Bookworks March 22
Dime Stories Fourth Anniversary Showcase 2014
Hosts: Jennifer Simpson, Merimee Moffitt
By Beatlick Pamela Hirst and John Ashbaugh
There was standing room only at Bookworks on Rio Grande Blvd. for the turnout as Jennifer Simpson and Merimee Moffitt celebrated four years hosting Dime Stories open mic on the third Thursday of every month at the Source on Carlisle Blvd. The Dime Stories readings are the only prose open mic going in Duke City. A Dime Story is an original prose piece to be read by the author in three minutes or less.
At the open mics each reader is recorded for radio broadcast and at the end of the evening the audience votes for the three most outstanding reads to be featured on the national website. So this event at Bookworks featured readers were among the thirty-six writers who were chosen from 2013. The function also served as a fundraiser for Eirik Gumeny, a local writer and supporter of Dime Stories, who is waiting for a double lung transplant.
The Dime Story event didn’t hold enough clout to make the outdoor marquee of Bookworks but there were two chalk boards that held a friendly greeting for the readers. Despite the promo almost half of the audience was left standing because the turnout was so large.
The roster included these “Best Of Dime Story 2013” online radio features and their winning titles:
Arlaina Ash: Nut Job
Byron Aspaas: Encounters
Dee Cohen: By Heart
Tish Frederick: Stairway to Haunted
Jill Gatwood: The Scam Artist
Iris Gersh: Passing Through
Eirik Gumeny: Storybook Adventure
Pamela Hirst: Sometimes It Was Fun
Jenn Krohn: She Just Wants Attention
Maria Leyba: You Need a Serape
Andy Paquet: Bilingual Bicycle Mystery
Susan Paquet: My Monster
Julia Perkins: Why My Computer & I Don’t Get Along
Kraig Pickel: A lesson in Violence
Beth Pratt: A Dusting of Fingerprints
Cindy Sylvester: Stairway to Heaven
Georgia Santa Maria was on the bill but couldn’t attend because she was one of the features at the Placitas Anasazi Winery for the Duende Poetry Series. It’s a good problem to have in our community, and I state this every time, we have so many poetry events it is almost impossible to avoid a conflict with someone else’s gig these days.
Nonwithstanding, Jennifer Simpson greeted a true crowd with enthusiasm. As the host she was engaging and clever in her quips and responses as the event unfolded. Drawing names out of a hat instead of adhering to a list, the democratic readings began.
Merimee Moffitt served as the sacrificial first reader. Tiny Bananas delves into Merimee’s analysis of why her husband kept creating a dish serving only half of a banana. She points out to her husband that some of the bananas are so tiny that they are equal to half of a larger banana. But steadfastly and inexplicably he continues to cut any banana in half regardless of its size.
First feature up was Byron Aspaas, who drove all the way from his home in Arizona to be included in the reading. He learned about the Dime Stories while he was in Santa Fe and drove down for an open mic last year, he related. His story, Encounters, recalled his experience getting stuck in the foyer of a restaurant attending his station as host while all the diners went outside to view an eclipse. He got left out.
Jenn Krohn’s name was drawn next. Her story was one of the most dramatic in content. She Just Wants Attention is the storyline of a little girl whom the author encounters in her neighborhood. The child seems to be injured. When she goes to the home of the child, the parents are unconcerned about the bloody stigmata their girl is manifesting, saying, “She only wants attention.” As a nosy neighbor the author was deftly escorted off the property and the last line proclaims after this encounter with these parents the little girl was never seen playing outdoors again.
Tish Frederick’s Stairway to Haunted is the story of how she comforted her grandson, afraid of ghosts. Two stories and three stories houses are the only type of homes which contain ghosts, she explains to him. One story houses can’t be haunted because a ghost needs to rap and make noises upstairs. Therefore any one-story house cannot be haunted for lack of an upper level and that is why there are no ghosts in trailer parks.
Arlaina Ash recalled the dangers of hanging out with too many forty year olds with issues. One woman was considered a nut job for driving around with her own name emblazoned on her car. Multiple vignettes followed with Arlaina’s unique humorous twist added to all.
Bilingual Bicycle Mystery by Andy Paquet was created from a writing prompt: What if you woke up on the side of the road with no memory of who you are? Andy’s imagination took him to a scenario where he falls from his bike and can’t remember who he is. He keeps recalling smatterings of Spanish phrases but is in total confusion as to their meanings. Ultimately he finds his way home, stumbles again, is brought back to consciousness when his sympathetic dog starts licking his face. He then remembers he crashed his bike on the way home from a Spanish 101 class. Andy had a clever schtick, holding up bilingual signs to emphasis his prose. The last sign declared in Spanish: A Dog is a Man’s Best Friend.
Dine Native American culture was subject matter for Cindy Sylvester’ reading. She digressed from her winning Dime Stories Stairway to Heaven to share another Native American experience.
A Dusting of Fingerprints, by Beth Pratt, is the tale of an engagement. The woman receives an engagement ring. The potential bride said the size of the ring made up for its lack of facets. Secondly she was upset over all the Cheetos crumbs on her ring. “You were eating Cheetos over my engagement ring?” she queries her future groom, then deciding to back off from any more criticism. There will be plenty of time for that in her future, she reasons. This line brought the house down.
Jennifer Simpson read a tender remembrance, Stop For Gas in Hawaii, relating her experiences going back to her childhood home to Hawaii after her mother’s death. The dialogue examines how each relative remembered the iconic experiences and places of their childhood and how they varied so differently as individual priorities.
Kraig Pickle examined how violence can erupt from mundane experiences. He tells of two men reactions as an audio tape player of one keeps eating the audio tape belonging to his friend.
Susan Paquet had a story we could all relate to regarding the temptation of eating all the chocolate Halloween candy. As she recited her husband, Andy, was passing out chocolates served up from his bicycle helmet.
Julia Perkins had us all sympathetic and relating with her reading, Why My Computer & I Don’t Get Along. It was a first person, if you can say that, account from the persona of the computer. A clever twist.
Maria Leyba also diverged from her title yet kept to one of her thematic traditions of Hispanic culture with a charming remembrance of an aging relative remembering back to the day he met his future wife. The grandfather recalls riding from Columbus, New Mexico, across the border to Palomas, Mexico, to attend a dance. He is moonstruck by a fair woman whom he assumes is gringa. He spends the night trying to communicate with her in his broken English only to find out at the end of the evening that she speaks no English. Therefore she had not understood a single word he said all night. Regardless the couple wound up husband and wife within one year.
Iris Gersh, Passing Through, got the last draw of the night relating a great vignette from back in the day. She and her girlfriend wound up in a hotel bar in Taos with Dennis Hopper trying to convince them to have an orgy. It was hysterical and such a great Taos tale, smacking of authenticity. The crowd then dispersed and many were seen later dining next door at the Flying Star Café.