Dear Literary Folk,
October promises to be a great month for remembering our dead, celebrating our local living authors and artists, and stepping into unknown through science/speculative fiction in Sonoma County. We’ve always enjoyed a vibrant literary calendar of short story, novel, and poetry, but I am happy to give a special shout-out this month for the genre that explores what isn’t, but might be—the subjunctive at its most imaginative.
Celebrating the Blended Worlds of Science and Fiction
At the Sitting Room, on Saturday, October 8, Jean Hegland and Susan M. Gaines, founding director of the Fiction Meets Science Program at the University of Bremen, talk together about their common interest in a recent evolution of fiction about science and scientists. The conversation, from 2-4 PM, will be facilitated by Raye Lynn Thomas. Susan and Jean will tell us about some of their favorites of the many novels in that category that are written by women and/or that focus on female scientists. For more information, phone 795-9028, or visit the website: www.SittingRoom.org
Mid-October, on Wednesday, October 19, Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma hosts “Brave New Worlds,” emerging and established sci-fi, speculative fiction, horror, and fantasy authors. The debut novella by Portland writer and musician Nathan Carson, Starr Creek, is set in 1986 rural Oregon, where strange occurrences unveil an alien world inhabiting the Oregon woods. The event begins at 7 PM at 140 Kentucky Street, Petaluma.
Then, at the end of the month, on Friday, October 28, Copperfield’s Books will host celebrate the book launch of local favorite and award-winning editor/publisher Ross Lockhart’s anthology, Eternal Frankenstein. The event is also at 7 PM, location: 140 Kentucky Street, Petaluma.
“Colors of Life”: El Día de los Muertos, Petaluma
This year’s month-long celebration of El Día de los Muertos opens this evening with an artist’s reception at the Petaluma Historical Library and Museum for the exhibition of the work of Carlos Villez. The reception is from 6-8 PM at 20 4th Street in Petaluma.
The opening ceremony will be on Sunday, October 2, 12-4 PM at the St. Vincent de Paul Church Plaza, 35 Liberty Street. There will be music, dance, food and a Health Fair. The celebration closes with a candlelight procession with giant puppets, starting at Water Street Bistro at the Petaluma River footbridge, ending at the Petaluma Historical Museum on Saturday October 29th, 6:00 – 10:00.
For those of you who don’t know about this tradition, El Día de los Muertos is a ritual celebration from México, Latin and South America in which the spirits of dead loved ones are invited to visit the living as honored guests. Observed in Mexico on Nov 1st and 2nd, this tradition reflects the belief that death is part of life, and so, instead of sadness this is a time of remembering and rejoicing. Central to the celebration is the creation of ofrendas or altars, bearing pictures, lighted candles and traditional items including marigolds, bread, water fruit, favorite foods of deceased family members. The ofrenda honors the loved one who has died and welcomes them back for the celebration. As celebrated in Petaluma for the past 9 years, the observance presents an opportunity for cross-cultural sharing and a unique partnership between the Latino and Anglo communities.
For a schedule of the month’s events, visit their website on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/El-D%C3%ADa-de-los-Muertos-Petaluma-154451587898565/
A Reading from Jean Hegland’s Still Time
Last month, Sonoma County celebrated with Jean Hegland the local premier of the film adaptation of her novel Into the Forest. Last year, Jean debuted her newest novel, Still Time. On Friday, October 7 at 7 PM, the Occidental Center for the Arts will host a special reading from Jean’s moving novel about memory, Shakespeare’s green worlds, and the gift of second chances. Location: 3850 Doris Murphy Way, Occidental.
Ellen Bass and W.S. DiPiero Read for Sixteen Rivers Benefit
You are all cordially invited to join Sixteen Rivers Press at our annual fall benefit, this year featuring Ellen Bass and W.S. DiPiero. The date is Saturday, October 8, 3-6 PM. You’ll enjoy a beautiful fall afternoon at an elegant private home in Berkeley, gourmet refreshments, and the opportunity to hear two extraordinary poets in an intimate setting. Tickets are priced at four levels, beginning at $25. Proceeds will go to the support of Sixteen Rivers Press and the publication of our books. Tickets are available from Brown PaperTickets: www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2592448
Love On! With 100 Thousand Poets for Change
100 Thousand Poets for Change invites you to be part of a celebration of love, called “Love! Aimer c’est du désordre, alors aimons! (Love is messy, so love on!),” and will take place on Friday, October 28. Susan Lamont, who has been emcee-ing and coordinating the 100 Thousand Poets for Change readings, writes this “featurette” about the event.
The next reading is Friday, October 28th and the theme is love. We’re emphasizing the complicated side of love — though you can do hearts and flowers, if you want. The theme is inspired by a mural on a wall in Montmartre, Paris, which features Rita Hayworth saying, “Aimer c’est du désordre, alors aimons!” (Love is messy, so love on!) I took a photo of it when I was there a few years ago. If you’d like to read and see your name on the flyer, just let me know. So far I have Dixon Wragg, Donna Emerson, Connie Madden, Michael Browne, Elaine Holtz and Ken Norton.
Music at this reading will be provided by Ralph Park, who sings songs of love in Italian, Russian and more. It was hearing him sing at The Redwood Café that inspired this theme.
This will be the last reading of the year. We’re considering switching to the 4th Sunday afternoon of the month beginning next year. January’s theme will be “Working Class Blues.”
And, for those of you who teach poetry, please offer this opportunity to your students and everyone else please share this with your poetry-loving friends.
Poem for October
by Rainer Maria Rilke
(translated by Robert Bly)
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, are holding all this falling.
Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.
Und in den Nächten fällt die schwereErde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.
Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.
Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält
Maria Rainer Rilke (September 11, 1902, Paris)
Co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update