SunLit Festival’s Lucha Libro! Luchadora, Pero No Ganadora

This is what you get for being a literary arts booster; when you put yourself down as a stand-in, you might actually have to stand in. And just that happened during last night’s Keep St Pete Lit’s Lucha Libro! Part of St Petersburg’s SunLit Festival happening through next Sunday. I ended up as one of the literary luchadores. No mask, but definitely scary hair 😀

Lucha Libro works like this – writers are matched off over semi-reliable typewriters, given a word, and then five minutes to compose something around that prompt. The crowd decides of the luchadores who wins the round. Most people were probably expecting this:

But it turned out to be much milder, a wonderful array of diverse styles and interpretations, a fun folly I was glad to join in on.

First Round: GANADORA! Word: Shrouds

shrouds

Second Round: GANADORA! Word: Seethed

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Third Round: PERDEDORA Word: Naked

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SunLit Festival: So Much Lit To Love! Starts This Friday

[read time 1m4s]

I’m proud to be participating in this year’s SunLit Festival, a “Spring celebration of literature in the Sunshine State.” Events abound, from readings of local work to revering masters of the craft, all within St. Petersburg, Florida, Home For The Literary Arts.

Yes, I just did that. Let’s make it a thing. 😉

Events begin Friday evening well into next week. My artwork, “A Tale of Two Brians,” will be performed during Fiction Live! on Tuesday evening, benefiting Project Shattered Silence. Admission is $10 advance, $12 at the door.

This war-time romance story began on WordPress as an innocent writing prompt: Take a popular book title and reinvent the story. I presented it for the Florida Bibliophile Society back in September, with wonderful feedback; most touchingly, from a Vietnam War veteran in the audience. The story is modeled after my favorite Ernest Hemingway novel, “A Farewell To Arms.”

Look at me, getting my Vaclav Havel on! Pre-Velvet Revolution, before you guys get all fact-checky.

Here’s the full lineup for Fiction Live!:

fictionlivelineup

Purchase My Ticket For Fiction Live!

Full Event Listing for SunLit Festival

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Looking forward to hanging out with these awesome artists again! Join us, won’t you?

Behind The Poetry: ArcAngel

[Starting something new this year; let’s see if you dig it.]

November 2014, I received a Facebook message from the founder of Keep St. Pete Lit, soliciting submissions for their event, Fantastic Ekphrastic! Ekphrastic poetry is my favorite format, so I felt it was a good fit. I immediately thanked Maureen McDole for including me, then selected Mark Aeling’s piece for my reaction. I remember feeling very proud, having solidified what I intended to do three years ago: participate in and contribute to the local literary arts scene.

With a few weeks to play in, I set out to visit the piece in person. I met with Mark at his studio, then we both walked over to Soft Water Studios where his sculpture, Arc Angel, was displayed.

Practiced at information gathering, I asked him open-ended questions and limited my reactions so as to register the artistic frequency Mark was rocking out on. We chatted a bit more, then he dismissed himself while I remained with Arc Angel. I switched from data collection to reflection, and in that reflection, The Muse played with ideas and themes; me, noting them in my Darth Vader notebook. Once done, I took the notes home and let them sit. Marinate, I call it. Let the phenomenon of the interaction-reaction-reflection solidify in itself. Later, when in a creative space, infuse it with emotion, then shape it with technique.


Close to the submission due date, an unexpected event cast doubt on my budding romantic relationship. The situation was unfamiliar, dredging up foreign feelings, and I wasn’t emotionally prepared to manage it. I rapidly slid from overly ecstatic to completely overwhelmed to abject hatred to true despair. I imagine I was difficult to experience, but he remained with me, which I found rather brave of him.

The next morning, as he slept in, I went back to my Darth Vader pseudocodes and began to develop. “Use the pain,” I’ll always remember the creative advice from my childhood, and I did, quite a few versions. My body trembling, feeling rejected and fatalistic, I surrendered to my headphones and the musical selections chosen to exorcise the tempo of the piece.

The next thing I remember, he’s standing over me, looking deeply concerned. I realize I’ve been crying hard in my sleep. We both were startled by my outburst, “I FEEL SO UNLOVED!”

What a retarded thing to say, I remember thinking as he comforted me.

We talked and apologized and the roller coaster we were on came to an abrupt halt. He let me be while I finished my piece. About the thirteenth edit, I felt it was right. Treats of honesty, jubilation, and hope dipped in the vinegar of melancholy.

I submitted the completed piece to Maureen, and she passed it on to The Studio@620 for their performing artists to interpret.

While I got an opportunity to visit with Mark, I did not have an opportunity to visit with Bob Devin Jones or the talent at his studio. Therefore, my experience of the performance was phenomenological. I allowed myself to be thrown into the uncertain place, accepting the studio’s intentionality as my own, letting the wonderful ensemble take me away…


All visual and literary pieces from Fantastic Ekphrastic, including ArcAngel, will be available for viewing at Soft Water Studios, located at 515 22nd St South, during the Warehouse District’s ArtWalk on February 14th.