Yesterday was the "Save Wordsmiths Books" event in Decatur and it was a fantastic afternoon of readings and music. I just wish more people had been there to witness it. I don't know if it was because the weather was gorgeous and people were doing other things, but the turnout was -- to me -- disappointing. Rupert Fike, Chesea Rathburn, Beth Gylys, Karen Head and the incomparable Jon Goode did amazing sets of poetry. Then Kodac Harrison and Kristin Markiton took to the stage do perform selections from the show they did at 7 Stages earlier this year, Reach for the Moon. The last I heard, Wordsmiths was more than 60 percent toward its fundraising goal, so I hope we helped contribute in some way. The folks who did turn out bought books and put money in the donation box. Every little bit helps. I know Wordsmiths got a big boost earlier in the week after NPR did a national piece on the store and its efforts to keep the doors open. If you missed it, you can listen at this link.
Although I'm the least athletic person I know, I've been watching the Olympics this past week. Last night I sat up to watch the amazing Romanian runner Constantina Tomescu-Dita in the 26-mile marathon and beat the shit out of every other woman in the pack. It was literally like watching the Bionic Woman; she was so far ahead of everyone else that it wasn't even a race. And then, of course, Michael Phelps won gold medal number eight to beat Mark Spitz's record.
Before the race, I watched an amazing little indie movie I totally missed when it was in theaters -- Jindabyne. This is a re-telling of the Raymond Carver story, So Much Water So Close To Home, about four fishermen who find a woman's dead body while on vacation, and rather than immediately call the police, they enjoy their weekend of fishing and camping. You may recognize the story from Robert Altman's Short Cuts, which was one of the many Carver tales he wove into the film. In Jindabyne, Gabriel Byrne plays the main fisherman, and the brilliant Laura Linney is his horrified wife. The setting is Australia and the woman the fishermen find is Aborigine, so there is added racial tension and more exploration of how American Linney fits into rural Australian society. The movie has a Picnic at Hanging Rock sort of feel about it; eery and, ultimately, unresolved, but I like my movies that way. Definitely put this on your Netflix queue.
Today, the Poetry Atlanta board got its first look at a rough cut of the film we plan to release in the near future. It's a series of performances and interviews by local poets. The footage looks great and there are readings by such notables as Alice Lovelace, Opal Moore, Gypsee Yo, Theresa Davis, Rupert Fike and the late Shannon Leigh. We're thrilled to have such amazing footage of Shannon performing here in Atlanta, and we're trying to find the perfect performance to memorialize and remember her in the film. We're still not sure on the release date, but it's coming!
Oh, and before I forget, big smoochies and thanks to Karen Head who brought me Doctor Who toys and goodies from the UK while she was teaching there this summer.