The Treitels Remembered
A memoir to be published this week by Bloomsbury Publishing – The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for Prose Writers by Stephanie Vanderslice – features a reminiscence of Margot and Ralph Treitel, the Columbia couple who founded the Little Patuxent Review. Vanderslice, director of the Arkansas Writer’s MFA Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas and a columnist for the Huffington Post, recalls the Treitels this way:
“Margot Treitel was my best friend, Hannah’s, mother. When I met her, in 1989, I was graduating from college and standing on the cusp of a writing life. For graduation, Margot, a widely-published poet, gave me a copy of her chapbook, The Inside Story, which contained poems about her early years in the Peace Corps in West Africa, about family life, about growing older. I didn’t know then that chapbook or book-giving is symbolic for poets; a sign of respect, but I did feel validated. How I wish she and her husband, Ralph, had lived long enough that I could have returned the favor with one of my own books.
“Well-known in the Maryland literary arts scene and beyond, Margot and Ralph Treitel, both writers, founded the Little Patuxent Review in Columbia, Maryland, in the 1970’s as a way to build the arts scene in the Mid-Atlantic—and build it they did, with readings, festivals, public access TV shows. In fact, the review was revived ten years ago in their memory and I have even had the honor of being rejected from it—but I’ll keep trying.
“Ralph and Margot lived in a townhouse in Columbia, Maryland, and until Ralph’s debilitating stroke, he held a day job with the Social Security Administration while Margot raised their daughters and continued to write, publish and perform her work in hundreds of venues. Their lives were modest but rich, so rich in art. Books and videos (they were also movie buffs) lined the walls. African art mixed with Victorian settees.
“Since I was pursuing my MFA only an hour and a half away, Hannah and I often used her parent’s home as a central meeting place. So while I witnessed one kind of writing life when someone like Robert Stone or Tim O’Brien blew into town via my MFA program, holding court for a few hours at a bar like the Tiki Lounge in Washington, the lessons I learned at Ralph and Margot’s home were more powerful and lasting.”
Here’s the web site where you can order this memoir: