Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: Midwest Writing Center

Midwest Writing Center Bestows David R. Collins Writer of the Year Award

MWC-023On Saturday night, March 20, 2010, my husband and I attended the annual fund-raiser for the Midwest Writing Center, held at the Outing Club in Davenport, Iowa. There was a silent auction preceding the event, and we bid on several things, but were outbid. I had a lovely conversation with Diana Garman, a reading aide in the Moline (Illinois) schools, and we were sitting at a table with several professors from St. Ambrose University, including Nancy Hayes, who had many interesting stories about the years she lived in Germany.

The speaker was a Davenport native who specializes in “ghost writing” of books for celebrities, and his “90 Minutes in Heaven” book has been on the New York Times Best-Seller list for quite some time. (His table displayed many, many titles and I was given a copy of his latest book.) “Cece,” as those who introduced him referred to him, was an engaging speaker, and then the MWC began giving awards to various individuals.

There is always one “surprise” award given. Last time I attended, in fact, I paid for my collaborator’s ticket because I feared he would not be present, otherwise, and he was to be that year’s winner. I was contacted and asked to get hm to come, so I bought his ticket (although not that of his girlfriend Cindy, who is now Mrs. Mike McCarty). He was very pleased and surprised to receive the award and my husband and I (who were sitting with him and his girlfriend at his table) were happy for him.

This year, I was just settling in and enjoying the speeches and awards (especially the LeClaire writing award winner who had the unenviable task of awarding herself the honor from her club) when writer emeritus Julie Jensen began reading the credentials of this year’s “surprise” winner. At first, it sounded very normal and could have been anyone in the room, as many of us attended the University of Iowa and Western Illinois University, but when it mentioned Berkeley, running for office, starting 2 businesses (Sylvan Learning Center and Prometric Testing Center) and the names of the books I have written (Training the Teacher As A Champion; Hellfire & Damnation; Ghostly Tales of Route 66, Volumes I, II and III, Out of Time, Both Sides Now and my (just purchased for publication) nonfiction book Classic Cinema of the ’70s: It Came from the ’70s, I was suddenly aware that I might have to stand and receive this unexpected award….a beautiful clock in burled walnut with engraving…a really nice (and useful) award.

My mind raced: whom should I thank? What should I say?

I have always liked the quote, “If brevity is the soul of wit, I intend to be hilarious,” so I ripped that off and then said, “I’d thank my English teachers, but they’re all dead.” Afer that, of course, my husband needed thanking, especially since he hadn’t wanted to go at all, as his brother was in town from St. Louis with his wife and our son and wife and twin girls were in town, all to celebrate his birthday the next day (March 21). He really wanted to be watching March Madness with our family, but I had bought the tickets before we knew they were coming to town to help him celebrate a milestone birthday. I thanked Mike McCarty “for pushing me into fiction,” which was not my original metier, and I “plugged” the Quad City Book Fair, which is to be held May 8th, and for which I am handling Marketing and Fundraising duties.

Long story short: it was a lovely night, a lovely award, and one additional QCBF participant signed up, after I mentioned the event, which will be held the same weekend as the Beaux Arts Fair in downtown Davenport. We will be inside the River Music Experience and using the stage at Mojo’s for presentations throughout the day. I just hope that, between setting up tables, handling programming and marketing and fundraising and (also) having to give a presentation of my own,  I survive.

It was a memorable weekend.

Please Do Not Feed the Water Fowl

PleaseDoNotFeedtheWaterFowlEight of them, silhouetted against the paddlewheel steamboat…four boys, four girls.

They slouch there, ill-at-ease in their unaccustomed finery.

The I74 bridge looms behind them in the distance.

One girl, chilled by the spring breeze, wears her date’s jacket slung casually around her shoulders.  She stares at the ground.  Is she thinking about the night ahead? Is she thinking about the future, as she shivers, clutching her evening bag?

“Are we grown? Are we ready?”

The blond athletic-looking boy in the white Saturday Night Fever suit and white shoes wears a turquoise tie and matching handkerchief.  He coordinates with his date’s turquoise strapless formal.

Willl they always be this in tune with each other, this harmonious?  Are they a couple only for now, only for tonight, only at this moment in time?

He squints, staring at the camera.

“Are we grown? Are we ready? Are we having fun yet?”

What lies across that bridge…across the Mississippi River…across time?

What does the future hold when Prom night ends?

“Are we grown? Are we ready?

In youth, the future stretches out forever, spins on like an endless ribbon, an eternity of time, an infinite river of days and nights and dances and dates.  But this is Prom night, and the end of high school is near.

“Are we grown? Are we ready?”

The sign reads: “Please do not feed the waterfowl.”

If only there were other signs.  Signs to instruct.  Signs to warn about the future.

For now, it is just “Please do not feed the waterfowl.”

(Public reading at either the Midwest Writing Center or in the Rock Island District at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 22nd. I will be present with copies of 3 of my previous books: “Both Sides Now” (some poetry included); “Ghosts of Route 66” (Vol I); and “Out of Time,” a novel.)

Book Signings Abound in Quad Cities During Holiday Season

There were several book signings scheduled on the same December 6th Saturday.

xmasbooksigningslivemusic-003The East Moline Public Library hosted its annual Christmas Open House and local weatherman Gary Metivier, as well as 3 published romance authors (pictured) were present. Also present was Mrs. Claus and friend.

The Midwest Writing Center had its book signing event from 2 to 4, and, among others signing, were Mike McCarty and Mark McLaughlin (pictured) and me. (I arrived late, as I had been at the East Moline event.)

That evening, the Silvis Public Library had its annual Christmas Walk. Pictured is the Alex McGehee family. Alex is a former student and his wife (a Cosgrave) was not, but certainly resembles the other Cosgrave students that I did have back at Silvis Junior High. They are pictured with their lovely family. There were sleigh rides and Rob Storm did an ice sculpture of a Christmas tree outside the fire station. The only drawback to the Silvis Annual Christmas Walk was that it was bitterly cold outside, at least 10 degrees below normal.xmasbooksigningslivemusic-002
Sxmasbooksigningslivemusic-004till, a good time was had by all.xmasbooksigningslivemusic-001xmasbooksigningslivemusic-003xmasbooksigningslivemusic-006

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