Monday, July 18, 2016

2nd Payson Book Festival, Saturday July 23, 2016

Arizona authors can take a day trip to Payson to enjoy the second Payson Book Festival on Saturday, July 23, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Rd., Payson. A free, family-friendly event, the Payson Book Festival provides an opportunity to meet 70 Arizona authors including Marshall Trimble, Arizona's Official State Historian, and several members of the Arizona Authors' Association.

Visitors can enjoy writer workshops, music, food and door prizes. Kathy Peach also will offer a story time session. Among presenters are Laura Tohe, Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. 2015 - 2016, Roger Naylor, travel and outdoor writer, and historical novelist Marsha Ward.

Sponsored by Arizona Professional Writers and Gila Community College, the event will include writers speaking about their books and the craft of writing, along with several workshops throughout the day. Proceeds will benefit scholarship funds of both organizations. This literacy event is supported by a grant from Arizona Humanities.

For more information, including a list of authors, visit or their Facebook page. 
For questions, call 928-468-9269
or email:
If anyone wants to volunteer for an hour or two during the event, respond at:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Memoir Tips By John Henderson

The seventeenth-century philosopher, John Locke, suggested that the mind of a newborn child is like a tabula rasa, or blank slate. The image proposed that as children are socialized, their personalities form according to the inscriptions of their life experiences on that slate. By his view we are therefore derivatives of those episodes that make us what we are and whom we are progressively becoming.

Unlike Locke, I have long believed that both nurture and nature are significant in forming human personality. Our genetic inheritance is the loaded gun. Our life experiences represent the social force that pulls the trigger. The moving bullet—the direction one’s life takes—is dependent on both ingredients.

My memoir, Inscriptions, will focus on the social moments. The following is a chapter from that book. My hope is that readers contemplating memoir writing might find it useful.


For a second, we were both frozen in space. A photo of the scene would have shown him hovering over the stench of the pigsty while reaching out toward me with his left arm, his right arm behind him as if trying to prevent a collision with the terrain below—like a grotesque Tinkertoy man in motion, headed for a baptism. The massive white-trimmed red barn, the gray windmill and blotchy white silo, all stood sentry in anticipation. The blue Missouri sky and a few cirrus clouds hovered above.

His feet were on the verge of leaving the step of the pickup truck between the cab and the bed while the rest of his two hundred forty pound body was leaning back, falling from the step toward the muck covering the barn lot under the truck’s tires.

I was standing in the bed, all one hundred sixty pounds of me. Before he slipped, I was prepared to hand him the bucket of corn kernels destined to produce more of the manure he was headed for. I have no doubt my eyes and mouth were wide open as I watched him sploosh into the sty. It was not a pretty sight as his khaki shirt and pants merged with the dark brown muck. I hadn’t reached out to grab his hand.

He hollered and pigs squealed.

He stood and flung the big pieces of dung from his clothing and then wiped the brownish liquid from his head and the rest of his body. He glared at me for the first and only time I can remember throughout the twenty-nine years I knew him.

My father was pissed. He blurted, “Why didn’t you grab me?” I shook my head, picturing his hulk yanking me from the pickup and then me piling on top of him. I wanted to think I had saved him from injury by my indecisiveness. “Really sorry, Dad … It … happened so fast.” He turned away and headed for the nearby water trough. We were both silent on the eight mile trek back home to the shower. The aroma was overpowering.

I had failed him, at that time, the most important person in my life.

John Henderson was born in Hannibal, Missouri and lived for twenty-three years in Monroe City, Missouri--a town of two thousand residents. He attended William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri where he received an AB in sociology. He then served as a sociology teaching assistant at Arizona State University, where he received a M.A.Ed. He did further graduate work in Urban Studies at State University of New York in Brockport, N.Y. He taught sociology and education for thirty-eight years, primarily in the Maricopa Community College District in Phoenix, Arizona. During this period, he served as chairperson of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Division, and was president of the faculty senates at Scottsdale Community College and Paradise Valley Community College. He was twice named an Outstanding Employee at PVCC, in addition to being named an Innovator of the Year. During his classroom tenure he wrote textbook ancillaries for McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Since retiring in 2001, he has written three books including a nonfiction classroom memoir, Attachments: To Those Who Can, and two novels: Silence Is the Killer, about the subject of suicide, and Death in Little Dixie, a mystery involving the urbanization of a rural midwestern community. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona with his wife, Cheryl. Between them, they have four adult children and six grandchildren. Find his books HERE