2014 has already begun with some sweet honors. The second weekend of January not only included a visit from my cousin Evan Napala of the DC-based band Cigarette, who’s music you should give a listen to here. That Saturday, yours truly gave a quick and dirty Composition presentation at a faculty development workshop for Saint Mary’s College, and the weekend was wrapped up with a reading on Market Street in San Francisco at the Hazel Reading Series.
Set in a gallery where artists paint, run a printing press, and fashion clothes, a uniquely SF space that invites the city to joins in full force, The Hazel readers included the below, each invited by last reading’s previous writers, also listed.
Rashaan Alexis Meneses invited by Allison Landa
Sarah Frisch invited by Miriam Bird Greenberg
Mei Li Ooi
Carolyn Cooke invited by Ahmunet Jessica Jordan
Monique Wentzel invited by Lydia Fitzpatrick David
Hazelers are asked to introduce themselves and talk a bit about the piece they’ve chosen to read, which may be something they consider experimental.
Fiction writer and former Stegner fellow, Sarah Frisch posed a speculative piece also about giving birth but played with the idea that men do the deed while their women partners can only stand by and watch.
Mei Li Ooi was most inspiring with a performative piece utilizing the whole space at the front, assuming the role of each of her characters to capture both the audience by emphasizing tone, mood, and the urgency of her story.
Professor and Department Chair of Writing, Consciousness and Creative Inquiry in the MFA Programs at California Institute of Integral Studies, Carolyn Cooke grabbed our attention immediately with a story about San Franciscan insomniacs.
And last but certainly not least, current Stegner Fellow Monique Wentzel read a most intriguing short story about a hole that opened up in the south of U.S. endangering a whole town and all the living.
Each of the writers were phenomenal, and as the organizers had introduced at the beginning, organic themes and threads surfaced with each work. The audience was treated to surprising commonalities such as male protagonists and the theme of birth. The next Hazel Reading Series is 5-7pm, Sunday, February 9, 1154 Market. Its a true literary gem in the Bay Area. Many thanks to Erica Eller, Sara Marinelli, Shruti Swamy, and Mei Le Ooi.
All photos courtesy of PJS.