I had travelled far – from another planet. On a Tuesday night in April. Why?
To be a part of a Live Literary Author Fringe event courtesy of The Stratford Literary Festival 2018.
The earthlings did not know what to expect from me – they did not know I was an alien until the end of the evening. I did not know what to expect of the earthlings – except for two that I had seen most recently at a village Literary Festival in the Cotswolds a few days before.
Jenefer Heap was our compere for the evening and reading one of her stories too. Jacci Gooding was organiser in chief and read a duet she had written, with Nick le Mesurier. With Jenefer and Jacci in control, I knew this was going to be a close encounter of the warmest kind.
I was surprised by this earthling group – even for someone who parks his spaceship at Live Lit events as regularly as I do. The twelve writers were as diverse as their poems and stories – a brilliant mix of ages, styles and voices. There were poems about apples and owls, about the body, about love, about cancer and other things too - light and dark. The stories were funny and engaging, serious and insightful – with smiles and with tragedy. There was a song – words pitched to a series of notes played on metal strings stretched over a cumbersome piece of polished wood.
I did a lot of slapping my palms together in the way that earthlings do when they are grateful that the words of other people have connected with their emotions.
At the end of the evening, I explained my observations about Love – one of the many things I don’t get about your planet. I shared my body pump prop – built on another planet but adapted to be illuminated by two of the AA sized power cells that you call batteries. The lights hypnotise the audience and they slapped their palms together too.
I will land again in Stratford if I can. And keep a look out for Jenefer Heap, Jacci Gooding, Nick le Mesurier, Nigel Hutchinson, Elizabeth M Cox, Natasha Dubalia (pictured with an alien and his prop), Liz Jolly, Sacha Wood, Annabel Peet, Naneh Hovhannisyan, Michelle Mills, Cherry Williams, Clay Lowe and Stratford Words.
I re-started my space ship with a full body pump.
(Picture courtesy of Natasha Dubalia)