Sunday, October 20, 2013

Piper Kerman, Joyce Maynard and more at LitQuake's Words on the Waves in Sausalito



Yesterday my wife and I celebrated my birthday at Words on the Waves, soaking up the sun on several Sausalito houseboats of the South Forty Pier. This biannual event--part of LitQuake: San Francisco's Literary Festival --opened eight floating homes to 125 ticket holders during two literary sessions exhibiting North Bay writers (as well as bowls of paella and butternut squash soup with cornbread and beer).

Thematic readings ranged from 'Poetry Boat: Building Bridges with Words' to 'Tales from the Deep,' featuring readings about wayward whales and other marine mammals. 'Six-Word Memoir: Loose Lips Sink Ships' drew the biggest crowd; we missed that boat on the first round but jetted down the dock and up the winding stairwell of an exquisite home for the second.
Piper Kerman shares her story behind 'Snitches get Stiches'

On deck with a spectacular water view, we were entertained by three masters of memoir: Joyce MaynardJoe Loya, and Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison, adapted into a comedy-drama Netflix series whose first season I watched in one week.

Emceed by Larry Smith, creator and editor of the Six-Word Memoir® project at the online SMITH Magazine (he also happens to be Piper Kerman's husband), this riveting hour of short-form storytelling left us spellbound by the power behind a sentence.

Each storyteller--including hilarious Simon & Schuster Editor-at-Large Tricia Boczkowsi--revealed the backstory of their six words, in line with the magazine's tradition called 'What's Six?' (Read the beautiful story of "Sonny came out. Moved in yesterday." for an example).

Among my birthday presents were a trio of pocket-size notebooks with antique map covers, one of which I carried handily in my bag. But the blogger-reporter in me neglected to write down any words these writers said, for I was enjoying being a receptor rather than a recorder for the day. So I can only paraphrase Joyce Maynard, who is no stranger to breaking silence and rocking literary boats with brutal honesty with works like At Home in the World. This '98 memoir about her relationship at 18 years old with J.D. Salinger was recently reprinted with a new preface. (Read an audio excerpt here.) Sassy at almost 60 in her short skirt and cowgirl boot stance, she brought down the house with something like: "Truth won't sink your ship; it will float your boat out to sea." Afterwards, my wife rephrased Maynard's message in her own six words:

"Truth makes boats float. Not sink."

Additional Note: Joyce Maynard posted a link with the following on her Facebook page; that day this blog post got 388 hits! "And joined by a great audience of houseboat-lovers. One of whom wrote the best story about our event. (And check out the great houseboat photos)." Thanks Joyce!
Joyce Maynard




2 comments:

rosaria williams said...

Some ahhhahhh moments here,especially the last remar.k

Suzan Hampton said...

You certainly captured the flavor of this event-great writing and pix!

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