Oh, the Places You'll Go! (...and have already been)

I am currently annoyed that I am awake, sitting in my room at the Red Roof Inn. If I would have known before I woke up that the radio was already pre-set to the Toldeo NPR, I would have had it on all night. Instead, I let a short iTunes mix sing me to sleep and then woke up at various occasions in a panic throughout the night. My curtain is drawn, but I'm sure it's raining.

But let's back track a bit. I am AWP-bound currently, but last weekend I was in Boston. Gigantic Sequins had a 3.1 Celebration at Trident Books and Cafe on Thursday night. Four great writers whose fiction has been published in Gigantic Sequins read. I was pleased to meet Meg Cameron and Kelli Trapnell and also glad to make this celebration an opportunity to catch up with LaTanya McQueen and Olivia Kate Cerrone. Olivia closed out the night reading most of her piece in our 3.1 issue, "Dirty", leaving the audience with some closure, but curious to figure out what happens. Kelli came before her and read her magical realist piece in 3.1, "Ceramic", even singing to us! She read us some poetry as well. Prior to her, LaTanya read the deeply moving piece "Once" from the Robert Olen Butler Prize Stories. It made me want to buy the book it was published in. And we opened the night with shorts from Meg Cameron, whose stark realism kept us on our toes. All in all, it was good to finally celebrate our 3.1 issue, and I'm especially glad that we had the opportunity to do so with these great ladies.

Olivia Kate Cerrone holding GS 3.1

Meg Cameron and  I

Then on Saturday, Gigantic Sequins took part in the resurrected Dirty Water Reading Series that Peter Jurmu put together. After the event, I was surprised when he told me he'd never put a reading together before because it had been so successful. It took place in Inman Square at the wonderful Lorem Ipsum Books, home to the Papercut Zine Library. The space itself was perfect, and it filled out well. Each literary journal or press had one reader with a distinct style, and even the other that they read in seemed perfect. First, we heard from Janaka Stucky of Black Ocean, followed by Theadora Siranian for Gigantic Sequins. Both poets read powerful, focused works that kept the audience enraptured. After Thea, David Blair read for The Boston Review, entertaining the crowd with his often amusing poems. "Quirky" isn't quite the right word for them because they were masterfully crafted. A short break meant for mingling was followed by Sumanth Prabhaker reading from Donald Barthelmae's The Dead Father, a sharply intelligent piece the Madras Press has published in a small volume of its own. Finally, the charismatic and inimitable Mike Young collaborated with the audience to close out the event, reading for Redivider, the Emerson MFA journal.

Theadora Siranian @ Lorem Ipsum
That's right-- a book vending machine!

Before we left Lorem Ipsum I got to check out the Papercut Zine Library and talk to one of their volunteers about the wide definition of what constitutes a zine as well as the history of the library. Any of my Cambridge/Boston friends should make it over to Lorem Ipsum and check out the zine library-- it works like a true library, and you can borrow their zines! After the reading, a number of us headed down the street to chat, and I was grateful to be surrounded by like-minded writers and readers. Daniel Evans Pritchard and I had a few compelling conversations, and you should probably like on facebook The Critical Flame, an online journal of book reviews and criticism, that he founded and runs. Check it out.

I'm glad for that mingling of writers that followed the Dirty Water reading because it's prepared me for what's to come-- soon, I will leave this room at the Red Roof Inn and travel four hours or so, in this dull rain if I must, on the road to Chicago for the annual AWP conference. I've never driven past Pittsburgh until yesterday, and I hope the rest of my trip will be as safe and smooth. It's nothing like the drive from Boston to Philly and back-- there is much less traffic so far, and the scenery is much more beautiful, lots of valleys, Beckett-worthy trees and dilapidated old barns. I'll be setting up our table and "checking in" today. Gigantic Sequins is at table O10 with Big Lucks. I hope that you'll stop by and say hello!

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