Monday, November 4, 2013

Readings in Other Towns

I am not sure what I think about readings in other towns, yet. I've been doing a few, and there are things that are heartening and things that are not. Most of the things that are not are simply a matter of perspective. I wonder if they matter. I wonder if it does result in book sales. I think it does, though sometimes it doesn't seem like it.

What is good, though, is meeting the other people, even for me, who finds social situations difficult often, and many new people at once quite tiring. But the beautiful part is seeing the people who organize these things, like Jordan Fry in St. Catharines, Andrew Hood in Guelph, and all the people of Lit Live in Hamilton. Each of these small communities of writers and readers reminds me of my time back in Ottawa, when I went to Carleton and got involved with a group of writers from Chris Levenson's poetry workshop and would go to the Tree Reading series. Those were big nights for me. I loved them, and I loved to argue about poetry and short stories with equally animated people.

I miss that, and I wish I was a bit better at getting into conversations slowly with people, hanging out at the bar with strangers who I could come to know enough that we would share our real feelings about the writing we loved and the writing we hated.

One of the things that brought home last night was talking to Stan Rogal after we read at Homegrown Hamiltion with Ann Shin, Amanda Jernigan, Chris Pannel and Barbara Fradkin for the LitLive reading series. Stan read long ago in Ottawa, and I remember two things about it. I didn't know his work (everything was new to me then--it was the first time I'd met a like-minded group and shared books with them and learned what other people were loving and were writing at the time; prior to that it was simply aimless wandering in the old Westgate Books in Saskatoon or another little bookstore I forget the name of in Kitchener) and I was really upset I missed the reading because of the night shift at Tim Horton's. I remember a girl whose name I forget, a classmate, raving about Rogal's reading the next time we were all together.

Anyway, who knows? I hope some of the people there last night will remember our readings. I came away with a Brautigan-inspired book of haiku by Rogal (Love's Not the Way To) and Ann Shin's new collection, The Family China. Both look great. I need to find time to read, though.

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