Well, less than actually. This Saturday (April 6th) I’ll be reading at Jerabek’s New Bohemian Coffeehouse in St. Paul, at noon.
It’s all part of The Cracked Walnut Lit Reading Festival concocted by Satish Jayaraj (21 readings in 30 days all over the Twin Cities). I posted a bit on it before, but here are some links to press this event has gotten:
Star Tribune: “This is a good way to endure this cold and icy spring: a nice hot drink, and someone to read aloud to you. Like a good cup of coffee, it’ll be both soothing and invigorating.”
TC Daily Planet: “Jayaraj coined the moniker Cracked Walnut for several reasons. On one level the walnut is a very old nut and is emblematic of the long tradition of storytelling in human communities. On another level, he feels that one of the goals of the all Cracked Walnut programs is to foster experimentation and development, so much of the work may not be quite perfect or “cracked.””
The Examiner: “Wander into a coffee house near you during this period, and you are likely to find a huddle of folks listening to stories. This festival does something truly profound: it showcases in a short period of time the vast variety and breadth of talent that we have in the Twin Cities. Go, get inspired!”
So, many nice things are being said about this festival. I’ve been to several of the readings now and it is impressive. One of the reasons that I chose to stay in the Twin Cities and get my MFA from Hamline (other than Hamline offering a wonderful Creative Writing Program) is that I realized that the Twin Cities has one of those things that a writer dreams of, a vibrant community of writers already here.
I’ve been writing since the date that Satish asked me to be part of this, because I’m a novelist. Most of the stuff that I have is too long to fit into the time I’m allotted for this reading, and since none of my stuff is published yet, it hardly seems fair to read a section from a book that I can’t point people to directly to find out what happens next. So I’ve been working on some short stories. I’ve got a few scribbled into my notebook now (I think I’ve written five now) and I just need to type them up and see which ones feel the strongest. I’m sure that I’ll be submitting some of them to FictionDepot.com, so they will be available to read.
Other stuff …
As for the vibrant arts community that I live in, I made a decision last November when I happened upon last minute birthday plans with a friend/ co-worker to see The Magnetic Fields at First Ave. That decision was to see more live music (one of the reasons that I chose to live here). The holiday season at work and general business postponed my plans somewhat, but I had a date set. I get updates from First Ave with their upcoming concerts, and looking at the acts I decided to take a chance on the Ryan Bingham show. I had a passing familiarity with his music (mostly from his Oscar winning song, The Weary Kind). After purchasing the tickets I managed to listen to several of his albums via Spotify (pay the $10 a month subscription fee, it’s worth it) and decided that I hadn’t made a bad choice. I waited until the last minute to ask folks if they’d like to come with–I ended up going with my buddy (and longtime concert cohort) Zack and we had a great time. The opening act was a band called HoneyHoney, and they were pretty fantastic (I’d argue, even better that the headliner). Both acts are sold as country, and they do embody a lot of what country is defined as (guitars, banjos, etc) but the sound veers more toward a southern rock than the type of stuff that generally gets associated with popular country now. Both HoneyHoney and Ryan Bingham share a lot with acts like The Avett Brothers, who are classified as a more Indie Folk Rock. Regardless of how you’d classify them, it was a great show. Next up is Ike Reilly at the Turf Club on April 13th with my friend Aleks.
I’ve also been painting and drawing. I’ll do another visual art post here in a while to collect all the recent snapshots of the artwork that I’m producing, but if you don’t want to wait, go to my artist/ writer Facebook page and like it for updates.
That’s it for now. I’ve got some typing to do.
More later …