I went to a book reading on Saturday. Correction, I READ at a book reading this past Saturday. (That sentence was so much fun to type.)
I think I was expecting more of a book store or library sort of reading. You know, the kind with a few chairs arranged at the side and a bunch of people still milling around and talking nearby. Imagine my surprise to find it happening in a theater, with a stage and such. When is the last time you saw a lot of people in an auditorium to listen to someone read out loud? That alone was awesome. The quality of the stuff read however was impressive, and I quickly saw how much of an honor it is to be one of the people included.
The selections varied from really stunning sparse poetry to funny essays on being a soccer mom, and then of course there was me spilling my guts out, as I do.
I know I already told you about The Mamas and the Papas: On the sublime and heartbreaking art of parenting as the anthology that I contributed to and have a byline in because, hey, a byline, who wouldn’t be excited. (Though if they let me into it it can’t be that big a deal. I mean, I still half believe that you all come around to read everyday out of pity.)
Now I’m going to tell you about this book as something you really need to buy if you like to read well written books. Every page I’ve turned to at random has either made me laugh out loud, moved me almost to tears or left me with chills because it’s so beautifully written. Be sure to check out the poem by Susan Webb titled Wild Sweet William which she read on Saturday and I completely forgot to tell her how much I enjoyed it. I’ve re-read it 5 or 6 times since then I like it so much. If you were all here right now I would make you listen to it, but you’ll just have to get the book instead.
My friend Chris Baron says his goal has been to write non-cheesy poems about his kids. I think he has succeeded. He prefaced his reading by talking about how he’s been writing poetry for years but he never really felt the need for it before having children and trying to capture the little moments before they slip by. He’s so right I wonder I didn’t think of it before. In fact, I’ve been inspired to write poetry again. I may post one I wrote this week. Not that it’s as good as Chris or Susan’s, but I like the immediacy of it. Chris’s poem snools is also something you should check out.
This book is like having the very best of all the parent blogging posts rolled into one volume. The editors, Alys Masek and Kelly Mayhew, whom it was a pleasure to meet, have done a great job of compiling some excellent writing into one handy book, made out of paper. (Remember that stuff?) So you can sit outside and read it without a screen nearby.
This blurb says it well,
You won’t pick up much down-and- diaper-dirty, hands-on info from MAMAS AND PAPAS. Just soul-wrenching (and gut-busting) missives from the front lines,
dispatched by very, very good writers . . .–Arthur Salm
In conclusion, you should get your hands on this book, and maybe an extra copy as a gift. Christmas is coming.
full disclosure: I don’t get a single cent from promoting this book. Sales support City Works Press