"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Truckee Arts Alliance interview in The Truckee Turntable: Spring into new collaborations


I was recently interviewed for the Truckee Turntable newsletter. You can read the entire interview and below I have an excerpt.

Did you know that Truckee has been designated as a special cultural district in California, one of just 14 such districts?

A High Sierra District, Truckee boasts world-class scenery and a rugged high alpine location that catalyzes and inspires art and culture.  Truckee’s rich history includes:  the Transcontinental Railroad, the infamous Donner Party, Charlie Chaplin performances, and the 1960 Winter Olympics.  The main features are Truckee’s historic downtown which is home to numerous galleries, workshops and events and Donner Summit which provides numerous trails and vista points highlighting our tremendous historic and cultural heritage.

TCD:  What advice do you have for aspiring writers looking to improve their skill or pursue a career in writing?

TERREY: Here are three tips I keep in mind. First, writers at all levels of experience can find that necessary yet elusive motivation by joining a writing community where they can share their work and goals in a safe environment. Second, even the best writers hire a writing coach or editor to improve the effect of their writing.  Finally, use calls for submissions as deadlines to get work done, but don’t look towards this kind of outside validation for the worth of your writing. I think each of us must nurture a faith that our writing is a worthwhile endeavor in itself.

TCD:  Are there any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?

TERREY: Yes! I just wrapped up a three-part workshop series on how to get published that featured a collaboration with 8 guest authors that was so fun. Participants were able to hear these author stories and ask them questions about their own projects. Right now, I’m working with visual artists Troy Corliss and Sara Smith to offer creative writing as part of their Teen art classes funded by an Upstate California Creative Corps grant. And looking forward, I am coordinating a pop-up poetry event in Truckee as part of the Sierra Poetry Festival and the Nevada County Common Reads program. I’ll be reading poems with June Sylvester Saraceno at the Truckee Library on April 3.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Inspiration found in "Words from a Bear"– a documentary film about Scott Momaday


“I think that we're constantly redefining the human condition. And that is, as far as I can see, the writer's subject. What is it to be human? What is it to be human here and now?”– N Scott Momaday

For this post, I wanted to share some inspirations from Scott Momaday. I'm returning to a film I watched that was presented by the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in early February in Elko, NV. This documentary film is about the life and art of Scott Momaday, titled Words from a Bear.

You can watch it here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyOJIrQvkZY

This film made me cry with its adept handling of beauty and the long obstacles in the life path of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and poet N. Scott Momaday. He is best known for “House Made of Dawn” and a formative voice of the Native American Renaissance in art and literature.

I've been creating pairs of books that when read together shine new light on each other. For the book House Made of Dawn, I would pair the novel Home by Toni Morrison. Try reading these two books back to back and ask yourself what you understand differently in each book because of what the other book tells in story. 

Excerpted from an article in The Guardian 1/29/2024

·       “Scott was an extraordinary person and an extraordinary poet and writer. He was a singular voice in American literature, and it was an honor and a privilege to work with him,” Momaday’s editor, Jennifer Civiletto, said in a statement. “His Kiowa heritage was deeply meaningful to him and he devoted much of his life to celebrating and preserving Native American culture, especially the oral tradition.”

·       House Made of Dawn, published in 1968, tells of a second world war soldier who returns home and struggles to fit back in, a story as old as war itself: in this case, home is a Native community in rural New Mexico. Much of the book was based on Momaday’s childhood in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico, and on his conflicts between the ways of his ancestors and the risks and possibilities of the outside world.

·       “I grew up in both worlds and straddle those worlds even now,” Momaday said in a 2019 PBS documentary. “It has made for confusion and a richness in my life.”

·       Like Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Momaday’s novel was a second world war story that resonated with a generation protesting the Vietnam war. In 1969, Momaday became the first Native American to win the fiction Pulitzer, and his novel helped launch a generation of authors, including Leslie Marmon Silko, James Welch and Louise Erdrich. His other admirers would range from the poet Joy Harjo, the country’s first Native American to be named poet laureate, to the film stars Robert Redford and Jeff Bridges.

·       “He was a kind of literary father for a lot of us,” Harjo told the Associated Press during a telephone interview on Monday. “He showed how potent and powerful language and words were in shaping our very existence.”

Friday, March 15, 2024

Poetry Reading for all ages and Common Reads Event at the Truckee Library April 3, 5-7 pm

Truckee Library invites you to a special event Poetry Reading for all ages to celebrate the Nevada County Reads program and the beginning of National Poetry Month on April 3, 2024 from 5-7 pm.

The Truckee Library Celebration of Gratitude poetry reading will take place on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Truckee Library. The event will feature a poetry reading by June Saraceno and Karen Terrey. Each poet will share poems on the theme of Gratitude and offer a short writing prompts for all levels of experience. 

June Sylvester Saraceno is the author of the novel Feral, North Carolina, 1965, and three poetry collections—The Girl from Yesterday, of Dirt and Tar, and Altars of Ordinary Light. She is director of the low residency MFA program in creative writing at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe.

There will be time for socializing with the poets and a Q&A during the reading. The library will provide light refreshments for all who attend. The event is completely free and everyone from our community is encouraged to attend! Free copies of this year's book are available at all Nevada County Library Branches.

Nevada County Reads is an annual county-wide reading event, during which our entire community is invited to read, discuss, and engage together around a common book. Each year since 2005, the Nevada County Library and Nevada County Superintendent of Schools have joined with community partners to present this opportunity for Nevada County to build a stronger community through shared reading.


Our 2024 Nevada County Reads selection is Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by poet Ross Gay, a collection of poems that explore the beauty and joy of being alive in a world which is tragically affected by the passage of time. This year's NCR period is presented in partnership with the Nevada County Arts Council. A month of poetry celebration will culminate with a free, in-person discussion and audience Q&A with Ross Gay on April 13, 2024 at 5:30PM at the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley as part of the Sierra Poetry Festival.

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. In addition to his poetry, Ross has released three collections of essays—The Book of Delights was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller; Inciting Joy was released in 2022, and his newest collection, The Book of (More) Delights was released in September of 2023.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear some of the finest poets in Nevada County and to celebrate the power of gratitude in our lives. For more information about Nevada County Reads 2024 and other related events, please visit the Nevada County Library website at www.nevadacountyreads.com.