Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hello from NY & Goodbye from CSWRS

Hello from New York, CSWRS supporters!

I’ve missed this reading series since I moved to upstate New York to begin my PhD. It's been a crazy, busy, productive year out east, and many times I've found my imagination back in Colorado. I’m sad to know this is a goodbye note from the reading series we all enjoyed so much in the Colorado Springs community. I want to take a moment to thank you all for the contributions you made as writers and citizens.

A shot from the first reading, April 16, 2010.

This series began in 2010. Because my husband’s career in the army meant we relocated every 6-18 months, I arrived in Colorado already familiar with feeling as if I were the one person within city limits who didn’t have that hometown feeling, of knowing where I was and who was there with me. This reading series was my hometown while I lived in Colorado. It couldn’t have been done without the support of many fellow writers and lovers of local art and artists: Jana Rush, the then-event-coordinator at the BAC who did everything she could to keep CSWRS at the BAC affordably and comfortably; her husband and fish-whisperer Ed Engle, who purchased the rent for our first three months at the BAC as a donation; Natalie Johnson, owner of the once Black Cat Books and current BAC director; Mandy Solomon, colleague at PPCC who continued the series when I left Colorado; Patti Mirehouse, once-composition-student turned trusted friend, who hand-modeled books for sale like no one else; my husband, Tom Angstadt, who helped whenever he was stateside and supported me over the phone when he wasn’t; all the open mic contributors, some of whose work became a staple we cherished and some who visited and shared their work only once or twice; every student who participated in any reading; and, to be honest, the staff at Amanda’s Fonda, who fed me after almost every reading, even though I typically got there ten minutes before closing.

From 2010 through 2012, I left every CSWRS event feeling thrilled by the happiness created by a community of people who cared for each other. There were stories I grew to love like relatives and voices I didn’t want to move away from. The writers who traveled to Colorado from as far away as New York and as close as Old Colorado City shocked and comforted me with their enthusiasm and passion.

And it wasn’t just people who made such an impression on me during my time with the CSWRS. Black Cat Books changed shape while we were there, then relocated, and recently closed its doors; the BAC endured vandalism (followed by an incredible outpouring of community support for repairs). The entire town shook in the hot shadow of a terrifying wildfire in the summer of 2012, and has recently stood up to powerful flooding. This community is one of resilience, strong enough to rewrite itself through obstacles.

Plus, and especially, I am grateful for every single guest author, who offered their readings as a donation to the series and the community. Please stay in touch and know how much we all enjoyed your work:

Deidre Schoolcraft
Laura Feldman
Janele Johnson
Iver Arnegard
Michael Ferguson
M.R. Hyde
Contributors to Rearrange

Ye Olde Book Table

Thank you, all of you, from the bottom of my heart, which is always searching for home. I appreciate you, I am glad for you. By participating in CSWRS, you showed your commitment to local writers, to their voices, to the art of literature and the strength of compassion in a community. Please continue to do this in every city you live in. Support one another, write for each other. Keep in touch, submit your work, keep up the good fight! Spread the word about ways to get your voices heard in Colorado Springs and around the world. (The literary journal I work for now, Harpur Palate, is open for submissions, for example, and we'd love to read your work.)

Take good care,
Abby E. Murray
Former CSWRS Coordinator


  1. So wonderful that you brought this to our town and that Mandy continued it. So sad it's ended.

  2. Oh, Abby, you made me cry with your beautifully written parting words. I miss you but feel fortunate that we still stay in touch and as a bonus I still see Mandy and we fondly reminisce about our great times spent with you. Thank you for bringing us all together.

  3. Thank you so much for your contributions to the Colorado Springs arts community and, more than that, to our lives! I will truly miss these experiences and hope to see my new writing friends in other places. We will keep in touch!