Last night, I had the pleasure of reading with an awesome lineup of writers at one of the coolest new bookstores in Chicago -- Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park. The occasion was the launch of Tortoise Books' new anthology entitled "The Pleasure You Suffer: A Saudade Anthology." For those of you who are unfamiliar with the word Saudade (as I was), here is the definition cribbed from the preface:
Saudade reportedly has no direct English translation; it’s a Portuguese word describing the nostalgic longing for something that may never return, or may not exist. This feeling can be strangely comforting; author Manuel de Mello calls it “A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.” It permeates the music of Brazil, another nation steeped in slavery and sadness and the hope for a better life. Yet this heartsick yearning’s actually very familiar to those of us born and raised in North America; we often call it “the blues.”
Choosing a story to submit for this anthology was a challenge -- one that first required me to ponder what saudade really is. In my mind, the past colors the present, and the present clouds the past. Like two lovers trying to communicate but who more often than not wind up with crossed signals. Those crossed signals, between the past and present, for me, are what saudade is. And my story, "Homefront," tries to give voice to that.
When I found out my story was accepted, I was thrilled. Now, after getting a chance to hear some of the other authors from the anthology read, I'm positively giddy. It's a veritable all-star lineup of writers I admire (which, like any good all-star lineup, means all offense and no defense, i.e. lots o' fun!).
If you're looking for an interesting mix of stories and poems that strives to interpret this omnipresent itch-you-can't-scratch, you really ought to pick it up. Right now, the best place to get a copy in a brick-and-mortar store is Volumes Bookcafe. For those looking to order one you can do so through Amazon, or through Tortoise Books' website. Buy it!
For those of you who were unable to make it to my reading this past weekend, we were lucky enough to have Ryan Singleton of WordPlaySound on hand to document the whole night. If you're not familiar with WordPlaySound, they're basically one of the premier literary podcasts in Chicago. So it's an honor to be part of it.
Also, it was an honor to appear with kickass Chicago writers: Joseph Peterson, Mark Brand, and Ben Tanzer. Pretty doggone heady company to find yourself in, I must say. As if that wasn't enough, the event took place at The Book Cellar, which is one of my favorite bookstores in all Chicago. So there's that!
If you're curious and want to hear which chapter from The Last Good Halloween I read, you can follow this link and listen to the evening on your browser, or you can go to iTunes and subscribe to WordPlaySound's podcast, which would be well worth your time.
I'll be doing two readings next week. If anyone has a notion, I'd love for you to stop by and say howdy.
The first reading will be Tuesday, January 28th at 2:00 PM, on the second floor of the Kennedy-King College Library, which is located at 6300 S. Halsted Street. I'm extremely excited about this event because Kennedy-King is the college where I teach, so there's the added benefit of the home-field advantage.
The second reading will be Friday, January 31st at 7:00 PM, at The Book Cellar, which is located at 4736 N. Lincoln Avenue. The advantages of this reading are that I'll be teaming up with some pretty awesome writers (Ben Tanzer, Mark Brand, and Joseph Peterson), plus The Book Cellar is a super kick-ass book store. So, really, no reason not to join in the festivities.
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