Last night I attended another Write Around Portland anthology release party and reading. Wow; again. This organization is amazing in their vision, their ability to carry out that vision, and their commitment to the community in which they live and in the communities their create with their writing workshops.
The evening to celebrate the completion of another round of workshops which gave voice and built another community of writers was a success for participant and listener alike. Each 10-week session of 15-17 groups Write Around Portland runs, concludes with this celebration, in which all participants have the option to read their piece in the publication. The individual writings cover nearly every genre; some made me laugh, some brought tears, some made me remember and some made me thankful. Each one touched me in some way. You can read more about the content and process of the programs here.
The staff of Write Around Portland run this celebration very skillfully and smoothly. Not a single participant nor facilitator nor audience member has any inkling of the amount of work that has been poured into making sure each person who decides to read their piece is a star for those two minutes. The staff's confidence and calm, their ability to support and organize, makes this a night of pleasure for everyone. And especially the participants, who each receive a copy of the publication with their piece included.
The readings last night were amazing and the courage and strength of everyone involved apparent. I feel both humble and proud to be a part of the volunteers who support the writers - on the staff and in the workshops.
Each session also spotlights one writer and a line from his or her selected piece is used as the title for the anthology. The featured writer for the newest anthology, A Rare and Necessary Time, is Reuben Alvarez-Paris. You can read his entry on the Write Around Portland website, as well as an interview.