July & August: Jeff Metcalf, Fiction & Memoir

There was a period of time when writer Jeff Metcalf raced to write his story because he thought he was dying. While going through treatment for prostate cancer and dealing with the insomnia created by experimental drug treatments, he wrote an essay every week. He also wrote a play about the experience that was performed at Boise Contemporary Theater and also at Cinder Wines. Now Mr. Metcalf returns to Boise from his home in Utah as an artist-in-residence at Surel’s Place. While here, he will work on some new writing about survival in both existentialist and absurdist contexts.

According to Ellen Fagg Weist who wrote a profile of Mr. Metcalf for the Salt Lake Tribune in 2014, “storyteller” is one word those that know him use to describe Mr. Metcalf, and “fisherman” is the other When asked to provide photos, he sent several with fish in them, including him holding a fish to his ear like a telephone with the caption “Calling all trout.” This demonstrates another attribute evident in his work: his humor. He actually will be coming to the residency via Stanley, Idaho which is where the first novel he is working on, River of No Return, is set; there he will perhaps find fish in addition to inspiration for this work about a successful author who has lost his way in the celebrity of authorship and uses the mountain town to confront the truth of who he has become.

The second body of work Mr. Metcalf will be working on during his residency is based on his own experience with a traveling carnival. When he was fifteen, he dropped out of school and ran away from home, joining the City of Fun Carnival. What began as an adventure turned into a gritty matter of survival. It is this novel, City of Fun Carnival, that Mr. Metcalf will be reading from at Cinder Wines on August 11th. There will be an opportunity for questions of the author as well.

His workshop on July 15th will introduce participants to an exercise he developed called Dangerous Words and a 99-word autobiography. Mr. Metcalf has decades of experience as a teacher and is currently a professor of English at the University of Utah. As evidenced by the title of the workshop, he is not a writer adverse to giving away his secrets.


PUBLIC EVENTS

WORKSHOP
UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF STORYTELLING:
OUR LIVES AS DUST JACKET COVERS
Saturday, July 15th
1:00pm–3:00pm
$10 Registration Fee |  Limited to 10
registration required: www.surelsplace.eventbrite.com
scholarships available: info@surelsplace.org
at Surel’s Place  |  212 E 33rd St, Garden City

READING & TALK
Wacko’s City of Fun Carnival & Other Such Madness
Friday, Aug 11th
doors at 6:00pm  |  reading at 7pm
free ($5 suggested donation)
at Cinder Wines | 107 E 44th St, Garden City
Food Truck and Wine Available

Surel’s Place would like to thank the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of this residency.