I haven't felt this way in years. Or, at least since Lockdown, The Original. It's a feeling of giddy excitement that feels like pure energy or joy or both. Hosting literary events makes me happy. Part of it is bringing people together over books and stories and experiences. It's also the deep discussions and feeling of community.
There was a time I would have counted an event a success by how many people turned up. I learned quickly that it's not really how many bodies attend but the atmosphere created. Last night, I expected more people to join us in Zoom. But being in a room (even an online one) with an author reading from their book and answering questions is my thing. That doesn't make it everyone else's. So, I decided early on to also make the salons free and also free to watch live on Facebook and later on Facebook. That way, anyone who didn't have time, felt uncomfortable attending an event, wasn't in the same time zone, or whatever, can watch when and where they want.
Last night, I celebrated the launch of Bookable-Space African-American Lit-Literary Salon, a project funded by a BAAS/US Embassy Small Grant. The salons feature engaging chats with authors who read from their book, discuss influences, and talk about their writing paths, process, practice, and whatever else.
My aim is to encourage and support more people to read African American literature. The books will explore a variety of themes and may offer insights and invite questions and/or discussions about American history, American studies, American literature, and Creative Writing, English Literature. They will also invite discussions of themes relevant to sociology, psychologically, law, business. There will be a lot of intersections. Creative Writing is interdisciplinary--just like life is.
The atmosphere I want to create is warmth. I want guests (authors and attendees) to feel valued, included, and welcomed. I realize I could have called this project almost anything instead of a salon. So why did I choose that instead of readings, book club, talks, nights? To me, a salon is an inviting space, it's an atmosphere, a vibe, an experience. That's what I want to create. So I couldn't call it anything else.
I've included the video below so you can watch it when you're ready. I hope you enjoy it and come along to the next one, and the next one, and the next one.