• Writers’ Readings

    The thought came to us sometime in May: a library fundraiser featuring local writers and poets reading their own work. Seemed like a great idea. And what better premier venue than the library itself? We met with Judy Archibald from Friends of the Library, and senior librarian Lisa Maddalena. After a good discussion, we all agreed on the date of August 13 and “Writers’ Readings” was on.

    We started recruiting talent from the Central Coast Writers Club. That netted seven writers for the event. Pretty soon, we had found more writers from around the Peninsula, filling the card at twelve.

    Really Big Shew

    By the time August 13 finally rolled around, we felt confident that things would go well. We got a boost from Lisa Maddalena and her staff, who already had the audience chairs in place when we arrived at 3 p.m. to do our set-up. Others gave invaluable assistance too. As promised, Linda Pagnella had procured a sound system from Don Mothershead at the rec department. Dave Whittick from Friends of the Library helped move things around. Videographer Hebard Olsen showed up soon after. Things looked good.

    Our writers began arriving at 6:30, as the first members of the audience also filtered in. The sight of so many seasoned writers in one place increased our anticipation. Amy Krupski, a well-known local harpist and Friends member came to help. So did CCW member Patricia Hamilton, who owns Park Place Publications in Pacific Grove. CCW writer and webmaster Ken Jones found a spot near the front and took great still photos, some of which are pictured with this article: see the entire set at www.centralcoastwriters.org

    At 7:05, Lisa closed the doors: time to start. What followed was more powerful than we had imagined. What an honor that these talented people graced our event with their participation. Here they are, in order of appearance:

    • Neal Whitman is a well-published poet and Library Board member. Neal read two wonderful poems: Library Conversation and Tor House Haiku.
    • Judy Zhu is a CCW member and winner of dozens of literature awards in her native China. She read the introduction to her latest book, Modern Chinese Cultural Encounters, Vol. I, entertaining us with her delightful sense of humor.
    • Harold Grice was a participant in the Thunderbird Bookstore writers’ group and is now president of Central Coast Writers. Harold read clever stories, concluding with Hens, a hilarious interpretation of ladies’ conversation heard through the ears of a man.
    • Art Gallegos served as a Marine in World War II. He taught English and journalism at Salinas High and is a member of CCW. He read a rich fiction work titled Change of Course, the tale of an approaching flood.
    • Walter Gourlay is a retired magazine editor, labor union organizer, professor and founding member of Central Coast Writers from the days of the Thunderbird Bookstore. He read a haunting, futuristic story about the horrors of war.
    • Bill Minor is an animated poet, writer, musician and songwriter, who treated CCW members to a lively talk at a meeting last year. He paid a wonderful tribute to his mother and father.
    • Laura Emerson works for the PG Unified School District and serves on the Cultural Arts Commission. She read her article, Gene Roland: Tending the Pastures of Heaven, the story of a Corral de Tierra cattle rancher, which was originally published in Monterey County Magazine.
    • Kerry Wood is a retired English teacher and former CCW vice-president. He presented an imaginative view of Pacific Grove’s monarch butterflies, and a haiku about Lover’s Point.
    • Jonathan Shoemaker, also of CCW, is writer of self-help books on education and golf. He read poems he had composed: Living By the Railroad Tracks, The Wall and By The Pond.
    • Edward Jarvis is a well-known PG poet and physician. Ed’s work has appeared in American Voice, Redrock Review and Poetry Ireland Review. He read several beautiful and image-rich poems.
    • Michael Thomas is a freelance writer and editor, and winner of the 2008 CCW short story contest. He read two of his poetic works, Among Sequoias and Curveball.
    • Cameron Douglas (yours truly) is a freelance writer, CCW member and regular contributor to local newspapers. He read The Mighty Falcoon, the story of a never-say-die automobile that conquered an Ohio snowstorm.

    Incredibly rewarding

    We are both so happy and grateful for all the assistance we received from the library staff, Friends of the Library, Fournier’s Bakery, Grove Market, FedEx Kinkos and other local businesses who helped with promotion. To the guests who attended the event and donated to Friends, a warm thanks. To those who couldn’t make it and donated anyway, you are golden. It’s good to see people come out to do what they can and show their support for the things we hold dear.

    Darci’s ready to do another one this fall. Cam is still recovering. Stay tuned.




    posted to Cedar Street Times on August 27, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition

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