Labor Day Weekend Brings Art Fair, Spoken Word
It also brought sunshine and low-to-mid nineties heat — summer had come at last! — with the only rain Sunday, literally, just a few drops. And that came just after my reading had ended.
Could that have been a message?
Well, probably not, but mine was the only presentation listed as a reading of horror. This was on the Spoken Word Stage presented by the Writers Guild at Bloomington (cf. July 26, May 31, et al.) with partial support by the Bloomington Arts Commission, as part of Saturday and Sunday’s annual local 4th Street Arts Festival. This is something the Writers Guild has participated in for the past five years, including an information table, a “Poetry on Demand” station (with donation jar) where member-poets create poems for the public with final drafts done on manual typewriters (and, no, given the subject matter of so much of my work, this is one I don’t participate in), and the aforementioned Spoken Word Stage with work read by local and semi-local poets and prose writers in half-hour sessions.
The sessions I got to I thought were fun, with poets perhaps outnumbering the essayists and fiction writers more this year than in years before, but in general giving a good idea of the range of writers and work produced locally. Mine was the one session actually labeled by genre, as “horror fiction,” which might have kept the hypothetical crowds at bay, though it was more likely that I had the next-to-last Sunday, 4 p.m. slot (that is, when people were starting to call it a day, stopping by perhaps to rest their feet, we being one of the few venues there with a sunshade and chairs, rising again on realization of what they were hearing and scurrying all the faster to their cars — would that we writers actually had that kind of power!) and, in any event, some people did show up and stayed for the stories.
And so, I opened with “The Calm” (cf. below, October 5 2014, et al.) from my early collection, STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, a Lovecraftian tale set in northern New York at the time of the French and Indian War, originally published in NEW MYTHOS LEGENDS (Marietta Publishing, 1999). This ran perhaps a little longer than I had rehearsed, though it might also be that we started a couple of minutes late, but not to worry. For my closing story I had pre-selected two, both from THE TEARS OF ISIS, anticipating perhaps a time problem (things running a couple of minutes late at events like this is not exactly unprecedented) and so chose the shorter, “Bones, Bones, the Musical Fruit” (cf. March 29, January 26 2014, et al.), originally published in BONE BALLET (Iguana Publications, 2005) and concerning the problems endured by artists who craft musical instruments from human bones.
It all seemed to go over well enough.