Eva Mewes: “My Basket of Words”
By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Eva Mewes has done it again.
Written another book, that is. This one, a collection of poems, is called “My Basket of Words.”
Mewes is a former Colfax resident and currently lives in rural Wheeler.
She read some of the poems from her new book at the Colfax Merry Mixers meeting at the Grapevine Senior Center September 5.
“I had a whole bunch of poems that didn’t have a theme to them what-so-ever. And I couldn’t think of a way to put them together. So I finally gave them to Elizabeth (Fischer) and Sharon (Lowry) and I said, ‘think of a way to put them together.’ And they did,” Mewes said.
Fischer is the publisher at Monarch Tree Publishing out of Eau Claire and did the layout and design for Mewes’ book.
Lowry is the president of Chippewa Valley Learning in Retirement and served as the editor for Mewes’ book.
“I tried to think of a title and couldn’t,” Mewes continued.
“Then I found a poem by a woman named Peggy Tabor Millin … part of it says, ‘each carries a basket of words/and approaches where I stand by the altar./One by one, each sprinkles her words/like petals across the crystal table,/and says,/ these are my words,/ all of myself…’ To me, that’s writing in a nutshell. You can’t write without putting something of yourself in there. So we decided on ‘My Basket of Words.’ And the author was kind enough to let us use that,” she said.
Millin is the author of “Women, Writing and Soul-Making: Creativity & the Sacred Feminine.”
Mewes’ newest book, copyright 2013, is 98 pages and includes more than 70 poems. Some of the titles are “How to Spend a Pleasant Afternoon,” “December 7, 1941,” “Christmas Eve,” “Where Does a Gal Go to Get a Good Night’s Sleep?,” “First Tomato,” “November,” and “The End of the Day.”
Mewes’ first book of poetry is titled, “Woman on the Edge of Age.” She also is a contributing author to “Just Read the Darn Thing,” a collection of writing from the Chippewa Valley Writers’ Group.
“When I first started going to writing classes, I thought I would write my memoirs because I had lived through so many things … but then as I started, I discovered my life was pretty boring and there wasn’t much to write about,” Mewes said.
“Then I got into poetry. I had some very good poetry teachers. When I put my first book together, it was sort of like my memoirs because it was autobiographical. It was stories about my family and had some family pictures in there,” she said.
Mewes also is the author of “Hubey Gets Me Hitched,” a book of short stories, copyright 2009.
“It’s about a young farmer during the Depression and his Uncle Hubey, who lives just down the road and who always had a lot of good ideas about how Dan should lead his life,” Mewes said.
The stories in “Hubey Gets Me Hitched” are told from the perspective of Dan, as an old man, looking back on his life.
Mewes says she does not write every day, but rather, writes when inspiration strikes. She says that when she finishes with a rough draft of a poem, she feels good about it, but then the next day, when she reads it again, she begins the editing process.
Mewes’ mother taught at Colfax Elementary for many years.
“She spent a lot of time telling me to get my nose ‘out of that book’ because I would be blind by the time I was 20,” Mewes said with a laugh.
In addition to being an author, Mewes works as a reader for Monarch Tree Publishing.
“She helps us out … some people have good ideas, and some people should just publish for their children,” Fischer said.
“We choose very carefully the books we publish. It takes an enormous amount of time to do a book and do it well,” she said.
Fischer and Lowry do the editing together, and Fischer lays out the books.
“It takes a while to write a good book,” Fischer noted.
For more information about Mewes’ books and Monarch Tree Publishing, visit www.monarch-treepublishing.com.