Monday, February 3, 2014
The New York Literary Scene
When my friend and (now long-distance) critique group co-founder Reneé Bibby mentioned that she would be in New York City doing a reading, I was still living in North Carolina, but I planned and hoped that I would be at least somewhat established in New England by January 26, the night the reading happened. And I was! My husband and I had to drive for a while and then take a train for quite a while, and as it turned out, we didn't get home until 2 a.m., but it was a small effort to attend such a momentous event.
I'm sure it's going to be far from one of a kind, however. Reneé is so talented, there will be many more publications and many more readings. This first one was in honor of the branch sites of the Writers Studio, an institution that promotes the craft of writing and produces award winners like so many snowflakes. Reneé teaches lucky students at the Tucson branch. (See an excerpt and a link to her first publication at her site.)
My husband and I were wearing all the layers of clothes we could manage to sit down in, and it was a good thing, because the KGB Bar is a little walk from a subway stop The breeze wasn't warm enough to have anything gentle about it, but we were aided by a new app called Street View, suggested by my brother, another talented writer. I had heard of this bar before, but would later learn why we were headed there: it's often the host to cozy, classy literary events. In the gloom of 6:30 pm, we found the KGB Bar by its neon lights and ascended the outer stairs.
After a happy reunion with Reneé, my husband and I sat with some of the many Tucson writers who showed up to support her. I knew some of them, so it was an unexpectedly comprehensive and fun blast from the past. I'm so impressed with the enthusiastic set of supporters Reneé has! Even when I gave readings in college I only ever had one or two people cheering and whooping, but here it seemed like 75% of the audience was there for one special person, and I know I was one of them.
I'm definitely a city girl. That day, I felt energized and creative in spite of a draining journey that required three days to recover from. You just don't get that spark from anywhere but a good city. Or I don't, anyway. What a wonderful welcome back to the Northeast!