Ann Hillesland’s “Lost Hills”

“No one puts this part of California on postcards,” writes the narrator in Ann Hillesland’s “Lost Hills,” a 14-year-old girl moving cross country with her father. Anything can happen in a Motel 6—and in her case, anything will. Join us on January 12 when we perform this great piece at the Beyond Boundaries show at the San Jose Museum of Art.

Ann Hillesland’s work has been published in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Sou’wester, Bayou, The Laurel Review, Corium, and SmokeLong Quarterly. It has been selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and presented onstage by Stories On Stage in Denver and Davis. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Queen’s University of Charlotte. 

annhillesland

Ann Hillesland

Honors and awards include:

  • “About My Mother” chosen for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions
  • “Pique Assiette” nominated for a Pushcart Prize
  • “Lost Hills,” winner of the Prime Number flash fiction contest
  • “Pale Rider” won the grand prize for prose in Spark contest 8

Recent publications include:

What are you currently working on?

Recently I have been writing a blog, The Hat Project, in which I tell about my life through my large collection of hats, most of which are vintage, and many of which I’ve never worn. It’s an autobiography told through clothing. I’ve been at it almost a year, posting a hat or two a week. It will end when I run out of hats, so I’ll only be at it a few more months, unless I go crazy and buy a bunch more hats. If you’d like to check out the hats and the short essays that accompany them, visit my website.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

Play on Words did a piece of mine a while back, and it was so much fun I thought I’d try again 😊.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

Alice Munro, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Rick Bass, Lydia Davis.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

I recently saw the Aretha Franklin movie Amazing Grace, and was so moved. The love she showed in her singing was astounding. To put so much of yourself into your work, to sing with such purpose. I was crying. We should all sing with such purpose, whatever our art, our aim, our song. 

 Tickets are now available for our Jan. 12 at the San Jose Museum of Art–but they will sell out! Reserve yours now.

 

Our New Horizons

On Monday night we gathered to rehearse for tonight’s show and the air crackled with electricity. Each story, poem and piece is dynamite, and our seasoned cast is more than ready to light up the stage at Cafe Stritch. Play On Words has existed for five years, and in that time we’ve gotten to meet so many amazing artists, writers, performers and patrons of the arts. Every show is special and every show is different. Tonight we bring Play On Words: New Horizons to life.

29790535_1241367555997066_1930253660190529930_nJoin us at 7 pm to witness amazing performers read work by the following fabulous writers:

1) “Teacher of the Year” by Arcadia Conrad

performed by Melinda Marks

2) “The Boy in the Van” by Marilyn Horn-Fahey
performed by Arcadia Conrad
3) “Dear Espanol” by Anjela Villareal Ratliff
performed by Ivette Deltoro
4)  “Bearded Lady” by Allison Landa
performed by Laurel Brittan
5) “Pence” by Michelle Myers
performed by Michael Weiland
6) “Receiptless” by Dallas Woodburn
performed by Jeremy Ryan
7)” Bleeding Heart” by Christina Shon
performed by Laurel Brittan
8) “Rite of Passage” by Tania Martin
performed by Arcadia Conrad
10 MIN BREAK
9) “Your Superpower” by Ann Hillesland
performed by Ivette Deltoro
10) “Construction” by Jon Ford
performed by Adam Weinstein
11) “Sister Fowl” by Maria Judnick
performed by Ivette Deltoro
12) “Toilet Paper Glove” by Valerie Fioravanti
performed by Melinda Marks
13) “Birthday” by Valerie Castro Singer
performed by Laurel Brittan
14) “Fisherman and the Cloak” by Charlene Logan Burnett
performed by Ron Feichtmeir
15) “Journalissimo” by Griffin Lamachy
performed by Michael Weiland
New Horizons will also feature live drawing by Michelle Frey (Instagram/boule_miche and @michellange on Twitter) and Clifton Gold of Luna Park Arts. Michelle teaches weekly live drawing classes at the School of Visual PhilosophySpecial thanks to our photographer Branden Frederick and videographer Ryan Alpers.

Ann Hillesland’s Superpower

Spring is in full bloom, which means that Play On Words is busy taking advantage of the extra daylight to squeeze in another show this month. We’re thrilled to roll out our lineup for our April 11 show at Cafe Stritch this week, starting with the fabulous Ann Hillesland. A California native, Ann writes fiction and nonfiction. Her work has been published in many literary journals, including Fourth Genre, Sou’wester, Bayou, The Laurel Review, Corium, and SmokeLong Quarterly. It has been selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has been presented onstage by Stories On Stage Davis and Denver. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Queen’s University of Charlotte.

 

HilleslandBioPhoto2
Ann Hillesland

Ann’s piece, “About My Mother,” was chosen for the Wigleaf Top 50 Very Short Fictions. Her story “Pique Assiette” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her piece “Pale Rider” won the grand prize for prose in Spark contest 8. 

 

Her recent publications include:

We’re delighted to be reading her piece, “Your Superpower,” at our April 11 show.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I had a story read by Stories on Stage, Davis, and it was a blast!

Which writers or performers inspire you?

Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street made me love flash fiction before I knew what it was. Alice Munro’s stories give me a new appreciation of what a short story can encompass.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

I’ve always loved F. Scott Fitzgerald. When I was young I wanted to grow up to write like him. I find myself returning to The Great Gatsby over and over. It’s gorgeous from ifs novel craft to its writing style.

Want to hear Ann’s work read aloud? Join us at 7 pm Wednesday, April 11, for Play On Words: New Horizons at Cafe Stritch.