This 20th anniversary luncheon celebration is the biggest party we’ve ever thrown, and we at Red Hen like a good party. Writers/actors who have attended Red Hen’s readings and luncheons in the past include: Virginia Madsen, Billy Collins, Viggo Mortensen, Ray Bradbury, Mark Strand, Yusef Komunyakaa, Toi Derricotte, Robert Olen Butler, Joy Harjo, Ishmael Reed and the list goes on.
This year we have Pete Fromm, Sharon Olds, Richard Blanco and Pam Houston. We’re getting pretty excited as the day gets closer. I even bought a special dress for the occasion. Every waking moment I am trying to remember what I might have forgotten about the planning.
We did a tasting at the Westin so I feel good about the food, but I want everything to be perfect and if not perfect, then super fun. Tobi and Molly are coming and Stephen as well. Mark’s son Jared is coming. Douglas Kearney, Brendan Constantine, Nicelle Davis. Amy Gerstler, Dana Gioia, Mark Doty and Ron Carlson. It’s going to be stellar.
When I was responsible for the food, flowers and decoration, I had 99 red balloons on the ceiling because who didn’t like that song? But with our amazing committee there will be champagne and orchids of longing everywhere. There will be music and there will be books. The auction items include travel and jewelry, art and a Kindle. We are going to rock Pasadena.
One year after the anniversary event, I agreed to do a meeting on Sunday night. It was a big mistake. Even with my phone, I could not find my way and I remember when I arrived at the meeting with this very beautiful woman and my friend was there being very nice about the fact that I was so crazed my brain was rolling around on the restaurant floor. Never again. Now, we go out for a family event the night of the big anniversary event and no brains are necessary. That is such a good ad for a vacation. No brains are necessary. I like the idea of going on a vacation where your brain can go off someplace by itself and not bother anyone while you hike, swim, relax, drink, sleep, write, but write without thinking. If you think, they are edible thoughts which are the best kind of thoughts.
My friend Nicelle gave me caramels after our reading in Salt Lake and I am still thinking about them. Lisa gave me some when we were in London. I plowed through them like a little snow plow. I have a ridiculous addiction to caramels especially with sea salt.
Come to the Red Hen anniversary event. There will be caramel. There will be books and magic and fun. You don’t want to miss it. All the stories in the world swooping like great gulls in the washed light of morning light; they swerve, smudging the sand with their shadow, lifting the air with their sky dreams.