I attended a couple Friday Noon Poets sessions several years ago and was very impressed. But the location was inconvenient. By tradition, meetings were held on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. You can imagine what parking is like. Don't have a permit, forgetabout it. (Do, it is no guarantee.) Most FNP attendees parked downtown and hiked. Exercise did me good, I'm sure. But I didn't feel I could afford the time.
Flash forward to 2003. When I mentioned to an old friend who was a longtime FNP enthusiast that I wished I could participate, she said, "We are meeting here!" Either I misunderstood, I thought, or she is seriously confused. "What do you mean?" I asked. She laughed. "Really," she said. We are meeting right here at Amity [Methodist Church ] now. Be a hop and a skip. Now what will my excuse be? I thought.. But when Friday came, I tossed a folder full of poems in the car and 'hied' myself to Friday Noon Poets. Turned out to be one of the smartest decisions I have made..
Not only are the poets and poetry fantastic. I am actually beginning to conquer my fear of reading in public. Admittedly, FNP is a protective environment. All about love of the art. Sharing, not criticizing. Which is not to say I wasn't terrified. One of the ironies of my life is that I was a speech and language pathologist, yet the very idea of giving a speech turns me to jelly. As for poetry, it doesn't help that a lot of my work is autobiographical. I won't try to paint myself a shrinking violet, but airing personal linen always made me very uncomfortable. So it went unaired. Writing is one thing, blaring, another. This in the Age of the Tell-All. Part of it is the knowledge that my flaws scream like banshees on their own. Picking at them in front of people only calls attention. But enough of that. The point is, loyal, dedicated and hard-working poets like David T. Manning and my friend from church [hi, Sybil] have kept the group alive -- nay, thriving --, and I could not be more grateful. Or more proud.
As for the book, it is a first! Watch for further announcements!!
Peace and Good Will, Brothers and Sisters,