Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting Ready to Read

Yesterday was our writers' group meeting for May, and the final get-together before our upcoming readings at Starbucks for the American Days events in Stuttgart this year.  Half smart and half evil, this month's host decided to hold our meeting not in its usual spot at the DAZ (Deutsch Amerikanisches Zentrum), but at the Parish Center of Ken's church, St. Catherine's, because of the big book sale fund raiser going on the same day.  Smart because writers are generally big readers, and evil for the same reason.  I'm a sucker for bargain books, which is why I've got more than I think I'll ever be able to read already.  Now I've got more, though for the sake of raising money for children's library, so where's the bad.

Yesterday's meeting was highly productive, aside from the shopping, as we got the chance to sit and talk about the two readings, who's reading and what.  Having narrowed it down to a few, I read two short pieces and got some great feedback.  One, I'll be reading; the other, not this time.  A third, I put on our Yahoo Group website for further comments, so we'll see what ends up coming out when it's my turn to stand at the mic.

I'm so incredibly thankful Chris researched local writers' groups before we moved, because otherwise I doubt I'd have found this group of artists.  At my first meeting with the group, Karenne, the mother of the group having started it a few years back, asked how in the world I'd found them.  It seems they'd stopped actively seeking out new members and had buried their link on the DAZ website to slow down inquiries into joining.  Apparently my email to her had made the proper impression, and so I was in.  I was instantly smitten with her and this group, the different voices and styles that filled the chairs around the large, rectangular conference table.  In this room I found a new support system, a clan of distinctly different artists whose paths run parallel enough to bring them together in their plight to further develop and hone their craft.  We are poets, playwrights,  photographers, and writers of songs, fiction and non-fiction, short stories and long.  We're also parents, scientists, travelers, teachers, and a priest.  Most of all, we are writers and I feel very fortunate to be a part of this group of amazingly talented people.

So back to the I listened to others read what they plan to bring to the public readings, I once again found myself in awe of them all.  Jim's physical accompaniments to his story, Karenne' perfect story-telling voice, Claire's clear depth of feeling, Christine's abundant energy, and although I cannot understand most of what Karin shares (as it is in German), I love listening to her easy rhythm.  And neither Liz nor Tiffany read yesterday, but Liz's humor and timing, and Tiffany's careful delivery also keep me enthralled when they read.  As Ken was up and down, participating both in our meeting and the goings-on of the book, coffee, and bake sale happening around us, we didn't hear an awful lot from him this time, but for good reason.  He'll be reading at least one of the nights and I'm really looking forward to his thoughtful words to bring me further along into his world of writing.  Am I good enough to read with these writers?  Are my words worthy of their time, their criticism and their brain space?  I sure hope so.  I also hope I can bring to them careful thought and criticism, a good sense of humor, and friendship as we all work to move further down or lives' paths.

Thanks, guys.  See you Tuesday.


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