A supplemental column of The Rooster's Crow - in honor of Garbanzofest the First, Sunday July 29th, 2012 at Molten Java in Bethel CT. Held in conjunction with Byrd's Books. A book release party for Garbanzo Literary Journal (volume one) - published right here in the land of the birth of Barnum.
We go to the grocery store. While there, corn and beans and rice and a magazine and something cold to drink and the pasta that is on-sale and if we're daring something from the international foods aisle that we've never tried before.
Home we go, and while unpacking the bags, tucking the perishables into the fridge, we tell our roommate, partner, other-half, better-half, cat..."While I was standing in line I saw the most amazing...!"
And thus, we tell stories, even in our most daily of acts.
There are three ways to look at the words that bandy across the ether, arrive in the snailbox, flitter down from the talons of modern-day carrier pigeons (replete with goggles and chrome)...when a call for submissions goes out into the world.
Author. Writer. Storyteller.
"I've always wanted to be an author" some will say with that wistful look in the eye. When it turns that Seraphemera Books is not a self-publishing company, but rather a publisher in the old sense, in which what is put to press is a few chosen from the hearts of many, the conversation tends to drift, and the other carries on. But what is the allure of being an author? The time of Dickens and Hemmingway has passed. The paradigm has left the station.
People tell us all the time "I'm not a writer". Who is, a writer, we'll ask? Does it simply mean the act of putting pen and pencil to pulp-flattened-and-dried? Is the organization into verse, words and verbs and adjectives painted up like a picture (as noted by Above the Law) the requirement? If one only types does that make one a typer instead of a writer? Is being a writer somewhat akin to being a dreamer in which what is tangible is that which slips through the fingers like a tidal wave of clouds?
Thus, we ask all comers, "Are you a storyteller?" For who could say no? And thus, for the Garbanzo Literary Journal, we look for storytellers. Not a legacy of where when and how one has been published, but words that move and groove and choose to use their majesty to push us, the reader, into being more than we already have become.
This means you, too, should send a piece of writing to us.
Back in 1999, there was one other attempt to start up Garbanzo. It wanted advertising pages and glossy crisp stock and color and pizzazz. There were three of us and that project flittered out when the two other collaborators found each other more interesting than the project, and found that they were better off written on the body of each other. It was for the best, because it would have been the wrong Garbanzo.
Seraphemera Books was born in 2006 as a way to publish our own work, but quickly moved into the realm of publishing others. The first chapbooks arrived in 2007.
Made by hands, understated and artistic. Screen printed and lovingly edged and stamped...it took a few years to realize that this is the form that Garbanzo was always meant to take. Of the earth. From back alleys. Wrapped in brown paper. Full of the most dangerous of traits - unbridled imagination.
Two hundred folks sent us work. Who could ever have imagined the quality of writing would be so grand for our little fledgling? Words from forty three different folks found their way into the pages. Poems. Short stories. Not-so-short stories. Essays. And one lyric.
We have been asked how we choose which pieces go into the book. One anecdote that explains a crystal facet is this:
After we had emailed the 43 that we wanted their work to be in the pages, aligned with the leaves, in the sheath, a writing assignment was given. In this way, each was to produce their biography. Not a graduated, previously published litany of liturgy, but a glimpse of what goes on in the mind, based on a set of circumstances (for which you'll need to purchase a copy of Garbanzo to read through). Of our group, only one decided not to play with us in this way. In this way, we knew we had picked a fine fine crop.
It is a shame there is no manner to gather all of them into one room so as to wrap the arms around and give a collective hug of thanks. However, in a small way, we are trying just this...
And so that brings us to now...
This Sunday, July 29th, at 2pm, we will celebrate not only the publication of Garbanzo Literary Journal (volume one), but words, stories, storytelling, and the connection that the simple act of speaking with (not to) one another brings (and is getting lost as each of us drifts away, behind a keyboard, leaving words to digitalis, rather than lips.
The day will consist of five of those forty-three authors, driving in to Bethel from parts surround to read their work - thank you Michelle Bruhn, Danielle Kral, Greg Miraglia, Steven Nova, Shawna Rencher. Two more authors have recorded their voices and sent them along to be modulated across the mains - thank you Zahie el Kouri and Shawnte Orion. We will have video readings from five more Garbanzoists as well - good to see you on-screen Melissa Crory, Carl Palmer, Monica Richards, Steven Ray Smith, Malcolm Tent.
(An aside as it is here that the rest of our beautiful writers should also be mentioned - that they cannot trek the hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to be with us does not make them there any less in spirit and deserving of a good 'ol fashioned shout out: Alana Eisenbarth, Damon Marbut, David Bogdan, DJ Swykert, Doug Bolling, Elvis Alves, Floyd Johnson, Isaac Simonelli, Jacqueline Applewhite, Jason ‘Ophiuchus’ La Monte, J.C. Vickery, James G. Piatt, Jody Sperling, John Mahoney, Ken Poyner, KJ Hannah Greenberg, Larry Simpson, Mandavi Singh, Michael McSherry, Nancy Scott, Nels Hanson, Nick Sweet, Rob Spiegel, Robert Lietz, Rose Engelfried, Sarah Goncalves, Seth Copeland, Spencer Semonson, Steve Newton, Suanna Davis, Victoria Shaffer)
In addition to all of these words, there is also music! Local Americana, cow-punk, been described as "Outlaw string band music with a moonshine heart and stomp your feet soul!"...The Shoutbacks will be playing two thirty minute sets of their hopped-up, don't sit down, stand-up bass, banjo, guitar, drums, vocals, kids get shakin' and dance music.
And then there is you! The mic is open. The mic is on. Get up. Speak. Read. Exclaim. Express. Excite. Encourage. Enthuse. Emote without a remote.
This is a day, one of the rare days, in this day in age, in which we step back, smile, and come forth for a celebration of words. You're all invited. You're all always invited. So take a chance. Come see what all the fuss and muss is about. We hope you'll join us. If nothing else, afterwards, you'll have a new story to tell.
em-dashes to pixel dust!
Learn more about Garbanzofest here:
As well as here: