This summer the editors of Poets & Writers Magazine asked if I would be interested in writing a literary guide to Denver for their series of city guides. I enthusiastically agreed, and the task took me a long time. I contacted my literary friends and acquaintances throughout Denver to get the scoop on all the good stuff going down in my hometown, and I spent a lot longer writing this than I’d planned. But I wanted to put everything I could think of in it—a bit of Denver literary history, a bit about how Denver inspires my writing, and of course an extensive list of book stores, readings, and literary groups. The Denver literary scene receives next to no media coverage—our local media is just not into books, so I took this as a rare opportunity to get the word out about Denver’s thriving writing community.
The guide ran a few weeks ago, and here’s an excerpt from it:
“When I was a kid growing up in Denver, I always used to enter the children’s writing competitions at the Tattered Cover, a bookstore that awed me with its three floors of books. I never won, and it was hard not to, because they awarded dozens of prizes for each contest. The story I remember best was the last one I entered before I aged out of the competition, in a contest for the scariest Halloween story.
We’d been dissecting frogs in my biology class, and the horrifying part was that the frogs were still alive—just knocked out—when we cut into them, because our teacher wanted us to see how their circulatory systems worked. I decided the scariest possible thing that could happen would be for the frog to wake up during this procedure and see me there, operating on him. I wrote my story from the perspective of the frog. I was pretty proud of it and I thought, ‘This is it. This is the story that’s going to take me all the way to the honorable mention.’ Of course it was not to be. But I kept writing, and this year I published my first novel, The Ringer, set in my hometown, and had my book launch at the Tattered Cover, where the dear people of my past—family, friends, high school English and journalism teachers—turned out to cheer.
Colorado has often been a boom and bust state, attracting outsized characters prone to ‘dreaming the large Western dream of easy money, of a fortune kicked up somewhere in the hills—an oil well, a gold mine, a ledge of copper,’ as Willa Cather wrote in The Song of the Lark, a novel that begins in the fictional town of Moonstone, Colorado.”
Please click through to the Poets & Writers website to read the rest: