The Sweet and the Bitter

Olivia M. loses her pen, but gains a new literary love affair in Nick Flynn at Seattle Arts & Lectures

Seeing Nick Flynn on February 13th was a perfect palette cleanser for the saccharine day that was to follow. Chocolate and unbridled affection are the chosen dessert and emotion, respectively, for the day, but this lecture on “The Intersection of Poetry & Memoir” was an intriguing, bittersweet morsel, leaving my ears and heart wanting.

Sweet, because I have new holds at the SPL waiting by Flynn: Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City, The Captain Asks for A Show of Hands, The Ticking Is the Bomb, and Blind Huber.

Bitter, because it was a one night only affair, but sweet because Seattle Arts & Lectures' Literary/Arts Series was discovered.

Sweet, because he read a poem made entirely from the words of his students, and credited each and every one of them.

Bitter, as he recounted working with ex-detainees of Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, and sweet as the stories of those people could thoughtfully and artistically be shown to the general population as a testament to human suffering, leaving behind political cleavages.

Sweet, learning about a movie version of his first memoir, Another B.S. Night in S.C., but bitter having to wait while tracking down a physical version.

Sweet, feeling connected to this newly accessible man who casually bares his soul through his writing, and bitter, because I forgot my notebook’s true love: the pen. The only quote I was able to jot down in my brain was in discussion of actors in general, when he wryly said “They’re just like poets at the end of the day; they just make sh*t up.” [sic] Flynn is humble and honest, a refreshing combination when he could quite easily live in the clouds with the rest of the talented, elitist artists.

Sweet is being exposed to such intricate work, and bitter is the aftertaste of raw emotions lain out so delicately. TeenTix gave me an early Valentine’s present of the assorted box of events, and I’m glad I chose the one I did.

Flynn works in poetry and memoirs, dexterously weaving his personal experiences with poetic know-how to amuse, shock, and delight, and he made a first experience with Seattle Arts and Lectures completely enjoyable.

Up next in SA&L's Literary/Arts Series: Stephen Greenblatt on "The Survival of Dangerous Ideas: Lucretius, The Renaissance and The Modern World"
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