that synergy thing
You may recall my babblings in recent weeks of my perceived need for some kind of group synergy — fellowship is the better word — to foster my writing efforts. I took a step in that direction recently.
The muse must have smiled on my Kansas City because some kind soul is keeping an online calendar of literary events about town. It seems to be pretty comprehensive, and it stretches into 2013. (Not all that comprehensive though. One bookstore owner I talked to, who holds occasional readings and other “events,” noted that the calendar keeper won’t list his activities though he has submitted them.) Anyway, most of the events on this calendar are at times/places that are inconvenient for me. Deep downtown. Late in the evening. (Do people actually head out at 7:00 in the evening on a week night if there isn’t beer involved????)
Yet sometimes the stars align and I am able to be in the right place at the right time. Several Sundays ago was one of those times. We were going to be in midtown (visiting the art museum for some much-needed cultural infusion), and there was to be a reading of short stories further downtown later that day. I didn’t know what to expect given that the two writers were young enough to be my children (and still are, it turns out). But they were also widely published and award winning for their tender years. And I certainly don’t hold such lofty thoughts about myself to think I couldn’t learn something from anyone who struggles with words, regardless of age, genre, or medium. Plus, such an attitude would be in contradiction to my idea of fellowship.
So there we were, on a cold February afternoon, in a cold art gallery, sitting on rickety folding chairs, listening to these two writers read from their works. I have to confess that I liked one much more than the other. The one I liked wrote stories that would never come into my mind. They were so different and imaginative that I could never conceive them, much less execute them. The one I didn’t care for seemed to be writing vignettes rather than stories. I couldn’t find a story in them, which may say more about my deficiencies than his. I’ve been to a few readings where wine and cheese were served. At this reading they gave us rolls. That’s it: rolls. But they were good rolls.
Regardless, I was glad I went. Before the readings, one of the organizers approached me saying I looked familiar. She also looked familiar, and after a little fumbling conversation, we found that we had a mutual friend who is a humble, quiet, hard-working man, and who is also, I am learning, quite a shining star among the learned and striving reading and writing community in town. Anyway, she and I talked, and she asked me about my writing. I mentioned this and that, and she seemed delighted by it.
And I felt a little of that fellowship then. I’m glad I went to the reading even if what I gained from it is intangible. And I’ve resolved to make myself go to more of these things. I might even go out of my way to listen to poetry!