Ann Erdman asked me to follow up on Selfies, an event I attended September 3rd at Union Station's Traxx Bar.
The best thing about it: we met some bright, smart people. The worst thing about it: a bar is not a great venue for literary readings. Some slob near us kept ignoring the readers and chatting away in full voice. A man at the bar took a phone call, with obvious concern that the person at the other end wouldn't hear him unless he shouted. (This was a fine moment, as poet Neil McCarthy took the microphone and wandered over to the bar, making the man's phone call even more difficult while the man was none the wiser. Catch Neil in a reading if you can. He is one hell of a poet, and his speaking was worth the whole evening.)
So, it had its moments. We authors were our own small but enthusiastic audience.
Just now I looked at Ann's blog to get her link. She posts a listing of all the great free things to do in Pasadena every week. (You should follow her blog.) The first thing on this week's list is a program at the library through October 9th called Dust, Drought and Dreams Gone By. It's about the Dust Bowl disaster of the 1930's.
You would think this would remind me of the drought we're having in California, but it reminded me more of my father.
He was born in 1916. In 1932 at the age of 16, he was the teacher at the local one-room schoolhouse, Fargo Dist. No 1. Everybody was poor where he came from in western Kansas.
As a boy he endured the Great Depression. As a young man he found work as a cowboy during those Dust Bowl years. In his late twenties he went off to World War II. It doesn't seem like he ever got to live for himself. He was always working for his family, or his country, or his kids. But he never talked to me of hardships.
He was a poet and a drinker, and he certainly would have appreciated a fine Irish poet holding forth in a drinking establishment. Maybe he worked so hard so I could enjoy such things for him.