Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Reading 

If you were to scroll down to near the bottom of the May author events page at the University of Washington Bookstore's web site, you'd see this:

Tuesday • May 31 • 7pm
Laura Kalpakian's Memoir Class Reading
University District Store
Tuesday is the first night of Laura Kalpakian's UW Extension Memoir class student readings. Come see what they've been up to all semester.

The listing has gotten several things wrong. Of course I'll tell you what they are; otherwise I'll be bothered by them. It's the only night of our class readings. Whatever we've been "up to," it has been all year. UW doesn't have semesters; it has quarters... and this is our third one.

So what's this all about? As the "final project" for our certificate program, my classmates and I will be reading 4-5 minute excerpts from our work for anyone who wants to come and listen.

My classmates' memoir topics vary considerably. A is writing about working with Washington's first openly gay state legislator, B about her lovely, loving family, and her journey to become a female, African-American doctor, C about her Peace Corps experience in Mongolia, D about post-traumatic stress... and those are only four of nineteen. The writing styles vary considerably, but through the course of the year, each person has come to "sound" on paper more and more the way that they sound when speaking; everyone's voice is becoming much more clear.

I've been puzzling over what to read at this event. A 4-5 minute reading is about 1 manuscript page, 12 point, single spaced. Most everything that I've written for the class has been much longer than that, and I'm not sure how to edit specifically for this reading. We're going to talk about that very thing at next week's class; I hope to have a better idea about this a week from now.

If you're going to be in Seattle on May 31, and don't have any plans for the evening, come on over to the UW Bookstore. It should be an interesting evening.