Vaught.  Sojoyner is the author of First Strike: Educational enclosures in Black Los Angeles (U of M 2017) and Vaught is the author of Compulsory: Education and the dispassion of youth in a prison school, U of M Press 2017,7:00 PM at the East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbrier Street in St. Paul.  Details online.

October 21 – A Resister’s Handbook: A benefit performance for East Side Freedom Library.  Xavier Morilla, described as “a labor leader, activist, podcaster, writer and storyteller” – not to mention President of SEIU Local 26.  Working with Levi Weinhagen, Morilla has created the presentation in which Morilla will share his “wit and optimism” with ESFL supporters at a fundraiser event, 5:30-7:00 PM.  A minimum tax-deductible gift of $25 is requested at the door.

November 2-  ESFL will also co-sponsor a timely presentation, The Origins of the Radical Right and the Crisis of Our Democracy, a talk by Nancy MacLean, Professor History and Public Policy at Duke University.  The event is sponsored by ESFL, ISAIAH-Minnesota and the U of MN History Department.7:00 PM at ESFL 1105 Greenbrier Street in St. Paul, 651 230 3294. http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org

A recent study by the Pew Research Center reports on details of the digital divide.  Data re the Minneapolis-St Paul-Bloomington area are above average, with plenty of room for improvement.  Broadband access in households with income under $20K was 55.5% while 86.6% of 20K+ households enjoy broadband access.

The latest greatest fad at Eat My Words bookstore is Squibs. Squibs are short one-to-ten-page writing pieces – with or sans visuals – described by Squibs hosts as “mini-stories with a beginning, middle and end.”  They can be about any topic that helps get the writer writing.  To follow the EMW muse to a new life of squibbing, join a Squib writing session, Saturdays Noon-1:00 PM at EMW Bookstore, 214 13th Avenue NE (new location) 651 243 1756 or more at www.eatmywordsbooks.com.

Note to out-of-control bibliophiles: Help is at the ready:  https://www.bustle.com/articles/183327-9-things-book-lovers-do-in-the-fall-because-autumn-is-the-perfect-season-for-reading

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As we plunge into the season’s political melee, it might be a good time to catch up on some basics of the democracy.  Following are some tools to help us review and put in contemporary context some of the basics:

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  * Quote from  L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

 

Why newspapers….?

While the spoken word can travel faster, you can’t take it home in your hand. Only the written word can be absorbed wholly at the convenience of the reader ~ Kingman Brewster Jr

The newspaper fits the reader’s program while the listener must fit the broadcaster’s program. ~ Kingman Brewster Jr.

These two quotes by Kingman Brewster, one-time President of Yale University, are so on target for National Newspaper Week that I couldn’t choose…  In both quotes focus is on the reader, the active participant in the communication chain that links source (in whatever format) with receiver (of whatever stripe.)

As for the first, some would argue that you can take the word home in your hand – assuming that you are I-phone equipped. Brewster assumes, though, that there’s more than convenience at stake, that the reason to tote, and eventually to read, the paper is that “only the written word can be absorbed wholly at the convenience of the reader.”  Tuning in or clicking on  are not synonymous with reading and reflecting on the written word.

To this I would add that newspapers give the reader credit for the capacity to think critically.  Though newspaper editors and print journalists are not hesitant to speak their own minds, they respect the fact that the reader has the wits to think about what they are reading. Editors even encourage readers to check the facts, to re-read an article, to reflect and respond.

In the “information age” everyone aspires to be the sender/source of information that’s “hot” or intended to persuade more than inform.  Newspapers — and serious readers — are challenged to focus on the process of gathering and sharing news and opinion.  Readers need to recognize and value the labor involved in truth-finding, in gathering and parsing diverse opinions, in communicating complex ideas to a diverse readership.  Readers need to recognize and value the unique “personality” that characterizes the publication itself.

Newspaper folks are not judged by their charming good looks, their wardrobe, their glib tongue or their star quality.  They earn their journalistic stripes by delving beneath the surface.  They invest the time to check the facts, to track down the dissenting opinion, to respect the fact that We the People make decisions based on the words they craft and the cartoons they draw. Newspapers pride themselves on the fact that the news is edited by rational, if opinionated, individuals.  Their responsibility is to inform an electorate that, if all goes well, retains the power to decide the fate of the democracy envisioned by those who crafted the First Amendment and assigned it to its prominent position in the Bill of Rights.

Above all, as the nation falls victim to weaponized information, newspapers have both the burden and the power to create a climate in which words matter and truth triumphs. The free press we honor during National Newspaper Week is the voice and the prevailing hope of a free nation.

National Newspaper Week – October 1-7, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Shorter days foster ideas, energy, opportunities to learn!

He who knows all the answers has not been asked all the questions. ― Confucius

Celebrate Confucius’ Birthday by taking time on
September 28 to read and reflect on a few of his uniquely quotable quotes.  You have latitude because the philosopher’s birthday is uncertain and celebrations vary by politics and culture.   People of all ages commemorate the 28th as “Teachers Day”, also a moveable feast.  http://www.chinesetimeschool.com/en-us/articles/teachers-day-in-ancient-china/   Whenever and whatever the celebration, the words of the philosopher live on and offer wisdom and comfort  befitting these troubled times.

Though the Banned Book Week post was covered in an earlier post (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/banned-books-week-honors-a-fundamental-right/)  here are a couple of fun ideas that caught my attention as creative ways to spotlight the meaning of the celebration –

Vaguely related, this brief reading reflects the reason that reading and bookstores matter in this democracy.  This article was published in the Huffington Post as President Obama was leaving office –  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obama-bookworm-president_us_587645d8e4b092a6cae42092

October 1-7, marks the 77th anniversary of National Newspaper Week.  This year’s theme is Real Newspapers…Real News.  http://www.nationalnewspaperweek.com.  More to follow.

October 1, 5:00 PM – MnArtists offers a unique presentation of the mind and work of Eric Larson – “Explore the elusive and entertaining form in a pop-up ‘Meme Town’ alongside Minnesota artists from a range of disciplines including visual art, performance, and music. Through interactive installations, digital playgrounds, and memes circulated before and aft. http://www.mnartists.org/event/mn-artists-presents-eric-larson?utm_source=mnartists.org&utm_campaign=b9e7643040-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_25&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_059305b321-b9e7643040-322827705&mc_cid=b9e7643040&mc_eid=cc474c7135

October 4 – (https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=4117&action=edit_ Possibly as a gentle reminder of what’s to come, on October 4th the U.S Postal Service will dedicate The Snow Day Forever Stamp.  This is the First Day of Issue for the famous children’s book written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.  The celebration will be held at the Brooklyn Public Library.  http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_049.htm

Art Buddies, a creative project matching volunteers with young artists, is still looking for volunteers.  Art Buddies  foster budding talents at fall programs now underway at Riverview West in St Paul (Monday),  Bancroft (Wednesday) and Whittier (Thursdays/Fridays) It’s not too late – details here:  http://www.artbuddies.org/volunteer

The National Archives commemorated Constitution Day 2017 with an informative panel discussion of “Constitutional Ethos: Liberal Equality for the Common Good.”  The lively discussion of a pressing issue is posted on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8g-w2kK9fg&t=5

Just one more post-State Fair update – this time the true facts about the origins of the Butter Queen traditionhttp://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/caroline-shawk-brooks-butter-sculptor-history

Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.  ~ Theodore Roosevelt