Monday, May 26, 2014

First Book by Local Writer Contains Essays about Love

Every generation has its John Cusack with a boombox; this is ours and he is holding up a pen. 

Never Lend A Book You Love To Someone You Only Like is a brutally honest collection of short essays about love by Garrett M. Carlson.

A Manassas resident, local English teacher, and member of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, Carlson writes about love, romance, heartbreak, growing up, and growing old.

He read several of his essays at Arts Alive! at the Hylton Performing Arts Center on May 3. He also has performed open mic readings at Deja Brew Coffee House in Haymarket in good company with Piedmont Writers and published authors Robert Scott, and Milton Johns.

The public book release party for Never Lend A Book You Love To Someone You Only Like (This Charming Writer Publishing, May 2014, 170 pages) is being held at Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant, 15120 Washington Street, Haymarket on Saturday, May 31 from 7 pm to 11 pm and is open to the public. The book is $15.00, and Garrett M. Carlson will be signing copies.

Mixing witty banter with earnest prose, Carlson captures the sights and sounds of being a transcendent twenty-something in a dating world he just doesn’t quite navigate clearly yet. Never Lend A Book You Love To Someone You Only Like is inspired by love, British pop music, and an excruciating search for the elusive “one.” This collection is for those who dream of the impossible while experiencing the spark of an unrelenting first kiss, the heart palpitations of a traumatic breakup and the general awfulness of attempting to date in the 21st century.

Garrett M. Carlson is a transplanted Virginian originally from an island in Western New York. He was raised on a “healthy” diet of buffalo wings, pizza, and losing sports teams, and fostered his art while writing columns for the University of Buffalo student newspaper, The Spectrum. He has had several pieces published online at, and His love for love, the alternative rock band Brand New, and pushing the boundaries of self-realization fuel his writing. He combines brutal honesty and observational humor with his hopelessly romantic paradigm. 

If you can’t make the book release party for Garrett Carlson’s Never Lend A Book You Love To Someone You Only Like at Giuseppe's Italian Restaurant on May 31, robots are fetching Carlson’s book for customers at around the clock. To contact the author, visit his website at

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Poem for WbtR VP Dan Verner

At Grounds Central Station

"Don't get pulled over!"
she chides,
worries his man-purse
("murse" is what he calls it)
will put him behind bars
with real criminals.

It's the contents that do it,
the shrieking-yellow duct tape,
the hanger twisted into an 8,
the vice grips, the plug adapter,
the liquid cement in a tube.

She's concerned the cops will ignore
the three dry erase markers,
the dozen or so capped pens,
the stack of postcards advertising
Manassas Chorale's next performance,
the illustrated bookmarks
with the cover of his book,
then the actual softcover,
his name imposed
across a World War II B-17,
title in the clouds:
On Wings of the Morning.

He's just a seasoned soldier,
always prepared,
a writer on the go,
author of many voices,
lives to live and advice.

"Stay out of trouble,"
he says, slips the murse
across his shoulder,
dons his white fedora,
opens the door,
steps into a sudden
ray of sun. 

Katherine M. Gotthardt

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Haiku by Leigh Giza


You may disconnect
Your phone, but that won't stop me
From calling you out.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dennis Fargo to Speak at Write by the Rails Meeting May 15

Writer Dennis Fargo will be the speaker at the monthly meeting of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club, at 7 pm on Thursday, May 15 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 9325 West Street, Manassas.  Mr. Fargo served in five submarines during the heart of the Cold War, 1964-1991. His experiences included service as a Navy SCUBA diver, nuclear propulsion plant operator, strategic weapons officer, and attack submarine Commanding Officer. Mr. Fargo will relate two or three "sea stories" about submarine life.  

On the Agenda

Prince William Poet Laureate – The selection panel announcement at Bistro L’Hermitage, with special guest Sofia Starnes, Poet Laureate of Virginia, was covered by Prince William Living magazine, and El Imparcial newspaper; nominations closed May 10 and June Forte will give an update on the selection process at the May 15 meeting. SAVE THE DATE: June 14 announcement of the first Prince William Poet Laureate will take place at Tackett’s Mill Lakeside with these special features:
Family Arts Festival presented by Edgemoor Art Studio 12pm - 4pm June 14 
Bring the entire family out for a fun-filled afternoon of family friendly activities. Join local merchants, food vendors and beer/wine garden while enjoying the beauty of Tackett's Mill Lakeside.
·         Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting of Edgemoor Art Studio 12:05pm
·         Live music entertainment 
·         Kids craft artwork workshops and face painting.
·         Basketball shooting challenge
·         Tackett's Mill Lakeside professional photo booth

Poetry & Jazz on the Lake: Prince William County Poet Laureate 3pm - 6pm June 14 
Hosted by: Guy Lambert WPGC Radio        Featuring Live Music
Join us for an evening of poetry, community and jazz on the lake. Celebrating the selection of Prince William County's Poet Laureate, Poetry & Jazz On The Lake is our celebration of the arts community to recognize talented poets in our area.
·         Live poetry readings accompanied by the sounds of professional jazz.
·         Book signings from local authors
·         Meet exhibitors from local businesses and organizations
·         Tackett's Mill Lakeside professional photo booth
·         Plenty of food, wine and beer to pair with the beautiful atmosphere of Tackett's Mill Center

Community Partnerships.  Write by the Rails is now a member of both the Inter-Service Club Council of Greater Manassas and the Prince William Chamber of Commerce We hope to increase our visibility and mutually benefit from these community partnerships by taking an active role in each.

ARTS ALIVE! at the Hylton Performing Arts Center - thank you to those writers who participated at the book tables, readings and workshops on May 3: Cindy Brookshire, Ellen Butler, Garrett Carlson, John DeDakis, Joe Geraci and his wife Terry, Leigh Giza, Katherine Gotthardt, Marv Josaitis, Stacia Kelly and Nick Kelly, Nancy Kyme, Belinda Miller and her husband Gary, Ron Rauss, Jan Rayl, Tamela Ritter, Janda Sample, Stuart Schadt and Dan Verner.

Advanced Title and Settlements has awarded Write by the Rails $928.60 through their “Advance Your Community Giveback Campaign.”  Our chapter was one of 15 local not-for-profits competing for votes in the campaign. In addition to the funds raised, has agreed to donate 30 consecutive days of complimentary banner advertising on the website’s sidebar to each of the non-profit organizations who participated in the event. The offer amounts to a $300 value to each of the organizations involved.

Next Rising Young Writers Workshop: Thank you! An anonymous donor has given $500 to Write by the Rails for the next Rising Young Writers Workshop. A committee of at least 10 writers is in the process of forming to plan that workshop in 2014-2015.

Virginia Writers Club Symposium is Aug. 2. Early bird registration to the Fourth Annual Symposium, Navigating Your Writing Life: Finding Your Way is open for all active Virginia Writers Club members. The Symposium will be held on Saturday, August 2, 8:30am to 3:30pm at The Dickinson Fine & Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville. The keynote speaker is Kathryn Erskine, author of Mockingbird, the winner of the 2010 National Book Award. Symposium participants will find presentations and panels including how to format an i-book; publishing and marketing your work; getting feedback; craft sessions on poetry, the short story, young adult fiction, mysteries and thrillers, and non-fiction; and memoirs and journaling. Early bird registration extends to June 15. The fee is $60, with lunch included. After June 16, the fee rises to $75. Please go to the home page on the website and follow the links to the registration form. Click on Early Bird Special and enter G4SFPFAQ. Don't miss out on the discount. We look forward to seeing you at the Symposium.  If you have any questions, please contact Sara Robinson, Symposium chair, or Betsy Ashton, president. (Note, Write by the Rails doesn’t charge chapter dues, but to be a member of the Virginia Writers Club, you need to go to the website and join ($15 for the first year) at  Our bylaws state that in order to be a chapter, at least five of our chapter members must be VWC members, and we meet that requirement.)
Lunch and Learn in Occoquan. Writer Elizabeth Marine is interested in organizing a “Lunch and Learn” in Occoquan at Rockledge Mansion with box lunches by Georgetown Caterers sometime this summer. If you are interested in helping Elizabeth organize this venture, which will require a fee to participate, please send an email to with “Lunch and Learn in Occoquan” in the message line.

Write by the Rails: A Poem by Steven Dorsey

I decided one day to see if I could
write right right by rails,
so I set a up lawn chair
right by the rails
and commenced writing
only to find that the distraction of
hundreds of tons of blurred freight train
whipping by within feet of my writing spot
was causing me to write wrong right by the rails–
I should have known better than trying to
write right right by the rails, right?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Sheyna Burt, PWC Arts Council, on Arts Alive 2014

Arts Alive 2014 was a roaring success; I am so proud of this extraordinary collaboration between the Prince William County Arts Council and the Hylton Performing Arts Center.  

This year’s Festival had more than thirty performances on four different stages, literary and craft workshops, jazz and tango Masterclasses, fine art displays from local artists and participants in Action in Community Through Service, an open air market, plenty of art creation opportunities for kids, and gorgeous weather.  We ended the day with an exciting performance featuring the Donna Brown Jazz Trio and QuinTango, both accompanied by the Arts Alive Orchestra – it was impossible for the audience to avoid some serious chair dancing!  The Arts Alive Festival is about bringing the community together and we look forward to doing it even bigger and better next year on May 2, 2015.  

For those who can’t wait that long for their next dose of Prince William County culture, we invite everyone to join the Arts Council at Tackett’s Mill from 3:00 – 6:00 PM on June 14, 2014, for the presentation of the Commonwealth’s first ever County Poet Laureate.  

For more information about the Prince William County Arts Council and the upcoming events of it and its members, we encourage everyone to visit