May 2015 Open Mic Night at Village Books

Dear Writers:

We’ve had a gorgeous summertime in Whatcom County, offering dazzling inspiration for the monthly Open Mic Nights at Village Books. Here’s what went down in May:

C.J. Prince wasn’t there. But I love this pic of her so much that I used it for this write up. Now she has to come. After a brief absence from Open Mic Night, Shannon Hager took to the podium to report that one memoir is “Done!” and ready to publish. So on this night, she gave us a preview of her next project in the works—risky and hilarious is what we’ve come to expect from Shannon, and she did not disappoint: “Never sell pot to your friends,” so says the character of Papa to Little Larry. Shannon, thank goodness you’re back. We’ve missed you!

Harvey Schwartz brought a poem he’s been “obsessing” over for the last month. He read “The Poet,” a gorgeous result of his obsessing. I had gotten to read a couple earlier versions, so it was especially fun to hear the final(?) outcome. Bravo, Harvey! Sammy Dawn came prepared with “Last Look, offering an amusing yet truly reflective piece about people’s varying perceptions of others and themselves. Bird Trungma read an excerpt from her memoir titled Karma with Sugar, giving us a beautifully written inside look at life as a student of Buddhism. The was Bird’s first night with us. Welcome, Bird!

Janet Oakley, known for her historical fiction, took a turn with a thriller-style piece. Way to go, Janet! Along came Sylvia Crosby to read a short story she wrote in a writing class taught by Yours Truly. Meet Angus and Annie; he’s 100 years old, and she’s dead. This beautiful and funny tale captured the days of a man who misses his departed wife. Loved it! Shannon Laws tore herself away from a Dr. Who episode to sprint over to Open Mic. We’re glad she resisted temptation and came to read “Discovery,” about the unique sensation of touch, part of a set of erotic poetry she read for an event at Western Washington University. Who needs TV after that? By the way, Shannon headed up the marvelous Poets’ Corner, whereby poets performed live poetry as part of the Friday Art Walks last month in downtown Bellingham. When does she even have time for Dr. Who?

Julie Burton read from her book Pen to Paper, now available at Village Books. She shared a rollicking piece with the theme Things that Make You Say ‘Damnit!’ Dick Harris was on scene to deliver poems from his memories and experiences collected in his notebooks, including the haunting “Tombstone State,” as well as excerpts from his published collections Reimagine and Alaska & Northwest (both titles can be found at Village Books). Jim Milstead came in with “Chicken of the Sea,” a wayward, witty word fest, followed by “Peace,” describing images of peace that are far from peaceful. We heard from Diana Swan, who has been to Iceland three times. We were glad to have her back to share her image-laden pieces exploring the topic of memory, including a selection about her father, a Holocaust survivor. Kathy McKeever closed out the night with “Moth Wing Rosary,” a prayer of despair mingled with hope, followed by “Elysian Promise,” and a short family history as yet untitled.

Wow! BTW, there won’t be a written update for the June Open Mic. I decided to put down my pen and just enjoy the talent. The next Open Mic at Village Books is tonight, July 27! See you there!

♥♥♥ The Sweet Stuff:

The latest issue of Clover, A Literary Rag is now available at several bookstores including Village Books and online from the Independent Writers' Studio!

The latest issue of Clover, A Literary Rag is now available at several bookstores including Village Books and online from the Independent Writers’ Studio!

An update from Red Wheelbarrow Writers for Jenny Milchman’s event this coming Wednesday, July 29: A year ago, author Jenny Milchman visited us for a reading and an after-party. (Bellingham wasn’t originally on her itinerary last year.) She loved her visit so much that she made sure she could return on this year’s book tour. She’s going to teach a class at Village Books at 5:00pm and read at 7:00pm on Wednesday, July 29. The after-party at the Book Fare Cafe will include a talk (“Getting Published & Beyond”) and doing a Writer’s Wish List giveaway. The winner gets a query lesson, chapter critique, and coaching session. Your receipt for purchase of her new novel from VILLAGE BOOKS will be your ticket for the drawing and your entry to the after-party. Let’s show Jenny that we are still the most supportive writer-reader community in the country. Even if you can’t attend, please invite anyone who might enjoy the reading. Anyone who doesn’t buy a book but wants to attend the after-party can do so for $10.

September Memoir Series: Thursdays, September 3, 10, 17, 24: Join a unique memoir class sponsored by Chuckanut Writers. Local writers Laura Kalpakian, Laurel Leigh, Nancy Canyon, and Cami Ostman will each teach a session of this four-part class. All classes will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Readings Gallery at Village Books. Cost is $19 per individual session or $65 for all four sessions. Registration will open on August 7.

Sunday, September 27: Clover, A Literary Rag returns to Village Books for a reading featuring authors from the Summer 2015 (V9) edition. Don’t miss editors Mary Gillilan and Norman Green hosting this great lineup of authors at 4 p.m. in the Readings Gallery. Submit to Clover to Clover until September 30th for the next issue!

About Open Mic Night: Village Books invites everyone to enjoy local talents as they share their own stories, poems and essays. Published and unpublished writers are encouraged to attend and enjoy a welcoming audience. Bring a themed piece or any creative work in progress. Open mic is held the last Monday of each month at 7pm in the Readings Gallery. Sign up at Village Books’s main counter on the first floor or call (360) 671-2626.

See more events on my About Town page. Happy writing, my friends!

XO Laurel Leigh




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