September 16, 2010

Literary Lone Stars

Occasionally I emerge from my bunker and venture forth into the metropolis to engage other citizens on matters of great import. This evening I attended the Writer's League of Texas event called Literary Lone Stars, primarily to hear Joe R. Lansdale, whom I recently began reading. In the course of the evening, I heard three other authors, Doug Dorst, John Phillip Santos, and Karen Valby, read and talk about their work.

Valby started off and got my attention with Welcome to Utopia, a book about a small Texas town relatively isolated form popular culture. I was seeing all kinds of parallels and contrasts with Welcome to Fred, although Utopia, small though it may be, is much larger than Fred. Then Dorst read some selections from Surf Guru about reptiles that were hilarious and riveting. I'm aching to get to his book, but it goes in the To Be Read shelf along with dozens of other worthy candidates for next book to pick up. Johh Phillip Santos read a selection that opened with a sentence that nailed me to the wall: "The mind and the heart leave no fossils." Wow.

Lansdale completed the evening with some readings and extemporaneous stories of his childhood in East Texas, a resonant chord for a Fred, Texas ex-patriot. Reviews of his books I've read this year to follow in the coming months. Mucho Mojo.

The takeaway for me was the sheer joy of being able to hang with writers, not just the presenters, but other writers at all stages of development, and just soak up the vibe, something I didn't have access to in Honolulu, paradise thought it may be. I dropped $100+ in retail-price books simply because I wanted to support what these people are doing. I also got autographs on them. Maybe they'll be worth something one day after I read them. Heh.

Programs like this give me a reason to excavate my gnome-like frame from the bowels of my solitary unibomber isolation and inflict myself upon the greater population. Joy abounds. Woohoo.

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