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 Insidea
reading series she has organized here on the Hillwill 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
dont 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 OConnor 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, nonfictionand
maybe one day Ill wrestle out a screenplay, she declares.
Its 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 wouldnt 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 Im 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 Januarys
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
couples backyard. The inspiration for the tale comes from
author and architectural critic James Howard Kunstler, who wrote:
The average citizenwho went to school in a building
modeled on a shoe factory, who lives in a raised ranch house,
who vacations in Las Vegaswould 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. Jacobes
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
A Space Inside Reading Series
The Building of Quality (fiction)
Wed., January 25, 7:00 PM