Monday, August 9, 2010

Tribal Gatherings

Glen David Gold, the author of Sunnyside and Carter Beats the Devil, opened with a speech that reminded us all of why we are here. His story about the U.S. troops stationed in Russia during Napoleon's invasion in 1812 relayed the underlying sense of urgency felt by fiction writers in these times. Glen elaborated on the rarely discussed U.S. history that involved fifty eight thousand American troops facing an army of more than a million. They endured one very cold winter before the retreat.

“Don’t worry if you don’t remember this,” he joked, “the Russians still do.” 

Supposedly the men took to singing a jovial, albeit eerie marching tune, “We’re here because we’re here because we’re here because we’re here…”

Did I mention Glen David Gold has a good singing voice? He does. He also has great insight into what it feels like to be a writer at this particular intersection of time and place. Through the cathedral windows, wind shook the aspen leaves and odd shaped clouds pointed down from the sky looking mysteriously like eggs lined up in a grayish carton. Weather accents the words here. Yesterday we saw a giant rainbow.

Glen told another story about how his fear of flying developed in early 2002, which is the year that I think many of us developed a similar phobia. One memorable flight that year happened to be on a plane with a very large group of cheerleaders—that was the good news. Just after landing, however, all of the girls on the right side of the plane began squealing and pointing causing the other half of the girls to rush out of their seats and run over to the windows. A plane lay stranded on the runway, tipped to one side, fire flaring out of the windows. An ominous scene for sure, but it was during this pandemonium that Glen noticed that one of the members of the cheerleading squad was not at the windows pointing and shrieking.

The chaperone of the squad was sitting in her seat reading a novel. The novel that had her so engrossed despite the surrounding chaos happened to be his wife’s novel, The Lovely Bones.

If "Why do we write?” was ever a question, then the answer was revealed in this moment on the plane. Even when everything appears to be falling apart around us, refuge can be found. Catharsis even.

Isn’t that reason enough?

Afterward, the room was dark except for a row of colored paper lanterns. I passed through the office on my way to the car. "We're here because we're here because..." streamed through my mind. The picture of Oakley Hall hanging above Brett’s desk caught my eye. A dialogue bubble is Scotch taped to the glass that says, “Try not to fuck up!” These are mantras to live by.

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I have enjoyed putting together our little bookstore up in Squaw Valley over the past four years. We love our bookstore and it has been your support that makes it all possible, so Thank You!

I have received many requests for an online SVCW Bookstore. Some who miss us when they are away, and others who are just tired of lugging all those hardcovers around on airplanes. There are also those writers who are honest about being broke and needing to purchase books at Amazon's discounted prices. As fellow writers, we understand your pain!

For these reasons I thought it would be fun to try our hand at a SVCW Books and Authors blog. I will track down our authors and past participants and post their books, news, reviews and information and link our SVCW books to Amazon. Ten percent of every book purchased through our blog will help support the bookstore. I am looking forward to building an online archive of the outstanding collection of books represented by authors who frequent the Community of Writers.

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Community of Writers Onsite Bookshop Manager