April 13th - Owen Patterson
This is the event that got flooded. But even with the rescheduling, we had a great time!
Owen read from his book, The Dis-Condition of Ease, that explored life through short vignettes that asked about living up to a name, how great calamities befall humanity, and miracles in the everyday.
Oak Park Library's own Larry Nance was there and read his poem “Brother Tim” about the intersection of oppression and Tim who spoke of social justice in a way that spoke to the young Larry. I read from my short story “Lobster Girl” about a young girl and her father and what happens when a child’s desire translates to magic. (It’s going to be published May 15th!)
We had a few folks who had never been to our even show up halfway through. Owen read a much lighter story that made everyone laugh about a student who had no patience and discovered by experience the importance of following the chain of command.
April 27th - Iztac Metztli
Iztac is a spoken word poet as well as a short story writer who is a former student of mine. She has grown into an amazing woman! She first read her short story, “The Old Man, The Ocean, and the Bird”, a magical realism story about a man losing his wife and discovering the flight of birds with the help of the ocean. Then she read some of her spoken word poetry - “White Bitch” was about being born here but being Mexican and knowing the soil from which her grandmothers sprang. “I Am, I Is” tackled the prejudice that comes from of how language is perceived. “In Between” dealt with her identity as a Mexican American born in a Puerto Rican neighborhood. “In the Seat of Suffering”, she explored Chicago’s response, or lack thereof, to gang violence and how these are our children with expiration dates. “I Ain’t Hip-Hop” was about growing up in the shadow of older brothers in the Hip-Hop scene. “My Grandmother is a Candle” was about her grandmother Vella who taught her the art of ancient navigation and whose candle may flicker but always burns bright.
For our Open Mic, we had Mike reading his short story, “The Ancient Eyes of Sady French” about a murder that may or may not have been perpetuated by a parrot. Alex read from his novellla, “The World River Flows Where it Will” where two characters were looking for a place in an alien world where being human didn’t make them the lowest of the low. I read my poem, “We Were Never Mermaids” about my sister who has a brain injury and how her life affects the entire family. Sheila read, “Not For You”, a story about ghosts walking on halloween night and what to do when you are the lighthouse for the dead but one of the dead is an asshole. Ed read about how he wanted to write a serial, “In the Shadows of Giants” that sipped expensive marshmallows and his poem, “Homework oh Homework” about the terrible choices homework provides.