Bennington Redux

This weekend I will be traveling with fellow Bennington alum, Joe Stracci, back into the mountains of Vermont. There is an alumni celebration of some yearly landmark, that the Bennington Writing Seminars has been in existence for some number of years. To be honest, I am not sure.

And, yes, while this is exciting and certainly worthy news, there is a less-exciting and more meaningful reason for me and my classmates to be there. A dear friend and classmate, Retha, passed away a few months ago, losing a long and difficult battle with cancer. Her smile was the best. It was holistic. Therapeutic. Her laugh would roll through a room like a bowling ball. She loved her wine and on nights when she wasn’t drinking, she loved her tea. Whenever you would see her, no matter what was going on, she just had the ability to light you up like a Christmas tree.

So this weekend our class is traveling back into the mountains to hold a memorial for her. We will read her work, remember her in hopefully humorous and beautiful ways. After the memorial, there will be much libation and celebration. For a terrific friend, a real writer, soaring spirit, and badass chick.

Godspeed and cheers.

This is the Bennington effect.

And these are the hooligans that will be causing mischief in Retha’s name.

Keep on.

About J. R. Angelella

J. R. Angelella is the author of the popular debut novel ZOMBIE: A NOVEL (Soho Press) and a contributing author to the murder-mystery anthology WHO DONE IT? (Soho Teen), benefiting the nonprofit organization 826NYC. His short fiction has appeared in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, JMWW, The Collagist, Literary Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal and The Nervous Breakdown. His short story “Sauce” won the 2012 Short Story Contest held by The Coachella Review. He received a BA in English Literature from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. He taught creative writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and currently teaches professional writing at the University of Maryland at College Park. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, the writer Kate Angelella.
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