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Students Launch Laguna Review : Editor Douglas Muir says literary publication is a much-needed outlet for emerging writers.

July 29, 1993|DENNIS McLELLAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The first issue of Laguna Review--a literary magazine produced by students of the Emeritus Writing Workshops at Irvine Valley College--is now available.

The publication, edited by novelist and writing instructor Douglas Muir, contains poetry, book reviews, essays and fiction.

"We wanted to create a forum for the students' work," said Muir, adding that the magazine provides a much-needed outlet for emerging writers: "There are just not enough publications out there for short literary material."

Muir, who has taught at the college for six years, said contributions came from current and former students, ranging in age from 39 to 96. Many tapped life experiences in their writing.

"The Crazy Quilt" by 96-year-old Louise Myers of Laguna Beach, for example, is a poem about a quilt with 100 years of family memories. (The poem won first prize in the National League of American Pen Women's writing contest.)

In another piece, Pat Hall of Irvine describes her first kiss while riding on a Ferris wheel in her native Indiana.

Muir, who conducts his writing workshops in Irvine and Laguna Beach, said it was difficult trying to decide which student works should be included in the magazine: "The rules of the game were they had to submit in a year's time at least four or five submissions in order to be in the magazine and even then they might not make it."

Many literary magazines, Muir noted, "seem to have the same tone through them. I really tried to make Laguna Review (offer) a broad spectrum of writing styles."

Muir said he avoided using the name Orange County in the magazine's title, in order for it to have wider geographic appeal. (It even bears a gold seal on the cover, proclaiming "New Southern California Writing.") And it's called Laguna Review, he said, "because of that community's artistic reputation."

The amply illustrated magazine bears a full-color reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh's "L'Arlesienne" on the cover and four student art works are featured on the back. Production costs were paid by local businesses and individuals, with Emeritus Workshop volunteers providing layout and production assistance.

Six hundred copies of the magazine have been produced, with another 600 now being printed. Funds raised by sales will go to the Irvine Valley College Foundation, and will benefit the the college's Emeritus Institute.

Muir said plans call for publishing only one issue a year, with the next one expected in mid-1994.

"It's a monumental project," said Muir. "You don't realize it until you get into something like this how much time it's going to take."

Copies of Laguna Review are available for $4.75 at the Irvine Valley College bookstore and at Laguna Beach bookstores, including Mariners, Fahrenheit 451, Upchurch-Brown and Mystery Ink. For further information, call Muir at (714) 673-7888.

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Book Signing. "Psycho" author Robert Bloch will sign his autobiography, "Once Around the Bloch," from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Aladdin Books 122 W. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton. . . . Steve Martini ("Prime Witness") will sign at 1 p.m. Sunday at Book Carnival, 348 S. Tustin Ave., Orange. . . . Myk Hungerford ("Beyond Sports Medicine: Injury Prevention and Care Through Sports Massage") will sign from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Fahrenheit 451 Books, 540 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

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Poetry Reading. Michael Zittel will read and musician John Askew will perform at the Factory Readings meeting at 8 p.m. Monday at Casa Palma restaurant, 122 E. 17th St., Santa Ana.

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