Art from the Ashes Final Event - Readings by the Literary Artists Tuesday Night

art from the ashes jpeg Tuesday night, join us for part three of Jasper's Art from the Ashes project -- a reading of the works in the monograph by the writers themselves.

7 pm at Tapp's

Readers include:

Betsy Breen - winner of the Best in Book Award, sponsored by Historic Columbia

Al Black

Jonathan Butler

Debra Daniel

Rachel Hainey

Ed Madden

Don McCallister

Tom Poland

Susan Levi Wallach

Cindi Boiter

Art from the Ashes Book Launch and Gallery Opening on February 1st at Tapp’s - A JASPER Project

art from the ashes jpeg  

Over the course of four evenings in the summer of 2014, more than two dozen literary, visual, and musical artists gathered in the Jasper Magazine office with experts on the February 17th, 1865 burning of Columbia. The artists immersed themselves in the events that took place the night of the burning as well as the days and nights leading to and immediately following it. Six months later, their inspirations have come to fruition in a multi-disciplinary series of arts events – Art from the Ashes.

Art from the Ashes cover


Art from the Ashes: Columbia Residents Respond to the Burning of Their City is a collection of poetry, prose, and even a screenplay by some of Columbia, SC’s most dynamic writers, including Ed Madden, Tara Powell, Ray McManus, Susan Levi Wallach, Tom Poland, Al Black, Jonathan Butler, Rachel Haynie, Debra Daniel, Will Garland, Betsy Breen, and Don McCallister. Edited by Jasper Magazine’s Cynthia Boiter, it is a publication of Muddy Ford Press and the first in the press’s new series, Muddy Ford Monographs.


In concert with the book launch, Art from the Ashes: The Gallery will open on the same evening, also at Tapp’s, and will run throughout the month of February. Participating visual artists include Susan Lenz, Kirkland Smith, Christian Thee, Michael Krajewski, Jarid Lyfe Brown, Whitney LeJeune, Mary Bentz Gilkerson, Cedric Umoja, Michaela Pilar Brown, Alejandro Garcia-Lemos, and Kara Gunter.

artist - Kirkland Smith


Join us as we celebrate the book launch and gallery opening from 5 – 7 pm. Visual artists will be on hand to answer questions about their work and literary artists will be signing and reading from their writings. Musician Jack McGregor, who created a three movement musical composition in response to the burning, will premiere his work as well.

artist - Jarid Lyfe Brown

artist - Kara Gunter

artist - Michael Krajewski

artist - Christian Thee


Additional events include a Visual Artists Panel Presentation on Thursday, February 5th at 7 pm and a Reading and Book Signing on February 17th at 7 pm, followed by a concert by Columbia-based musical artist, the Dubber.


All events take place at Tapp’s Arts Center on Main Street and are free and open to the public


The Next Big Thing -- by Debra Daniel

Last Wednesday, local poet and creativity coach Cassie Premo Steele tagged me to write a blog post about my next big thing and this is what I came up with. As I was informed to do, I, in turn, tagged five other folks and asked them to follow the procedures set forth in The Next Big Thing meme, and I promised to publish their blog posts here. Well, a week has gone by and I'm delighted to have new blog posts from four of the five folks tagged -- fingers crossed on the last one, too.  I haven't read any of them yet and I have to admit that I'm pretty excited to see what my colleagues and friends are up to.

So over the next twenty-four hours Jasper will be publishing the posts that were generated in response to my tags. But we don't necessarily want this fun meme to end so soon.  We'd love to publish the posts of anyone tagged by the five people I tagged, too. Just send them to me at with "The Next Big Thing" in the title. And by the way, I wouldn't mind being tagged again -- I'm finishing up another really cool project that I'm itching to gab about!

Here's our first post from author and poet Debra Daniel.


What is the working title of your book? 

Woman Commits Suicide in Dishwasher


What is the genre of your book?

It’s mainstream literary.


Where did the idea come from?

I saw the headline in one of those grocery store magazines and my mind started to spin.  (Pun intended.)


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

First person interviews with Myrtle Graham’s family, friends and enemies attempt to explain and comprehend her bizarre demise while revealing their own secrets.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I worked on the first draft for more than a year.


Who or what inspired you to write it?

I wrote the first chapter as a short story, but it seemed that Myrtle Graham herself inspired me to continue.  The rest of the story had to be told.


Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m hoping that Muddy Ford Press will love Myrtle’s story as much as I do and ache to finally make that woman come clean.  (Pun intended.)


What other books would you compare this book to within your genre?

I’m not sure I can compare it to anything out there.


What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Shirley MacLaine would be perfect as Myrtle.  Hal Holbrook as her husband, Hamilton.  Of course, Shirley could also play Madame Fouche, the ballet mistress.  Sally Field could play Ruth, the next door neighbor.  Uncle Joe would be Ed Asner.


What else about your manuscript might pique the reader’s interest?

The story spans time from pre World War II to the present.  As each person gives their interview, the pieces of Myrtle’s life fall into place until you hear Myrtle’s own agitation in the final chapter.