Category Archives: Flagstaff-area events

The March for Science; by Jeanne Mack

When the March for Science happened in Flagstaff two Saturdays ago, I was not there. I wasn’t one of the local Science advocates parading down the street, banging on a drum, and shouting generally pro-Science things at the top of their voices. I wasn’t there, partially because I was at the Thin Air community writing workshop, but the fact is that I’m not sure I would have gone even if I was free.

Our workshop was held in the community room of the public library, which is right along the route that the March took as it circled downtown Flagstaff. We’d opened the windows to let in some fresh air, and as the warm breeze filtered into the room, so did the screams for Science and drumbeats in the not-so distant distance. As I listened, I thought about why I wasn’t willing to lend my support to “Science” in general.

It’s not because I don’t realize what good Science has done–furthering humanity’s understanding of the Earth we live on, enabling people to overcome deadly diseases, etc. It’s that I’m unable to overlook all the bad that Science has left in its wake as it powers forward, toward those impressive achievements.

For every life saved, there is another life that has suffered in the name of Science.

Imagine a close friend or family member of yours has a mental illness, maybe severe depression. Maybe you don’t even have to imagine this. But now imagine that when they go to a doctor to receive medical care, they are told that to treat their illness, a doctor will first need to sedate them and then drive a sharp ice pick-like instrument up through their orbitals, behind their eyes and into their brain, until their frontal lobe has been effectively killed.

Scientists, neurologists, and doctors believed that lobotomies were the cure for mental illness starting in 1936 in America. They held onto this belief for long enough that they were able to complete about 2,500 lobotomies.

Maybe thinking about the world with a scientific, analytic mindset allows for a certain remove from the human aspects of life–allows a scientist to view participants in an experiment as subjects and not people.

In the same era of lobotomies, there was also forced sterilization of the disabled, the non-binary gendered population, intersex populations, indigenous people, and ethnic minorities. There was the development of the H-bomb and atomic bomb, which allowed for the subsequent bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I’d like to think that Science has learned valuable moral and ethical lessons from the horrors of its past. Ideally, scientists are more aware of both the positive and negative effects their work can and does have on the world. I’d hope that there’s more of a priority on slowing down, and thinking about things from every angle–appreciating the perspectives of those that their work directly impacts.

But it’s possible that Science will always inherently be at odds with less quantitative elements–like compassion, tolerance, and understanding.

I’ve been listening to a podcast that traces the fight for Mauna Kea, a sacred Hawaiian mountain that sits at over 13,800 ft elevation. While astronomers are desperate to construct a Thirty Meter Telescope at the top of the mountain in order to observe planets and stars and ancient galaxies with an eye sharper and more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, the local community is tired of having its sacred mountain defaced by scientists. Astronomers have already built sites on the mountain, and left the environment in disarray as a result. It’s a fight over the importance of Science’s quest to understand humanity’s origins and a community’s prioritization of preserving the culture and nature we already know about, immediately surrounding us.

Science has been and will continue to be a complicated arena, and while I understand that the March was in response to our President’s recent defunding of several different scientific programs and entities, and do not in any way support that defunding, it’s imperative that we remember the complexities that have arisen at the hands of Science. The lives of lobotomized and sterilized people, the damage caused by atomic bombs–were those sacrifices worth it? My inability to answer this question is what holds me back from championing Science as an inherently good cause.

Narrow Chimney, 2016-2017 kickoff

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, readers and writers, it’s that time again. Your Monday will no longer be that drab, soul-dampening harbinger of yet another tedious workweek that it has been all summer. For the next several months, Monday will mean EXCITEMENT. Monday will mean ARTISTIC EXPRESSION. Monday will mean NARROW CHIMNEY.

We kick things off on August 29th–the first day of school. What could be more fitting. Even your students can come; the event welcomes individuals under 21 years of age.

We are lucky to have local writers Nicole Walker and Natalie Rose performing for us on the 29th. Come as you are. Bring your friends. Bring a book so they can sign it. Bring questions for the artists to ask after the performances. Bring a few bucks so you can get a drink and maybe some of that great Irish food. Bring your verve. Bring your zazz. Bring your dog.

Particulars:

Uptown Pubhouse, August 29th (Monday). Natalie Rose, & Nicole Walker. 7pm to 8pm. Free. Weekly spoken word event, every Monday, with MFA students from NAU as well as local figures.

Be there or be square. I will be there. I will also be square. Both are options.

Signed, your thinairmagazine.com pilot,

Eric Dovigi

(photo credit: Remedios Varo)

Stuff the Truck for the Literacy Center and Northern Arizona Book Festival

Full Circle Trade & Thrift is supporting The Literacy Center and Northern Arizona Book Festival this month with their “Stuff the Truck” event.Bring your gently used belongings from 11am – 2pm to the parking lot of the National Bank of Arizona, 211 N. Leroux, – Hint: it’s kitty corner from Uptown Pubhouse! – and Stuff! That! Truck!

And stick around downtown for a few hours so you can join Thin Air at our community reading series kick-off held at Uptown Pubhouse. Before they head off on their reading tour this summer, local authors Eric Dovigi and John Quinonez will treat their hometown to this special sneak preview. The event runs one hour and starts promptly at 6pm. Grab a drink, hear some great literature by two awesome personalities, and meet the friendly staff at Thin Air. We’re always looking for writers to submit to our magazine and participate in our readings!

Thin Air Reading Series Kick-Off!

 

Thin Air is thrilled to kick off our community reading series this Saturday at Uptown Pubhouse with local authors John Quinonez and Eric Dovigi. Before they head off on their reading tour this summer, Eric and John are treating their hometown to this special sneak preview. The event runs one hour and starts promptly at 6pm. Grab a drink, hear some great literature by two awesome personalities, and meet the friendly staff at Thin Air. We’re always looking for writers to submit to our magazine and participate in our readings!

And be sure to support The Literacy Center and Northern Arizona Book Festival with their “Stuff the Truck” event, sponsored by Full Circle Trade & Thrift. Find Full Circle’s colorful truck in the parking lot of the National Bank of Arizona, 211 N. Leroux. (Hint: it’s kitty corner from Uptown Pubhouse!) Bring your gently used belongings from 11am – 2pm and support two great causes!

G.K. Lamb at Bookmans Saturday

By Christine Davis

I remember being seventeen in Ms. Knudsen’s AP Environmental Science class. She was Canadian and had purple streaks in her hair, so everyone wanted to enroll. Each day we learned that the planet was doomed. G.K. Lamb’s dystopian, debut novel is about this inevitable doom as told through the first-person lens of Evelyn, a young girl full of hope and fight. She might have done well in Ms. Knudsen’s course, but in Evelyn’s world free thought is rebellion, family is complicated, and answers come at the ultimate price.

World building is key in young adult fiction, and Filtered delivers in this arena. The novel centers on the premise that air pollution has resulted in toxicity so severe all citizens must wear masks while outside, and rely upon air filtration systems inside. Lamb creates images of tall buildings, tightly locked doors, and a billboard declaring, “Remember, a fresh filter everyday keeps death at bay!” The Great Society is responsible for regulating safety, but their regulations encroach upon almost every human right. Evelyn’s schooling is a perfect example of The Great Society’s stiff expectations. Students aren’t permitted to look authority figures in the eye, move out of synch, or question anything about their world. When Evelyn encounters her first taste of rebellion, she says, “There’s life here,” and her new companion retorts, “Uncomfortable, isn’t it?” Lines like this capture the psychological world-building Lamb accomplishes alongside the physical landscape.

Readers fall even deeper into the familiar landscape of family, but once again they find a filter. The family lives in an upscale apartment with plenty of fresh filters and store bought food. Her father works late. They watch T.V. However, any displays of “normalcy” are interrupted by the ever-present threat of death. In addition to communicating through literal filtration masks designed to protect them against pollution, they also must communicate through the masks of fear and ignorance. Evelyn’s mother falls deeper into isolation as the novel progresses, leaving Evelyn thinking, “I wish she were someone I could trust…one look at her and I know she can’t be any of the things I wish her to be. Her frame is already withering, no doubt from malnourishment and confinement.” She wonders, “How much of our imprisonment is self-inflicted?” but she is alone with this question, unable to include her family in any quest for answers.

Lamb’s plot and ultimate climax are nicely tied to both the world he creates, and the family Evelyn must break away from in order to come of age in a time of rebellion. Readers will want to engage in her fast-paced adventures, full of villains, broken heroes, and misguided youths. The more Evelyn commits to uncovering the truth, the more she finds herself entrenched in a historical tug-of-war that leaves her fighting for her life in more ways than one.

The result of reading a book like G.K. Lambs’s Filtered is not only to leave entertained, but also educated. At Evelyn’s age I had Ms. Knudsen to tell me about the perils of this world, but did I listen? Filtered provides young readers an intricate look at the results of environmental collapse through a character they will want to follow anywhere.

Saturday, February 27, G.K. Lamb is signing books at Bookmans from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m., as part of the Bookmans Flag AZ Author Fair. Lamb joins Mark Bordner and Austin Aslan.

Eat at MartAnne’s; Donate to Thin Air!

MartAnne’s Burrito Palace is donating 10% of its entire sales on Wednesday, February 17 to Thin Air Magazine’s AWP fundraiser.

AWP, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, is holding its 2016 conference and bookfair at the Los Angeles Convention Center, March 30 – April 2.

According to the AWP web site, “The AWP Conference & Bookfair is an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers. Each year more than 12,000 attendees join our community for four days of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to the organizations and opinion-makers that matter most in contemporary literature.”

Help represent Thin Air Magazine at the 2016 AWP Conference & Bookfair by eating at MartAnne’s Burrito Palace, voted Best Breakfast Place by Arizona Daily Sun readers. And remember: MartAnne’s now has a dinner and cocktail and beer menu and accepts credit cards. Eat well and support literature all day long!

Narrow Chimney Schedule Spring 2016

James Jay and Jesse Sensibar welcome writers and lit lovers to Uptown Pubhouse every Monday night at 7pm for libations and literature. Don’t miss out on this welcoming, homegrown event!

January 25 Elizabeth Hellstern & Jane Armstrong
Feb 1 Bryan Asdel & Sandra Dihlmann
Feb 8 Mathew Henry Hall & Jamison Crabtree
Feb 22 Natalie Rose & Barbara Lane
Feb 29 Lawrence Lenhart & Molly Wood
March 7 Jessica Martini & Beth Alvarado
March 21 Emily Regan & Andie Francis
March 28 Ian Keirsey & Jon Tribble
April 4 Eugene Munger & Laura Kelly
April 11 Jay “Jaybyrd” Willison & Jia Oak Baker
April 18 Seth Muller & Robert Isenberg
April 25 Shelly J Taylor & Renee S Angle
May 2 James Jay & Justin Bigos

The Four Coolest People I Met at NonfictionNOW

The Four Coolest People I Met At NonfictionNOW (although picking is so hard.)

by Elizabeth Hellstern

I volunteered for the NonfictionNOW conference held at NAU at the end of October, in Flagstaff AZ. It was amazing. I attended four panel sessions and two keynote speaker sets per day, browsed the book fair, drank cocktails at a couple parties, read my own work (in Halloween pink hair) and found many interesting people to talk to. Many of my conversations have led to online sharing of writing and ideas. From now on, I am compelled to read work by people I met at this conference, because it provides context for understanding, good material for conversation with my new friends, and ultimately because there are so many good things out there to read that we have to have some way of choosing.

To that end, to I have searched and found four essays from some of the cool people I talked to. Believe me, there were many others, but for brevity’s sake, I will keep it to four. I won’t tell you all about each piece, but rather, I’d like to pull out some of my favorite lineslines that are so well-written that they stand apart as objects, as individual marbles I’ve been rolling around my mouth, saying them over and over and savoring the way they feel. I love the places they refer to, the people they mention and the ideas they embody.

 I remarked about our mutual wearing of orange as we were in line for coffee, and Lynette D’Amico referred to me from then on as “the first person that talked to me at the conference.” I’m really glad I did, because she’s an excellent writer and gave me the brilliant tip to google “vernacular photography” (just do it.) “Fictions of the City” her essay in Slag City Miniatures is a fabulous jewel. She writes about an experience on the subway, in New York City, how it reminded the narrator of hopes from her (and America’s) youth. The line that hit me was this, “The City was itself: an exhalation of overheated garbage and car exhaust, burnt sugar and burnt coffee, sweat and piss and fried foodequally rank and delectable.” Yes. Just yes.
 

 Barrie Jean Borich is from Chicago, and like every blond woman from that town with sass and a curvy figure, she reminds me of my Aunt Claire. I was really excited to find her essay “Of Wearing My Red Dress” (in the anthology After Montaigne) so I could“talk” about fashion with someone who had similar style panache to Claire.  In her favorite red dress, Borich shows off her great cleavage and gets more attention than usual, then examines the situation, saying “I know the woman they see in this dress is made of a design, a bra, a posture, a stance, a mood, an attitude, and more story than body.” I get it! I also completely understand Borich when she says “the clothes werenever just clothes, but also the story of clothes, the longing represented by clothes” but“…clothes have no stories without the body, and without the human lives that clothes both project and protect.” I have always felt that my clothes tell a story, and I try to be conscious of which story I’m telling.

I first met Tarn Wilson when I gave her a ride to town from the Flagstaff airport. I knew I liked her when I found out she was also a vegetarian. Wilson is the author of The Slow Farm, a memoir with “artifacts” that illustrate her unique life growing up off-grid, with alternative-lifestyle parents in Canada. I read The Slow Farm as soon as I got home from the conference. Then I found a fabulous essay Wilson wrote called “The History Of My Teeth” in Inertia Magazine. She says “Several of my high school students with impaired social skills have told me–not as an insult but as a cheerful observation–that I look like a rabbit.” This line is so brave and funny and endearing—in ways that aren’t sexy or sophisticated but purely humble. Wilson has gone for the humor at the expense of her ego; and now I am a loyal reader.Jericho Parms may very well be my writing doppelganger. We both love to write about touch, art and hot springs. Her essay “Lost Wax” in the American Literary Review braids together impressions of classic sculptures of Cupid, Eros and Aphrodite with memories of her ex-lover and her parents’ relationship. She writes “material textures enclose our living impulses.”  I’ve started to get itchy thumbs, as I touch these impulses. Parms also says “these sculptures are myth and legend personified, allegories preserved”but although “created to uphold perfection, have inherited the imperfection of life itself.” The references to bronze and marble help me to feel the memories of lost love between my fingers.

There’s that famous question; which of your favorite writers would you want to have coffee with? These four authors are my top choices for coffee dates. If that doesn’twork out, then I’ll read their pieces with a hot cup of joe and be just as satisfied.

Join us for the Thin Air-hosted NonfictioNow 2015 reception

You’re invited!

Join us for the Thin Air Magazine-hosted NonfictioNow 2015 reception

When: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 6-7pm

Where: NAU’s Liberal Arts building (18), in the main first floor lobby (outside room 120) (MAP)

Cost: Free

There will be light snacks and lots of good conversation.

Open to everyone interested in nonfiction writing, even if you’re not registered for the conference.

After the reception, be sure to stay for the NonfictioNOW Eve Event with Joni Tevis and Alison Hawthorne Deming (Liberal Arts Building, Room 120), sponsored by Milkweed Editions.

At the event and the conference, be sure to tag us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use the conference hashtag #NFNOW15.

See the full conference schedule HERE.