Local author Steven Deeble and poet Nancy Woo joined forces and saw an opportunity to organize a storytelling event that celebrates the work of Long Beach’s community of writers.
On Friday, Jan. 12 at 7pm, their vision will become a reality as prominent local literary figures, with the support of the gallery and retail business MADE by Millworks, 240 Pine Ave., share their stories during a free event.
Heather Kern, manager of MADE by Millworks, explained that the gallery’s purpose is to feature artists and artisans from the area each month.
Thus, the space’s availability and message sparked the initial idea for writers such as Deeeble and Woo to begin planning their own storytelling event.
Woo, who is also the founder of Long Beach’s Literary Arts Center (LBLAC) and co-curator of Friday’s event, explained where the plan first came about.
“The event idea emerged during coffee with Steven Deeble,” Woo said. “He had reached out to the Long Beach Literary Arts Center after we posted about our ‘A Writer’s Life’ workshop asking if there was any way he could help the organization get established. He had just published his first book, and the LBLAC is designed to help writers succeed, so I definitely wanted to see what we could do together.”
The four speakers include Deeble, Woo, poet RD Armstrong and musician Lili De La Mora, and each performer will share their story on how they developed as a writer.
The four paralleled in that their stories revolved around a certain type of writing form, which became humorous among the organizers of the event.
“So, really it’s about writing,” Deeble said. “We were joking about retitling it, ‘How I WROTE It.’”
However, each performer has specialized in different styles of writing, which will be discussed.
“Nancy and I talked about the presentation, initially, and it was a no-brainer for me,” Deeble said. “Obviously, I was going to do how I wrote my book. As Nancy and I started talking, I started realizing she is very articulate– she is super smart, she is a pan-award winning writer– I wanted her to be involved in it, and I realized ‘Whoa. Hey, here is something I could do for the Long Beach Literary Arts Society right here. Let’s have her tell the story of it and explain to people what it is and why it is important.’”
Deeble continued to explain how Armstrong will share his experiences as a poet and writer in the small-press community, while De La Mora will speak on how she has grown as a musician with her own song-writing process.
Persistence of Vision is Deeble’s historical detective thriller he will be discussing at the storytelling event.
Additionally, Armstrong has been in the poetry and small-press business for over 23 years, and he explained in a phone interview with the Signal Tribune what he will present to the audience.
“So, I am actually going to read a poem that I transcribed, and I had actually come across this poem in a file that I had written,” Armstrong said. “[…] Then, I will probably read something else, because they gave me 20 minutes to do what I had to do.”
After the four speakers finish, a sheet will be available for the public to sign and volunteer to share a story of their own.
In the end, Woo wishes to showcase the local writing community.
“I hope that the audience at the event on Friday may leave with a feeling of certainty in their bones that Long Beach is a city of writers,” he said, “because it is.”