Blog No. 235
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it, but likely not as much as I should, but I am part of bringing a great national reading series to Windsor. When Christian and I went to Toronto earlier in the year for the Chiaroscuro Reading Series, we were lucky enough to get paid. More importantly, we met some fantastic people who share some of our ideas behind writing, publishing, reading, and the book culture in general. They asked us if we were interested in doing spreading the ChiSeries to the city and we jumped on it. My hands are already pretty full, but being part of a national series that pays authors and musicians is too good to pass up. Windsor has a lot of cool stuff going on (no matter what some people may think) and now I get to add to it in a meaningful way.
Last night was the first one, and Sandra and Brett from ChiZine, the folks who started the ChiSeries, came down for the event. I was really excited to show off Windsor and did everything I could to get folks to show up. I desperately wanted the city to step up and make a good impression. I’ve been to and part of plenty of other events locally that all fail in the same way. I’ve harped on it many times, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Windsor has a problem. I constantly hear people complain that nothing happens in the city and I’m constantly at events where no one shows up. My initial reaction would be to think that what I’m doing (or the things I go to) aren’t interesting to most people, but I think it goes deeper than that. Sure, going to a book reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I hear artists, musicians, athletes, cooks, and small businesses all chanting the same refrain. Windsor doesn’t show up.
I’m going to drop that thread (for now) to focus on the real topic. I’m happy to say that the first quarterly ChiSeries Windsor reading went amazingly well. Not only did people show up, they were excited. I think the key was the people involved. Bringing an international best seller to the first reading should be enough to get people through the door. We were really lucky to have met Craig Davidson at a few other local events in the last few years. He was generous enough to volunteer to help set off our branch of the series. He was also nice enough to bring along a friend, another talented writer, the award winning Michael Rowe. While any successful writer coming to the city should be enough to get local writers to put down the pen for a night and rub some elbows, two best sellers should be enough to blow the doors down. Adding in local writer and publisher Justine Alley Dowsett to the mix gives the local supporters something to come cheer too. I was really proud of the first lineup. It was a good mix of different people, with different styles, from different places.
The musician was Adventure Worlds Press alumni Brendan Scott Friel. If anyone has heard him, or his new CD, you know what kind of quality you’re getting. Phog as the venue is the same way. They’ve supported us from the beginning, and continue to showcase, bring in, and promote art and music from around the word. All the element were there. And they all hung on Christian and my already full shoulders. If anything was going to go wrong, you’d think it was something we did (or didn’t do). Luckily, we covered all the bases and things went off without a hitch. So, the first ChiSeries Windsor was a success. All the readers shone, the musician brought his a-game, and the hosts were amazing (if I say so myself). Now I’m sitting at my desk at work remembering that I’m not twenty anymore, feeling the full brunt of the late night and festivities. It was a blast and I would do the same again, but boy am I feeling it. Thankfully I have another three months before for the next one.
For more info on the national series, check out the ChiSeries facebook page. For more about ChiSeries Windsor, go to the tab on Adventure Worlds Press.