Last Sunday in Vista Hermosa Natural Park three other local LA writers and I each read original short stories about The End of Water. In their stories we met a weatherman who tells uncomfortable truths, a species of whale that may be extinct (and may always have been), a carwashero seeking justice for his father, and a scientist testing her theory that we can solve the problem by turning wine into water. These stories were originally read by actors as part of the 2015 LitCrawl in LA. The participating authors were Chris Iovenko, Henry Hoke, A.R. Taylor and me, Bronwyn Mauldin.
The End of Water wasn't an ordinary literary event, though. I organized this reading to be part of VisionLA '15 Fest, a climate action festival that brought together artists across Los Angeles to demand our leaders take meaningful action to stop climate change at the UN COP '21 negotiations in Paris.
After the reading the four of us had a chance to talk on video about climate change, what we expect from our leaders and what artists have to offer in this struggle to slow the warming of our planet. That last question is a particularly important one. People tend to think of artists in terms of the final product: a book, painting, dance or play. But what we really have to offer is in the way we think. We have the ability to imagine a world that doesn't exist. We are constantly in a state of combining ideas and materials that don't obviously fit together, thereby reinventing the world. For example, imagine if we replaced our planet-harming industrial-scale infrastructure - especially around transportation and energy - on a human scale? If we can build a network of small farm-to-table food systems, why not a network of small roof-to-laptop electrical grids?
Vista Hermosa Park was a beautiful location for the reading, and holding outdoors turned out to be perfect. The park is almost hidden on the edge of downtown LA. It was designed as a watershed, complete with green roofs, native landscaping and a cistern under the parking lot to capture any runoff. If you've never visited, I highly recommend it, as a break in the middle of the work day or on a lazy weekend afternoon.
Here are a few photos from the reading. Enjoy!
And you are, aren't you?
Allow me to recommend a few books I read this year and loved. These books are anything but boring and predictable, and they're all from terrific independent presses. I reviewed them at The Next Best Book blog - click the links below to read my reviews.
Nigerians in Space by Deji Bryce Olukotun
Unnamed Press (2014)
I'll Be a Stranger to You by Cara Diaconoff
Bessarabian Stamps by Oleg Woolf
translated by Boris Dralyuk
Phoneme Media (2015)
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani
translated by Judith Landry
Melville House (2013)
Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
Tin House Books (2014)
Don't forget! You always get bonus points from the literary community when you buy your books at a locally-owned, independent bookstore.
If the reader in your life is secretly (or otherwise) a writer, consider the gift of writing classes. Writers at Work in Los Angeles is a wonderful place to hone your craft and find the support a writer needs to kickstart a new project or see one through to the end. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without Writers at Work. Gift certificates are now available:
Looking for your next book to read? I can recommend all these great indie press books.