Posted in author interviews, Delaware interest, grants

Fellowship Interview

DDoA 2016 banner

Each year, the Delaware Division of the Arts creates a page to highlight the 16 artists who are granted Individual Artist Fellowships. The IAF page features interviews with each artist by Christopher Yasiejko as well as work samples. You can read my interview with Christopher as well as the opening pages of my (then) work in progress, LEST I FORGET.

As always, I am grateful to the Delaware Division of the Arts, the State of Delaware, and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of my work and the arts community.

On Sunday, April 3, 2016, fellow IAF recipient and poet Maggie Rowe and I will share our work with the public at the Judge Morris Estate, White Clay Creek Park, in Newark, Delaware. Built in the 1790s by the , it was the  home of distinguished federal judge Hugh Morris and is now a showcase in the 600-acre estate. Our reading will begin at 1:00 and will be followed by a reception for our friends and kind listeners.

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Posted in book donations, Delaware interest, Uncategorized

How to Shoestring an Author Donation Box

Like most authors, I love to support my local arts organizations and sometimes fantasize about writing a big check to endow an alliance, sponsor a scholarship, or underwrite a performance. Unfortunately, I am not at the big-check level of success, but that doesn’t mean I can’t contribute in my own way.

To benefit the Newark Arts Alliance, and its upcoming Bohemian Night fundraiser, I offered to put together a box of books by Delaware authors. It’s an easy way to help the area arts scene and to promote work by writers living and working in the state.

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Posted in Delaware interest, editing

Seeking the Unexpected

Mrs. Rochester in the attic. Whoddunit on the Orient Express. Why the Stepford Wives are so obedient. Who fathered Rosemary’s Baby.

I like twists and turns in stories, especially those I don’t see coming. I didn’t know that Soylent Green is people—or maybe I just didn’t want to know.

In my own writing, I seek the unexpected, albeit maybe not so dramatically. Sometimes the surprises surprise me, too. I knew the ending of Evie but I wasn’t sure how she got there until I saw a newspaper ad for the state fair. The quirk in The Chances was born a decade ago, when a friend told me a story about seeing a woman on the side of the road.  The Barking Dog needed to be quieted, but it took a few rewrites to realize how and by whom.

The unexpected is not always a twist or turn or big sexy revelation. The unexpected in a story can be the wise voice of a child narrator, a dark place that is full of light, ugliness within beauty or kindness within the jaded. I strive to write the unexpected and when I am reading the work of others, both as a reader and as an editor, I am delighted when I find it in a story.

NAA logoOn Saturday, January 18, I’ll be speaking about Seeking the Unexpected at the Newark Arts Alliance. My talk is the third installment of the NAA’s Literary Arts Discussion Series. The first two discussions were led by Delaware’s Poet Laureate JoAnn Balingit and Charles Todd, the state’s acclaimed mother and son  mystery writing team.

Because I write and edit professionally, I’ll read a story to show my point and discuss from there how to find and write the unexpected. I hope you’ll join us and support arts and literature in Delaware.

Posted in artist fellowships, Delaware interest, online workshop

Upcoming this Summer: A Workshop, an Art Party, and a Reading

Three big events will dominate the summer of 2013 for me: an Art Party to open the exhibition of works by fellowship winners; an online workshop on writing basics; and a literary reading at an historic plantation. Check them out below!

Event #1

First Look pARTy! at the Biggs Museum of American Art

iaf-banner-home-2013Friday, August 2, 2013, from 5:00 to 7:00

Be one of the first to see the works of this year’s DDOA Individual Artist fellows at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover, Delaware. This year’s Award Winners XIII exhibit will feature works by the seventeen Delawareans honored with IAF grants from the State of Delaware in 2013. Each IAF artist will have a spot in the exhibit. From the Biggs Museum’s Exhibition calendar:

Award Winners XIII: August 2 – October 13, 2013

For thirteen years, the Biggs Museum has partnered with the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA) to showcase the artistic talents of Delaware in an annual summer exhibition. The annual Award Winners exhibition features the talent of the current Individual Artist Fellows of the Delaware Division of the Arts (DDOA). Delaware artists: painters, photographers, sculptors, writers, musicians and craft artisans, have the honor of winning the DDOA’s annual distinguished fellowship prizes. The fellows are chosen by jurors from hundreds of entries. In a partnership with the DDOA, the staff of the Biggs Museum invites each year’s Award Winners to the only group exhibition honoring their combined accomplishment.

The annual Award Winners exhibition is one of the most important annual projects at the Biggs Museum in carrying out its mission to celebrate artistic diversity, provide public educational access to Delaware’s fine-arts community, and to bring more awareness of both the museum and art to the community. Award Winners traces the evolution of the local art scene in Delaware and is presented to the public with hopes of encouraging conversation, comparison, debate and reflection of the diverse nature of work being created in Delaware.

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Event #2

Back to Basics Workshop

Online workshop running from August 4 – August 11 (one week) sponsored by the Mary Roberts Rinehart Pittsburgh Chapter of Sisters in  Crime.  The workshop is both a beginner and refresher course and is open to any writer. From the chapter website::

When: August 4-11, 2013 (1 week)

Where: Online via Yahoo Groups

How Much: $25 for Members, $30 for Non-Members

This is not your Grandma’s Grammar class, folks. This is about writing. This is about writing efficiently and effectively.

This workshop is designed to be both new for the beginning writer, and a review for the more experienced writer. Each day will be a lesson on a specific writing topic: Point of View; Passive vs. Active Writing; Show Not Tell; Word Choices; Backstory; Delivering Dialogue; Creating Conflict. I will post a lesson, with examples to illustrate each point, and exercises to practice the lesson of the day. In workshop mode, we will exchange and review the exercises day by day.

Preparation

This workshop will be of particular use for beginning writers, to learn some fundamentals. For writers with some or more experience, the daily offerings on writing topics could serve as a review or a new approach to basic skills. No draft is necessary because I will be offering unique exercises. Writers can apply the lessons to their work, but it will be a how-to each day.

About Ramona

Ramona DeFelice Long works as an author, independent editor, and instructor. As an editor, she works with private clients, primarily in the genres of mystery, women’s, and literary fiction. Her clients range from well-published to new writers and young writers. She has edited several anthologies of short fiction for chapters of Sisters in Crime as well as private writing groups. As an instructor, she teaches courses online and craft workshops (Scene Writing, Short Stories, Story Q&A) and intensives (Self-Editing) at writing conferences. As an author, she’s been published in fiction and non-fiction in a variety of publications. She is also a regular at free writes and Open Mics in the great state of Delaware.

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Event #3

Literary Reading at John Dickinson Plantation

field postcard final

When: Saturday, August 24, 2013, at 1:00 p.m.

Where: John Dickinson Plantation, 340 Kitts Hummock Road, Dover, Delaware

What: Literary reading

Join two local authors representing the Delaware Division of the Arts’ Individual Artist Fellowship Program for a literary reading at the home of one of the state’s most treasured historical figures.

Ramona  DeFelice Long of Newark and Russell Reece of Bethel will share stories and discuss the importance of value and impact of place in their writing. Following the reading will be a plantation tour and historical demonstration.

The John Dickinson Plantation is a working 18th century plantation complete with a period farm complex and the beautifully restored home of John Dickinson. One of American’s leading patriots, Dickinson wJohn Dickinsonas called “the Penman of the Revolution” for  his eloquent and passionate writings about liberty.  The John Dickinson Plantation is supported through the Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

This event is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Posted in artist fellowships, creative nonfiction, Delaware interest, grants

New DDoA Artist Pages Posted

 

 

iaf-banner-home-2013~

I am happy to share the Delaware Division of the Arts new 2013 Individual Artist Fellowship pages. Take a look at the painters, composers, writers, and musicians selected this year to represent the state’s commitment to supporting and promoting art and artists. I am honored to be among this group of 17 artists selected for 2013.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed (again) for the page by Christopher Yasiejko. Our ar-coverconversation focused on my particular discipline, Creative Nonfiction, which is my writing focus this year as I pursue my grant project on writing about how the various places I have lived has influenced me as a person, a citizen, and an artist. I am enthusiastic about this genre which allows a writer to research like a reporter and write like a novelist.

My work sample is in the interview taken from “Getting to Grand Isle,” a piece published in The Arkansas Review in 2012.

Delaware has a fine track record for supporting the arts. As part of the IAF program, en dach of the artists featured in the pages will give a public performance or viewing of their work. I will be presenting in August, with fellow Delaware writer Russell Reece. Our literary reading will be at the John  Dickinson Plantation in Dover, on August 24. We will read and share a colonial craft and tour of the plantation. We hope this reading at an historical site will be the start of a literary series set at places important to our state’s history.

Posted in Delaware interest, grants

Individual Artist Fellowship announcement

I am thrilled to be the recipient of an  Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts for 2013. Seventeen artist grants were awarded throughout the state this year. The State of Delaware’s news release is below.

One part of the fellowship year requirements is a public performance of work. My grant project in Literature-Creative Nonfiction will focus on the places I have lived and how each place influenced me as a writer. I look forward to working and sharing this project in 2013.

Seventeen Delaware Artists Receive Fellowship Grants

The Delaware Division of the Arts has announced the Fiscal Year 2013 winners of its Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) grants. Seventeen individual Delaware artists are being recognized for the high quality of their artwork in the visual arts, literature, music, jazz performance, choreography, and folk arts. Artists were selected from towns throughout the state including Bear, Dover, Harbeson, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Milton, Newark, and Wilmington. Their work ranged from photography and sculpture to playwriting and choreography.

The work of 85 applicants was judged by arts professionals from around the country. Through the IAF grants, the artists’ achievements are affirmed, helping provide the recognition and exposure that artists need to successfully promote their work. The artists receive a financial award—$3,000 for the Emerging category and $6,000 for the Established category—allowing them to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials, or fulfill other needs that allow them to advance their careers. The public will have an opportunity to see the varied artwork by these artists as they are required to have a public exhibit or performance showcasing their work in the upcoming year.

Listed below are the Delaware Division of the Arts 2013 Individual Artist Fellows. Contact information for the artists may be obtained by calling Kristin Pleasanton, the Division’s Art and Artist Services Coordinator, at (302) 577-8284 in Wilmington or (302) 736-7436 in Dover.

2013 INDIVIDUAL ARTIST FELLOWS

Established Professional ($6,000 award)
Name Community Artistic Discipline
Linda Blaskey Lincoln Literature: Poetry
Anne Colwell Milton Literature: Fiction
Scott Davidson Wilmington Jazz: Solo Performance
Ann Jenkins Milford Folk Art: Visual
Ramona Long Newark Literature: Creative Nonfiction
George Lorio Dover Visual Arts: Sculpture
Augustine Mercante Wilmington Music: Solo Recital
Aina Nergaard-Nammack Lewes Visual Arts: Painting
Karin Snoots Harbeson Visual Arts: Painting

 

Emerging Professional ($3,000 award)
Name Community Artistic Discipline
Alex Buckner Wilmington Choreography
Teresa Clifton Milford Literature: Fiction
Knicoma Frederick Wilmington Folk Art: Visual
Jerry Gordon Wilmington Visual Arts: Painting
Andre Jones Wilmington Literature: Playwriting
Michele McCann Newark Folk Art: Music
Marjorie Weber Lewes Literature: Creative Nonfiction
William Wolff Bear Visual Arts: Photography

 

Honorable Mentions
Name Community Artistic Discipline
Thomas Del Porte Wilmington Visual Arts: Painting
Dennis Lawson Newark Literature: Fiction
Georgia Leonhart Rehoboth Beach Literature: Creative Nonfiction
Robyn Phillips-Pendleton Newark Visual Arts: Painting
Russell Reece Bethel Literature: Fiction
Vanessa Simon Magnolia Visual Arts: Photography
Michele Xiques Milford Choreography

The next deadline for Individual Artist Fellowships applications is August 1, 2013.

The Delaware Division of the Arts is an agency of the State of Delaware. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support artists and arts organizations, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. Funding for Division programs is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware State Legislature, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Posted in Delaware interest

A Position of Trust, Again

RamonaGravitarIn early August, a 15-page handwritten letter was sent from Earl Bradley to the justices of the Delaware State Supreme Court. The letter was Bradley’s pitch on why the justices should reconsider his case.

If the name Earl Bradley doesn’t ring a bell with you, here’s a reminder: Bradley is the worst pedophile in American history. He was convicted of raping, assaulting and molesting 85 girls and 1 boy, over more than a decade. The average age of his victims was three.

Yes, you read that correctly: age 3. How did he have access to so many very young children, for so long? He was their pediatrician.

In sending the letter mentioned above, Bradley bypassed his attorneys. This was his first communication since his conviction in June 0f 2011. By sending the letter, Bradley “broke his silence.”

Silence and rape are hellish partners, aren’t they? Of course, it’s hard to cry foul when you are only three. Often, all a three-year-old can do is cry.

I don’t often recycle posts, but below is one I wrote as a guest blogger at The Working Stiffs. It appeared after Bradley’s one-day trial, but before the judge delivered a sentence. The sentence turned out to be 14 life terms in prison, plus 164 years. A lot of people think he got off easy.

I’m revisiting this sad and painful story because in his letter, Bradley expresses his outrage about the “assaults” on his personal privacy, and requests his conviction be overturned. The thought that this might happen, even conceivably, is chilling. But this is our legal system, which I respect. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to be silent about my disgust with him.

Original post below, from July 15, 2011:

WARNING: This post contains graphic descriptions of child abuse, including rape.

Dr. Earl Bradley was an odd guy. His BayBees Pediatric clinic near Lewes, Delaware was known for its unusual décor: a real merry-go-round and small Ferris wheel in the yard, with a life-sized Buzz Lightyear nearby. The clinic’s VW bug was painted like a bee with black and yellow stripes. Inside, walls displayed posters of TV characters and shelves full of toys. One room held a small movie theater where Dr. Bradley showed Disney films.

This was not your typical pediatrician’s office.

But it’s not against the law to be peculiar. For all his eccentricities, Bradley had a thriving practice. He seemed to love his little patients—so much so that he lavished kisses on them. He didn’t rush appointments—he sometimes spent a half hour, alone, with a child. He took little girls to a toy room to be rewarded with “princess dolls” and candy. If a child had an allergic reaction to an inoculation, he provided red Popsicles to soothe swollen lips. He gave up his weekends for three-day series of shots to treat ear infections.

And if children cried after an exam, well, sick children cry. Shots hurt. His patients were too young to explain their tears and fears, so parents did what parents do. They trusted their child’s doctor. A doctor, like a priest or a teacher or a camp counselor, operates in a position of trust. Plus, if there was anything untoward about Dr. Earl Bradley, there were licensing boards and medical review teams and police to catch that. Right?

Being odd is not illegal, but it is illegal to abuse children. Eighteen months ago, after a year-long investigation that began when a toddler told her mother that Bradley touched her “in the basement and it hurt,” Delaware State Police troopers went to BayBees Pediatrics with an arrest warrant. It listed multiple counts of sexual exploitation against Dr. Earl Bradley. In a search of the property, homemade videos that showed 13 hours, 35 minutes and 6 seconds of criminal sexual activity performed by the doctor on his patients were discovered.

Over 100 children appeared on the tapes. The average victim was three years old. All but one were girls. During the videoed assaults, little girls turned “ashen gray” while being orally raped to the point of suffocation, after which their attacker—a trained, licensed and certified medical professional—performed CPR to revive them. Footage showed children in diapers screaming as they tried to escape.

The arrest date was December 8, 2009. A news photo shows a handcuffed Dr. Earl Bradley wearing a jacket with Mickey Mouse embroidered on it.

Since the arrest, Delawareans have reeled in disbelief at a horror tale the Brothers Grimm couldn’t fathom in their sickest imaginings. The Popsicles? To disguise lips swollen after forcible oral sex. The three-day series of shots? To allow repeated assaults on the same child. The toy room with the “princess dolls”?  Equipped with cameras so Bradley could record his sadistic acts.

The toys, the movies, the candy, the kisses, the special attention? All meant to “groom” unsuspecting parents, to put them at ease, to show how much he cared about their little tykes. Because Earl Bradley might be an evil, deranged bastard not worthy of the oxygen he sucks into his undeserving lungs, but like many pedophiles, he was also clever and manipulative. He knew that to gain access to his young victims, he had to get past their parents. To do that, he relied on the trust people afford to doctors.

In February of 2010, a grand jury indicted Bradley on more than 470 charges of abuse, rape and sexual exploitation of 103 children. The oldest victim was 14; the youngest three months. 86 victims have been identified. 15 have not.

His trial was held last month. Bradley waived his right to a jury, so a bench trial was held. Only two witnesses called by the prosecution, both Delaware State Troopers. One was detective Thomas Elliott, the lead investigator who authored the search warrant.

The other witness was with the High-Tech Crimes Unit, a veteran computer forensics expert who analyzed the videotapes. Detective Scott Garland viewed 13+ hours of little girls—toddlers, babies–subjected to assaults he described under oath as violent, brutal,  beyond anything he had ever witnessed, scenes nothing in his years investigating sex crimes had prepared him to see. At one point, he testified that he yelled “Let her up!” at his computer as the little girl onscreen was orally raped until she lost consciousness.

I’ve debated about naming Detectives Elliott and Garland. I have because I have to believe that somewhere in this horrifying situation are some good guys.  Some DSP troopers who worked the Bradley case required special counseling. I hope it helped them. The detectives deserve recognition for doing a job I, and most people reading this, could never want or perform.

The trial lasted one day. Bradley was founded guilty on 24 counts of rape, assault and sexual exploitation of a child. His sentencing is pending.

At the trial, the defense didn’t put up a case. Why? Because there is an issue with the execution of the search warrant that uncovered the video tapes. An appeal is expected. If the video evidence is thrown out, it is unlikely that his victims can provide reliable testimony. Children don’t make good witnesses. In this case, some of the victims were not only too young to be considered reliable, some were still too young to talk.

But the children aren’t the only victims in the Bradley case, and the complaint that result in his arrest wasn’t the first. Since 1994, when he worked at a Philadelphia hospital, complaints were made to hospitals, to police, to state medical boards against Earl Bradley, by parents, nurses, doctors, even his sister and officer manager, about inappropriate touching, videotaping of patients, prolonged or unnecessary vaginal exams. He was investigated more than once, but there was never sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant. Now, Delaware’s governor has called for an independent review of the various police, medical and legal bodies involved in the Bradley case. In February, the state medical board permanently revoked his medical license.

In a few weeks, after reviewing testimony and the videotapes, the judge will deliver a sentence. I pity that judge, just like I pity the state troopers, and as I pity the victims’ parents, whose nightmares I can’t begin to imagine. Most of all, I pity the tiny little children whose youth might, hopefully, spare them remembering what happened to them at the hands of a monster.

But pity doesn’t stop crime. Earl Bradley has been called the worst pedophile in American history, but few people outside of Delaware know about him. Some people here want it that way. People who got angry at constant news coverage. People who believe it makes the area look bad. People who find talk of child rape distasteful.  People who want to heal and put all this ugliness behind them. People who don’t want to believe that someone who is educated and with an important job, could ever do such horrible things to an innocent child.

On the other side are people like me, who think that stories about monsters who hurt children should be shouted from the rooftops. A pedophile wants you to be in denial. A pedophile wants you to believe he can’t live in your pretty little town. If you don’t believe it can happen to you, to your child, in your town, by a person in a position of trust, all the better for the pedophile.