Over two nights—Oct. 9 and 10—the inaugural Death Rattle Writer's Festival
features more than 40 writers, professional and not, in downtown Nampa. Organizer and Nampa local Diana Forgione has spent the last eight months pulling together writers from all over the Treasure Valley to come read short excerpts of their work, including Alan Heathcock
, Diane Raptosh
, Christian Winn
and J. Reuben Appelman
The festival kicked off at the Flying M Coffeegarage last night, with a mix of well-known local authors and open-mic participants reading both poetry and short stories. More than 30 people attended.
The emotions of each reading ranged from dark snapshots of scenes, characters and lives like the line from
J. Reuben Appelman's
Christian Winn's reading: "He drew blood for you, Molly, because he couldn't imagine his life without you," to more upbeat poems like one brave open-mic reader comparing how we deal with things to an oyster turning sand to pearl: "What could we do with what gets under our skin?"
"This is fantastic, the first annual Death Rattle," Christian Winn said as he took the stage to read from Naked Me,
his new collection of short stories.
"The beauty of this literary stuff kind of spreading out is just, it's really rewarding and cool to see."
Forgione put the readings together after moving to Nampa from Los Angeles about a year ago. She was drawn to the "lifestyle."
"Everybody here is a writer, everybody here has beautiful work," she said. "There’s something about Nampa and living here that drives people here to become artists and writers ... Boise's great but Nampa has its own heart for something, and I think that's writing."
Tonight's line-up takes place at The Yesteryear Shoppe and includes Tim Davis, Daphne Stanford, Ben Fischer, Adrian Kien, Samantha Silva, Marguerite Lawrence, Theron Gregory, Conor Harris and Jerrell Sanders.
After an intermission, the show moves to Pete's Tavern with participants reading "strictly explicit work," according to Forgione. Readers include Erica Crockett, Alexander Yann, Hector Diaz, Jess Johnson, Dig Reeder, Theron Gregory, Conor Harris, Rex Arnold and Amanda Ricachica.
Next year, Forgione hopes to incorporate one-act plays as well. And she definitely plans to keep the festival in Nampa. She also plans to keep the name, explaining why she chose to call it Death Rattle.
"The death rattle is a medical term for when you die and you regurgitate that moment of death and you growl, so it’s the death rattle," Forgione said. "Your throat would literally rattle up this reverberation. The written word is a reverberation of our soul."