I have no idea where in the world you live, all I know is what I see outside my window.
ALL I SEE IS WHITE!!!!!
Winter Solstice has not yet even made its official appearance nevertheless – it’s bloody icy. I must admit looking out my studio window I see fluffs of snow, haphazardly displayed as the branches hand holds the frozen blobs. Static, in the absence of movement there is a granular sheen that I’m certain will look pretty at night, as it glows, with the face of the open moon. Don’t get me wrong, I abhor the extreme’s equally but at least in the summer you are not bundled up with heavy sweaters and thick socks. I guess, you wonder why I’m mentioning the cold, specifically today.
Well it’s because I want to think of the warmth of the weather during the second weekend in August, more specifically on the 10th. The reason I mention that specific day in August is because Glen & Allison Binger hosted their 3rd annual Stories By The Sea event. I had a couple of questions regarding the event for Glen and DIY décor furnished ones for Allison in addition to the tremendous hand-picked writers selected by Glen.
For more information please do follow The Binger’s on Instagram, Glen’s handle is @bingbangbooks & Allison’s @diyparadiseincnj.
This interview will be divided in two parts, Glen’s below and Allison’s after. Also, please note I also have a longer individual interview with Allison coming out tomorrow…
RMMW: Tell me a bit about why you selected each of the poets/writers you selected for 3rd annual Stories by The Sea event?
GB: So first let me preface this by mentioning how difficult it is to curate a list of only 10 from all the incredible talent that hails from the tri-state area. Some seriously fantastic humans along these parts, and that makes it tough. I try my best to pull from multiple genres because I want it to be eclectic and I want the community to grow authentically. Hustling words is a grind, no matter what audience one writes for.
Scott Laudati: The first time I read Scott\’s work I was absolutely floored. He has this ability to make you think about your past and how you live going forward without making you feel inferior. That\’s not easy to do, especially in this day and age. He may live in the city, but he\’s a Jersey dude at heart.@scottlaudati
Kelso A. Nickels: Kelso and I connected over Instagram a year or so ago and she invited me to read at her poetry series up in Somerville, NJ. After hearing her perform that night, I knew she\’d be a great addition to what I\’m trying to build with S.B.T.S. She has the true heart of an artist and it shows across all of her mediums. @kelsohhhh
Joseph Federico: Joe is one of the most authentic people I\’ve ever met. We linked up on Twitter a few years back and did a Q&A for my blog, Betterism. He gave some of the realest advice in regards to the craft of writing and publishing books. I couldn\’t imagine S.B.T.S. even being a thing without Joe. @josephafederico
Josh Dale: I actually met Josh through Scott at 2018\’s S.B.T.S. He runs a fantastic growing press out of Philly. Once I saw his work and the work of others, he publishes via Thirty West, I knew he\’d fit right in. From poems about Wawa to fiction that won\’t let you blink; Josh is the definition of Hustle Words. His drive is absolutely inspiring. @jdalewrites
Arthur J. Willhelm: Jersey writers need to stick together. Arthur and I connected because of that very notion. What drew me to his work was his modern take on the beatnik core, and that shows in not only his written word but his live performance as well. Arthur\’s a true writer who wants to build the community up. And we need that. @ironlungpress
Tohm Bakelas: Tohm sent me a sampler care package of his work and it consumed me. He has this awesome ability to punch the reader in the gut, sometimes in only a few words. I\’ve bought every one of his chapbooks since. To me, Tohm is the face of Jersey\’s punk poet scene and he\’s a great human. His Instagram stories are the absolute best! @flexyourhead
Nikki Carroll: Nikki has the soul of an artist. She\’s nothing short of spectacular. Every word I\’ve read of hers has hit home for me in ways I can\’t even begin to put into words. It makes me think and it makes me feel and that\’s exactly what art is supposed to do. When I feel stuck with my own writing, I go straight to her page to get inspired. She was just what 2019\’s S.B.T.S. needed. @damnstraight_
TJ McGowan: This year\’s event had an awesome surprise cameo to the lineup with TJ. He came to spectate, but we looped him into reading (his words, not mine!). You have to follow this dude on Instagram. He\’s one of the best-spoken word poets I\’ve ever come across. It was great to have his style in the mix. @theeverydaybite
And I can\’t forget the band this year, Out of Service: these guys absolutely rock. Their singer, Mike, is one of my best buds and I\’ve been following them since we met (~10 years ago). They hail from Voorhees, NJ and they\’re about to drop a new album. I wanted to make sure the Jersey shore knew about it. @outofserviceband
RMMW: What is the Stories by the Sea origin story?
GB: Stories By The Sea started as a book launch party in 2017 for my collection, eNJoy: Stories By The Sea. My wife, Allison and I hosted it at her studio in Spring Lake Heights: DiY Paradise. After realizing the benefits, it brought to not only us, but to the community that came through, I knew it had to become something more. There was so much inspiration and this fun sense of family that came with it — I spent the last month of summer writing more than I could handle. I went through 2 Moleskins that August.
Through my 20\’s, I\’d often travel to New York or Philly to read at an event and meet other great people, very few of whom hailed from the Jersey shore. We\’d connect and share our thoughts, our work, but ultimately it always led to me traveling back home to the beach. During this time, Asbury Park, NJ had blossomed, and its creative culture exploded beyond just that of Bruce and the Bouncing Souls. However, I noticed it was missing one thing: a lit scene. Sure, there were some open mics here and there, but it didn\’t have any sort of poetry or writing collective.
Thus, Stories By The Sea was born. It\’s the original New Jersey reading series at the original Jersey shore craft studio. We\’re only just getting started.
RMMW: What do you feel is most beneficial aspect with regards to organizing events like Stories by the Sea?
GB: The network, the inspiration, the authenticity. We stay true in Jersey and I think that beams at Stories By The Sea. It creates a space for support and growth as artists, all while providing the opportunity to meet other like-minded individuals. Helping other creatives find their flow and set their objectives is what it\’s all about. Hustle words, ya know?
RMMW: How do you select the Poets/Writers you showcase? Is there an audition process or are they hand picked?
GB: All hand-picked. I\’m always open to a pitch, but like I said, I want authenticity and drive. If you want to help support and inspire other true artists – regardless of genre – then you\’re on my list. I\’m all about positivity and building people up. Together we can make ourselves better.
The perfect couple of DIY questions for Allison….
RMMW: Why was it important for you to showcase your stunning diy fluffy flowers at stories by the sea?
AB: Well, I LOVE making them! These 3D Giant Recycled Cardstock flowers have quickly become one of my favorite projects. It\’s all about the creation… deciding on the colors, painting the cardstock, and then watching the flower \”bloom\” as you assemble it. I was excited to create a background that would enhance the vibe in the room. I think, although all of the writers in attendance are extremely talented, they still tend to get a bit nervous speaking/reading their work in front of a crowd. I was hoping the flowers would help to provide some calmness, a distraction from the nerves. Plus, I wanted the background of the photos of this amazing night to be beautiful, simple and elegant. My husband has taught me so much about taking photos, and background \”clutter\” is one of his major pointers. I thought a concise theme would allow for nice photos.
RMMW: Would you consider writing poetry in the petals of your giant flowers for next years story by the sea?
AB: This year we created canvas panels using Glen\’s #SeasTheWay poems. We started with just 2 to see how it would turn out. We loved how they looked! They are unique, right down to the handcrafted driftwood frames. It allows us to work creatively together, his writing and my paintings. I hadn\’t thought about writing poetry in the petals, but what a nice idea! I would certainly consider it!