I realized something amazing was happening.
My first experience was a rainy Wednesday night when I went to see the author of quirky regional novel title Mink River. I was shocked when I looked up into the auditorium and saw over 300 of my neighbors eagerly awaiting the lights going down. What an amazing confirmation of what I love about our town.
An hour later, after tears on stage and off, author Brian Doyle had the entire, diverse crowd singing Amazing Grace with all their hearts. Oh, the power of heartful story to connect us all to what we share and to illuminate the dark gaps between us.
Chautauqua Poets & Writers is a local group whose mission is:
To foster a diverse literary arts community in Southern Oregon by engaging readers, supporting writers, and inspiring the next generation of creators.
Yes, in this little corner of the State of Jefferson, many hours from the nearest big city, these fine people bring poets (poet laureates, even) and a diverse range of authors to work with students, teach teachers, and share their work with our community.
I increasingly believe the following:
- Writers need readers and readers need to see their favorite and new writers in their full humanity, live an in person once in a while.
- The creator in each of us is empowered by seeing other creators further along the path.
- Literature is an invitation toward empathy. Ergo, our world could use a lot more time with good literature these days.
- Poets help us see behind what our eyes see.
- We’re starting to see the fruits the STEM tree, some of it’s magic (thank you, Arthur C. Clark for your 3 laws) but some of it is starting to seem a bit nightmarish (AI powered tank).
- Because when we lose the humanities, we start to lose our shared humanity.
The Chautauqua movement itself is worth joining, given its long tradition of local communities taking responsibility for their own cultural lives. As our nation redefines its relationship to wealth, culture and power, I choose to support those who make the humanities available to all those who need it most; students, writers and the our larger community.
Will you join me? Visit the Chautauqua Poets and Writers site to learn more and how you can support their fine work.