The Sapulpa Public Library hosted an Oklahoma author showcase featuring three Sapulpa authors. Librarian Debra Chandler was the master of ceremonies.
The keynote speaker was US Poet Laureate, author, musician and Oklahoma Hall of Fame Inductee, Joy Harjo.
Ms. Harjo introduced herself as Joy Harjo-Sapulpa, explaining that she is married to Owen Sapulpa and gave the audience a brief personal history:
“I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma….I went to public school; one year at Will Rogers (High School) then I left and went to the Institute of American Indian Artists…I applied with my art to get in, that was my track, to be an artist like my grandmother, Naomi Harjo, and my uncles.
The writing thing surprised me although my mother wrote songs…that was my road to poetry…I wound up in one of the first all-native drum and dance troupes then came back here as a teenage mother for a while. I went back to New Mexico and wound up going to the University of New Mexico and that is where I started writing.and hearing native writers; that opened the door. I later went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.”
Ms. Harjo said that when she changed her major many questioned her choice. “All of us natives were going back to school to be helpful to our people. We go into law, education, the medical arts, to be able to bring something back home to help the people. People did not understand that poetry was part of that. Poetry? How are you going to make a living? Poetry took hold, I don’t still understand it, but there was something that came through that I had to take care of. I am not the best person with words…I always sat in the back and never said anything.But I love music, I love poetry and I love stories and story making.”
Ms. Harjo then read a poem from a newly-released book, “Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light, Fifty Poems for Fifty Years.”
The award-winning poet reflected on how she was taught poetry: “We were given these poems by English writers from the last century and asked ‘what does this mean?’ We would sit there, we don’t know. That is really not the best way to approach poetry; just enjoy it. You don’t have to know what ‘muse the darkness’ really means, I am just getting an ear thrill from hearing it.”
The next author was Ken Hada, who is a professor at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma where he directs the annual Scissortail Creative Writing Festival. His work has received the 2022 Oklahoma Book Award, the 2017 SCMLA Poetry Prize, has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac, received the Western Heritage Award, named finalist for the Spur Award and six-time finalist for the Oklahoma Book Awards. In 2017, Ken received the Glenda Carlile Distinguished Service Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
Hada read selections from his latest book, “Contour Feathers.”
Following Mr. Hada was author Marilyn Hudson, who hails from Stroud, Oklahoma. She is an author, historian, and storyteller who has been traveling the twists and turns of what she calls the “story road” for nearly 20 years. She presents original tales, as well as historical and folklore tales, with her own little twists. She is also “The Ghost Teller” specializing in haunted tales of literature, history, and folklore. She has added her own spooky touch to the Overholser Mansion’s annual benefit event, “Scary Tales and Twilight Tours,” and has been featured on a Oklahoma/NewsOK seasonal podcast series of scary tales. Some of her works include “Sooner Saucers,” “Oklahoma UFOs, 1947-1969,” “Oklahoma Bad Girls,” “Murderous Marriages,” and “The Mound,” which is about the Spiro Mounds.
Ms.Hudson started by talk by quipping: “I know that you love poetry because there have been some wonderful ones just this morning- I am not that but I will tell you about ‘Oklahoma Bad Girls’ in the gilded age here in Oklahoma.” She then read an excerpt from the book. Later, she discussed her book “Sooner Saucers.” She informed the audience that sightings she had put in the book and been hidden by the Air Forcer and were not included in Operation Bluebook. She later read passages from the book.
Peggy Doviak, P.H.D. The best selling author, syndicated radio host and Certified Financial Planner spoke next. “My first book is ‘52 Weeks to Prosperity; and the subtitle is ‘What Your Banker, Broker,and Financial Advisor Might Not Tell You.’ ‘My next book, which is due out any minute, is ‘52 Weeks to Wellbeing’. Both books are designed to cover 52 super short topics because nobody wants to sit down and read this, so you read one chapter a week for a year and you are done. I want to start with why I use the word ‘prosperity’. I am a financial planner and you always see the ads, they are always equally awful about ‘work with me and you will get rich.’ It is not realistic, it is not honest, and it is really just often done to get you to work with that person so they can get rich. I have loved the word ‘prosperity’ forever, it doesn’t mean just having money, …being prosperous is having the life that you want to live and sharing with people you love, it’s being able to do those things that bring you joy, and they don’t have to be all expensive. This is a book about money for real people.”
She explained her formula for building an emergency fund. She said most advisors on TV or radio say you need 9 months of money equal to your monthly obligations. She instructed the audience to take that monthly figure and divide by two. She said even if one has only $5 a week to put aside, just do it. “The mistake people make is the guilt that is involved with all that…we tend to think we should save this random number that we make up…be realistic, look at your budget. If it’s $5 a week then it is $5 a week, just do it every single stinking week…you build your emergency fund over time.”
Diane Morrow-Kondos was the next author to speak. She is a Tulsa resident who cares for her brother who has an intellectual disability and has written a book titled, “The Long Road to Happy: A Sister’s Journey Through Her Brother’s Disabilities.”
“This was the book that just had to be written for my sake and hopefully for a lot of other people’s sake also. I really could do it until my parents were gone for several reasons…I really didn’t learn enough about the whole situation until my parents were gone,” said Ms. Morrow-Kondos.
In her book, she writes about the emotional struggle to understand her brother and what a responsibility it was.
The author lamented the disappointment when her sister convinced her to go to a faith healer and nothing happened. She later described the love she has for her brother and what her mother went through taking care of her brother.
The next author, Lonnie Magee, is a longtime area resident who is a saddle maker as well as author of Western novels. Magee describes his path to being an author. “The first book was a dream. I said I would write a book, then started writing at work….five years later…it was done. The problem was that nobody told me when to stop. Then it sat in the closet for three years.”
Magee then explained why he decided to write in the Western genre. “I have sat and listened to my grandfather on my mother’s side whose first job at the age of thirteen was taking care of the Bermuda on the King Ranch. My other grandfather bought and sold horses to the Army. I sat and listened to these two men at Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays,and so forth. I was like a little sponge listening to all of these stories.” Magee stressed that he strove to make the novel historically accurate.
The next author, who came to the U.S. from London, writes using the pseudonyms Jude Bayton and P.J. Fitzsimmons. “I like to write in different genres. I enjoy the Victorian mysteries.” She told the audience her father was in the British army and she lived all over the world. She said her favorite palace was East Africa. Ms. Bayton read excerpts from her book, “The Secret of Jacaranda.”
The next author, Ann Cornelius, who also is a local resident and a member of Friends of the Library discussed her book, “Another Fine Mess: A Laurel and Harting Mystery”. The book derives its name from her friends. Laurel Bailey and Olive Hurting, and is a compilation of vignettes about fictional characters based on her two friends.
The next author was Roy Deering, a middle school English teacher and a lifelong baseball fan and card collector. Before becoming a teacher, he spent more than twenty years as a journalist. When Deering isn’t writing, you can often find him exploring one of America’s national parks.
Mr. Deering discussed his book, “The Day Old Faithful Stopped.” He told the audience as a child he was an avid reader and read all of the Hardy Boy mystery novels. “I remember a hundred years ago when I was a little boy, my grandmother, who thought I must be a great reader, bought me Robinson Crusoe.” Mr. Deering encouraged people to visit national parks. His latest book takes place in Yellowstone National Park. It is based on a biologist and his family who works for the Parks Service and addresses ecological problems. He used his sons’ name in the book.
The next author was Barbara Shepherd, a multi-award-winning writer and artist who has edited several books and authored “River Bend”, “The Potbelly Pig Promise,” “Victuals and Vignettes,” and “Patchwork Skin.”
Ms. Shepherd is a “recipe tester” for TV programs and cookbooks for America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country and has been a field editor for Taste of Home magazines and cookbooks. She is a freelance contributor to other magazines, including Preview, Edmond Outlook, Oklahoma D.O., Oklahoma Woman, Shawnee Shopper, Edmond Life and Leisure, Miller’s Pond, Bella, and ArtBeat. Shepherd’s poems, short stories, and articles have been published in numerous anthologies and online.
Ms. Shepherd read from her book, “Victuals and Vignettes”, a collection of over 250 family recipes and a sampling of original short stories, magazine articles, essays, and poems.
The next author, Laura Drumb, who is a local resident who writes Christian historical romance novels, read from her book, “From Now Until Forever,” which centers around the Kiowa people.
The next author, Mary Coley, a Tulsa resident, whose books have won numerous awards. She is a member of the Tulsa Nightwriters and the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. She read from her latest mystery novel, “Blood On the Mother Road” which takes place in the fictional town of Persimmon, Oklahoma, which is based on Sapulpa.
The last author was Paul Juhasz, a writer and poet who wrote “Author of Fulfillment: Diary of a Warehouse Picker” and “Ronin: Mostly Prose Poems”, which he then read from.