far too much writing, far too many photos

This evening, almost exactly 48 hours after finding myself in attendance for an increasingly heated political, er, discussion [see yesterday’s entry], I went to an event in support of one of the candidates who were the subject of the discussion. Not for the politics, though, I’m afraid. I went because one of my neighbors was doing a reading at the event.

The happening took place in Plainfield, the next town over, in the Town Hall, an understated building situated on Route 2 with the words “Town Hall” emblazoned over the front doors.

Though Plainfield covers a fair amount of real estate, the village itself is modest, much of it spread along Route 2. A small river also slices through the village, parallel to Route 2, pooling up behind a dam of sorts with a small spillway off to one end that permits a stream of water to fall to the rocks below and meander away. The single well-known feature of the town is Goddard College, a small, free-spirited institution that’s had an impact way out of proportion with its size and lifespan. An institution that’s recently run into hard financial times, has been preparing to close down this autumn, though efforts were still underway in these last months to raise the millions needed to remain in operation. A few days back someone told me that a corner had been turned, that some higher officials were being replaced for paying excessive attention to lining their pockets instead of to keeping the school viable and that the college may actually remain open, but that may be only hearsay.

The reading took place in the Town Hall auditorium. The auditorium, as in town halls found in many New England villages, occupies the second floor of the building, looking like an elementary school auditorium. Stairs rise from the first floor to the second on the room’s street side, a small proscenium stage faces the space from the opposite side. The stage curtains were closed, folding chairs had been set up in vague approximations of rows. An armchair and a lit floor lamp sat together on the floor in front of the stage.

When enough people had assembled to constitute a decent showing, my neighbor sat himself in the armchair, spoke briefly in appreciation of the candidate, then read a chapter from a work in progress. It seemed clear that it was a piece in progress — meaning not polished — but it was involved, with emotional depths, comic touches and situations complex enough to be satisfying. Complex enough to have me wanting more when the reading stopped.

It’s a teeny state, Vermont, just a little bitty place squeezed between northern N.Y., western Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Quebec. Population: 600,000. Burlington, the largest city, sports a population of around 60 thou. Really, just a speck on the map compared with most other states. I don’t know if it’s because there actually are herds of writers tucked away out in the hills or if it’s because the population is so small and the writers maintain a high enough profile that simply seem overabundant, but they do seem to be present in high numbers. An inordinately large amount of writing gets done up here, maybe ’cause there isn’t much else to do during long stretches of dark, gray, wintry months. And lots of people read and show up at readings. A nice part of the Vermont picture, that.

My neighbor read for 45 minutes, after which the candidate spoke briefly. And then I was out of there. And when I stepped outside and looked along Route 2 to the west, a band of faint yellow still held above the horizon, bleeding upward into a stretch of melancholy blue which quickly gave way to black. When I got out of the car back here, a sky full of stars shone above, the night air had a chilly edge.

August is rolling downhill to September. It’s been dry enough here that in some places leaves are already beginning to turn. How the hell did the summer weeks flash by the way they have?

Oh, never mind.

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