Upcoming Readings | April 11 & April 15

Anam Cara Storytellinganam_cara-april2015-BW
Irish American Heritage Center
Saturday, April 11
6:30-9pm

Since September 2014, I have spent most of my Thursday evenings at the memoir writing workshop at the Irish American Heritage Center. The workshops are lead by Oakton Community College Professor of English Virginia Gibbons and curated by the ever-commited and talented, Theresa Choske.

Anam Cara means soul friend. In these workshops, we bring what we can. We are informal, opening the second floor library doors each week to the working writer, the struggling writer, the young writer, the dreaming writer, the in-love writer, the grieving writer, the elder writer, the tired writer–any writer–to come to the table with a pen and paper and with what words, or lack of them, we are capable of carrying that day.

Anam Cara Storytelling is a celebration of the writing we have been capable of carrying for the past year. I will be reading about ghosts, as usual. Others will be reading about ghosts, too. I hope you’ll join us.

FirstTimeLogo

CHIRP Radio Presents: First Time, First Lie
Martyrs’
Wednesday, April 15th
8pm

In 2012, I performed at CHIRP Radio‘s “First Time, First Digs” live lit event. I told a story about my first apartment in Massachusetts. I paired it with the Tom Waits’ song, “Hold On.” It was a magnificent experience and I am grateful to have the opportunity to read again at “First Time, First Lie” at Martyrs’ on April 15. I won’t tell you what my first lie is, but I can assure you it will open an inverted world of wonder, faith, curiosity, satire, church, and restitution. Please, do come.

On Long Form, Collective Unconscious, and Light in August

Reading Light in August by William Faulkner makes me pine for long form, the craft of the long sentence or the novel. The book is emblematic of a genre of American literature beginning to delve into the theme of collective unconscious narrative voice, especially slave narratives and African American voice. The character Christmas in the book, who is half black, experiences what can only be described as collective post-traumatic stress from his ancestor’s slave history, a narrative that Toni Morrison perfects in her novel Beloved fifty-five years later. It is fun to see the theme make an appearance in Faulkner’s writing in 1932 and hold a torch through the literary century to appear again in the 1980s.

Below is a glimpse into memory as Faulkner begins its navigation in the first paragraph of Chapter 6 of Light in August (a beautiful gem of a long sentence), followed by the mirror concept of rememory in Toni Morrison’s Beloved. An incomplete critical comparison, but literary nerdery on a sunny day at the end of March, nevertheless:

“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders. Knows remembers believes a corridor in a big long garbled cold echoing building of dark red brick stootbleakened by more chimneys than its own, set in a grassless cinderstrewnpacked compound surrounded by smoking factory purlieus and enclosed by a ten foot steel-and-wire fence like a penitentiary or a zoo, where in random erratic surges, with sparrowlike childtrebling, orphans in identical and uniform blue denim in and out of remembering but in knowing constant as the beak walls, the bleak windows where in rain soot from the yearly adjacenting chimneys streaked like black tears” (Page 119, William Faulkner, Light in August, Vintage Books 1989).

Faulkner_signature“I used to think to think it was my rememory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place–the picture of it–stays, and not just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened” (Toni Morrison, Beloved).

Happy long form, Saturday!