In the middle of the fun madness of life with MFA studies at Sewanee, such a 1st world problem to discuss, I was so relieved to get back into the East Side Storytellin’ pattern of hearing other people reading and singing instead of myself doing both in and out of my car and bookstore. These people on the show actually are good enough to be paid for their services. Well, usually they get paid. On East Side Storytellin’, the talent is paid with a round of applause, time, and much love from everyone who shows up.
This particular Tuesday, July 2nd, we set off a bunch of fireworks that had been originally made in Virginia and totally rocked the Nashville skyline. Alongside some very special family guests, I was honored to look out in the crowd and see a wave of Sewanee love off the mountain again. Sewanee, I believe, is loosely translated by ancient people as a community of the most intelligent, creative, friendly, and heart-warming people on Earth … loosely translated of course. But yeah, we had another stellar line-up of talent for the show and another stellar crowd of new and regular East Side Storytellin’ supporters.
The sun was out, and we didn’t skip a beat. Author Kathryn Williams (@kathrynwauthor), is closer than most to be a double graduate of Sewanee. She is currently in the middle of the School of Letters for her MFA, but this didn’t just happen over night. She graduated at Sewanee with an undergraduate degree in English not too long ago. From there, she moved to D.C. and New York City to pursue a career in journalism. She covered various stories that appeared in the likes of Newsweek, The New York Observer, and more. She traded all of that in for a position as an editorial assistant for a book packager. Around that time, as mentioned in the interview section of the radio show below, her writing talent was discovered by an editor of Disney Hyperion and a star was born (she was already born, but you get it). Since that discovery, to the night of the show, Kathryn has published 4 books (The Debutante, The Lost Summer, Roomies, and Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous) and is not showing any signs of slowing down any time soon.
Kathryn took to the stage like the pro she is and read several excerpts from The Lost Summer- a YA novel that tackles the timeless themes of coming-of-age, summer romance, and the power of friendship. She read a character appetizer or sorts and then dove head and heart first into a pretty provocative section that dealt with a sex scene. Like everything Kathryn does, she wrote and read with a powerful, tasteful honesty that was well-received. Beautifully written and read to a crowd that mirrored the love and appreciation right back at Kathryn. I don’t think an author and audience could ask for anything more.
But, as always, there was more in store. After Kathryn read one last section for the audience alone (too long for the hour recording), I was honored to introduce a fellow Virginian (so was Kathryn, not me) and most talented musician in that of Allen Thompson. Allen, usually playing with a bigger line-up of talented musicians, played his soulful set solo. Everyone was quiet and quite attentive for a natural blend of country, roots-rock, southern soul, and Appalachian-like folk music stripped to the core. I said it, and mutual friend and musician Don Gallardo wrote it, that if Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes and Levon Helm, God rest his soul, of The Band had somehow been able to create a baby, that baby would sing and play music like Allen Thompson.
Allen did several originals, two covers, and played his heart out. It was perfect, weather, friends, art by the always amazing Alex Smith, and all. After the music stopped, we continued the talks about creative inspiration from various songwriters, great authors, and tied it all together in a nice conversation. I won’t totally spoil the recording below. You can take the time to listen for yourself from the artists’ mouths. Speaking of the magic, I won’t waste your time any longer, here is the recording that says it all!
This recording originally aired on WAMB radio on 1200 am/ 99.3 fm on Saturday, July 6th, at 2pm. You can listen and share it as many times as you wish.
Before I get out of here for a minute or two, I’d like to let you know about the next East Side Storytellin’ and the THANK YOU credits to properly wrap up East Side Storytellin’ 17 with Kathryn Williams and Allen Thompson.
The NEXT East Side Storytellin’ event will be …
Date- Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
Time- 7 pm sharp (Central)
Location- Fat Bottom Brewing Co. (900 Main Street)- www.fatbottombrewing.com
Need information or details about Fat Bottom Brewing Co., call 615-678-5895. Otherwise it is first come, first available seats.
Before I go here for now, I’d like to thank a few people for making East Side Storytellin’ 16 so unbelievable.
-My wife, Emily Frances Harper Beard (www.efharper.com), For sticking with me and always being by my side, front, back. You know the rest …
–Tom Eizonas, you do everything on the fly to make this guy sound as professional as the guests. Without your help, nobody would listen to the show after the event. THANK YOU!
–Alex Smith, your art impresses everyone that sees it. You are a creative force like few out there anywhere right now. I’m honored to call you friend. You are amazing.
–Fat Bottom Brewing Co., you provide such a pleasant home for heartwarming performances to happen in your backyard. I am very grateful we have crossed paths and look forward to the shows to come.
–Kathryn Williams (http://kathrynswilliams.com) – Thank you for taking time to out of your tremendously busy and current school schedule. Your prose is always on point, and I am a better writer for knowing you (from your writings and your readings of some of my aspiring work in workshops on the mountain). Your writing career has been something to read and write about for many, and I feel like you’re just getting started. Like Bea Aurthur sang once, THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND!
–Allen Thompson (www.allenthompsonmusic.com) – I can’t honestly thank you enough for being so inspirational to the creative community that I call home. The way you help others along your journey is such a great thing to see that not everyone out there takes the time to do. I commend you on all your efforts and endeavors. You are an extraordinarily talented artist and I’m a better man for meeting and knowing you. Keep doing what you are doing!
–WAMB Radio, thank you for saving us a spot on air and for allowing us to be a small part of your treasured history.
–Mary Stafford (http://blog.merrystudios.com), THANKS for taking such great pictures of the day and event! I can see why you are in such high demand for your work on a weekly basis! You are awesome!!
–The Sewanee crew that made the drive up to the big city instead of doing their homework, THANK YOU FOR BEING A FRIEND and visiting the bookstore afterwards too! I know that it meant the world to me AND Kathryn AND Allen that you made the drive. Now get back to finishing your homework, your thesis, and your own original work so you can read it on this show sooner than later!
For more info about Sewanee and its School of Letters MFA program, visit http://letters.sewanee.edu.