C.M. Mayo < About C.M. Mayo < Interviews <

Originally at http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/publications/hillrag/2006_Jan/html/LiteraryHill.cfm
Recaptured via archive.org's Way Back Machine
A Compendium of Readers, Writers, Books, & Events
by: Karen Lyon
Creating “A Space Inside”

Monica Jacobe was looking for a way to recapture the camaraderie she enjoyed as a graduate student in creative writing at American University. “It seemed like we were all in this together, supportive and encouraging,” she recalls. She hopes that “A Space Inside”—a reading series she has organized here on the Hill—will help recreate that feeling. “Part of my goal in creating ‘A Space Inside’ is to gather DC writers and creative people in a common pursuit,” she explains, “to create a sense of community and togetherness.” The monthly series, which begins January 25, is being hosted by Riverby Books.
......“A Space Inside” will serve as a venue for lesser-known voices, for writers at various points in their careers, and for those who are “between books.” Jacobe points out that many writers who publish with a small press have to organize their own publicity and those who work with larger publishing houses are only called upon to read when they are promoting new books. “That is the ‘space’ that ‘A Space Inside’ seeks to fill,” she says. One unusual aspect of the series is that the writers will read from a variety of works: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. “I don’t know many writers who limit themselves to only one form,” she says. “That is why ‘A Space Inside’ is a multi-genre reading series.”
......C.M. Mayo, the inaugural reader for the series, more than fulfills the multi-genre criterion. The award-winning author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja, California, the Other Mexico (2002), she has published essays about Mexico in numerous literary journals Her short stories have also appeared in many journals and her Sky Over El Nido won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She translates Mexican poetry and literary fiction, founded a bilingual literary journal called Tameme, and has edited an anthology of Mexican writing that will be published this spring. “I write fiction, poetry, nonfiction—and maybe one day I’ll wrestle out a screenplay,” she declares. “It’s all poetry, I say!”’
......Born in Texas, Mayo grew up in California and currently divides her time between DC and Mexico City. “I met my husband, who is Mexican, when we were studying economics at the University of Chicago,” she says. “When we got married, we went to live in Mexico City.” She taught economics and finance at a university there and published two books on Mexican finance. Once her first literary book, “Sky Over El Nido,” was published, she decided to become a full-time writer “I wouldn’t go back to working as an economist, not for a bazillion bucks,” she affirms. She and her husband (who is still an economist) keep a house in Mexico City, and Mayo goes back frequently. “Since I’m a writer, I can divide my time into odd-shaped chunks and morsels.”
......When in D.C., she lives in Foggy Bottom and teaches a creative writing workshop at the Writers Center in Bethesda. She is also working on a post-Civil War historical novel set in Washington D.C. and Mexico City. At January’s “A Space Inside,” Mayo will read a short story titled “The Building of Quality.” Originally published in the Kenyon Review, the story deals with the aftermath when a violent storm drops an odd muffin-shaped building into a suburban couple’s backyard. The inspiration for the tale comes from author and architectural critic James Howard Kunstler, who wrote: “The average citizen—who went to school in a building modeled on a shoe factory, who lives in a raised ranch house, who vacations in Las Vegas—would not recognize a building of quality if a tornado dropped it in his yard.” Mayo says she read that and thought, “Whew, nasty. But hey, what if?” She adds that the story was “wicked fun to write.”
......Mayo is enthusiastic about “A Space Inside,” hoping it will develop into a cherished community tradition. “Bravo to Monica Jacobe and Riverby Books!” she cheers. Steven Cymrot of Riverby Books returns the compliment. “C.M. Mayo is a gifted poet and writer,” he says, “and [we are] excited to have her lead off our new series of monthly readings. ‘A Space Inside’ will bring together new and old writers with new and old readers.” Jacobe’s aspirations also run high. “I hope to open doors for many writers’ voices and turn their somedays into today,” she says. “It is painfully optimistic, but I am willing to try.” She expects the readings to take place the fourth Wednesday of every month, and reports that she has already booked writers into next fall.

417 East Capitol St., SE
www.riverby.com, 202-543-4342
‘A Space Inside’ Reading Series
“The Building of Quality” (fiction)
C.M. Mayo
Wed., January 25, 7:00 PM