Dire Reading Series

I have a novelist’s tendency to uncouple from reality whenever possible. Knowing this about myself, I embarked on Twitter with a healthy sense of dread, and sure enough, about eight hundred tweets in, I came to the conclusion that Twitter was enabling my escape from the present moment in a way that couldn’t possibly be good for me in the long run. So I took it off my phone. This is how I came to waiting for the #1 bus in the pouring rain for the third time last Friday, trying to write in my journal with one hand while steadying an umbrella against the wind with the other, wishing the present moment wasn’t quite so wet and cold.

But anyway, I was on my way home from Timothy Gager’s Dire Reading Series at Out of the Blue Art Gallery in Cambridge, which I really enjoyed. I heard Tim say that he started the series (147 installments ago) because the Boston area didn’t have an open mike for fiction, and I’m glad he did. It was an eclectic evening which encompassed not just fiction but poetry, personal essay, Tim’s sardonic humor, even a bit of a one-man show—all this plus beer and wine for two bucks, a crazy quilt of art on the walls, the tinkle of the door’s bell and the clatter of rain, a wooden female deity and a cat.

The featured readers:

CD Collins, an alarmingly multitalented Kentucky-to-Boston transplant, who read the slyly devastating title story from Blue Land and another one-two punch called “Death by Salad,” both of which were also hilarious.

Her theory about why Ziggy went wild can be summed up in one word: crystal.

Anne Champion, a fearless feminist poet writing about sex, love, emptiness, friendship and vampires.

I’m naked in bed next to a man who continually disappoints me.

Randy Susan Meyers, author of “The Comfort of Lies,” who shared with us some of her thinking behind this novel of infidelity and family, before reading a taut scene about an adoptive mother struggling with her own ability to parent.

You don’t have to have been buried alive to write about an avalanche, but it helps to have been stuck in an elevator.

Open-mike readers included me, Donald Vincent, Laura Kiesel, David Wildman (who turned out to be the David Wildman from the then-Weekly Dig), and some other great readers whose names I didn’t catch. It was a fine scene and I look forward to July 12!

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