At times we slip into old habits, and not necessarily good ones. That was the case on Monday night when I found myself lurking, as it were, in the shadows during this month’s installment of the Brick City Speaks reading series in Newark. I’ve always been a prodigious lurker, whether it is in the dense rain forests of Washington state and southern British Columbia, in the proverbial backwoods of the Twitter-verse (@City_Sasquatch), or in the little-noticed recesses of a literary reading. It is a unique skill, really, to melt into the background of a given setting, especially if you are already, how shall we put this delicately… conspicuous. Physically formidable creatures must exercise even greater deftness and stealth. I’ve had many years of practice, let me tell you. Try reading Jane Austen in the uppermost branches of a cedar tree while laureled in a handmade camoflage of lichens and dead leaves. No simple feat, I say.
You, too, can learn to lurk as I do. Learn by doing! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for my patented 6-week crash course in Woodland Lurking. The newest module, Literary Lurking, is now in development. Stay tuned.
I digress. It was yet another stellar evening of writerly talent for Brick City Speaks (@BrickCitySpeaks). How satisfying a good reading can be! It is a balm for the soul. My soul was particularly embalmed (er, yes) by the dulcet tones of our hosts, Ines, Dinah, and Marina, as they introduced an impressive lineup for the night: poetic monster-lover and father, Michael VanCalbergh (in the photo, left, he appears to be lurking, but in fact the effect derives from the decidedly unimpressive photographic abilities of yours truly… apologies, Monsieur), demure narrative-esses Courtney Kelsch Ward and Paula Neves (see Mlle. Neves’ excellent Itinerant Muse), and the explosive talent of human lyricist, Vincent Toro. We were even treated to a surprise appearance by fiction-ista Nancy Mendez Booth, who delivered a side-splitting piece of flash fiction during the open mic. I was regaled, dear reader! Regaled! If only you were there. Were you?
Attend the next iteration of Brick City Speaks in Hell’s Kitchen on the 2nd Monday of every month. Check their Facebook page for updates.