Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Author and captain,Don Kilpela and
his wife Betty in Copper Harbor, Michigan.

Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

It's been nearly five weeks since my last blog entry.  Several readers expressed concern for my health (I'm fine) and other were just curious as to "What gives?"

Busy with things, is my best answer…tours; trips on the Karfi; scraping and painting; getting my motorcycle back in order after a flat rear tire when riding below the hill, near Bethel Church; family gatherings; presentations and readings; selling a few books... and all of the activities typical in summer.

Hey, I'm retired!  I'll do what is necessary only for so long!

But having first vented, with this blog I'd like to highlight the upcoming Washington Island Literary Festival, of which I've become both a supporter and an active committee member (co-chair this year).  We have a fine slate of authors who will develop this year's theme in poetry, fiction and non-fiction:

I've placed a photo of friends Don and Betty Kilpela at the head of this blog, mostly because I think it's a handsome photo of one of the featured authors and his wife.   I took this on their Copper Harbor pier in front of Betty's shop a few years back, when Mary Jo and I were starting our 'round Lake Superior motorcycle trip.

Don has been primarily a commercial passenger vessel owner & operator with a file full of humorous events and customer comments concerning their 60-mile, open water trip between Copper Harbor and Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior.  I believe it's the longest off-shore small domestic passenger vessel trip in the U. S.  (If I'm wrong here, please correct me!)  But he's also an excellent writer, as well as dabbler in several business ventures during his lifetime.

Don had the itch to buy an oil tanker in the Caribbean years ago, and the impact of multiple, sometimes seemingly unavoidable, decisions on his family's future are clearly and unabashedly outlined in his book: "So You Want To Own An Oil Tanker."  Don's example shows show far chutzpah and self-confidence can take you, but it resulted in a nearly disastrous outcome for his family and their financial future.   It was his ability to resolve his mistakes, and even the events that happened beyond his control, that make this memoir a good guide for anyone with an impulsive itch to change their life's direction.

But Don Kilpela is just one of many fine authors who will join with readers and fellow writers at this third Washington Island Literary Festival.   For the full program and registration information, go to

Click on the Literary Festival link highlighted in blue.

Featured author this year is Hampton Sides, who is also an editor for Outdoor Magazine.  We're most excited to welcome Hampton to the TPAC stage.   Hampton wrote, In The Kingdom of Ice, a gripping story of Arctic exploration at a time in the 1800s when at least a few significant scholars believed there was a warm Arctic sea inside a ring of icebergs.   With this misinformation as their beginning point, explorers, who we today believe should have intuitively known better, set off for one of the globe's few remaining unexplored locations.   Hampton will present his book along with audio/visual on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19th.

Workshops, too!

Registrants who are also poets and writers may find one of four workshops offered Friday Sept. 18 to be of interest.  An additional workshop fee is made based upon the length of each offering.

The reason for underscoring workshop registration here is that several workshop leaders offer the opportunity to review work submitted in advance for evaluation.   Information concerning those workshops follows:

The Washington Island Literary Festival:  Workshops, 2015

The Washington Island Literary Festival, now in its third year, will offer four writing/poetry workshops on Friday, September 18, in addition to the Sep. 19 & 20 weekend presentations by noted authors.

Participants can register now for these workshops by going online at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center (TPAC) website.   Workshop descriptions and times, along with associated fees, are as follows.  (Registrants will be informed of locations on the Island Festival sites prior to Sep. 18, 2015)

Five Rivers:  Life Writing Made Easy (Sept. 18, 10:30-12:30) – Anne-Marie Oomen
This workshop is for anyone who wishes to explore the past. Using their five senses, Anne-Marie will guide participants through a clear and simple approach to writing a life story, and development of structure for memoir.  For all ages, all walks of life.  Participants are encouraged to bring pens, notebooks, and laptops (if they wish) to  embark on life writing.   Workshop fee:   $45

Discovering Your Inner Poet (Sep. 18, 10:30-12:30) – Poet Alice D’Alessio
This workshop is for beginner and intermediate writers.  Alice will lead discussions of water and woods as sources of inspiration, what makes a poem, what provides inspiration, and how poems differ from prose.   Write a few lines or a complete  poem, inspired by your surroundings.  Learn about special touches to lift your poem above the ordinary.  Bring along several of your poems, if you wish, for critique and editing.   Workshop fee:  $45

Fiction Workshop:  Share Your Story, and Improve Your Craft with Tools that Work (Sep. 18, 1:30-4:30) – Fiction Writer Elizabeth Sachs
Have you ever wondered, “How could this story work better?”  Fiction doesn’t just happen; it’s also shaped, with strategies anyone can learn, apply, and improve.  In this forum, participants will submit work in advance, and read work of fellow workshop members sent to them.  Then, in a directed workshop, all members will learn strategies applied to their own, particular situations.  Dr. Elizabeth Sachs is a published, agented author, and a professor of creative writing and literature.  Target date for submission of work in advance is 20 August, but later-coming work is also welcome.  Contact Elizabeth Sachs ( for further details.  Workshop fee:   $60

Poetry Workshop:  Share your Poetry, and Improve Your Craft with Tools that Work (Sep. 18, 1:30-4:30) – Poet Rebekah Keaton
Craft tools can easily be applied to poetry, to improve its impact dramatically.  Dr. Keaton, a professor of poetry and literature, has published work in numerous literary journals and is a Pushcart Prize nominee.  Participants are encouraged to submit 3-5 poems in advance, which will be mailed to the whole group, for workshop attention applied to your work in particular.  Target date for submission of work in advance is 20 August, but later-coming work is also acceptable.  Contact Rebekah Keaton ( for further details. Workshop fee:  $60

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We hope to see many of you here for the Island Literary Festival.  It's great fun, and also a good learning experience, in addition to the opportunity to meet and visit with notable authors and poets.

Please consider your registration today!     -  Dick Purinton