Friday, May 04, 2012

London Calling

Karen Head
Last night, BFF and brilliant poet Karen Head organized "London Calling: A Benefit Extravaganza" to collect donations to help me get to London this summer. Money has been very tight, so I was beginning to wonder if this trip would be possible. Thanks to my friends, it most definitely is.

Sitting at Bound to Be Read Books surrounded by all these wonderful people, I had to struggle to maintain my stiff upper lip. Hearing them read my work and talk about the connections and friendships that have been formed was very moving. The fact that they also opened their wallets and donated more than $600 (with a few hundred more on the way) was humbling.

Julie Bloemeke, Kodac Harrison, Manning Harris, Dan Veach, Franklin Abbott, Lisa Allender, Christine Swint and Robert Wood picked some of my poems to read, and there were also inspiring words about London from E.M. Forster (read by Rupert Fike) and Virgina Woolf (from Jessica Handler). My friend of 20 years, Merci Howe, drove 65 miles to be there last night and good friends Karen Garrabrant, Dan Morrison, Patty Constantino and Richard Funderburke were in the audience. Colin Potts took some wonderful photos (including some of the ones you see here) and provided us with an authentic British accent and Union Jack bunting. Jeff McCord and Jef Blocker of Bound to Be Read Books not only provided the space for the benefit, but are such incredible friends and supporters, not only of my work, but the entire literary community in Atlanta.

Julie Bloemeke and Lisa Allender 
I must also say thanks to my wonderful boss and partner in crime, Wendy Binns at Atlanta INtown, who donated money towards the plane ticket, Scot and Joy Thompson, who got me a buddy pass to help cut down on the cost of the flight, and my dear friend and fellow poet Agnes Meadows who is putting me up at her flat in London.

I wish I had more poetic words, but in this case the well-worn, but still meaningful, "thank you from the bottom of my heart" is the most appropriate. I cherish each one of you, my friends.

This trip to London is going to be very special. Being asked to read at the Polari series at Southbank Centre is a dream come true. You can find out more at this link and buy tickets if you happen to be in London on June 11. Details about my other readings in London coming soon.

Me with Lisa and Karen
I am a firm believer in the theory of synchronicity. For me, life is not a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order – a connection of people and events that is more than just coincidence. The people who come into our lives don't arrive by chance, but are meant to be there. Lisa Allender knew my uncle, Terry Graves, before he died, but I didn't meet Lisa until a decade later. She showed up at one of my readings and the poem I read that night was about Terry. This was not a coincidence. There are so many other stories like this in my life – meetings and events that cannot be shuffled off as chance. Last night, watching this room of interconnected friends, was proof positive for me.

Unus mundus.

1 comment:

Lisa Nanette Allender said...

Hi there Coll-Coll. You deserve the very best and more, kid. It still amazes me that we met up, in the manner in which we did. I bet Terry is smiling. :D

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Welcome to Collin Kelley: Modern Confessional, the website for poet, novelist, playwright and journalist Collin Kelley.