During the years Tennessee Williams lived in Key West, he swam at South Beach every morning before sitting down to write. “I work everywhere,” Williams said of Key West, “but I work best here.”
The Key West Literary Seminar is a tremendously prestigious gathering, this year being no exception—a record sell out with a wait list that closed almost immediately after the seats were sold; with other worldly authors, competitive workshops, and a genius topic, REVEALING POWER, The Literature of Politics. It is an event that reminds and embarrasses me as to how little I know about literature, how my attempts at writing are so perfectly infantile. It’s an event that I wrote a post about—but took it down because I suddenly had an upcoming job interview with the Seminar’s executive director for his assistant’s position. Since he was going to look at my online presence, it didn’t seem appropriate to plug an event put on by the organization that I hoped to work for (potty mouth and erotica posts were not a problem). It was an interview opportunity that came to me by chance, a dream job, one that I wasn’t seeking but was perfectly qualified and suited for. Of course my hopes soared and of course I didn’t get the job, but I was honored to be considered, seriously, and thrilled to sit and talk with Arlo Haskell, Executive Director.
And are you envisioning a Gregory Peck sort, with just a few gray streaks in his hair, trousers a little tattered where his wallet sits? Too warm for the cardigan here, so maybe a vintage, short-sleeve shirt? That was my image—pre-googling, of course. Arlo Haskell is a very young man, early thirties, red-headed, big grin, Key West native, jeans and t-shirt (A wallet? iPhone in the pocket.). He is a first time father and a poet (I bought his book of poetry right after his first email to me), and I’ve been told (although I can’t find any evidence to support this) that he won a coveted poetry prize as a young man which propelled his literary life. We talked mostly about non-profits, and I told him I was fired from my non-profit job. I continued and said that I would be glad to discuss it, but he looked at me directly and told me he didn’t care. I understand that that was when I may have lost the job, but I don’t think so. I asked him if he read all the time and with a young man’s look of curiosity and humor told me, “pretty much.”
So… no job with the Key West Literary folk… but… I did receive confirmation today that I am indeed a volunteer at the Seminar. I will be able to attend any lecture when I am not working one. Please take a look at the line-up of presenters in the link below. I am blown away—and I have so much homework to do. Will keep you posted.
ps – I am happily employed at Jane Gardner Interiors – the lovely retail space of an ambitious and talented interior designer.
photo credits: kwls.org