Driving Cattle in September | Mechanics' Institute

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Driving Cattle in September

I just read a book that rocked my world, Blazing Guns on the Chisholm Trail. This is the pulp Western by Borden Chase that was the basis for the film Red River, starring John Wayne and a young, chiseled Montgomery Clift.  I am not a fan of the genre, but the cover grabbed my attention and the first paragraph was stunning. With terse yet vivid prose, I was instantly transported to the wide seat of a Conestoga wagon as it "lurched along the flatlands" of the Texas frontier.  

Borden Chase is long dead but if you want to learn how to spirit readers into your fictional world, Litquake is offering a Master Class on Fictional Time and Place with Natalie Baszile here in our Board Room on September 8. Brasile's novel Queen Sugar was a runaway best seller and so acclaimed for its evocative depiction of the world of modern-day sugar cane farmers in Louisiana that it caught the eye of Oprah Winfrey. The story is now a celebrated television show in its 3rd season – every author's dream come true, right? Come and learn her tricks of the trade – I am sure they are sweet!

Blazing Guns was about a cattle drive, about love, and what it means to be a man in the post-Civil War frontier. The emotions portrayed in the story were tautly concealed but sharp enough to drive the story.  This skill too will be offered by the prolific Eric Witchey when he hosts Mastering the Emotion Driven Story on September 15.  Witchey will explain his narrative development technique: ED ACE (Emotion drives Decision drives Action drives Conflict drives new Emotion). Held in partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference, this will be a high-energy seminar and you will walk away with the skills to touch every reader’s heart.

Speaking of conferences, don’t miss your chance to register for the Writing for Change Conference held locally on September 8 at the First Unitarian Church. This daylong event is great for first time conference goers and those itching to make a difference in the world. Whistleblower and change agent Daniel Ellsberg will be the keynote speaker.

Lyzette Wanzer discussion tools for writers who aim to go pro.Rustling cattle and building a writing career have a lot in common. As you all know, being a writer is not only about getting words onto the page – that’s actually the fun part! It’s the hustle that’s exhausting: the platform development, the networking, the stealing about at night.... thankfully there are tools to make the hustling easier. On September 22, MI's own Writer Career Development Guru Lyzette Wanzer will teach you how to harness the power of LinkedIn to facilitate networking with literary influencers and grow your career. You owe it yourself to take this class and know Lyzette.

Much like a round up, the Writers Lunch aims to help our member writers get to know each other and celebrate each other’s achievements. September’s meeting on the 21st will feature freelance foreign correspondent turned author Brigitte Schulze Piliboisan. Brigitte will describe in detail her journalistic adventures in Eastern Europe, her travails in starting her publishing house, and publishing her latest book in English Sasha, pour one more! With love and vodka through 25 years in Ukraine. Join us for slightly better coffee then you’d find on the trail and dessert. Lunch and vodka will not be served but you are welcome to bring your own!

Last but not least – a great way to introduce your writer friends is to bring them on a tour of the Institute. Every Wednesday at Noon or on Monday, September 17 join me for the Night Tour and a glass of wine.

See you on the drive,


P.S. Share your content with me so I can announce it to our community! If you are presenting somewhere or have something to announce or celebrate, please let me know!


Posted on Aug. 28, 2018 by Taryn Edwards