Spent most of the day at the City Lit Festival. It’s both fun to see all the people I recognize from other literary events and also discouraging to know that Baltimore’s literary scene is so small. Then again, any given scene in Baltimore is a small one.
Junot Diaz was as entertaining as I expected him to be. He also claimed to have spent years studying characterization and to have figured out the process or method through which a character becomes meaningful for a reader. The arc of character, I think he said. I thought, “well damn, man, share the wealth!” but he went on to another topic. Guess I’ll have to figure it out on my own.
As for the Baltimore literary scene, I just wish Balitimore writers would organize their post event parties a little better. Because you know everyone’s going on to drink, right? I mean, I had two beers on the way home.
One of the reasons the scene seems shallow in Baltimore is that Baltimore events don’t stick. You can spend six hours at the City Lit Festival but when you walk away you won’t see anyone again until next year. The most important part of the 510 reading series, in my opinion, is the pow-wow afterwards at Fraziers, where anyone can come and throw back a Natty Boh with the featured authors.
And as a writer, I’d much rather an event help me navigate a foreign city’s nightlife than put me on stage, shuttle me off, and point me back towards a hotel. Unless I was just physically too tired (which is understandable), I think I’d enjoy having a beer with the literary types of another city.
The writer’s happy hours that were going on a few years ago were great events, but they’ve long been defunct. So in the future I hope to see more after parties for the literary events I enjoy. That way I can stay in my literary bubble all day.