It's hard to believe that, one year ago, this reading series hosted its first event in downtown Colorado Springs. Deidre Schoolcraft, the first featured author, read a selection of her fiction, and the Open Mic list revealed an array of creative literary tastes. Afterward, the audience mingled (shoeless, in the yoga studio we started out in) and helped put away chairs, laughing and smiling about the stories and poems they'd spent the evening listening to.
It was the first time I felt truly welcome in a new town, and it was entirely because of the connection between writing and community-- what it brings out in people, what it allows them to let go of. I am so thankful for the opportunity I've had to host this series for you, and if I could, if berries were in season and I didn't have a stack of papers to grade, I would make each of you a jar of homemade jam. I'm that grateful!
This month, Iver Arnegard, our featured author and instructor from CSU-Pueblo, read a selection from his poetry collection, Welcome to Deadhorse, as well as a powerful piece from Levant, his current work-in-progress highlighting his experience as an instructor at the American University of Beirut. (Those of you interested in purchasing a copy of Welcome to Deadhorse: please contact Iver directly at email@example.com.) The audience was rapt. His words had us coiled around his finger, even when he stopped a moment to say, "I'm not purposefully trying to depress you." His writing, infused with humility and imagery capable of transporting us overseas, left me marveling at the role of writing in human survival. Without it, we would surely be lost, unable to connect to one another, silent.
I'd like to thank Christopher Gilbert, too, for photographing the event. Here's a wonderful shot of Iver with the audience:
Thank you, also, to the many wonderful Open Mic readers who have signed up to read their work over the past year. I hope you all continue to make this series part of your regular writing routine.
That reminds me, I need to thank Natalie Johnson, owner of Black Cat Books, who has graciously opened her doors to this series (as well as several other regular creative arts functions). As I announced last week, Black Cat is changing shape (combining store space with Safron) and will no longer be able to host us, but we are in the works with the Business of Arts Center, and I will announce the new location as soon as it's settled.
Stay tuned to this blog for updates. And remember, I'm taking the month of May off to travel, and we will resume our regularly scheduled readings in June!
Thanks to all of you!