Friday, January 13, 2017

Books & Boards Event

New Downtown Bookstore has "Spoken Word" Event

Spoken Word Event at Books & Boards
Open just a little over a month, the Books & Boards bookstore held a well attended event January 12 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. I was glad to see that three other members of the Writers and Storytellers' Guild of Columbus showed up for the night. I thought it might be similar to a poetry slam, where members of the audience take the mic and read poetry. It was like that, but anyone could put their name in a jar. At the event, the emcee drew a name and called on the reader. I attended but hadn't even remotely thought of reading anything, but then I found out that the other three members of the writers' group had decided to read, and having my Android phone, I was able to open my Kindle Reader and I chose an essay that I recently included in my book, Slices of Real Life.

I won't dwell on the fact that I read, nor that the first name out of the jar was mine, so I had a chance to open up the readings. I'm not a very good impromptu speaker, but the essay I chose to read part of was about my parents, why I had returned to my hometown to "take care of them" when in actual fact, they took care of me just as much as I did them. So I had to stop reading occasionally and fill in a few details.

The bookstore had received another part of their backorder and had also set up a couple more shelves, so it's looking better and better, and with well over thirty people attending the event, even the somewhat large space was comfortably abuzz with laughter and conversation before the readings began. I was also glad to see that a reporter from the city newspaper, The Commercial Dispatch, was on hand talking to people, taking pictures, and I presume with the intent of writing an article for the newspaper.

Richard Wright, one of Mississippi's most
famous authors, perhaps best known for his
novels Black Boy and Native Son
Maybe in another post I said that I moved to Columbus with certain expectations, after having visited here, researched the town, and gotten a good feeling about the kind of environment the town and its people create. I have not been disappointed, and even after almost eight months, I find very little to change that impression. Part of the expectation was that Columbus would be a place that is friendly to the arts, music, and books. Even though until December First there was only one main bookstore in town, in the mall, Books and Boards has come in with guns blazing, and they have a busy schedule of events and plan to feature local and Southern writers. Last night's event was an opportunity for about a dozen readers to share their work.

Southern writers are recognized throughout the United States, of course, but they are also recognized throughout the world as unique and powerful writers. I look forward to attending the events when Southern writers are in the store. I have a lot of discoveries to make, aside from the usual, well-known writers like William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams.

Jill Conner Browne was born in Tupelo
Mississippi and focuses on women's
empowerment issues.
The unexpected and what I thought was the most enjoyable reading of the night was a last-minute person that the emcee encouraged to read after he had emptied the jar of volunteer writers. This last reader wanted to make sure, before he read, if there would be any objection if he read something...erotic. He said if anyone objected he wouldn't read it. No one objected, but even then, he held the room in suspense, reading other poems, and teasing that now he would read the poem he had promised, making sure once again that no one objected. Everyone laughed. He read his erotic poem and parts were a bit graphic, but... one objected. And that was a major expectation I had of what people in Columbus, Mississippi, would be like—open minded, intellectually energetic, and of course polite.

I'm looking forward to attending other events at Books and Boards and also watching the stock flow and building up my library of Southern writers. I'll never be a Southern writer, even though I now live in the South. No matter, one of these days I hope to have gleaned enough of Mississippi's character and soul to place a novel here. I also hope I learn a thing or to about writing from these southerners.

I've included a biographical video of Richard Wright. I discovered his work when I was in college and I have never forgotten the power of his words.

No comments:

Post a Comment