Sunday, November 7, 2004
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg can't imagine anything more soothing than writing while sipping a latte on a crisp November afternoon.
Mirriam-Goldberg, a poet, hopes others agree and will join a group of writers -- Denise Low, Philip Kimball, Kelly Barth, Beth Schultz and Jim McCrary -- for the Coffeehouse Crawl on Saturday. Participants in the "crawl" will meet at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H., and travel through downtown coffeeshops and art galleries on Seventh and Eighth streets while visiting with the writers.
"I'm a writer and spend a lot of time writing in coffeeshops," said Mirriam-Goldberg, the event organizer. "I know a lot of writers think it would be wonderful to roam around coffeeshops and write with other people in wonderful, different locations."
A writer will be at each of several downtown venues selected for the Coffeeshop Crawl. Participants will be assigned to visit three venues -- two coffeeshops and one gallery -- for three one-hour mini-workshops. The writers will discuss poetry, essays, novels, fiction and nonfiction.
"Each of us will be able to meet and do short readings, then just talk about the writing life," said Low, a poet and instructor at Haskell Indian Nations University. "This is a really good way to involve our beautiful downtown. We're so lucky to have this downtown, as well as the arts community and climate."
The writers picked by Mirriam-Goldberg have diverse experiences in writing.
"I recruited them, keeping an eye out for people with a different mix in style and backgrounds," she said.
The Coffeehouse Crawl is a fund-raiser for the Kansas Conference on Imagination and Place. The conference combines philosophy, geography and ecology.
"This project has a lot to do with imagination and place," said Mirriam-Goldberg, who hopes to attract 30 people to the event. "We'll be sitting in different locations and see the different angles of Lawrence, which certainly will be a catalyst for wonderful writing."
Barth, a member of the art's center's Committee on Imagination and Place, will focus on nonfiction memoir and personal essays at the crawl.
"It is true that the line between the genres of nonfiction and memoir are sometimes blurred," she said. "I plan to emphasize truth-telling overall. In both fiction and nonfiction, telling the truth is of the utmost importance."
The Coffeehouse Crawl should benefit aspiring writers, Barth said.
"I think the crawl will give people the opportunity to become part of a growing community of writers in the Lawrence area," she said. "It will allow them not only to strengthen their own writing but forge connections with people who can become editors, friends and fellow artists."
The crawl will end with a book-release party for "Animals in the House" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the arts center gallery. The book is Mirriam-Goldberg's second collection of poetry.