I had been looking forward to this evening for months! Back in November, I attended the launch of the Sackett Street reading series–a revival of sorts, since we used to have readings back in the days when I was a teacher–and was thrilled to catch up with Julia Fierro the director and her husband Justin and some other familiar faces. I already knew the space would be great–the amazing Book Court, one of the great independent bookstores in New York–and what was so encouraging was not just the size of the crowd but also that fuzzy warm feeling of being surrounded by people who’ve participated in the Sackett Street Workshop in some way. All of us were there to show our support and love to a woman whose has influenced so many writers–the list of Sackett alumni who have graduated from prestigious MFA programs and/or published books keeps growing, and one look at the roster of teachers and you know how influential Sackett has become.
It was a great honor to be asked to read, and an even greater honor to be introduced by Julia herself, who spoke so kindly about my novel and how it influenced her writing.(Agents, take note!) But like I said when I got up to the podium, the debt of gratitude is all mine. I came to Sackett Street after coming off a particularly unkind workshop. It had been a good five years since I got my MFA and I was feeling a bit lost and dejected. And Julia was like my guardian angel. She was so supportive and encouraging and she really restored my confidence as a writer. She even hired me to teach for Sackett which showed how willing she was to take a chance on an unknown writer. I feel very lucky to be part of the Sackett family.
And the evening went so well! Despite the rain, it was a full house. We all got to sit under that amazing skylight and drink some wine. I read a condensed version of “Dear Guy in 24B,” one of the stories in my collection. What a treat it was to hear my fellow readers: Madeline McDonell, Julie Innis and Nick Dybek. It was particularly interesting to hear how different our pieces and voices were. I’m really looking forward to reading their books!
Thanks to everyone who came out and particularly my friends who came to support me. Your presence means a lot!
The Sackett Reading Series happens once every two months at Book Court, and the lineup is always stellar. The people who work at Book Court are super friendly and the whole vibe is very relaxed and fun. Do check it out!