Friday, June 04, 2010

it's easy to be famous in a small town

The local paper did a feature on the Literary Reading Series that I helped found and organize. My good friend Amy (the owner of Morning Glory Yoga Studios, where the readings take place) and I have been hosting the readings since last August, and we're really proud of them - putting them together is a lot of work, and it can be hard to keep something like this going in a small town. Luckily, we've enjoyed a ton of support, from both readers and attendees. You can read the article here, but I'm also cutting and pasting the text below. You know, for posterity. Enjoy, and if you live in East Texas I hope to see you at the reading tomorrow! :)

Local author to host monthly literary reading

As a local writer, Chrissy Hennessey knows firsthand just how solitary and reclusive writing can be.
"The chance to actually share your work with an audience and like-minded people or supporters is not really that commonplace," she said.

So when her longtime friend and yoga buddy, Amy Sanford, encouraged her to help her organize a local event in conjunction with the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale last summer, Hennessey made the suggestion to pair a literary reading with the local bake sale.

"It just made sense to bring them together," said Sanford, adding that the objective of the bake sale was to raise money for the Nacogdoches Animal Shelter.

Their first reading, held in August at Sanford's yoga studio, Morning Glory Yoga Studios, drew a crowd of nearly 50 residents and raised approximately $300 for the animal shelter.

"We had known at the time that we were going to keep doing it," said Hennessey. "But, people asked, ‘when is the next one?' and said, ‘I want to sign up for the next one.' And so, by the end of the night, I said let's do another one in October."

Since then, the literary readings have been held at the yoga studio every other month, with the next one slated for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 5. Sanford said people mingle and enjoy refreshments for 30 minutes before the readings begin at 7:30 p.m. Each literary reading also has a donation jar for residents to contribute to the local animal shelter or other specific relief efforts.
"Initially, I just asked people who I knew were writers (to read), and I read because I write," Hennessey said. "But, then people just began to approach me, and now I have people signed up through October."

She said when they began the readings, four or five people would read at each session, but as the attendance grew, which is now roughly 70 people, so did the number of readers. It's now between eight and 10.

Hennessey said the readings, 10-to-15 minutes each, are typically a mix of English students, faculty and members of the yoga studio, who read everything from poetry to short story fiction.

"The more people read, it seems the more (other) people want to read," she said.

Anyone interested in reading at a future event can contact the women through the Morning Glory Yoga Studio Facebook page.

August will mark their one-year anniversary, and both women said they plan to do something special.

"A lot of people have mentioned this is a great event for them because they get to hear what other people are doing and get inspired by that," Hennessey said.

Michele Marcotte's e-mail address is