This past week was National Short Story Week and as I mentioned earlier I planned to celebrate by reading some short story collections. I did and had some nice surprises along the way.
The first surprise was the absolutely wonderful collection, Accidental Birds of the Carolinas by Marjorie Hudson, available through Press 53. Accidental birds are birds that for one reason or another get blown off course and end up in regions they don’t normally inhabit. In Ms. Hudson’s collection those birds are the interesting characters that find themselves in the Carolinas.
The second surprise was not spending my weekend in Baltimore playing tourist . . . well, not too much. Instead I spent a day sitting on a bench on Federal Hill overlooking the harbor and reading my book.
The third surprise was finding a great used bookstore, The Book Escape.
For those who know me, you know that’s dangerous territory. Actually there are two locations. The one in Federal Hill was closed the day I wanted to browse but I wasn’t giving up. I trudged the several blocks to the other one, bought a short story collection-part of my celebration- and that’s where . . .
the fourth surprise was walking in on a poetry reading! The poet/spoken artist was Cherrie Amour and her poetry and presence reminded me of the poet Patricia Smith. What a treat.
The fifth surprise was finding the other The Book Escape open the following day. It’s actually two store fronts connected by a breezeway. Both have little, hidden reading nooks, shelves that form hallways where walls don’t, and shelves so full of books they look to topple out-but they don’t. In other words, my kind of place and definitely my favorite of the two locations. Luckily my suitcase could hold only so many books so I was limited to two-one was another short story anthology.
The final surprise for my short story week took me back to where short stories all began for me-Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was a Baltimore son and his home, museum and grave site are there. The home and museum were closed, but I visited his grave site at Westminster.