Tag-Archive for » Ben Cheever «

Down with Humility!

I stopped.  I listened.   I  listened again.  Must have been 25 years ago. Janet and I lived then in a house with a front door that was protected by little roof that jutted out and gave you a place to leave your umbrella, assuming you had an umbrella. The picture that emerges in my mind today  includes the roof, which was shingled.

But I could be wrong about the details.  Memory changes what I remember.

The way I remember it, though, there was the smell of fresh-cut grass.  I  had just come in from cutting the lawn when G.K. Chesterton nailed me. In those high and far off times, I ran rented audio books on cassette through a Sony Walkman.  Books on Tape was the largest provider, a company since purchased and dismembered by Random House. There was a set piece that I could once recite as I have never been able to recite the Apostles Creed.

If the cassette jammed,  I was to take it out of the machine and “slap it smartly against a hard flat surface.”

But enough of the  setting.   Chesterton  articulated an idea that I have been feeding on ever since. So I stood there and played it again.  And played it again.

I’m not at all sure that knowledge is power, but knowledge can certainly be a relief.   Since then I’ve read the book. And read it again.    Read more »


Recommended by the Factory Workers

Each month Westchester magazine runs a short feature called “5 Favorite…,” where editor Laurie Yarnell taps an expert to share his or her list of 5 Favorite Things on a topic.
The October issue features Factory Worker Warren Berger recommending his “5 Favorite Books on Creativity.” Over the past few years, four other Marmaduke authors have been featured touting their Top 5s. Since you might have missed them, we’re sharing the five lists with you in the links below. Enjoy!

Pet Tales: A public reading about pets

Taking our cue from the March 2011 edition of Westchester Magazine featuring “The Ultimate Pet Guide,” the Marmaduke Writing Factory is going to the dogs (and cats, rabbits, and horses). Our next literary event, on Tuesday, March 29, at 7 pm, will feature a number of readings about the presence of animals in our lives—the good, the bad, and the messy. Be prepared for lots of laughs and tears at the historic Marmaduke Forster House in Pleasantville.
Buford & Bubba in Virginia   Cheever w/Hotcakes and Oodle  Tanner & Warren Berger
(Note: Some of our furry friends may be in attendance at this event!)
Factory Workers Ben Cheever and Kate Buford will read from their Westchester Magazine “Pet Prose” essays, and will be joined by in readings by a number of other Factory Workers, along with special guest Laurie Yarnell, of Westchester Magazine. It won’t all be original new works. Look for readings from the works of such vaunted literary lights and animal lovers as Rudyard Kipling, James Thurber, Jack London, John Updike, James Wright, Rebecca Skloot, and more.
On sale at the event will be Ben Cheever’s recently published illustrated book called The First Dog, all about Adam and Eve and their dog, in the Garden of Eden. This delightful book, along with Factory Workers’ other books, will be available for purchase and signing, thanks to The Village Bookstore of Pleasantville.
Other notes about this event:
* Special giveaway: Free issues of the March “Pets” edition of Westchester Magazine, courtesy of the magazine.
* Children are welcome.
* Wine and soft drinks will be served.

(By the way, we’d love to find out from visitors to the site: What’s your favorite animal-related book, poem, or essay? Just submit it below in the Comments section following this article.)


Westchester Arts Award to Cheever

The news is out: one of our own, Ben Cheever, is an award winner.
ArtsWestchester has announced their 2011 Arts Awards and singled out Ben for his “outstanding contributions to the cultural life of Westchester County.” The announcement mentions his co-founding of the Marmaduke Writing Factory in his long list of creative credits.
Other past Artists of the Year include including Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Frances Sternhagen, and poet laureate Billy Collins.
More than 500 Westchester residents attend the Arts Award luncheon each spring, coming together in a celebration of the arts and the many “shining stars” of Westchester. This year's event in Tarrytown on April 6 also honors The Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck and a number of other outstanding organizations concerned with the arts. If you’re interested in attending, visit http://www.artswestchester.org for information about the event and tickets.

The second Marmaduke event is history

The panel of writers

The second public event at the Marmaduke Writing Factory, “Historical Fiction: Bringing the Past to Life,” took place on Tuesday night in between snowstorms. More than 40 people turned out to listen as Gary Sledge, Joe Wallace, Warren Berger, and Esmeralda Santiago, moderated by Ben Cheever, shared their experiences around the challenges of writing fiction about long-ago people, places, and events. Thanks to all the audience members for braving the cold weather and asking such great questions during the session. The panel discussion was followed by book signings/sales hosted by The Village Bookstore.

We videotaped the first hour of the lively panel; click here to see an edited 7 minutes from it.



Ben Cheever’s “The First Dog” book event

Ben Cheever's First Dog EventOn Friday, January 21, 7:30 pm at the Chappaqua Library, author Ben Cheever, illustrator and musician Tim Grajek, and voice actor Alan Sklar will present a unique book talk about Adam and Eve and the first dog. Turns out the first dog knew something important. Book signing and reception to follow. Bring the whole family.

Visit the Chappaqua Library website for more info.


On this TV show, writing is the star (video)

It’s not easy to find a place in today’s media where books are discussed thoughtfully and at length. Newspapers and magazines have cut back coverage of books; and if you’re lucky enough to get on a morning TV show, you can expect your book to be allotted, at best, a few minutes of precious airtime.

But for the past several years, the PCTV show “About Writing,” hosted by the Marmaduke Writing Factory’s Ben Cheever, has been an exception—a place where authors and editors can spend quality time (a full half hour, with no ads) talking about their books and the craft of writing. A number of “Marmadudes” have appeared on the show—including Warren Berger, Mary Murphy, Joe Wallace, Deborah Schupack, Bob Sullivan, Marilyn Johnson, and Ben Cheever himself. Beyond that, the overall list of roughly 50 writers and editors who’ve appeared on the show reads like a “who’s who” list of publishing.

You can see all the interviews at the Pleasantville Community TV website, but be forewarned: If you have an interest in books and the art of writing, this site can be addictive. Kudos to PCTV for supporting this show and to Ben for taking the time and effort to do all of these interviews.

Check out About Writing’s website, and take a look at episodes featuring the following Marmaduke authors:*