Autumn 2018

At a concert in Sag Harbor, New York

It’s autumn in the Hamptons. The sidewalks and roads are not as crowded, and it’s time for many annual local events that we look forward to. The Sag Harbor Musical Festival took place this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday our local musicians performed from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at venues throughout the village. Some of the Saturday entertainers: Escola de Samba Boom (30-piece Percussion Ensemble) at Windmill Beach; Nancy Remkus & the Children’s Peace Chorus at The Whaling Museum; Joe Delia & Thieves (Rock) at Sag Harbor Express Stage; HooDoo Loungers (Zydeco, R&B, Soul) also at Sag Harbor Express Stage. Coming up, in Sag Harbor, at Bay Street Theater: “60s Celebration Weekend”, October 12 and 13; then, “Eagles Weekend”, October 19-20. I love music, all kinds of music, although I can’t listen and write at the same time. The music wins me over. But in the car, with Sirius on the dashboard, I listen and thoroughly enjoy myself.

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.”

Victor Hugo

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Anderson

Coming up this month are the Hamptons International Film Festival, Oktoberfests, wine harvests and village fall festivals that include music, food and art; concerts at Bay Street and the John Drew Theater; writers reading their work at different venues, art exhibits at Guild Hall and the Parrish Art Museum, plus at the many galleries throughout the east end, on both the north and south forks. It’s a very busy time of year.

“In Heaven, it is always autumn.”

John Donne

Our fall memoir writing classes at the Hampton Library in Bridgehampton will begin on Tuesday, October 16, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. and run for six weeks, through November 20. The fee is $75, and you can call the library at 631-537-0015 to register. Some member writers met recently for a between-classes reunion – at Carol Dray’s house in Bridgehampton. Paul Stebbins, Diane Hallett, Toni Hallock, Ryan Matthews, and Laurie Marsden attended. We enjoyed appetizers and cocktails and talked about many things – including writing (naturally). It was a great evening, and we hope to meet up again.

The Art of the Personal: The Relationship between Poetry and Memoir” was presented by Guild Hall on September 16. Distinguished poet Grace Schulman, whose new memoir, Strange Paradise: Portrait of a Marriage, has just been published, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, Phillip Schultz, author of a memoir, My Dyslexia, met with Jill Bialosky, executive editor at W.W. Norton, poet and memoirist (History of a Suicide: My Sister’s Unfinished Life). The writers read from their work – poetry and memoir – and a discussion followed, along with a Q & A. We were a small audience in the theater, no more than 50 people, riveted by this writer-centric program. Afterwards, in the lobby, I spoke to Ms. Schulman, who signed my copy of her book, and with Mr. Schultz, who is the founder of the Writers Studio. Both live in East Hampton.

September 21 was the 80th anniversary of the Great Hurricane of 1938. At the newly restored Amagansett U.S. Life-Saving and Coast Guard Station, first built in 1902, Genie Chipps Henderson launched her novel, A Day Like Any Other – a fictional retelling of that very real storm and how it affected the South Fork of Long Island. Hundreds of people attended, including our town government leaders, historians, and community members I recognized from my many decades living here. Genie’s husband, Bill Henderson, of Pushcart Press, who published the book, was there, too. A video archivist for our local television station for over 20 years, Genie put together a video that showed actual footage of the harm done, plus TV interviews decades later with local residents who experienced the storm. A lively Q and A followed the video and excerpts from the novel, all based on real facts, and with invented characters mostly based on real people.

Valley Forge, the latest book by Tom Clavin, written with Bob Drury, and published this week, is “one of the most inspiring — and underappreciated — chapters in American history: the story of the Continental Army’s six-month transformation in Valley Forge.” Tom and Bob will be doing a lot of touring and book signing over the next few months.

Jerry Giammatteo, of Sayville, has an essay in the August issue of Great South Bay Magazine’s Oldies But Goodies column called “Dan Ingram-Thanks for the Memories,” a tribute to the Hall of Fame rock and roll deejay and how his time on the radio spanned Jerry’s lifetime. He wrote to me: “I am sure that you listened to Dan many times on either WABC AM or CBS FM and he was one of a kind with his wit, knowledge and sense of humor. Just writing it brought a smile to my face and I hope it will bring a smile to yours as well.” Yes, more on music and its pleasures! Go online to read Jerry’s enjoyable monthly columns in the magazine.

Scott Thomson, of Bohemia, has published two essays this summer in the Act Two section of Newsday, one of which was written in our Connetquot Library memoir writing workshop last year. I stopped running that workshop over a year ago and am happy to report that Jill Evans, of Sayville, who took over my Suffolk Community College workshop classes two years ago, is now in charge. My former students should be delighted with her mentorship.

I look forward to Joanne Pateman’s Reflections columns in The East Hampton and Southampton Press, most recently one called “They’re Back!” about her grandchildren who visited this summer from Florida and California, in Southampton, for a week without their parents. Joanne and her husband entertained the kids royally at “Camp Pateman” with museum trips, picking raspberries, lunch at Sip ‘N’ Soda, miniature golf, swimming, fishing — and more. Her column this week is called “Horse Heaven” and, in it, Joanne writes about her love of riding and competing, and of her visit with a longtime horse riding buddy, to the Hampton Classic this August.

Daniel Simone, of Amagansett, wrote to me recently, after we met up at Guild Hall during the annual Dan’s Papers Literary Prize for Nonfiction Gala on August 23. “Thanks for the plug in your (last) newsletter . . . I have multiple projects on my desk . . . Lufthansa Heist is being adapted to a TV series, and I’m involved as a consultant to the writers. Also, my upcoming book about Charles Manson has been adapted to a documentary series titled, Charles Manson: The Final Word. It’s airing currently on the REELZ Channel. The book should be published in (early 2019 . . . (and) I finalized an option agreement for the film rights to The Pierre Hotel Affair. He is a busy guy. See Daniel’s books on Amazon.

“You’ll never know what you’ll want to write until it starts writing itself in your head.”

Jill Ker Conway

What I’m reading: Long Haul: a Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road by Finn Murphy, Life Work by Donald Hall, and Late Fragments by Kate Gross, among other works.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”

William Styron

Have a wonderful autumn.