Last night I had a really nice, relaxed time at the launch party for Stress City: A Big Fat Book of Fiction by 51 DC Guys at Politics and Prose. The newest anthology pulled together by editor Richard Peabody over at Paycock Press, it includes fiction by the likes of Matt Kirkpatrick, RIchard McCann and yours truly.
It was a great turnout. I got there about ten minutes early and counted 82 heads, but more came after I got there. Considering DC residents often leave DC in the summer to make way for tourists and that it was a Friday night it was a real testament to both Peabody and the writing community of DC in general.
Because it would have been crazy to have 51 people read from their work----we'd still probably be there---nine of the contributors read small sections from their stories. From Brian Gilmore's tale about a lawyer named Funk to Richard McCann's elegy of a dead lover via memories of a gay bar to Dave Housely's Avant Pop twist on the old Davy and Goliath cartoon, they really showed the broad spectrum of the kind of writing that goes on in this town. And I'm happy to say not one of the pieces were political thrillers. Other readers included RR Angell, Juan H. Gaddis, Charles R. Larson, Alex MacLennan, David Nicholson, and Jim Patterson.
The reading was followed up by a Q+A session moderated by poet Rose Solari and author Jim Patterson. Questions raised were the solitary nature of men in fiction, the lack of issues like gender strife and parental issues that often appear in the work of women, how mean "deal" with problems instead of just "cope", and how writing and art in general let men to enter modes of introspection and intimacy that men don't normally allow themselves to enter. Reading those I know it all sounds very serious but it was all fairly light-hearted and fun.
Afterwards I caught up with a couple of people I haven't seen in awhile and picked up a couple extra things from the shelves of the bookstore. I even had a nice older couple ask me to sign their copy of the anthology when they found out I have a piece in the book. It was great feeling part of a writing community again, even in a very small way. Once I find my full time job and get myself settled in our near Baltimore that's one of the things high on my list to seek out. While I brought a camera, I sadly neglected to included working batteries. If other sites put up pics I'll update here with some links.
Anways, I highly recommend the book. If you're interested you can probably pick it up in person at places like Politics and Prose and the Writer's Center, and you can also order it via Amazon.