Again this year, my creative writing colleagues and I will be reading work and selling books and chapbooks at Art Beat, South Bend’s annual downtown art festival. If you’re in town, please stop by and say hello! I’m working on chapbooks of a couple stories from my forthcoming collection.
Booth open 11:00-5:00 somewhere near Key Bank and State Theater
IU South Bend Writers/Literary Arts Collective: Nancy Botkin, David Dodd Lee, Clayton Michaels, Kelcey Parker
For more info about my colleagues and their great work, here’s a link to the IUSB Creative Writing Blog, which I also maintain.
I organized our Art Beat reading/table last year on a whim, and it turned out to be such a blast – a great way to kick off the school year. We had students, alum, colleagues, and friends in the audience during our half-hour reading, and they all came by our table to buy stuff or just talk writing.
I’ve done my share of dabbling in the visual arts (including the bee photos on this blog), and I’m always envious of visual artists and the tangible nature of their products and their physical encounter with their material. After a long night of writing, I often wish there were visible evidence of my efforts – like paint stains all over my hands, or dry clay under my fingernails. Instead, there’s just mild carpal-tunnel symptoms.
(Certainly this relates to my love, love, love for vintage typewriters. There’s more physicality in the whole process, from thumping your fingers over a half-inch down, to the satisfying bell and return after each line, to the actual piece of paper that emerges from your labors.)
Still, writing is different from visual art. Visual artists typically create objects and images that can often be seen more or less fully in a glance. Writing reveals itself slowly, like engine parts on an assembly line:
(Some might call it seduction.)
When I applied last year for Art Beat, they didn’t even know how to categorize our group. I initially sent book covers for the “visual art” committee to review. Then they asked if we might want to apply as “performing artists” instead. (The third option was “culinary artists,” and we were quite sure that didn’t fit.) There was no category for “literary arts” at the event. We agreed to the “performing artists” category, and that led to our poetry/fiction reading, which was a great success. But I named us “Literary Arts Collective” as a way of saying, Books are art too!
Anyway, here’s to another celebration of local arts and artists – visual, performing, culinary, and literary – in South Bend, Indiana!