This time of year, I tend to spend my free time either burying my nose in a book (an actual book, preferably contemporary fiction) or bingeing a show from a running list I keep on my phone of drama and comedy series I’ve read glowing reviews about.
In both cases, once I’m immersed in the plotlines, I want to peek behind the scenes: Who is the author/showrunner? Who’s in the cast? What inspired the story? Was it meant to parallel Lost? (Because I think almost everything I’m drawn to has been influenced by Lost in some way.) Is there going to be a sequel/another season?
The Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County is kind of reverse engineering that process. On February 17, it will present a literary arts salon at Freeman Hall in Doylestown. There, several of the region’s most buzzworthy writers, including Nicole Steinberg, the 2021 Bucks County Poet Laureate, and Lynn Levin, the 2021 Bucks County Short Fiction Prize winner, will read selections for their work, share some insight into them, and field questions from the audience.
For avid readers and creativity junkies, the evening offers a chance to be turned on to new work – which, if you felt butterflies in your tummy just then, should be all the motivation you need to attend. It should also bring to life the stories behind the stories, if you will, in ways that Googling simply cannot.
While the Arts & Cultural Council does many commendable things – like helping to establish the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown – this is maybe what it does best: draw to light the many innovative artists living and working in Bucks County today, personalizing both them and their work in the process.
As deeply as I love watching TV and reading, there’s so much quality out there these days it can feel impossible to keep up. I rely on a handful of trusted resources to keep me abreast of the latest and greatest. But even then, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m failing. At the time of this writing, there are 31 series on my must-watch list and at least twice that on my must-read list. And that’s just the stuff that I’m aware of, which I imagine to be a tiny fraction of what’s available and intriguing.
But every once in a while, I’ll come across something that instantly gets bumped to the front of the queue. Getting to know – in person – a talented writer who calls the Delaware River Towns home, too, and who is probably shaped by a lot of the same things I am absolutely changes the algorithm. I pick up a book or start a show hoping I’m going to be able to connect the same way everyone else has. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. But with the featured writers at the literary arts salon, that possibility is much closer to a sure thing. And when it happens, it’s likely to be much more profound.
The salon is free, but reservations are required. To hold your place, email email@example.com. If you’re planning to go, you must be fully vaccinated and prepared to wear a mask.
Leave a Reply