Tuesday, November 13, 2012
November 3rd was the inaugural episode of Functionally Literate held at Urban ReThink. The quarterly events aims to connect, entertain and enlighten Orlando's growing community of writers, book club nerds and culturally curious. Each event will feature a visiting author along with thee talented local writers. The series is organized by Burrow Press and The Jack Kerouac Project. When Terry and I entered, a bit late, the place was packed. Large holiday lights were strung from the balcony creating a festive canopy over the audience. For some reason people were shy about sitting in the front row so we scored two front row seats.
Jared Silvia introduced the series and pointed out that Don Pomeroy's debut book, Wally, published by Burrow Press last month was available. Don Pomeroy thanked the book jacket illustrator Brian Phillips who had his work on display in the back of the room. Summer Rodman and Rachel Kapitan then introduced Catlin O'Sullivan who is the resident novelist at the Kerouac House through the end of the month. Catlin is working on a historical novel called The Kiss Off, involving a gangster on the lamb. She prefixed her reading by letting us know that a petite waitress had rented a room to the gangster. She went out with him one evening and things went from good to very bad. Upon returning home, she heard a raccoon in her attic. She went up to the attic with a hammer in her hand. What followed might upset any readers that despise cruelty to animals so I will end the scene there. If you want to read more, follow this link...
Susan Lilly read some wonderful poems. One was about a summer where she had to go to a camp where she was force fed sermons. A field trip to a rock concert exhilarated her to the point where she said, "If I had been a boy, I would have had a hard on." She and her friend got in trouble for separating from the group. The other authors were John Henry Fleming and Don Peteroy. A reading versed in old English biblical phrasing told the story of Christ trying to win a basketball game to impress two girls. A large pad was flipped with the verses but the moderator unfortunately blocked my view. The audience would periodically respond with an Amen. It was funny but in time felt forced. Don's story began to discuss how messy and gutturally funny human sexuality is when it is real. I will not even try to describe the slick, wet, messy, smelly and noisy details.
Afterwards, a large group of us went to The Wine Room a few blocks west of ReThink for some flat bread pizza and drinks. That morning the Kerouac Project had a garage sale that made over $1,400 which will keep the Artist residence running through the end of the year. There was plenty of laughter and barbed conversation to end the night.