Bruce Robert Coffin here, manning the helm of the Maine Crime Writers’ Blog and trying to navigate a course to spring. In the past four days we’ve had two major snow storms and two days of fifty degree temperatures. Perhaps Samuel Langhorne Clemens was right.
This past Sunday I took part in a group reading known as Noir at the Bar. It was the second such reading conducted by a dozen Maine mystery authors at Bull Feeney’s in Portland’s Old Port. Always a lively crowd and the stories flow as freely as the libations. Each author is given an opportunity to set up the scene followed by three minutes of actual reading. The event is a lot of fun, for both the readers and the listeners. Passages are read from our latest books, those on the horizon, and occasionally from some of our older well-loved works.
Various photographs were posted on social media following the event. The pictures that most often draw my attention are those of the listeners. Enthralled by whichever yarn was being spun at the time, their faces are not unlike those of the children in a classroom during afternoon story hour. Eyes wide and mouths agape as adjective laden prose whisks them through the secret worlds of each reader. The visions of the tales spun are limited only by the imagination of the listener. As I look at the photos I can’t help but be transported back in time to third grade when Mrs. Dunham would captivate us with tales of Charlie Bucket and his grand prize tour of Wonka’s secret factory. The vivid descriptions of Dahl’s confectionery creations delighted each of our ravenous young imaginations.
The well-crafted written word is bested only when delivered vocally by the writer with the precision and passion of an orchestra conductor. Storytelling that engrosses the open mind, freeing it to travel in whichever direction the author may lead us. Have you attended an author reading? Join us, won’t you?