Autumn Inspirations or “It’s a little chilly in the produce aisle”: September 2013 Open Mic

How Can I Help You?Sales associate: “Did you find everything okay?”

Vince: “I found everything okay, but it was a little chilly in the produce section.”

Associate: “Do you want the receipt in the bag?”

Vince: “I would like two receipts—one in the bag and one for my pocket.”


Dear Writers:

So went Vince Landi’s essay “Scripted Sales Clerks,”—delivered at September’s Open Mic at Village Books—about all the tired lines some poor sales staff are forced to deliver and Vince’s real and imagined responses.

Yep, September’s Open Mic yielded another batch of fantastic readings, from hilarious to heartrending.

September Open Mic Gang

Some of the readers from this open mic: l to r: Vince Landi, Jim Milstead, Harvey Schwartz, Nancy Canyon, Susan Chase Foster, Laura Rink, David Drummond, Dick Harris

Turning torture into beauty, Tiffany M. got our attention by quietly delivering this opening line: “You can’t turn a hooker into a housewife.” This haunting and memorable profile of a traumatic life was most eloquently delivered. Welcome to Open Mic, Tiffany, and we hope to hear more of your work!

Quoth the RavenCrowd pleaser Richard Lee “Dick” Harris shared “Evening Song for Margaret,” about the felt pilgrimage aspect of traveling as well as “Eye of the Raven,” an original work with a nod to Poe. The author of Selected Poems: Alaska & Northwest, Dick will be reading at Village Books in Bellingham WA on Tuesday, October 29, at 7 p.m.

It was a night for classical references, as along came Laura Rink, reading another excerpt from her story “Mariner’s Rest,” taking us into life aboard a fishing boat. Nary an albatross, but the story was enthralling. We get to hear more next time, right Laura?

Patricia Herlevi told us she would be performing some “spiritual poetry.” Then she told us it was “about her ex-boyfriend.” While those two descriptions might be mutually exclusive for some of us, whoever or whatever Patricia’s inspiration, she tore it up with a truly gorgeous piece of poetry. To celebrate autumn, she next read “Flood—Skagit River.”

Vancouver or AlaskaHarvey Schwartz read the final installment of “Zen Rules the Road,” a hitchhiking adventure in 1971 that morphed into a 9,000-mile odyssey containing both hilarious and enlightening moments. Remember that bit in the film Hangover, where the guys find a tiger in their bathroom? Harvey’s tale has that oddly conceivable unlikeliness but rendered with a poet’s eye.

Like father like son, in that Harvey’s son Jerome is a writer for television and now the Executive Story Editor of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland now airing on ABC. Yay, Jerome!

Known for often inviting us into nature, David Drummond read “Refraction,” about kayaking along Chuckanut Bay, and “Any Loons Called Lately?” He also entertained us with some colorful details of eating truly sllllloooowwwwllllly: how about 52 chews per apple bite?

Jim Milstead opened his set with the thoughtful “Indecision,” and followed with “Adrift,” a moving piece in memory of a greatly missed friend. He also read “Picturing Him,” recalling the celebrated life of a college friend. Jim is one of our Open Mic regulars featured in the current issue of Clover A Literary Rag. See below.

Beauty School DROPOUTNancy_Canyon_1-05-13Nancy Canyon—who is, as she put it, very qualified to do so having attended beauty school in the 1970s—thoroughly entertained us with “Drawn By Hairs,” remembering the eclectic ‘dos of her mom, brother-in-law, her own adventures with wigs, and other tales of crispy perms, haircuts by kitchen scissors, and mortuary beauticians.

Don’t miss Nancy’s upcoming class, Building “Good Writing” Muscle, a five-week course starting Tuesday, October 29, at Whatcom Community College. With an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University, Nancy’s work has appeared in Dark Forest, Clover, Water~Stone Review, Fourth Genre, Main Street Rag, Able Muse, Floating Bridge Review, Labyrinth, and Sue C. Boynton Walk Award

Elizabeth Cardorelli took the podium and gave us a choice between “intimate” and “political.” What government shutdown? Of course, we chose “intimate.” She did not disappoint, delivering an elegant, passionate bit of poetry. She also read from her project Letters to Men. We hope she keeps up her correspondence so we can eavesdrop!

Susan Chase Foster explained that she is learning to love Alaska. Maybe she can go hitchhiking with Harvey next time! Susan performed a gorgeous ode to Fairbanks, describing its delightful “only in Fairbanks” qualities. Next she read “Danse Macabre,” paying tribute to a strange, ethereal character either seen or imagined.

And Claire Mercy closed the night beautifully with “Four Squared,” juxtaposing clever rhyme with intense pain eloquently described. Nicely done, Claire!

Clover A Literary RagProps to all who came to read this time as well as to our Open Mic regulars whose work appears in the current issue of Clover A Literary Rag, edited by Mary Elizabeth Gillilan of The Independent Writers Studio and Norman L. Green of Threshold Documents. Clover featured the work of our writing mates Nancy Canyon, Denise duMaurier, Jim Milstead, Marla Morrow, Janet Oakley, among others. It was fun to go to the Clover reading and recognize snippets of stories and poems that have been shared at Open Mic. Keep up the great work, gang!


Next Open Mic: Scary Tales & Poems is the optional theme on Monday, October 28 at 7 p.m. in the Readings Gallery at Village Books. 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. Find pics from other open mics here!

Events: Check out events for writers About Town.

♦ Read more from me at Dogpatch Writers Collective.

Little-Novelist-cover3-251x300♦ Don’t miss the Little Novelist Workshop, a writing class I’ll teach especially for a parent and daughter team, on Saturday, November 2, at Whatcom Community College.

And thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes!

XO Laurel Leigh

5 thoughts on “Autumn Inspirations or “It’s a little chilly in the produce aisle”: September 2013 Open Mic

  1. Thanks, Jill! They started that the year I moved up here, so I’ve never been, although I should check out Seattle’s. We may have the right arena for it since so many businesses near Village Books support writers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s