|A pirate maternity costume|
Jordan Fry and Priscilla Brett host a brilliant little reading series in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Every month or so they invite a reader to read before the child-proofed hearth in their cozy, charming, and book-filled home. These "Hearthside Hearings" are broadcast live on www.Ustream.tv/channel/the-hearthside-hearings. They also record them and throw them up on YouTube. I read on February 22nd. It was a lovely event. Priscilla made my wife and I a great meal which we shared with Jordan and Priscilla and their children. Then Jordan drove into St Catharines to pick up some of the audience (these two, they do everything for the reading!) and then I began reading under a corner lamp to the audience sitting on the stairs, on the chairs and the floor.
I read a few stories, a couple poems, and a big chunk from my work-in-progress novel. Because of the intimacy of a house reading, I didn't try to put on a 'performance' but rather to just read. I was able to read for longer than I would have in a regular reading and had the opportunity of trying something provisional, something in progress. We had a nice conversation afterwards and the audience had lots of interesting things to share in relation to my novel.(Priscilla's great-great-great-grandfather had been a notable pirate!) One thing I loved about the reading was the idea that, in a place like Niagara Falls with hardly any literary scene, Jordan and Priscilla just made one up. By hosting this series in their home -- and by broadcasting it -- they instantly have created, not only their own fun, but a literary scene. It's the equivalent of DIY publishing or a small or micro press. Which they also do.
And now, they're doing something even more ambitious. They are establishing the Niagara Literary Arts Festival beginning this spring. The line-up is going to be fantastic.
Here are the recordings of my reading.
deer; love, equality, and marvellous hair; donkeys, non-thirsty rivers and Bruegel;
Parrots, pirates, Yiddish, and Columbus: an excerpt from my novel-in-progress.
The radiant happiness of the 15-year pregnancy.