Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Creative Writers Recite

Friday, May 28th, 2010

Ruby and Joey perform a love song from Sunny's musical

It’s always better to hear an author read. It’s an authentic voice. And a treat, if they ever become famous.

Many times, I’ve sat in bookstores, listening to authors read. I close my eyes and try to envision what they are saying. Most of the deliveries were presented in a monotone voice. There was no three-piece band, singers, or accompanists to “jazz” things up. But that was then, and this is now. Even readings on the high school level, there is more of a “show” with actors and musical instruments.

“Senior Readings” in the Creative Writing Department at Idyllwild Arts began on Wednesday night, May 26, but I missed it. Two seniors, Dustin and Khalid, read poems and excerpts from their short stories.

Khalid, who attended the second reading on Thursday night, said that people in the audience Wednesday night got pretty emotional when he read, “At the Diwan of Rumi in Afghanistan.”

“They started to cry, then I almost cried, but I couldn’t because I had to keep reading,” Khalid said.

His sponsor wants to help him publish his last piece, “In Search of My Youth During the War.” She is a screenwriter with connections in Hollywood, and is eager to get started, he said. But he wants to wait.

“Because my parents aren’t here, and it doesn’t seem right,” Khalid said.

On Thursday, May 27, three seniors were slated to read, including Jordan, Sunny and Emma. However, before they began, Kim Henderson, head of the Creative Writing Department gave a little preview. She said she had been working with these three students for three years now, and what they were about to read was some of their best work.

Emma read her poems, short stories and excerpt from her novel

Each of them were required to read for 15 minutes, but they decided to break it up and take turns reading two pieces each until everything was covered.

Jordan was up first and read two poems, “Where It’s Warm,” and “The Lookout at Airport Mesa.”

Next, Emma read “Resurrection,” a short story about two friends on an Indian reservation. They would often watch Peter’s uncle carve animals out of wood, or would run errands for him. One day, Peter’s uncle came up missing, but they found his wrecked car. After awhile, the two went to investigate to add closure to the uncle’s life.

Then Sunny read two poems, “Death of a Stranger,” and “Inflation,” with great descriptions, such as “Days hung like sugared frogs,” and “Five dollars for your soul.”

When Jordan read from his novel (the title he didn’t give out), he got some great laughs from the audience.

“This story is about a guy named Westin, who lives off of a trust fund in New York,” Jordan began. “But he’s not attracted to his wife anymore.”

He went on to describe how Westin ran around Central Park, using people as mile markers. And he had the paranoid idea that everyone was following him, so he ran.

Jordan read from his novel about a guy who believed pigeons were following him

“What’s more, the fucking pigeon was following him,” Jordan said. “It was if he was running from nature itself.”

The pigeon ended up attacking Westin in the leg, and a woman in an orange suit defended it. “They are gentle things you know,” she said.

For her next piece, “Something,” Sunny played the piano and sang, as her mother beamed and took pictures from the front row.

“I know how to write poetry,” Khalid said later. “But I sure as hell can’t write songs like that! Amazing!”

Sunny read three more poems, “Adoption,” “Origin of Snow,” and “Sonnet,” which was based on Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem, “I Find No Peace, and All My War is Done.”

Then Emma read an excerpt from her novel about a married man attracted to a flower shop girl.

“Enough,” a haunting love song from Sunny’s “Fire and Brimstone” musical, was performed by Joey and Ruby, two musical theater majors. They sang without props right in front of the podium. Just goes to show you that you don’t need a lot when the content is good.

After Jordan recited his poem,” Melanesian Mythology,” he jumped right into an unusual good-bye.

“I’m leaving for NYU in the fall and Emma is going to USC, but we’ve never been together onstage at the same time,” Jordan said. “So I’d like to invite her up here to sing her favorite song, “Your Love.”

Sunny read her poetry and sang a song that she wrote

The two sang a duet, danced and camped it up for the audience. The music by The Outfield was prerecorded. There they were, two writers singing and dancing a farewell song that was sentimental, but not very good. But it didn’t matter because the audience, which was made up of friends, family members and faculty, loved it.

Then Sunny joined them onstage and they gave their final bow. They hugged each other like good friends, and then everyone was invited outside for ice cream.

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