Carol Baker, Michael Martone, Tari Joyce, Linda Chapman, and a ‘Non-Fiction’ Panel-List

This review on Amazon from writer, pundit, and radio personality Carol Baker means the world to a small-town “girl” named Susie:

“The newest addition to my Kindle by friend and soul sister, Susie Sexton. As a writer, I appreciate Susie’s ability to just… think out loud on paper. ♥

“As a weekly columnist, writing on topics of politics and social justice, I find Susie’s writing style a breath of fresh air. As I sailed through story after story, it was like sitting across a kitchen table, having an old friend share stories of life over an endless cup of coffee. I know how to bring a reader into a story to laugh or to cry or to be an intimate observer, but Susie effortlessly helps to evoke memories of my own early childhood, my youth, young adulthood and ultimately, to come to terms with an aging body. Susie glides from topic to topic through time and weaves her stories like a familiar old song. I’ve committed to attempting a Susie Duncan Sexton homework assignment of becoming a storyteller because she’s proven it’s never too late to stretch my writing chops. She inspires me to write more – and to write better. She inspires me to write with less angst and to simply ‘think out loud on paper’. Perhaps to be a little more understanding of the gargoyles and a little less approving of the angels.

“This is comfort food for a writer’s soul.” — Carol Baker, Columnist at The Opinionated Bitch

How delighted I feel reading these words from Carol describing my second effort entitled “More Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Misunderstood Gargoyles & Overrated Angels”!  Having recently participated in Allen County Public Library’s 2013 Author Fair, I am recuperating at home nursing my aching, swollen tootsies and reconfiguring my cardboard boxes of paperback books including version I, 2011’s “Secrets of an Old Typewriter: Stories from a Smart & Sassy Small-town Girl” (although at this advanced age, I am far removed from “girl“hood!)  A Grand Central Station atmosphere overwhelms my happy but exhausted recollection of that sunny Saturday afternoon — folks ranging from toddlers to senior citizens strolled by, stopped to chat or to purchase autographed copies, or simply lingered awhile to enthusiastically enjoy the festivities.  A good time was had by all!  And special thanks to Carol for her supportive message the eve prior to the event itself.  What a boost to a rather insecure morale!

Mid-afternoon progressed to true zippiness as I participated in a panel discussion spear-headed by adorable, brilliant librarian Linda Chapman who moderated the following four microphoned Hoosier individuals: an Italian Chef/Photographer named Mark Carboni; a seasoned, News-Sentinel Sports Writer named Blake Sebring; a CIA agent named Frank Garcia…and Yours Truly the “Old Type…Writer”– a diverse grouping which ran the gamut from A to Z to be sure!  What a spectacular opportunity and learning experience.  I truly could become accustomed to this stuff…

The closing “act” for the day introduced the key-note speaker, an exceptionally creative Hoosier author who combines “Fact & Fiction” in a startlingly inventive manner leaving the reading /listening audience positively dizzy sorting through his rapid-fire, witty special effects of magic wordsmithiness” — each literary contribution read aloud focused upon his being born and raised in Indiana.  What super memories I harbor of Michael Martone’s petite, intellectual mom who played a major role in our little family’s academic life in Fort Wayne during the seventies.  Assistant Superintendent of the Fort Wayne Community School System and newspaper columnist Patti Martone, who died last year, mentored our “Little Roy” and encouraged his precocious writing skills.  Patti loved all children — an amazing, influential person with a graciousness of spirit which affected countless lives.  She physically resembled movie star Jane Wyman…her voice was also similar to Jane’s incorporating even the same precise vocal articulation.

I hope that she somehow realizes that my initial meeting with her handsome 58 year old son, on November 9th, has left me so very impressed with this lanky, George-Clooney-esque, puckish Writing Professor and inventive, irreverent author who penned his first publication as a teenager.  I bought only one of his 18 books, entitled “Seeing Eye” — which Michael inscribed “For Susie…Don’t Blink!”, BTW — because I’ve established a (somewhat easily broken) rule not to purchase more titles than I sell at these manic book festivals.  My favorite essay therein would be an edgy, pleasantly disturbing “Chatty Cathy Falls into the Wrong Hands” which I sincerely wish I had written first!  Another of his works “Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler’s List” refers to the city next door to Columbia City being seriously targeted for World War II obliteration as it boasted the magnet wire industry so crucial in aviation and bomb production.

Finally, a vegetarian supper — at Don Hall’s OLD GAS HOUSE where Jake Hall, son of long-time friends Sam and pixie-ish Dede (Helmuth) Hall (originally a Columbia City kid), served us our martinis “up, with a twist of lemon”– topped off our wondrous day spent in biblio-ville!  Our terrific new friend (and Fargo native) Tari Joyce — whom I connected with on Facebook when we both posted messages on our mutual New York City pal Colin’s page where we suddenly crazily realized that we presently live only 20 miles from one another — accompanied us on our dining escapade.   The evening concluded outdoors in the parking lot where we admiringly whispered to and patted the patiently waiting carriage horses, one of whom I nearly rode home?  The majestic equine beauty’s pedigree mixed two of my very favorite storybook breeds —  a sweet combination of Arabian and Morgan!

Professor Martone recently won the 2013 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award and presented a portion of his prize, a $2,500 grant, to Fort Wayne’s Little Turtle Branch Library stating: “It’s where my mom (the late Patty Martone) took me, and I learned to read there.”  Thanks, Patty, for holding that little fellow’s hand and guiding him to shelves of books and introducing young Michael to a universe of words…those of us who have discovered and currently appreciate his talents will be forever grateful!

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