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Writing without borders

BY ISAAC HAMLET | JANUARY 30, 2014 5:00 AM

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Writing tends to be a solitary pursuit. Writers can hack at a keyboard, unspeaking, for hours at a time to discover that they only persuaded a single sentence to occupy the page. Even when words do come, they tend to be replaced once they encounter the scrutiny of their creators.

It's understandable that the process could make it difficult for writers to converse with others working in genres outside of what they write.        

Anthology, an event at the Englert Theater, allows writers to showcase their pieces in nonfiction, fiction, playwriting, and poetry.

"There are seven or 10 writing programs that don't really interact with one another," said Olivia Dunn, one of the organizers of the event. "This is an opportunity for writers to see what's happening in other sections."

The event will begin at 8 p.m. Friday at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St. Admission is free.

Given the expectations that come with performing in front of a live audience, the writers will bring out suitable material.

"I don't always write to be entertaining. If a reader doesn't like my story, she can put it down and go do something else," said Michael Glaviano, one of the fiction writers. "But reading aloud to an audience is a whole different ball game. If an audience-member at Anthology doesn't like my story and cannot plausibly pretend to have to pee, she'll just have to sit there and feel 400 seconds of her life tick away. I'm trying to avoid that, so I'm reading the most entertaining thing I've got."

Others will use the show as an opportunity to challenge themselves, such as Chloe Livaudais [a blank writer — she's probably nonfiction].

"My piece is as of yet untitled, though it's going to circle around the fragility of self-awareness," she said. "I wanted to present something to the group that would scare me. It had to be a piece that required a great degree of exposure and courage on my end."

By the accounts of many of the writers, the tone of the Anthology event is often very relaxed — which better allows the audience to engage with the authors and their works.

"You need that kind of environment to reveal your work, which is the most personal thing you can offer," Livaudais said.

Anthology works to allow its included genres to seamlessly inhabit the same space.

"Being enrolled in an academic program in writing sometimes has the effect of emphasizing how the various genres and disciplines are different," Glaviano said. "Anthology does the opposite of that. I'm looking forward to seeing readers and writers and performers [of all genres] hanging out together"

It's for this reason Anthology was started, to allow writers who so rarely get to peek over the shoulders of their compatriots to come together. Regardless of what pressures there might be on the writers, the purpose is to bring the soul of their genres to the audience and to each other.

"It'll be fun, for sure; everything else is gravy," Glaviano said. "I suppose it's possible that someone's life will be changed. So, you know, caveat emptor."


THEATER
Anthology, a series of short readings
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington
Admission: Free


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