For the first time, local writers gathered in the Humboldt and District Gallery for a celebration of their work. Seven wordsmiths drew a packed house for the inaugural Writers’ Night hosted by the Gallery. MC for the evening, freelance journalist Becky Zimmer, kept the audience entertained with writers' jokes and her own microstories.
Dee Robertson is a well-known, prolific writer from Humboldt. She read from her work Journey in the Company of Raven and Other Friends, appropriately nestled among the raven images from the exhibition Raven Speaks at the Gallery. Dee took the audience through childhood dreams that connected her to the Raven Clan and her recollections of time in the foothills and the shadow of “The Big Hill.” She relayed her wonder at a childhood encounter with a raven and similar encounters with the birds in the jungles of South America.
Englefeld teacher Jeff Burton, known for his prairie centred comic creation Auroraman, dipped into both old and new poems, creating wonderful sensory explorations around books and tattoos, among other subjects.
Youth author Madeline Pratchler delighted the audience with a reading from the follow up to her first entry, Jaxon and the Naughty Secret Monster. Taking the guise of young Jaxon, she injected all the energy and anticipation of a boy waiting for the carnival, and the disgruntled realization that he’s going to be saddled with his miserable, “whineypants” acquaintance, Gavin.
Former teacher turned writer and philanthropist, Norman Duerr read from his autobiography, To Find the Lost Garden. Duerr related hiking experiences from his extensive travels in places like Costa Rica, complete with an encounter with a deadly snake. Another anecdote saw Duerr and compatriots challenging the Milford Track, a rain prone mountainous region of New Zealand.
Janice Dick introduced listeners to the curious community of Happenstance in her fiction work. She captured a glimpse of freedom for her Harley-riding protagonist who encounters an eccentric community with even more eccentric characters. They include a gas station attendant who insists on the wayward rider staying, with lines like, “it’s a place where we got what you want, unless we don’t, and then you don’t need it.”
Annaheim’s Lorraine Holtvogt wrote the fanciful Fairies of Whispering Dale in the hopes of teaching children that they can make a difference. Alvin Oleander goes questing after being stuck in his basement. However his questing amounts to a desire to guard the entrance of a foreboding cave rather than enter into it.
Rounding out the evening was retired teacher Robert Henderson who also drew from his worldwide travels. Henderson explained his volunteer work with CUSO in Papua New Guinea and his connection with a tribe that had never experienced outsiders. In detail, he recounted the rare encounter with an ancient ritual in a land on the verge of becoming an independent country. Henderson’s book, Cloud Over Kairiru, is for sale on Amazon on demand. Many of the other publications are available at the library.
The success of the first Writers' Night came with a promise of more such events. For details on upcoming programming, contact the Humboldt and District Museum.