December 8, 2013

As winter and darkness descend, a blast of summer short stories

A new collection stems from a group of paintings.

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

What better time to celebrate summer than the cold, waning days of fall?

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“Hay Day”

Courtesy images

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“Pulling Weeds”

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‘Summer Stories’ celebrationS

WHERE: Couleur Collection, 240 U.S. Route 1, Falmouth

WHEN: 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Camden Public Library

WHEN: 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Ellsworth Public Library

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday

Brunswick-based Shanti Arts Publishing commemorates the release of its book “Summer Stories,” a collection of summer paintings by Portland painter Leslie Anderson and short stories by Maine writers inspired by those paintings. They will gather at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Falmouth gallery Couleur Collection.

“It’s interesting, when you read these stories it feels like a very Maine book,” said Shanti Arts publisher Christine Cote. “There are stories about the independence, the dedication and the perseverance of Mainers. There are stories about happiness and joy, but there is also a lot of torment and pain in these stories.”

The short stories in the book came from a writing contest sponsored by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. The alliance’s executive director, Joshua Bodwell, put out a call for entries, asking writers to respond to one in a series of summer-themed paintings by Anderson.

Waterville writer Ron Currie Jr. judged the entries.

Authors whose stories were chosen for the book include Mary Lou Bagley, Nancy L. Brown, Meredith Nash Fossel, Claire Guyton, Kathryn Hall, David Karraker, Catherine J. S. Lee, Laura Levenson, John B. Nichols, and Anna Noyes.

Most of the writers and Anderson will attend Sunday’s event.

In her paintings, Anderson attempts to capture the rhythm of summer in Maine. She shows fishermen hauling buckets, families playing on the water, ice cream cones changing hands, gardeners pulling weeds and people dancing in the streets.

The stories run the gamut, from the anguish of selling sacred family land on the coast to conjuring the aroma of freshly cut hay in a central Maine field.

Anderson approached Cote with the idea, after a writer-friend of hers in Australia began writing short stories based on her paintings.

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“Morton’s Moo”

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