Sunday, March 10, 2013


ORIGINAL POST 11/26/2006 :
an anthology of stories, poems, and creative non-fiction written and told by people who write and tell stories at livermore's 4th street studio

and the release party was yesterday; at tenuta vineyards!

now, i am guilty of creature of habit driving, and always on isabel from vineyard, i turn left.. head down to concannon, make a right.. look for the collection of winery posts; follow the signs and wine taste down the sunset strip of wineries: tesla, maybe branch off to mines. but never before have i turned right on isabel.. so this release party quite literally took me in a new direction!

and what a beautiful drive! what magnificent views!

the poetry and short story readings took place, not inside the beautiful and festive wine tasting room at tenuta, which several of us would visit afterward, but inside the warm and gorgeous home of tenuta's owner: nancy. what a treat to drink wine, snack on cheese and crackers (and brownies!) and get lost in the words and stories of fellow writers who all read with such passion and authenticity, standing in front of a gently hypnotic fire in a rather grand fire place; with easy access views to mount diablo, the vineyards, the landscape and sky in general. and on such a gorgeous november day!

blessed we are.

i have some idea that printing and publishing this anthology is no day at tenuta, so want to of course thank karen hogan and selene steese; wingspan press

i love so many of the stories and poems in this anthology, and still have many left to read. but it does come easy for me, choosing one as my favorite to capture on this blog. the reason it is easy, is because the first time i visited 4th street studio, this particular poem was read by its author, and it just entered me so directly. the message and rythm reminded me, i think, of maya angelou's work, and so my attachment was immediate. not just to the poet & poem, but to 4th street studio and the saturday salons. and i've heard her read it at the century house, and then again at this reading. i am so happy to see it officially published. and prior to her reading it, she said something like.. "hope i don't have to read this again" and i thought.. please no. each time there is something new to learn. i hope she reads it again and again (midnight train to georgia); the more ears the merrier...

i pledge allegiance to freedom
by charan sue wollard,

we are americans, free to be who we are,
to say, love, vote and pray who we are,
to shout, march, lie down in the streets who we are,
to wear ribbons of many colors who we are,
to wrap ourselves in flags or chadors who we are,
to cover our heads with mantillas
or yarmulkes or dastarrs who we are,
to write poems, sing songs,
dance in the streets who we are
grasp hands from sea to shining sea, light candles,
hold silent in earnest vigils who we are,

(and the rest can be found on page 284/285 in this anthology).

i feel bad i didn't get to hear everyone read, arriving not until 3pm-ish, and worse, that i can't remember everyone i did get to hear.. but i do remember:

selene steese: always wonderful and straight from the core of her soul
tom darter: theatrical, relatable, funny
peter bray: wonderful love story.. true appreciation of life; family & romance
frank thornburgh: always engaging, original, so candid and as a result: very funny.
and, feel terrible... met you, can see you in my mind, but sometimes fail with names.. but you read discarded things for the author/judy clement wall. you were the perfect person to read this aloud! you gave this story so much life! i loved every word! and the writing/reading made it so easy to see the entire movie in my head. to feel it/experience it. ~wonderful. and i totally understand and appreciate: not every writer wishes to publically read. that is why i am extra grateful for people like yourself

and oh my goodness! david hardiman.. you were hilarious! obviously you are one of those people who speak AND write with equal talent. i've not seen, heard or met you before, but i have read your work.. i kept thinking to myself... that name seems familiar... and when i returned home and looked, sure enough... it was your piece titled identity thieves strike god, that was my favorite in the 2005 anthology! please consider me a fan.

and, slightly intimidating to read after you! -but elevating also.

and cynthia patton! i want to tell you this... i was glued to every word. how you used words, shaped this story at the pace you did, conveyed the intensity of emotion through the behaviors, actions, scenes, dialogue. it was just magnificent. and the thing about creative non-fiction is that, at the same time i can be awed by the writing skill, the whole experience is deepened when i realize throughout that the story is not just craft; but a very real human experience. congratulations and thank you!

and frank: thank you for your good company and encouraging words. look forward to knowing you better. perhaps come creative collaborations lie ahead... or mischief. or both.

thank you for your hospitality to: nancy and rich.

arrived home with a bottle of serendipity (chardonnay/pinot noir) and zinfandel; good memories behind, good book ahead, and what i hope is just the beginning of a long & rewarding creative writing career.

oh please i pray. ~amen.


At 10:24 AM, Blogger Jim Ott said...

what a wonderful tribute to your fellow writers and poets. i can just see and feel the joy in the readings in Nancy's home. nicely written...


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