Readings, Libraries, Life is Good

Karin Kallmaker Events and Appearances, Readers and Libraries

2008-03-15 Hayward PL KK & JC

Saturday afternoon the Lesbian Genre Fiction Bay Area Tour was present at the Hayward Public Library to do that thing we do. In spite of my having chosen a non-existent cafe for us to gather at ahead of time, we managed to all find the library in the end, with time to spare. Ursula Steck thought that “Lost in Hayward” was lacking a certain something as the title of a short story.

One of the nice things about having a tour group is that if some people can’t make it, even at the last minute, there are still enough of us to show off the diversity of the genres we represent. At this reading there were two mysteries, two stories set in the past, a romantic intrigue and a western. It was a pleasure to read the first chapter from Cowboys and Kisses, even if I can’t keep a drawl from creeping into the narrator’s voice. Born and raised in California, I have no idea where this southern belle comes from.

Ursula Steck, Diane Anderson-Minshall, Anna Furtado, JLeeMeyer, Jaime Clevenger and I each read for about ten minutes, and though it was a small crowd, the Q&A afterward was lively and informative. A few photos are up at Flickr; the Hayward library will be posting photos as well.

It didn’t surprise me that the youth counselor from Project Eden’s Lambda Youth Project told us that her experience of LGBT youth is that if they are willing to read, they are universally surprised to find that there are books about queers. That makes plenty of sense – I hear from women in their 40s and 50s who’ve only just discovered lesbian fiction. I also know that our books within reach of LGBT youth saves lives.

Certainly at a reading there is the pleasure of listening to the different selections the other authors have chosen. Though this was our third group event, everybody read something new. One unusual aspect was Ursula’s confession that she changes the names of her characters when she reads aloud from a scene later in the book. That way the plot isn’t spoiled for the potential reader. I’d never heard of anyone doing that, but it makes a lot of sense.

And there’s always something new to learn when authors get together. Jaime Clevenger wears Life is Good socks. You heard it here first.

(In the photo above, though we are looking very serious, Jaime and I weren’t discussing her socks.)