CAZENOVIA — Local visual fine artist and writer Marianne Smith Dalton recently celebrated the publication of her creative nonfiction story “The Voodoo Shell.”
The story was published on Oct. 1 by The Write Launch, an online literary magazine that publishes poetry, short stories, long short stories, novel excerpts, and creative nonfiction.
Dalton, who resides in Cazenovia, described “The Voodoo Shell” as a story about superstition, magic, and good luck charms.
“[It’s] a true story of a series of strange incidents originating around a trip to the island of Grenada several years ago,” she said.
The piece is Dalton’s fifth story to be published.
“All of my writing is currently creative nonfiction, but the editor of this story prompted me to write a fiction novel inspired by ‘The Voodoo Shell,’” Dalton said. “I may take her up on that challenge.”
As a visual artist, Dalton is a painter and photographer. She is also a founding member of the Redhouse Arts Center in Syracuse.
Established in the early 2000s, Redhouse is a nonprofit, multicultural organization dedicated to the production and presentation of multi-disciplinary works in theatre, music, and visual art.
As Redhouse’s curator and gallery director during its first several years, Dalton was tasked with deciding which artist(s) to showcase in conjunction with whatever theatre production the center was putting on at the time.
She was responsible for dozens of exhibitions showcasing local and nationally recognized artists working in everything from installation, painting, and photography to sculpture and mixed media.
According to Dalton, who left Redhouse in 2012, her experience at the arts center was rewarding, and it reaffirmed her desire to focus exclusively on her own creative work.
During the isolating times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dalton shifted some of her artistic focus to writing about her life experiences and began submitting her work to editors.
“One of the main reasons is that during COVID, I was not able to work with live models for my photo projects,” she said. “I was also encouraged by a great number of my followers on Instagram to write — many [of whom] followed my journey during the period when I took care of my father in his last year of life. He suffered from dementia, and I shared short narratives and photographs there under the hashtag #GeorgeMyDadInTheHat. It was gratifying to engage in both a written and visual dialogue there with others [who] knew or cared for someone with dementia. I think that experience planted the seed for my later writing.”
Dalton said getting her work published has felt “surreal,” adding that she has been overwhelmed by the support and positive response her writing has received from both her editors and readers.
“The Voodoo Shell” and Dalton’s other published works — “Chasing Blue Butterflies,” “A Punk Like Me,” “My Supposed Amish Life,” and “Angel in Feathery Red” — are linked on her website at mdaltonart.com. “The Voodoo Shell” is also available at thewritelaunch.com/2023/10/the-voodoo-shell/.