Monday, July 25, 2011

43. Bookstock and } the Dire Literary Series.

Alone in a miniscule Vermont town, alone for days, wandering around in a French-cuff, white dress shirt, gray trousers, and black, leather boots, lost off a trail, I ended up at a post-and-rail fence, looped with barbed wire. There ahead was a field. Horses, all of them white, grazed. One turned to the noise I made when I stepped on the bottom rail of the fence to test its strength. Green plants dangled from the horse’s mouth. Looked more like seaweed than grass. We stared at each other.

With minimal damage to my clothes I managed to hop the fence. The horses mostly ignored me and I did my best not to look at them, as if they’d recognize me later when they were questioned by the rancher. I’d been out all night, and the sight of a road—a real, paved road, with route numbers on signs posted alongside—was a huge relief.

Just a few feet from the fence that closed the field to the road, I felt a sharp pain between my shoulder blades. Very briefly, the road ahead of me turned red, and flowed, and all over the banks of this blood river were pale white flowers, blooming, and the trees withered white, and the sky, white. Beside me stood a horse, but not a horse: from between its nostrils was erupted a horn, its tip bright red. It snuffled—I felt its wet breath on my cheek. I made for the fence and got over it, started up the road, and finally found my car.

This weekend I’ll be in Vermont again, but with family and clear goals to keep me from late night bacchanalia. I was invited to present at Bookstock, “a Green Mountain Festival of Words.” I’ll read from Color Plates, and talk a little about writing short fictions; I have it in mind to talk about Angela Denstad’s as-of-yet unfinished collection of shorts, maybe read one or two. I’m also on-call to workshop high school student writing.

If you’re in the neighborhood of “the beautiful village of Woodstock, Vermont” Friday and/or Saturday, July 29-30, come see, “Over thirty authors of national and local renown will speak, read from their work, offer interactive programs and mingle with the participating public.” There’ll be book vendors and music, too.

The following weekend I’ll go Cambridgeward, to read for Timothy Gager’s Dire Literary Series, August 5, 8pm. The evening begins with an open mic, which means I get to meet you, and then features, Anne Ipsen, Ray Charbonneau, me. Timothy asked me to participate after I read at Ron Goba’s. I hope it’ll snow.

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