Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sharing the Stage (Take Two)

A month ago, a Big Scary Snowstorm forced the rescheduling (to now: Spring!) of a reading event that I'm very pleased to be part of, with Gail Godwin, John Bowers, and Heather Rolland (details below). I'll be reading from my story collection The Principle of Ultimate Indivisibility (see links to reviews on the right). Since one of the themes of my book is the interconnections among people and the subtle influences exerted by those invisible circuits, I've been thinking about the other three readers with whom I'll be sharing the stage....

I'm especially humbled to be on the same program with Gail Godwin. She's a literary celebrity, with three National Book Award nominations, a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and five novels on the New York Times best seller list. Although we both live in Woodstock, I met Gail only once, briefly. It was May, 2002, and she was attending the launch party of my publishing project, Prima Materia, a literary annual for Hudson Valley writers. She was the guest of one of the contributors to that first issue, Djelloul Marbrook (insightful blogger, fine fiction writer, prize-winning poet), and his wife Marilyn, who have since become dear friends of mine. Gail was raised in Asheville, North Carolina, a place where I was once very pleased to discover a delightfully countercultural health food store, a bright spot on a long, dreary journey along the corporate treadmill of the interstate.

I've never met John Bowers, but chances are good we've seen each other. He lives in Phoenicia, NY, a quaint/funky village that is the home of many of my friends, my daughter's school, and frequent breakfasts, lunches, and gallery strolls by my wife and I. John is also a literary star, with seven published books, many articles and essays, and twenty years as a writing professor at Columbia University. I found myself in his home town, Johnson City, Tennessee, just last month. It was a welcome stopping point on a dark wintry night after twelve hours of driving, heading home from New Orleans. Wendy and I were even able to have a good Indian meal and a glass of wine, not our usual highway fare.

Heather Rolland and I share a number of friends on Facebook (that feeble simulacrum of the Net of Indra) and she's a member of the networking website I started, Hudson Valley Writers. I was aware of her first novel, and knew that she and I could probably talk shop about the experience of independent publishing. We had only that strange, disembodied cyber-connection, like electronic eavesdropping, that is today's version of "friendship," until she attended my reading/booksigning event last Fall. I enjoyed meeting her and her husband and daughter, but was too busy signing books to chat at length, so even though we've met in person and live in neighboring towns, the connection is still mostly in cyberspace. I look forward to hearing her read.

This event is an example of what I love about the Hudson Valley, and in particular, our northern Ulster County corner of it: the creative talent that bubbles up out of these woods and small towns is amazing. There must be something in the water.

Please join us. Here are the details:
Sunday 3/28, 4 pm
Inquiring Mind Coffeehouse and Bookstore
65 Partition St., Saugerties, NY

Gail Godwin will read from her new novel Unfinished Desires: http://gailgodwin.com/
John Bowers will read from his new novel Love in Tennessee: http://www.johnbowersauthor.com/
Heather Rolland will read from her novel Finders, Seekers, Losers, Keepers, and forthcoming sequel Honey Melon Fudge: http://www.heatherrolland.com/

Arrive early, order coffee, browse books, chat with the authors. Hope to see you there!

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