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The Wine of Words

tipjar.jpg All my friends would like to know…how I can sleep so late…well, I have a gene for it…the wine of words is mostly partaken…in the wee hours of the morning…I write alone. ~ Colleen, From The Zen of Winter Poetry, Muses Like Moonlight.

The open mic that began as a community outreach effort by the Writer’s Workshop I belong to is taking on a life of its own. The wordsmiths and bards came out in full force last night, the night after St. Patrick’s Day, to the Café Del Sol to share their poetry and prose. Our 7-9 P.M. announced schedule went over by at least an hour. With a front row seat that happened to be a comfy couch, I nursed a beer while taking in the fare and found myself becoming intoxicated with language.

Beginning with the performances of a few talented students from the high school’s forensics’ team and ending with my friend Jayn reading her poem, “City Boy Country Girl” …Yeah, we're in love… Exposed hearts melting in our personal global warming…causing floods of correspondence… climate changes in poetry…and occasional research trips into each other's changing world… there must have been a dozen readers reading all variety of works.

I got to inject my best Irish accent when it was my turn to take to the mic with a poem called “My Grandmother’s Brogue”… My grandmother came to America to be a servant… and then have 11 children for the Catholic Church…Jesus Mary and Joseph! And my friend Katherine, whose article on home-birthing twins was published in Mothering magazine over two decades ago, shared her image-rich remembrances of childhood while writing at her now-deceased mother’s desk.

Although it is actually a serious subject, Doug Thompson, fellow blogger and journalist, brought the house down with his humorous response to being a target of the Bush Administration’s investigation into reporters who write unfavorable stories about them: On an unspecified day last week an employee of a federal agency that cannot be revealed delivered a document that cannot be identified to a company that cannot be named seeking information that cannot be discussed.

His piece was written following a more serious report on the matter, "Bush Declares War On Freedom of the Press," which is excerpted below but can be read in its entirety at Doug’s news site, Capitol Hill Blue. In recent weeks, the FBI has issued hundreds of "National Security Letters," directing employers, banks, credit card companies, libraries and other entities to turn over records on reporters. Under the USA Patriot Act, those who must turn over the records are also prohibited from revealing they have done so to the subject of the federal probes… Just how widespread, and uncontrolled, this latest government assault has become hit close to home last week when one of the FBI's National Security Letters arrived at the company that hosts the servers for this web site, Capitol Hill Blue. The letter apparently demanded traffic data, payment records and other information about the web site along with information on me, the publisher…

Sipping tea over breakfast this morning with my husband, Joe, I realized out loud that 4 of my 5 closest women friends are writers. We spent the rest of the morning poring over an article my son Josh had been asked to submit for a Studio Pottery publication with an editor’s eye (all 4 of them) in mind. This afternoon our Writers’ Workshop is set to meet. Tomorrow night my calendar tells me that I’m scheduled to attend the Blacksburg book club that recently read my book “The Jim and Dan Stories.”

I feel a hangover coming on…

Post Note: Floydian, David St. Lawrence, also one of the night’s readers,has an account of last night’s event, "The Spoken Word is alive and well in Floyd, VA", posted on his blog, complete with photos. The one posted here is of the tip jar on the counter of Café Del Sol.


Would have loved to hear the one about your grandmother and in the sweet lyrical Irish brogue to boot. I feel a cup of White Christmas flavored coffee with just a shot of almond coming on.

Sounds like a wonderful night with some very talented people! Especially liked the City Boy Country Girl poem, having been there.

HI, here from Michele's! It sounds like a great evening. The coffee house here where we had weekly open mic nights shut down...I miss them!
I'll need to see where Floyd is.

You are so right about the wee small hours being designed for some of that thinking and the magical words.

The second part of your post about the US government investigations is also interesting. We have a pretty free (if politically opinionated) press here in the UK and this means our politicians get regular roastings. This week's economists also has a picture of Tony Blair with a caption along the lines of 'goodbye' and the more scurrilous but intelligent magazines like Private Eye are always an interesting read.

And Hello, Michele sent me today - although I do wander this way now and again!


I so wish I could have been there. Your words brought life to the event, but I suspect nothing can replicate being there in-person.

Sounds like another amazing night in Floyd. I've relayed Doug's story to countless people since he posted it. First because it was well written, and second because of how scary it is.

I had to Google "rescue remedy". Now that we know what it is, we'll definitely have to get our hands on some before the next tournament!

When I am truly retired I am going to have to put Floyd on one of my must see lists. Sounds like a really happening place.

I have tried to post today and yesterday with no luck! I'll try just this one more time.

I like your picture--and the caption about change. I always get a bit of envy reading about your community--and am going to have to check out Capital Hill Blues.

Your community seems to be a perfect fit for you. How wonderful.

My friend who writes for the New York Times in Dubai has “run afoul” of the Bush Administration on occasion. It is a formidable thing to run afoul of. He has many nightmarish stories. Incredible damage is being done to a free press by dint of rather brutish intimidation on the part of the U.S. government. Unfortunately, the press has been so effectively vilified, and the public so completely distracted, that there is little outcry against this chipping away at a cornerstone of our Constitutional rights. Very ironic. And dark.
I clicked around and read some of your poetry. Beautiful!

You have such a nice community. It seems you are blessed with talent...yourself and your friends. It sounds like such a nice night. And your nerves must've done okay?

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