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. Continue reading

Selfies, Greek Gods & Jerry Garcia: Just Another Open Mic at Village Books (October 2013)

Dear Writers,

October may be over, but this Open Mic at Village Books was pretty unforgettable. From chicken chases to daring detectives to plainly good dope, the stories came fast and furious and from every direction! Not sure where Halloween fit in, but it didn’t seem to matter in the least.

Continue reading

2014 Open Mic Themes

Dear Writers,

The other day I went to a coffee shop and did nothing but drink coffee. Well, chai with soy to be precise. I didn’t go there to write or meet a writing friend, or even a non-writing friend. I just sat in a comfy chair and consumed my beverage. The entire experience was strange and unsettling.

<Absolutely no sensible transition here.>

Open Mics are the last Monday of each month at Village Books. Each writer gets 7 minutes to read. It's a blast! Hope to see you there!

Open Mics are the last Monday of each month at Village Books. Each writer gets 7 minutes to read. It’s a blast! Hope to see you there!

Here’s the preliminary themes for Open Mic at Village Books in 2014! These may adjust slightly as we get closer to the date, but no worries since they’re entirely optional anyway. But if you’re one who finds inspiration in themes, here you go: Continue reading

June 2013 Open Mic at Village Books a.k.a. “Night of the Shags”

Dear Writers:

The series has spontaneously taken off at our open mic! It may have been Vince Landi who started it with his story “Two Painters,” but rather than worry about shaving an excerpt to fit the 7-minute time limit or trying to read a story at the speed of light, writers are bringing a story to read over the course of two or three open mics.

And the crowd loves it!

Our June theme was Bounty of the Seasons, so of course I brought my copy of Edible Selby, a book about gardens, kitchens, restaurants, and homes and the amazing people who run them.

From Edible Selby: "Hi Angelo! What is the meaning of life?" "When you are born, you are irrelevant! Then you spend all your life to become relevant. Then you die."

From Edible Selby:
“Hi Angelo! What is the meaning of life?”
“When you are born, you are irrelevant! Then you spend all your life to become relevant. Then you die.”

Another element that threatened to make itself an open mic tradition this time out is The Shag.

Yep, that glorious disaster of a haircut that your own momma or the kid next door could give you while you sat on a kitchen chair in the bathroom even if she’d never spent a day in hairdressing school, and which any of us of a certain age most likely proudly sported above our legwarmers at one time or another, thanks to Jane Fonda, Pat Benatar, and the oh-so-dreamy David Cassidy/Keith Partridge.

Shags these days, called by many other names, are far more sophisticated, but it was those brave early ’80s haircuts that paved the way for the luscious locks we see today.

David Cassidy (from

David Cassidy (from

So anyhoo . . .

The delightful Sabine Sloley opened the night with an excerpt from “Chip and Kitten Go to the Beach,” a continuation of a story she started reading to us in April. One mark of a good story is that we can remember it, and I for one readily recalled these characters and the situation and was excited to see what next turn of events awaited them. This is a tale in which the girl from the character’s dreams turns out to be real, but it’s not going to be a romance, but then again it might. Continue reading

May 2013 Open Mic at Village Books ~ Memories and History

Dear Writers:

May’s open mic of course fell on Memorial Day, and that mood and theme underscored the night.

Poet Denise du Maurier

Poet Denise du Maurier

To our Monday ensemble of writers, we welcomed Linda Mercy, who joined this open mic for the first time and also kicked off the night with “My Mom’s Magic Scissors,” a story of a painful childhood bravely presented.

Janet Oakley came next, sharing a tense climbing scene from Timber Rose, her novel that is pending publication. Congrats, Janet! You have been working so hard!

Our special guests for the evening!

A couple very special guests dropped by to listen in.

Harvey Schwartz, with his usual flair, brought a prose piece called “Skin,” which tossed a surprising ending curve ball. He also read “Sputnik,” a poem of memory, worry, and wonder. Rather, “the sky is not the limit.”

Vince Landi continued his newly established tradition of the serial story for open mic, reading the concluding segment of his highly engaging story, “Two Painters.” What will he bring to read next? Continue reading

April 2013 Open Mic @ Village Books

Nancy Canyon

Nancy Canyon

Dear Writers:

Okay weird, my TV is jabbering in the background and a character just said, “Okay Laurel, you belong with Oliver.”

Huh? Oliver Stone? Twist? Whatisname I went to school with? Actually, I don’t think I went to school with anyone called Oliver, but I felt that line needed a third beat so added it.

No, my TV isn’t on all the time. Since I work from a home office I have a rule about when it can be on. Those of you who work at home know that one, right? It’s the kiss of death to your billable hours to turn on the TV during the daytime, kind of like you know one of your key clients will call if you try to cook eggs. I don’t think I’ve had a hot lunch in a decade. But I digress and I still don’t know who Oliver is. I do, however, know several wonderful people who graced April’s open mic reading.


Most pics from April’s open mic did not turn out, so this is a picture of the sky under which all of us writers dwell. Apologies to any creatures of the night. Look away!

Jim Bertolino cruised in to listen. Next time we’ll have to persuade him to share a poem or two. We got right to it with Ted Gibson taking the mic to share his images of landscapes from Stillwater River Valley, Montana; Muskoka, Central Ontario BC and more. Sabine Sloley read the opening from her story “Chip and Kitten Go to the Beach,” in which a character from a company town gets stuck in quicksand and that might be the least of his problems. Next came Seán Dwyer with “A Damn Fool Thing” inspired by a guy he knew from college. Hilarious but also with a dark undertone. You people are dark! I love it! Continue reading

March 2013 Open Mic @ Village Books

??????????????????????Dear Writers:

Okaaaayyy! Sorry this is late but I hope you enjoy a recap of March’s open mic. It was another great evening full of stories, poetry, laughter, and reflection. I always leave the open mics feeling jazzed up about writing. Someone told me they call it karaoke, which is a great nickname, although I didn’t see any lip synching and all the material was fully original!

David Axelrod launched the night with a gorgeous poem called “What If?” and established himself as a great new member of our open mic crowd. Welcome, David! Open mic regular Jim Milstead brought a couple memories, including “Air Borne” as well as some April Fool’s jokes to welcome the new month. Lori Nelson Clouts read “The Lie Detector Test,” the opening to a short story detailing the scenario of a woman encountering a job interview that includes a polygraph—not your everyday job interview! [Lori, I’m not sure I’m correctly reading my own handwriting, so if I got your last name wrong, please correct me. Thanks.]

Tele Aadsen

Along came Shannon Hager with “Raised with Bush Devils,” a tale of a character’s introduction into a secret society in Africa. We can count on Shannon to keep things lively. Next was the inimitable Susan Chase Foster, fresh back from Hawaii (the brat), with poetry including “Kauai Time” plus a ‘backyard composition’ entitled “The Advantage of Being a Squirrel.” Curtis Alden joined our lineup with a torch poem about those breakups that aren’t really breakups until they are. Ouch, but great poem. Continue reading