Writers really should get out more often

Writers really should get out more often

Ruth Ozeki, the author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation will be reading and signing her new book A Tale For The Time Being at Watermark Books on Friday.

The Slow Movement has become a bit of a thing lately: Carlo Petrini's protest against the opening of a McDonald's franchise in Rome in 1986, has led to Cittaslow, Slow Living, Slow Travel, Slow Design, Slow Parenting and so on. The idea behind the Slow Movement is to slow down life's pace, which is a fabulous idea, and the thing perfectly suited to slowness is a book. Books, by their nature, seem to stubbornly resist speed and, so, books must, surely, constitute the Ur-Slow Movement.

So, how do you write about "books" anyway without just piling on the book reviews, and where the hell are those book reviews anyway? Hush. They're coming. It takes a while to read a book and write a good review. People are working on it, and I'm always looking for promising writers to review something before it's published.

Of course, I'm always looking for writers in general. As a writer, it's one of my hobbies. Since 1990, I've left and come back to Wichita a couple of times and every time I've been here, I've looked around for other writers. I've heard about and attended a few open mic readings, sat in on a few early meetings of the Kansas Writer's Association back in the '90s when Gordon Kessler revived it, became acquainted with some of the Wichita State MFA candidates and various creative writing professors around town (yeah, I'm talking about you, Albert), pulled a stint in the front-lines selling books at Watermark Books, and I briefly published a not-for-profit DIY literary journal. I've met YA writers, mystery writers, poets, poetasters, professors, spoken word artists, memoirists, essayists and even a certain bald movie maker turned rising-star movie reviewer, but none of them seem to know each other. Or, if they did know each other, seemed adverse to name-dropping. Or maybe they hated each other ... or maybe ... ah, who knows.

So, how are we going to cover books? Well, there's always something going on. On Friday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at Watermark Books, 4701 E. Douglas (http://www.watermarkbooks.com). Ruth Ozeki, the author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation will be reading and signing her new book A Tale For The Time Being (Viking, $28.95, ISBN 9780670026630). The event is free and open to the public. It's a great way to start a Friday night. I plan on attending the reading with my girlfriend and then heading out for dinner and drinks afterwards.

Then, on Saturday, March 16, I'll be attending the Kansas Writers Association's Scene Conference 2013 (http://kwawriters.org/scene/). Registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn at 549 S. Rock Road. It's $50 for members of the KWA and $60 for non-members. Students with a valid ID pay $45. I just found out about this a week ago. Funny, Wichita Eagle reporters Stan Finger and Roy Wenzl are presenting, but I never saw anything in the Eagle about this event. Also presenting are the poets John Jenkinson and Esper. New York Times bestselling author Jenna Blum will be the keynote speaker.

Other things to look forward to:

  • Scott Philips has a new novel that will be released in June called Rake (Counterpoint, $25, ISBN 9781619021518)
  • The WSU MFA graduates will be reading their work on Sunday, April 7, at 2 p.m. in the Ablah Library.
  • PBS Frontline reporter Blaine Harden will be at Watermark Books on April 1, at 7 p.m. to discuss his book Escape from Camp 14 (Viking, $26.95, ISBN 9780670023325), which is about Shin Dong-hyuk, the only person known to have escaped North Korea's political prisoner camps.