Reading and relaxing

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 19:00
Writers to share poems, stories

Imagine relaxing on a comfy sofa with a plate of cookies while listening to local readers and writers tell their stories.

Real stories. Intimate stories. The kind of stories that move you to tears one moment, laughter the next.

This weekend, you can do just that when the inaugural session of “The Living Room: Eagle River Writers Read” opens from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Jan.10 at Jitters.

According to co-founder Monica Devine, the event gathers and celebrates the ordinary, and extraordinary, lives of community members.

“Everyone has a unique story to tell,” she said. “Everyone shares the same troubles and fears and triumphs. We’re all connected through the threads of our experiences.”

Sponsored by the Alaska Center for the Book, the Living Room is modeled after the popular Writers Read program in Sitka. Participants are invited to read from any genre including poetry, short stories, memoir or play excerpts. They can also read passages from a favorite book or author.

The Living Room co-founders include nonfiction writer and retired nurse Judith Lindenfelser, freelance editor and memoir/fiction writer Susan Sommer, freelance editor and science fiction writer Kellie Doherty, and Devine, who writes children’s books and literary prose.

“It was important to include people in different age groups,” Devine said.

So far, the group has more than 100 likes on its Facebook page.

“We want to get across to people who don’t see writing as a trade,” Devine said. “We want to hear about the ordinary moments that can become arrestingly meaningful and beautiful when you pay attention.”

Everyone, she added, has a relevant and worthwhile moment to share.

“It helps to get to know someone on an intimate level, these people you rub shoulders with every day.”

The group founders hope to find writers able to resonant with a wide variety of audience members.

“We want to be moved,” Devine said. “We want to realize a different perspective. We want to laugh. We want to understand someone’s pain.”

Devine was quick to stress that the Living Room isn’t a critique group. Comments and discussions aren’t invited until after the reading, when audience and readers are free to mingle and share.

While the program might include Anchorage and Mat-Su Valley readers in the future, for now, it’s concentrating on homegrown talent.

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