amongst books

amongst books

Friday, August 14, 2020

Ottawa, August 14, 2020 Feeling Welcome and Missing Friends - notes on a Zoom reading

 Last night, I decided last minute to attend the Virtual House Party #2 Zoom reading organized by Margo La Pierre. I haven’t been attending many virtual readings during the pandemic because I have felt really awkward on Zoom. But last night I had some time and dear friends were reading, so I joined.

This is the second of a series of readings that began with Margo’s birthday in March and I believe there will be more coming, which is great!

 Manahil Bandukwala, Frances Boyle, Nina Jane Drystek, and Natalie Hanna gave beautiful readings. Margo was an excellent host, inviting all four to share editing tips and to share beloved items from their homes to talk about. Editors Association of Canada Ottawa-Gatineau branch was the organization affiliated with the reading.

 For the event, Margo started a Go Fund Me campaign to help Six Nations defend their land and so far has raised $160. She linked to books and chapbooks by the featured readers and those who donated would receive a book / chapbook. The whole event was friendly and full of kindness.

 Some of the highlights for me were Natalie Hanna’s strong and compassionate poems. I had tears in my eyes a few times. Nina Jane Drystek’s long jelly fish poem with added sound effects and loops reminiscent of Rasiqra Revulva’s great performance at VERSeFest a few years back. Manahil Bandukwala’s reading of part of her Borderpoem with Sanna Wani. Frances’ imagery. Everyone’s editing tips. Seeing into people’s private spaces, artwork, books.  

 I switched to gallery view so I could see who the other attendees. I normally keep my video off but Margo asked that we keep our video on during the reading. I can see that. For readers it’s nice to be able to see the audience.

 Seeing everyone made me miss so many of my friends from the literary community and also made me curious about those I haven’t met in person. I liked the way some of the people attending would go off and make themselves a bit of food or something to drink and come back. Some even went to a sink and I could see them in the background.

 I liked that people chatted and offered praise for specific lines of poems during the reading, and links to the books and resources mentioned by the readers. Such a supportive and welcoming group!

 Unfortunately I couldn’t stay on for the open mic portion and the post reading chat, but I’m so glad I attended the reading and it won’t be the last. I realize just how much I miss the connection with fellow writers and friends who I’ve spent so much time with over the years at events. It was a beautiful experience. Thanks to Margo, all the readers and to other attendees.

 Yes, I still felt awkward, but others did too. We were all awkward together and that made me feel less alone.

No comments: