Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Freaks Aren't the Only People Who Come Out at Night!
The freaks come out at night, but so do the writers! For every minute of the 26.2 Hour All-Night, All-Write writing marathon in which we took over Chop Suey Books, someone was up and carrying the torch- or, um- the pen.
Like Alter-Edward and Gerund. Like Captain Obvious and Smurf Lord. Like Slim Ace Bo Peep and Donut Danny. In fact, there are a whole host of people scattered around Richmond I now only know by their alter-ego name.
We wrote together, young and old, in the same room, and when we read our works out loud, we seemed to read from the same page. We enjoyed surprise appearances by old friends, new friends and even celebrities!
We played madlibs and made buttons and constructed zines and wrote stories and sang songs. We found hope in rejection and hilarity in love gone wrong. We laughed at comedians and party buses. We holed up in the Fortress of Solitude and ate our weight in veggie dogs and hamburgers at the 24-Hour Cookout With Your Book Out sidewalk grill. We poured our hearts into "The Fire & Desire Notebook of Bad Poetry" and crafted witty one-liners for the "I Party With the Boogie Man Collection of 6 Word Memoirs." We tried to meditate for the sunrise tribute to 9/11 but "slept" for an hour and a half, halfway under a table instead.
We sold T-shirts, raffle tickets and cupcakes. And we raised, with help from a generous contribution from Chop Suey, over $500 in scholarship money for aspiring poets and writers, playwrights and surrealists. Of course, if you weren't able to donate in person, it's never too late to contribute to our scholarship fund!
And now, an exclusive interview with marathon winner, Georgina Coffey, a sophomore at Maggie Walker Governor's School!
So, Georgina, what would you say you got out of 26.2?
First off, I was able to write over 30 pages of material for various things I've been working on. That never happens! But I guess that there's something about being in a single place where everyone around you is at least trying to do the same. 26.2 was a great place to brush up on some skills as well as discover others I didn't know were there.
What surprised you about the experience?
Probably the 30 pages. I thought that I'd maybe write ten, fifteen at the most. But no! I wrote for nearly all of 26.2 and the time I didn't spend writing I was in seminars that had me to do other activities.
What did you most enjoy?
I really enjoyed the feel of the community at 26.2. Sure, we had some people who just drifted in or out, but there were a few people who were there for ten or more hours. That was really motivating.
What did you least enjoy?
This probably won't sound honest, but truly there was not a single thing I did not enjoy. That was a perfect "day" in my mind.
Would you do it again next year?
Yes, I will! And every year after that!
Richmond Young Writers was asked if we'd do it again: every year, every month, every weekend. We said we'd decide when it was all over and when it was all over we decided we would. After all, writing might not exactly be aerobic exercise, but it is definitely addictive.
Without whom none of this could have been possible, a big huge enormous thanks to:
The overly competent and extremely good looking staff at Chop Suey Books, including Ward Tefft, Andrew, Mark & Tommy
Lamplighter Roasting Company for delicious coffee!
Jason Lefton of GYLo for photography, graphics & technical support
Katie McBride for T-Shirt & poster design
Our fabulously talented workshop presenters:
Studio Two Three
Betsy Kelly of ART 180
Richmond Comedy Coalition
PH Balance: Herschel Stratego & Paul Ivey
Liz Canfield of Richmond Zine Fest
Cookout Organizer & Head Chef: Stephanie Failla, and the outstanding restaurants who donated food to the cookout: Mamma Zu, Sticky Rice, Cafe Ole, Bon Venu, New York Deli, Joe's Inn, Mojos, 821, The Nile, Christopher's Runaway Gourmet, Captain Slappy's & Cous Cous.
Betsy Harrell Thomas of Betsy's for the delicious pastries.
Our tireless volunteers: Michael Guedri, Emilie Tweeddale, Andy Brockmann, Robin Silberman, Chris Anders, Katie Harville, Jackson Meyer, Rivanna Youngpool and Jenna Clarke
And last but never least, everyone who came out to write!
See y'all next year!
Posted by Valley Haggard at 9:00 PM