Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Small Town Perks

I attended novelist Bret Lott's reading with Wayne and the girls last Thursday night at Mizzou in hopes of a) hearing him read and b) thanking him personally for having published my work in the spring issue of the Southern Review, both of which items I did accomplish. But that simple desire led to a series of unexpected and delightful events which include, among other things, meeting Aliki Barnstone, a new poet on faculty at Mizzou, her daughter Zoe (who quickly became fast friends with our girls), and later her father Willis, in for a reading Monday night in KC. If you want to witness an insanely talented and prolific family, visit Barnstone and just imagine what conversation around their Thanksgiving table might sound like.

At the reception after Bret's reading I also got to chat with Speer Morgan, longtime editor of the Missouri Review (one of my favorite journals), and with our by now good friend Scott Cairns. The same group was in attendance at a party Aliki threw Saturday night in honor of her father and which Wayne and I found ourselves the last to leave (are we ever not?) after a long post party conversation with Aliki and Willis which included a tour of the artwork on the walls, mostly created by Aliki's mother and the other insanely talented Barnstones. What kind of vitamins did they eat?!! And though it was way past one when we finally dragged our kids home, Aliki and co. came by the next day as we returned the art-on-the-walls house tour favor and before we all set off for Rocheport and the General Store and Katy Trail.

The Leal part of the Sunday bikeride was cut short as I had to head back for a dinner party Wayne and I were set to attend. The dinner was held at the home of two retired Mizzou archeologists so over a potluck dinner of chicken tarragon and potato pancakes I got to ask, firsthand, about the dig in Peru in which Bob Benfer has unearthed " the oldest known celestial observatory in the Americas," dated to 4200 B.C. Talk about interesting dinner conversation. Meanwhile, that morning, Wayne appeared in yet another newspaper article.

I think there is a lot to be said for little ponds.


jenni said...

I've been meaning to read that Brett Lott book...

I could not get the Barnstone link to work...

And Wayne is a celebrity!

allison said...

I just fixed the Barnstone link. It should work now. And, like I said, it's a l i t t l e pond... ;)