Year End Open Mic (November 2013)

Dear Writers:

I think 21ºF qualifies as “frightful.”

snowWherever you are, the cold (or hot) weather is certainly relative, but nonetheless it was wonderful to be warmed by an evening of fantastic readings at November’s Open Mic at Village Books.

If you haven’t been to this venue, it’s a very chill space with rotating art on the walls and of course books all around! I do my emcee bit from the sideline and have to run around the stacks to get head-on photos, so if I’m trying to listen, take notes, and shoot pics, I take profile pics to be the least disruptive to the readers. That extra info delivered, here’s a glimpse of the lineup of writers who came to share their stories, poems, and essays at the last Open Mic of 2013. Props to all the amazing writers who came to read this year, and thanks to everyone who came to cheer them on. Open Mics will resume in January, so meanwhile, have a merry holiday season and get lots of writing done!

Kendra AndersonOur optional theme for the evening was novel writing, in celebration of NanoWriMo. So Kendra Anderson opened with poetry—giving us a live demonstration that writers will be writers! No complaints whatsoever after hearing Kendra’s captivating poetry.

Nancy ShererNancy Sherer read us “The Family Holiday Family Planner”: Decorate with a tub of beer and wine coolers or crafts made by children you borrowed, and “Families expect to fight at holidays, and it is your job as host to meet that expectation.” Impossible not to chuckle at this hilarious guide to how to survive the holidays with panache and humor.

Joannah MileyJoannah Miley, author of The Immortal Game (available at Village Books and online), had read part of chapter 1 from this new book last month and delighted us by concluding the opening chapter for us this time. Gotta say this is one “chess game” you don’t want to miss.

Harvey SchwartzHarvey Schwartz came with three new poems, including “Thumb Drive,” which had us all laughing; “The Dirt King,” encouraging reflection; and then deftly turned our thoughts to giant creatures of the past with “Lope.”

Bryce WaldronBryce Waldron brought snippets of his tale about a man who comes to Bellingham and meets people and what it all means to him. With musings on winter, summer, love, and books, Bryce had us mesmerzied. Welcome to Open Mic, Bryce!

Laura RinkLaura Rink finished her multi-night reading of “Mariner’s Rest.” Both enlightening and entertaining, this tale has taken us out to sea and inside the mind of a complicated man.

Clare MercyClare Mercy read “Underwater Meter Maids,” dancing from topics of Vietnam to lust to drugs. While laughingly editing out the trickle of blue language (there are kids in the store during our event, so we ask readers to keep it in the vicinity of PG-13), she still got the point across.

Jim MilsteadJim Milstead‘s poetry merrily took us to the mall and all its glittery enticements. Rhyming shopping has never been so fun! You can read more from Jim in the December 2013 issue of Clover: A Literary Rag.

Vince LandiVince Landi reported on having a “certain birthday” last month, and like any self-respecting writer, he of course wrote about it, i.e., who’s counting? As well, Vince brought a memoir piece recalling families busy at life in a small apartment building in Manhattan—think waving of meat cleavers, falling ceiling lights, and gun toting neighbors, and you get the picture he painted for us.

Nancy CanyonNancy Canyon came with “St. Elmo’s Fire,” excerpted from her novel-in-progress Lookout. No brat pack here, this piece cut deep into human interactions and relationships along with painful introspection.

Elizabeth CardarelliElizabeth Cardarelli came with two new poems on the topic of LOVE. First came “Fire,” with sobering beauty and depth and next was a poem-story of enchantment. Nice set, Elizabeth!

Selah J. Tay-SongSelah J. Tay-Song read an excerpt from “Guildless,” a short story set in the same world as her novel, Dream of a Vast Blue Cavern (which I happen to be reading at the moment and am thoroughly hooked).

Andrew Shattuck McBrideAndrew Shattuck McBride shared three poems, including “Ruins,” about ruins seen and a ruined familial relationship. He also read “The Children I’ll Never Have,” a moving theme that carries into his latest piece published in this issue of Clover.

Jennifer ShouseJennifer Shouse read “Hardened Bodies,” recalling a first love and how one carries that early romance in mind and body for a lifetime. It was a lovely close to a great night of reading!

Have a safe and happy holiday season.

Laurel_Leigh-025XO Laurel Leigh

P.S. In very cold weather, my dad taught me to keep one faucet slightly dripping overnight and to open sink cabinets inside the house to allow warmer air to warm the house pipes. Think of tasks to do in the morning that run warm water through your pipes and check to make sure all faucets are working. Do laundry or shower in the evening and run some warm water through your pipes without just wasting it. If your pipes are exposed on the outside, you can add pipe insulation or even use a tarp to help keep them warm. Also cover any exposed exterior faucet heads with a $2 plastic cover from the home supply store. Here’s a link for steps to take if your pipes freeze or burst. Not that I’m a winterizing expert, but in the last few days I’ve heard stories about frozen house pipes bursting and causing damaging inside flooding, which can raise hell with your writing time not to mention your ability to make water for coffee. The only time my house pipes froze is when I lived in California and didn’t think it could get cold enough for the pipes to seize up, go figure. Stay warm and keep your pipes warm, too!

snow photo credit:

8 thoughts on “Year End Open Mic (November 2013)

  1. Is that the same neighbor who put pumpkin down the garbage disposal and flooded the building with orange muck? Great video, and I can relate to the steam being tossed out of a cup and freezing mid-air; that’s how I feel on a cold morning until I get some hot tea. Thanks for reading and for the good words, Jill!

  2. Feel like I was there! Thanks for the update on what’s cookin’ in the PNW!

    As for my pipes in California? I might be freezing, but they aren’t. Of course, temps did fall into the upper 30s this past week, and our upstairs neighbor’s dishwasher decided to send a nice little stream into our place—of hot soapy water.

    That said, here’s a YouTube video of what happens to boiling water at “minus cold F”:

    Love the sound of snow crunching when it’s sooooo cold!

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