Advertisement

From Canyon To Cove: Where the literary light shines

January 12, 2012|By Cindy Frazier

Fine art of the two-or three dimensional kind isn't the only creative pursuit in Laguna Beach.

Every month, a group of writers gathers at a local art gallery to tell stories — very short stories. Stories that can be read in three minutes. That's about 500 words, or two pages of prose, double-spaced. If you go over the time limit, you get a booby prize: a yellow hourglass timer to help you get it right the next time.

DimeStories is an open mic literary salon that got its start in San Diego in 2004 and has expanded northward to Laguna Beach, where the only other "permanent" open mic in Southern California is held, according to the DimeStories' website. Readings are also held in Albuquerque and New York City.

Advertisement

Novelist and book critic Amy Wallen started the series, which has launched the literary careers of quite a few members, who have had their readings "optioned" and broadcast by National Public Radio. That cache draws a serious type of reader to the events, held on the second Sunday of the month from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

The San Diego readings grew to 100, but the Laguna reading I attended on Sunday at Salt Fine Art had a cozy group of about 15.

I had been encouraged by organizer Nancy Grossman-Samuel to bring a piece to read, which sounded fun. That's when I learned that this three-minute thing is no small task. I quickly realized that the novel I was working on had no chance of making it as a 500-word snippet. A monologue I had dashed off a la Jerry Seinfeld was my second choice, and it fit the time limit, but I wasn't sure if that was what the organizers were looking for. Better to sit back and observe, I decided.

That was the right choice. And the fact that readers' names are drawn at random, so you never know when you will be called to speak, would have been nerve-wracking, especially since I was also acting as reporter. Best not to wear too many hats.

Moderator Ed Kaufman, a Laguna Beach resident and psychiatrist, set a tone of support and literary seriousness. Well, maybe not so serious — when I told him I had elected not to bring a piece to read, he offered to let me read a work of his titled "Penis Gourd." Um, OK, I gamely agreed, but in the end he read the work himself. (More on this small gem later.)

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles
|
|
|