February 2013 Open Mic @ Village Books + Alex!

Dear Writers:


Alex from Village Books

Many of us have enjoyed the hospitality of the great folks at Village Books in Fairhaven, including the upstairs Book Fare Café and Paper Dreams alongside. Have you ever wondered what they do in their off time? Well, on a trip to Rustic Coffee Bar in Fairhaven with the coffee shop writer himself, a.k.a. Sean Dwyer, we encountered a very familiar face. Staff member Alex from Village Books was tucked away in a corner reading. After being a really good sport for me teasing him about “drinking at the other place,” he let me take this pic. What you don’t see in the pic are the four or five rug rats that scampered in right after, turning the coffee shop into a twenty-minute version of Chuck E Cheese and certainly trying Alex’s patience—but he was a class act about it and cheerfully joked about trying to read the same page for twenty minutes while the cute kiddies were creating a ruckus. Thanks, Alex, for spreading a little Village Books good humor around!

About Open Mic, it being the month of love, I did my duty by starting us off with a reading of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116. I never tire of Sonnet 116 and you shouldn’t either, so here it is:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.



Alicia Jamtaas at Open Mic

Open Mic proper was started off by Keith Moul, who read work inspired by his daughter’s art. My job was to hold up the artwork, so I merely enjoyed listening vs. jotting down the titles of his pieces. Jared McVay got our attention with his award-winning story “Melinda,” about a man outliving his beloved wife and what he decides to do. Nancy Canyon read from her memoir project, which she described as “still a little raw—not apologizing, just warning!” Thanks for the warning, Nancy, and we were  riveted by this story that took risks and did not shirk from truth.

David Drummond brought his poetry, performing “Glacial Smiles,” “Let’s Move Through the Matter,” and “A Dull Roar.” David always does a great job of introducing the regional settings of his work, taking us right to the spot he’s writing about. Harvey Schwartz outdid himself with a sort of poetical switchback, “I Lived,” continually full of surprises with meanings inferred. Alicia Jamtaas brought a gripping scene from her novel project in which a father learns that his beloved child is dying. Kathy Smith read from “Claudine,” a fantasy short story with a protagonist who is anything but human!

C. J. Prince read “Orange Rinds of the Past Welcome 2013” and “Note to My Dermatologist.” Among all else she does, C. J. is leading the new and already popular! “First Friday” writing practice in Sudden Valley (first Friday of each month, 1–3 p.m., 8 Barn View in the coffee shop). Vince Landi read a hilarious snippet called “Three Minutes of Philosophy,” featuring a robber who spouts philosophy during the actual robbery, driving his partner in crime to desperation. Susan Chase Foster beautifully performed “Sometimes I Hallucinate in the Woods,” her self-described variation from working on her longer project, Gringa Tales. Shannon Hager brought another scene from her memoir project 5,000 Brothers in Law—it’s become a live serial for us—this bit about her first meeting with her sister-in-law, whose name is Earth Mother. Shannon Laws closed the evening with “Tongue in Ink” from her now published! collection Madrona Grove.


Village Books

Thanks to everyone who read and came to support this great evening! Find more pics from February’s open mic here.

Sweet Stuff:

  • Submissions for the 2013 Sue Boynton Poetry Contest open March 1.
  • Registration is happening for the wonderful Chuckanut Writers Conference on June 21-22, sponsored by Village Books and Whatcom Community College. Sign up now to get the early bird rate!  Read my Insider Scoop on the conference.
  • Writing Children’s Literature class at WWU starts April 4. I’ll again co-teach with the amazing Nina Laden andPaul Owen Lewis.
  • Don’t forget the Tuesday, Apr 2 submissions deadline for The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.
  • From Shannon Laws: Check out the New Americana Hour website for the popular Bellingham radio program.
  • From Adam Brown: Seeking a writer to collaborate in putting words to his melodies. E-mail Adam at glassweb@seanet.com.
  • From Molly Herboth at The Sun magazine: The Sun will host an Evening with The Sun in Boston, a free reading at the Brookline Booksmith on March 9, during Bookfair.
  • From Harvey Schwartz: Sharing details of his son’s show Zero Hour, which premiered on Feb. 14 on ABC. Harvey’s son Jerome wrote some of the episodes, in a style similar to DaVinci Code and X Files.
  • Passing along a group e-mail from the one and only Steve Almond: “Dear Hopeless Romantics, I’ve just finished a new DIY project: a limited edition of six tiny volumes of erotic stories called Writs of Passion. They are designed by Brian Stauffer and fit together to form an absolutely gorgeous image.” To order, visit www.stevealmondjoy.com.

    Writs of Passion

    Steve Almond’s Writs of Passion

  • As always, send me your writing-related event notices so I can help spread the word! Pretty please, tell someone else about this blog.
  • Check out the open mic “regulars” page!
  • Read more from me at Dogpatch Writers Collective, including Collection of Cool.

XO Laurel Leigh

The next open mic is Monday,Mar 25 at 7 pm in the Readings Gallery at Village Books. Bring your writing about saving time or spending time—or any creative work in progress. The rosters fill early so be sure to sign up ahead of time at the main counter on the first floor or call (360)-671-2626.Write on!

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