My friend Meg emailed last week: "Wondering—I know this is last-minute—if you’d be interested in going to hear Linda Pastan read on Monday night at Blacksmith House. She’s a kick-butt poet and is reading with her daughter, Rachel, whose novel came out (with great reviews) last year."
Truth: I'd never heard of either of them and this is shameful, as I learned last night. What talents. Rachel read first from her new novel, Lady of the Snakes, which begins with Jane, a Russian literature scholar, in labor with her first child. Linda, author of many books of poetry and former Poet Laureate of Maryland, followed with complementary readings -- first from Queen of a Rainy Country and then from her other works, including a new manuscript -- about giving birth to Rachel, about family, about the window to the future closing (not precisely the words).
These were readings where (this doesn't always happen) the mind sparked, the heart beat a little faster than is comfortable, and where eyes leaked as words pulled together, sentences completed themselves, whole paragraphs took shape, and, when I left, an entire piece was ready to be written. Inspirational, motivational, and a strong reminder of how much we all have to say.
Thank you, Linda, Rachel, and Meg.