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Local Talent Shines in New Book “Tahoe Blues”

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Who are the writers?

Teachers, journalists, ski instructors, college students, poets, photographers, a digital artist,  an astronomer, a house painter, old timers, young timers, residents, and used-to-be residents, all with an appreciation of Tahoe and all with a passion for dabbling fully, or dabbling lightly, in the written word. A number of Moonshine Ink editors and contributors are also featured: Tim Hauserman, Lis Korb, Melissa Siig, and Laura Read.

Editor’s note: An essay by the author is included in “Tahoe Blues.”

“The cold shocked. Every inch of skin shrank, crawled inside. My mind locked for a moment — stunned by the frigid slice of flesh into lake — then slipped into gear. Jobs laid out by years of racing in chlorinated pools kicked in. My thighs pumped. I tucked my head, dove deeper, arms and legs extended, then burst into strokes that shot me forward, turned my body to the test. I was a missile — impervious, invisible.”  
~ From “Baptism” by Janice Wilson Stridick

It’s no secret that Tahoe’s got talent. Painters and photographers, potters and carpenters have proved over many years their profound artistic abilities. Now, in a recently released publication created by Bona Fide Books of South Lake Tahoe, local writers show off their creative flair. In “Tahoe Blues: Short Lit on Life at the Lake,” 60 writers craft “a literary mosaic of life at Lake Tahoe” in a mini-me version of essay writing called “flash fiction” and “micro-essays” (nonfiction); the word count for each story was limited to 500 words or less. Publisher Kim Wyatt reflects in the introduction on Tahoe as one community, the book affirming, “that we are not a bunch of separate hamlets, disconnected, but that we are one people magnetized by a big, blue body of water.”

One would expect to see in a book about Tahoe, essays centered on skiing, hiking, backpacking, fishing, swimming, anything sports related, and ”Tahoe Blues” delivers. For example, an author likens each stage of waxing skis to people and events in her life. Another contributor describes each layer of Tahoe as she submerges into it. Also included are some not-so-conventional stories, such as one writer’s encounter with a ghost, another who finds himself fishing with Charo (the 1970s sexy flamenco guitarist), and a letter shared by a contributor’s father who wrote on the inclement weather at Tahoe…in 1938! Of course, no Tahoe book would be complete without dog stories, bear stories, falling in love at Tahoe or falling in love with Tahoe. But who wouldn’t fall in love with Tahoe?

I bought a stack of the small book, brilliantly divided into chapters named for different shades of blue: cerulean, cobalt, slate, and other azure hues, to give as gifts to friends and family. What could be more perfect to set on a coffee table, give your grandma who spent summers here, or a friend who is leaving town? At 5 x 7 inches (the size of my hand), the small book is perfect for stuffing into a medium size purse, in a backpack, pocket, iPad, or laptop case. And because each essay takes up only one to two pages, “Tahoe Blues” can be read anywhere. As the back cover suggests, it’s “short enough to read on the lift or in line for a latte.”

Hot off the press, “Tahoe Blues” is available at Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks and Bespoke in Truckee, Gaia-Licious in South Lake Tahoe, Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, Bona Fide Books in Meyers (they promise speedy delivery!), and Amazon.com.

~ Comment on this column below.

 
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October 12, 2017