Susan Cooper and the Battle between the Light and the Dark

March 13, 2014, by

RM2_4251Reading The Dark is Rising changed me. I was eleven years old, and I lived in Amarillo, a town known more for its empty vistas, feedyards, and tourist trap steakhouses than for its depth and mystery. In Amarillo—Houstonians, hold onto your seats, please—in Amarillo, it snows. Blizzards, even, slam down from the Rockies and beat the whitening world with a fury that seems like it will never cease. But, no highways shut down, no schools close. Amarilloans go about their merry way, as if they were Minnesotans.

So, being from Amarillo, snow was just snow until I read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising. Afterward, snow was different, and so was everything else. Now, when I looked out at a white world, I sensed intense magic. And, when a frayed net of blackbirds dropped down into an elm, I glimpsed Will Stanton’s rooks, and I remembered, as in The Dark is Rising, that in every moment we are capable of great good and great evil. I remembered that there is a battle going on, and our actions matter.

And, so, it was with a flushed and reckless joy that I awaited the day that Susan Cooper was going to tell us about her new book Ghost Hawk at Inprint’s Cool Brains! reading. The weather that Sunday was gray and ominous, as is the weather in Susan Cooper’s books. As we waited for her to come to the podium, our anticipation of a cold front magnified the anticipation in the auditorium. Continue reading

The Wonder of Wonder

January 16, 2014, by

smallRM2_8185The auditorium was full, but the room was silent. Kids leaned forward in their seats. Parents silenced their phones and raised their chins as R.J. Palacio approached the podium.

Palacio spoke in a friendly, comforting voice, the voice she might use with her two sons. She began with a slide presentation, and one of the first photos she shared showed the ice cream shop where she and her boys encountered the girl who inspired her character August Pullman, or “Auggie.” Palacio began Wonder the same day–on Post-Its. She showed us the first two, and they sounded like Wonder‘s first page. Continue reading

On turning 30

May 10, 2013, by

Just 30 no nameMay 9, 2013, was Inprint’s official 30th birthday! Executive Director Rich Levy shares his thoughts about what Inprint is most proud of, what excites Inprint as it turns 30, and where the organization wants to go.

Thirty years: we are in a state of astonishment. To be honest, when I took this job 18 years ago, it was difficult to believe that the making and consumption of literature were compelling facts on the Houston cultural landscape—even with a great Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston (UH CWP). And we have done what we can to keep that program strong and to help attract some of the nation’s best emerging writers to Houston: since 1983, our fellowships and prizes to UH CWP grad students have exceeded $2.5 million and supported more than 500 of the nation’s top emerging writers.

That is a meaningful legacy for the city. These writers lead our workshops, and teach in schools and colleges and community centers throughout the region, sharing their work and skills everywhere, on stage and in bookstores and bars and coffee shops. There’s no part of the city or surrounding areas that hasn’t been touched by these writers and their work in the community. Continue reading