The Furnace

One Writer. One Story. Read to completion (with vigor).

Tag: Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher

The Furnace Says Goodnight

by Anca Szilagyi

final-facebook-coverFriends! After a four-year run the Furnace will say goodnight. We are so grateful to the Seattle literary community. Join us on December 2nd, 8-10 pm at Hollow Earth Radio, 2018 A E Union St, or listen online live at

Party Details:

A performance of a single story
-Furnace writers are at work writing individual pieces that Corinne and Anca will weave into a single story and performed by the writers below, who we know you love.

Music Performances:
– Previous collaborators perform music
WINDOWS95SECONDEDITION (as seen with Anastacia Renee Tolbert)
The Shtick Figures (as seen with Lisa Nicholas Ritscher)

Contributing Writers and Performers:
Chelsea Werner-Jatzke
Lacey Jane Henson
Jeanine Walker
Catherine Smyka
Rae Diamond
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Alan Sincic
Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher
Aaron Counts
Nancy Jooyoun Kim
Anastacia Tolbert
Buffy Aakaash
Christine Texiera

Corinne and Anca love you forever but we are in our 30s and need to finish our books.

The series often gave a platform to writers who were not yet properly recognized in Seattle who then went on to become mainstays at other literary events. The series also gave a few well-known area writers the opportunity to innovate how they perform their work. With a desire to create a larger literary community, The Furnace invited readers from outside Seattle, such as essayist Brenda Miller from Bellingham, Kathlene Postma from Portland and Alan Sincic from Florida. Hollow Earth’s broadcast of each event created a new accessibility to readings that some people might not be able to attend and reached listeners across the country.

Connect with event on Facebook.

About The Furnace

The Furnace Reading Series is a quarterly event that highlights one prose writer at a time. The Furnace is performed in front of a live audience and broadcast online at Hollow Earth Radio in an effort to integrate an ever spreading community. To complete the experience, audience members can hold the story in their hands with a professionally designed chapbook of the performer’s work.

Furnace History
Anca Szilagyi: August 2012 More Like Home Than Home
Buffy Aakaash: October 2012 The Last Night at Manuela’s
Rae Diamond: January 2013 Three Songs
Kathlene Postma: May 2013 Fetch
Lacey Jane Henson: August 2013 Trigger
Catherine Smyka: October 2013 Don’t Mess With Straight Girls
Nancy Jooyoun Kim: February 2014 My Piles
Brenda Miller: May 2014 We Regret To Inform You
Chelsea Werner-Jatzke: August 2014 Sweet Nothing: A Manifesto
Aaron Counts: October 2014 What Happened to Peace?
Jeanine Walker: February 2015 Polarities
Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher: May 2015 Fake Books
Alan Sincic: August 2015 (in partnership with Big Fiction and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture) Sugar
Anastacia Tolbert: October 2015, The City
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore: February 2016, The Freezer Door
Christine Texeira: May 2016 Immanent Ghosthood


APRIL Book Expo

by Anca Szilagyi

Join us this Sunday from 11 am-5pm at Richard Hugo House for the fifth APRIL book expo! Come say hello and take a gander at our wares.

*~*~Bargain Basement Prices~*~ *

Current season chapbooks, 3 for $5 or 1 for $2! WHAT A STEAL!

Prior season chapbooks will be only $1! BONKERS!

In stock:

The City, a hybrid text by Anastacia Tolbert*

Fake Books, fiction by Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher

The Freezer Door, an elliptical essay by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore*

Polarities, a one-act play by Jeanine Walker

Sugar, fiction by Alan Sincic*

What Happened to Peace, fiction by Aaron Counts

*indicates current season

Nota bene: please bring cash!

Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher and the Shtick Figures

by Anca Szilagyi

In anticipation of Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher’s performance of “Fake Books” on Thursday, I asked her about her relationship to klezmer and writing.

AS: How did you get into klezmer? Does it influence or complement your writing? How?

LNR: I first heard klezmer music in college, living next door to a kibbutz. The kibbutz had a giant RV with “Merry Mitzvah Tank” lettering on it and it would park on our block and I could hear the music, but didn’t know what it was. I had played the clarinet growing up and had been exposed to classical, oompah, and the peppier cousin to oompah, the corridos of Northern Mexico and Texas. I am actually new to playing klezmer music; I found Bernice Maslan through an acquaintance at work; she is a musician and activist and director of several klezmer groups, as well as other genres. She hosts a monthly klezmer jam session that, when out performing, goes by the name Klez Chaos. She also created, designed, and maintains a website on the local klezmer music scene: Our ensemble for this performance is called The Schtick Figures and we come from all different traditions: classical and Baroque mandolins, Ukrainian music, klezmer, Sousa, jazz, and Irish music.

Music influences my emotional landscape and in that sense, it informs my writing. Klezmer, in particular, with the eastern modes and the proximity to the human voice, is moving to me, as well as, as they say on Bandstand, having a good beat that you can dance to 🙂 I am also interested in persona, or “schtick” and klezmer seems to me to strip away that outer layer, and that is what I’m trying to do in a written piece as well.

A Story Turned Rock Opera: Excerpt from “Fake Books” by Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher

by Anca Szilagyi

Our next event, Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher’s story-turned-rock opera “Fake Books” is in just one week! Join us on May 14 at 7 pm, live at Hollow Earth Radio, 2018 E. Union Street, or online at Lisa’s bringing her klezmer troupe–get ready for tubas!

Here is a taste of what you’re in for:

Abstract: The anatomy of the Three Selves in the boom-and-bust town of Leavenworth, WA.


Background: “Everyone has three selves: the public self, the private self, and the secret self. “ —Gabriel Garcia Marquez


Results: The folk of the failing town pulled off an amazing feat of reinvention and risk; they restyled their entire, northwestern backwater town after a village in Bavaria. As the new facades, frontages, porticoes, and Mai pole were erected; a new public self was also constructed:  a persona, a version of the town meant for outsiders to view. It was a literal decision for two-facedness. Relative to the outside world, Leavenworth became a town that requires an audience.


Conclusion: In America’s Bavarian Village, one must don a costume, a dirndl or lederhosen, to work the tourist crowds. The secret life hides behind an extra layer of fake.

May 14: Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher

by Anca Szilagyi

11061222_1032652336764452_2079847187134484052_oJoin us Thursday, May 14 for the story-turned-rock-opera “Fake Books” by Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher  from 7-8 pm  at the Hollow Earth Performance Space at 2018 A East Union Street. 

From the traditions of klezmer music, to the oompah music of her themed, facaded hometown of Leavenworth, Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher’s “Fake Books” explores public personas, secret selves, artifice, ardor, and amateurism in life, love, and art.

Lisa Nicholas-Ritscher is a writer raised in rural Washington State and now works as a copy editor in Seattle. She was recipient of the University of Washington’s Milliman Scholarship and the David Guterson Prize for fiction and has work published in Pacifica Literary Review and DIAGRAM. Lisa is currently working on a collection of collage essays about childhood in the small, Bavarian Village-themed town of Leavenworth, WA.

Join us live at the Hollow Earth Radio performance space or tune in at at 7 pm PST.