Writer Mark Sanford Gross on Cartwheels on the Sky
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Originally Airs Saturday, Dec 3, 2022

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Cartwheels on the Sky Featuring Writer Mark Sanford Gross on KGUA FM Gualala

On Saturday, December 3, from 7-7:30, Cartwheels on the Sky with Blake More features Anchor Bay  writer/poet/teacher and radio host Mark Stanford Gross.  We’ll will be discussing Gross’s writing and how he inspires others to find the impetus to explore and express themselves through creative writing. Topics include being in the moment, finding one’s voice and inspiration, and of course, lots of interesting words.

Mark Sanford Gross considers himself “1/3 NY, 1/3 Washington, DC and 1/3 San Francisco.” and for the past 8 years Mark, along with his husband Billy and their two Hungarian shepards, has called Anchor Bay home.

He moved to Washington DC to work in radio where he sold advertising for ABC radio’s first FM Rock station, WRQX. During that time he earned his MBA in Management from Marymount University. He moved on to two other radio stations learning radio formats and audience behavior. The Washington Post took Mark out of radio and into the world of newspaper in the nation’s capitol. It was during that time mark was accepted into part-time creative writing at John Hopkins University where he earned his MA over three years of full time work and full time writing fit into part time structure.

After 12 years at the Post’s “DC mothership” he was asked to start an experimental remote home office in San Francisco to be the brand ambassador representing The Washington Post and Washington DC. “It was the first time of blending opposite ways of thinking. Silicon Valley was becoming the center of innovation and Washington, DC was the center of policy and regulation. Often one didn’t understand the language of the other”.

Over the next fifteen years Mark developed his relationship skills learning how to bring together groups and teams of individuals with all their differences.

In 2013, Mark was awarded the Washington Post prestigious Eugene Meyer Award named after Katharine Grahams father for his career contributions and principles. He retired in 2015 when they moved to Anchor Bay.

Since coming to the coast he’s been a reporter for the ICO. Volunteer for KGUA. A board member of Gualala Arts Center and the Point Arena Lighthouse. He contributed to the Lighthouse Peddler and volunteered for programs at Action Network. He started a running club. In 2022, he hosted discussion groups on James Joyce, Ulysses.

Everything he’s done so far has been a part of learning how to build community across differences. “When I left the Post I returned my laptop and computer. Soon after, I realized my skillset and all I learned about people was mine to own.”

He continued his writing development attending significant writing workshops including Cheryl Strayed’s Writers Camp at Esolen, Dorothy Allison’s workshop at Writing x Writers, Alexander Chee at Corporal Writing. Paul Lisciky at Provincetown Writers Offerings, Napa Valley Writers Conference, Summer workshop in Chamonix, France with Pam Houston and Cheryl Strayed.

In 2015 he met best-selling author Lydia Yuknavitch. It was a turning point for his writing as he became a regular in her workshops followed by one year exclusive mentorship with her. In 2015, Mark was accepted to Skidmore’s New York Summer’s Writing Institute working under Garth Greenwell and a list of incredible writers.

A little bit from him. A little bit from her. A little bit from them. A little bit from everyone including his fellow writers helped Mark put together his own format and program to help writers on every level to get the stories out of them, heard by others. When he partnered with Peggy Berryhill his role in the community grew. Peggy was unconditional in teaching and trusting Mark to help him grow into an integral part of KGUA while strengthening his own skills.

During his three cross-country drives in the past two years Mark decided to start “Let’s Go Bookstoring.” A series of interviews with independent local bookstores he discovered while driving.

“It gave me a chance to talk with unsung heroes passionate about reading and books who struggled through the pandemic to keep reading alive with people locked-down. It was a fascinating learning experience about the power giving of small used bookstores. Southland Books in Maryville, Tennessee, The Source in Davenport, Iowa, Hooray for Books in Alexandria, Virginia. Just a few.

He turned these interviews into KGUA special segments.A discussion with Kristina Jetter, Executive Director of the Sea Ranch Lodge lead to an on-going monthly Storytelling Writing workshop. It was this when branded his workshops as Write-Up-The-Coast.

Mark leads with passion, energy and enthusiasm. All of which he gets by watching others grow and take chances. He started running in 2018 and since then has done half marathons in NY, SF, Humboldt and Washington DC. He took up Canicross (running with dogs) and together he and his dogs have done countless 10Ks.

Upcoming Workshop ~ Write Up The Coast

On Saturday and Sunday, December 10-11, from 9am to 11am. Mark Sanford Gross presents a new series of writing workshops dedicated to building local and extended communities through writing, storytelling and spoken word events. Participants in all workshop events will learn to develop original work, voice and style. Visit Gualalaarts.org for more info. Deadline is Friday, Dec 2



Originally airs 7-7:30pm, Saturday, December 3 at 88.3, KGUA FM Gualala. Also streams live at https://kgua.org

Listen to Replay here after the show airs on KGUA FM.

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