Our most recent event was a record-breaker in terms of attendance and sales!
The BookMarket in The Glen Town Center has a gem of a performance space and it was packed. Rick, the assistant manager and gracious host who made us feel welcome, put out 50 chairs and still there were people in the couches and chairs at the outer edges of the room.
The readings began when Pat Rahmann, who is known for her plays and novels, gave us “Last Trip Together”, a poem she told us, that she wrote on her lap while riding in a car in Florida. It was Pat’s first published poem and coincidentally was the first piece accepted for Solace in So Many Words. Kathleene Donahoo was next and she gave us a snippet (as they say in the news biz) of headline-writing Carol and her son and daughter-in-law as they begin their car trip from Detroit to Florida. They weren’t out of Michigan but the bumpy ride so far made the audience laugh on several occasions. The next reader was Carol N. Kanter, and she read “Her Best Medicine” a poem that recognizes the healing benefits of a good hair day. She also read Jodi Kanter’s “High-End Grocery Solace.” Carol and Jodi are the only mother and daughter pair in Solace in So Many Words and may be the only poetry-writing mother and daughter pair that I know. Do you know any?
D. J. Lachance was next and he prefaced his reading of “Nagasaki Shadows” with a consideration of other writers who had experienced war such as J. R. R. Tolkien, and Homer. He is at work to have this story done as a monlogue as part of a stage production “Voices from the Cafe” in Iran.
“All life is suffering,” that was one of the opening remarks made by J. Scott Smith before she read “Heartbeat” which gives us the day in the life of the suffering Buck Odom. If you listened to the podcast of our interview on “The Sunday Papers” with Rick Kogan, you’ll probably remember she expressed the same sentiment then too, which leads me to think that J. Scott Smith is something of a Baptist Buddhist. But you don’t have to be either to appreciate “Heartbeat” and Buck’s struggle.
Teresa S. Mathes came in from San Diego to read her essay, “Out of Hate Speech, A New Language.” She prefaced her reading by saying that organized religion had always played a positive role in her life and that her connection to it became even more profound as her husband went to seminary school, was ordained, led a parish and is now the current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego. Her essay opens with information about the death threat on her husband but focuses on how she and her friends reacted to this hatred.
Of course you have heard the expression that when life hands you lemons, you should make lemonade. Well, Joan Corwin has put this concept into practice because she had several humorous things to say about a bad reading experience she had once (not at Solace in So Many Words event) and then proceeded to read a condensed excerpt from “Details” that left the audience chuckling, not heckling.
I like to finish up by reading a poem. This time I chose “The Captive” by Laurence Snydal, a poem that speaks to me especially with these lines: “My heart knows where / Hurt lies, seeks it out, squeezes, and I know / It’s the same secret bulb everyone knows, / The hidden hurt we secretly suppose / Wants squeezing.”
As I mentioned, the sales and attendance were the best ever. So was there a downside? A hurt that wants squeezing? Yes. My camera guy backed out and I never got any pictures until we were eating the last of the nibbles and getting ready to leave. I could kick myself.
That documenting the event doesn’t come naturally to me is probably on account of at least two reasons: 1) I hate having my picture taken (Just a couple of weeks ago I finally acquiesced to having a professional photo taken) and 2) I am middle-aged and photographing events in my life just isn’t second nature to me as it seems to be for many young people. A camera-phone? They make those?
But whatever the case, I goofed in not getting pics.