The Terrazas Library invited The Austin Writers Roulette to participate in their Aural Literature event, where local writers are invited to read their works for 15 minutes. Since I usually dress up to match the roulette theme, I had a myriad of costume choices since this occasion had no theme.
Three other authors joined me for the event. In a way, it was easier to produce this show since we’d all written bios, didn’t have to set up chairs and we’d all arrived thirty minutes before the start of the reading. The librarian who’d contacted me about this event was amazed. I told him I’d always asked my artists to arrive an hour before the event just so we could start on time. Besides, when a group of talented, creative people gather together, the quality of the conversation is so rich. We took our traditional group picture well before the show started.
Donna Dechen Birdwell opened the show, reading an excerpt from her speculative fiction, Way of the Serpent. Mackenzie Irick Milks read a short fictional piece about a granddaughter returning to the islands for her grandfather’s funeral only to learn the sordid details about his life.
Stephanie Webb shared instances of her personal challenges of being a well-educated black women marginalized in Austin.I read three excerpts from my racy first novel, Tribe of One, about a single black women looking for love while still being a smart woman about the pursuit. One of the excerpts was a one-night stand on Halloween and another was the infamous “vibrator research” chapter. After reading that last one, I broke the news to the audience that the actual vibrator the main character decided to buy didn’t exist. Afterwards, we moseyed across the street to eat dinner. Fortunately, the restaurant offered 1/2 bottles of wine! The intellectual conversation, which had begun before the show, continued. This was the kind of occasion I always say I’d like to participate more in, but never seem to organize. I’m so glad it just happened. Truly a feast befitting of a queen: well seasoned and composed salmon sandwich on fresh bread with a side of potato salad.
Donna couldn’t resist wearing the Cleopatra headdress!