Buck and I went to the Writers and Readers evening at Real Art Ways last evening. Remarkably the web elves of Real Art Ways have already killed the webpage listing for this event, so no link. But Mommy has it cached and is a bit of a web elf herself so:
Interesting evening. I loved Rand Richards Cooper's stuff (his full name sounds like one of those complicated to pluralize titles, like Attorneys General, so he's Rand Cooper from here on in) - he read from an early journal (which he is working into a piece called the "Year of Eating Dangerously") and some other pieces. I like his writing style a lot; bonus points for being easy on the eyes and and ears. The ceremonial gustation of a cat figured in to his first piece, and there was a bit of a cat involved in the second author's piece as well, so I was thinking the theme should have been cats (as opposed to the official "nourishment")
Ann Hood - loved her style, was not a huge fan of the piece she chose to read. Do not know the name but it was about an older alcoholic woman run off with a younger minister intent on drying her out and falling for each other in the process. A lot of good stuff there-in (the minister reminds her of a childhood cat, continuing the feline sub-theme) but it was a more difficult story to hear - I was more intellectually engaged then sensuously or emotionally.
But Colin. He chose to read a chapter from an unpublished work written by a woman who had been in a writer's circle. If I were a good little reporter doo-bee I'd write the facts down, but I was in suck up energy mode. Reading this was a bold move and wonderful.
The reading itself was resonant - themes of breath and planting oneself in the earth (do I smell yoga?) and a cape cod cookout (nourishment). The protaganist (and the author) were dealing with breast cancer and aging (mortality). The scene - cape cod and a beach cookout - fulfilled the main theme (nourishmente) and reminded me of a similar "run away to the cape" story of a former spouse. (if it were published, I would buy it and send it as a gift) It was a delicious piece of prose.
But the meta discussion. Colin chose to read someone else's work rather than something he has written (and I am sure he could have dug up 3 or 4 of his own essays or pieces that would have fit the bill; it seems a theme he has touched on). Interesting - renewing my vision of him as a connector / conductor, a person who transfers energy. Thats me too, perhaps why I "get" him, and perhaps why we each get yoga. Connectors are so rarely grounded; the chance to be alone and in direct contact with the earth is precious. I find myself most effective when I am making connections and contacts, bringing people and ideas together. Connectors, like electrical conductors, need to be insulated to work well.
And the author. A woman who has unfortunately succumbed to the cancer she wrote of in her fiction. Her work was never published; Colin told the story of how he contacted the woman's daughter to get permission to read the piece, and how in talking, the daughter confessed to not having read her mother's life work. He commented on the fact that there were lots of wonderful authors out there who had never been published, whose voices would not be heard.
And it struck me that while Mr. Cooper and Ms. Hood are each accomplished writers and brought that to the space, Mr. McEnroe is working in a slightly different field. Writing, yes. Performance, yes. Artful networking, or social engineering, or something. My friend K came in after the reading, and I was bubbling over, there was a feel of having been a part of something special - something ephemeral and instinctual.
From things that have happened and from things as they exist and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason that you know of. But what about all the reasons that no one knows? --Ernest Hemingway
Colin confessed to having lost touch with the writer's group after he stopped participating. Yet, he reached back through the years to snatch a bit of this woman's soul from the fire of obscurity, and toss her words onto the wall of art - to grant her a small piece of immortality. A room full of people heard her words read, and took them in, and made them a part of our being.
What a precious and thoughtful gift.