Reading 365 Short Stories in 2013: January Tally = 31

1)   Lily White Boys by William Maxwell

2)   Blood Drive by John Grisham

3) Girl by Jamaica Kincaid

4) Thank You  Ma’am by Langston Hughes

5) The Personal Touch by Chet Williamson

6) A Worn Path by Eudora Welty

7) So Much Water, So Close to Home by Raymond Carver

8) Distance by Raymond Carver

9)  Lifelines by Rita Ciresi

10) Failed Fathers by Lewis Turco

11) First Cousins by Salvatore La Puma

12) Wear it in Good Health by Salvatore La Puma

13) Roman Fever by Edith Wharton

14) A Small, Good Thing, Raymond Carver

15) The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant

16) The Grave by Katherine Anne Porter

17) Mother by Sherwood Anderson

18) Reply to a Dead Man by Walter Mosley

19) Paul’s Case by Willa Cather

20) The Killers by Ernest Hemingway

21) A Very Short Story by Ernest Hemingway

22) Little Frogs in a Ditch by Tim Gatreau

23) The Swimmer by John Cheever

24) Waiting for the Evening News by Tim Gatreaux

25) License to Steal, Tim Gatreaux

26) Returnings, Tim Gatreaux

27) Mercedes Kane, Elizabeth McCracken

28) What We Know About the Lost Aztec Children, Elizabeth McCracken

29) The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin

30) San, Lan Samantha Chang

31) Cerebus Sleeps, B.K. Loren

An Easy-to-Keep Resolution for 2013

Cedar Rapids, Iowa Cultural Professional Rob Cline

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Arts & Culture Professional Rob Cline

Rob Cline, my second guest on “The Studio,” captured my attention by writing an article for The Iowa Source. His title–Reading Resolutions for 2013: Rob’s 365 Short Stories–mesmerized me. Short stories are the genre I most love to read. Bookcases all over my house are stocked with books of short stories I bought during different eras in my life. I’ve read them all, but for years I’ve longed for the time and discipline to sit down and reread them. Many times I’ve thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to read a short story every single day?’ Once I even taught a high school class where that’s exactly what we did; the students and I silently read (then discussed) a different  story–most were short, shorts–during each and every class. The stories the students wrote for that class surpassed many I’d seen from other writing students; could all that reading have made a difference? (Yes, is my guess.)

Well, here it is: day 26 of 2013, and I have Rob Cline to thank for the peaceful half-hour or so I’ve spent each day revisiting texts that feel like old friends from long ago. Right on target, today I finished Story #26 (“Returnings” by Tim Gatreaux). Honestly, I think this is one resolution I’m likely to keep straight on through to December 31st. Did you know June 21st, the longest day of the year, is International Short Story Day? Maybe that day I’ll stage some kind of celebratory read-in for reaching the nearly-half-way-there point.

As it turns out Rob Cline does much more than sit around thinking up fantastic New Year’s resolutions. As a Cedar Rapids Arts and Cultural Professional, he wears a lot of hats and they’re all related to forging meaningful connections between artists and audiences. Rob earned a B.A. and an M.A. in Teaching with an emphasis in English, Philosophy and Secondary English Education at the University of Iowa. Specializing in marketing, writing, editing, and public speaking, he’s currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, the Grants Manager of the Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, and the Series Coordinator for Outloud, the Metro Library Network Author Series.

While maintaining these positions, Robb also somehow managed to write and self-publish a partially autobiographical mystery in 2012. Murder By the Slice features a pizza delivery driver whose hobby of devising rules of peaceful pizza delivery is interrupted by the murder of one of his customers. Tune in to learn more about Rob’s 365 Short Stories project and his many other creative endeavors.

Murder by the Slice by Rob Cline

Murder by the Slice by Rob Cline

Learning to Live Creatively – One Show and One Good Habit At a Time!

On January 7th, 2013 I embarked on a new  adventure: hosting, writing, and producing my own radio show! My show airs on KRUU-LP 100.1 FM. KRUU is a noncommercial, community radio station. Volunteer hosts produce nearly all its programming. I’m thrilled to be a part of this creative community! While its broadcasting power–supplied by solar energy–is low, people all over the world can access its programs via live streaming and the archives on Many friends helped me celebrate the launching of this venture by stopping by the radio studio in the cultural district of Fairfield, Iowa.

Jim & Co

I named my new show “The Studio.” Creative people thrive in studios. My new show is broadcast from a radio studio, and I’m learning things I never thought I could by spending time in this new-to-me kind of studio. Some of the guests I’ll have on “The Studio” work in art studios, fitness studios, music studios, writers’ studios. By coaxing different kinds of creative people out of their usual studios and into KRUU’s radio studio, I hope to broaden my and my listeners’ understanding of what creativity is so we can learn how to slip more of it into our lives. “The Studio” is not just a place to me: it’s also a curious and receptive state of mind.

Jill Farmer, Life Coach

Jill Farmer, Life Coach

The premiere episode of “The Studio” featured Certified Master Life Coach Jill Lingwall Farmer. Jill’s mission in life is teaching fun, open-minded men and women how to overcome their belief that there’s not enough time to get everything done. Jill shared client-tested strategies for streamlining to-do lists so that they reflect our deepest motivations in life and ensure satisfaction and success. A former TV anchor and consumer issues reporter, Jill’s a summa cum laude graduate of Drake University’s School of Journalism. She’s received Emmy Awards and other accolades for excellence in reporting. Her book, “There’s Not Enough Time…And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” was published in 2012. I’ve seen real improvements in my life after putting Jill’s strategies to the test. Piggybacking–grafting new good habits you want to form onto old good habits you’ve previously developed–really works! So do the other strategies Jill shared. Tune in, and give them a try!

Art for poster-1