Singing for Their Supper: Song: Writers in the Attic Gets Linen Building Release Party 

click to enlarge An attendee of the Song: Writers in the Attic release party reads his copy of the collection at The Linen Building.

Harrison Berry

An attendee of the Song: Writers in the Attic release party reads his copy of the collection at The Linen Building.

Not all who write describe themselves as "writers." For a lot of people, the poetry they scribble in the margins of legal pads and the short stories they write for their children are the equivalent of doodles.

The Cabin literary center has taken to calling these people "writers in the attic," a term it has lent to its themed fiction and poetry contest since 2012. This year's theme was "song," and at the release party for Song: Writers in the Attic, which took place at the Linen Building the evening of Aug. 23, "song" took the form of romances played out over years to the music of Andrea Bocelli, a sly take on the most famous poem by one of America's most famous poets, and, darkly, the music playing at the airport while a dog rides an escalator with its paw stuck in the grating.

click to enlarge - Wyatt Stevens (left) and his mother, Kaidi Stroud (right), attended the release party for Song: Writers in the Attic. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Wyatt Stevens (left) and his mother, Kaidi Stroud (right), attended the release party for Song: Writers in the Attic.
"I was working [at the airport] for a while when someone told me that story. Chris Cross' song, "Sailing," was playing," said Ross Hargreaves, author of "Degloving." "It just seemed like such a horrible song to listen to while your paw's stuck."

Hargreaves may have been one of the most experienced writers to win a spot in the 2018 edition of Writers in the Attic. He holds an MFA from the University of Idaho and attends a local writing class. Less experienced was Kaidi Stroud, who went to the release party with her son, Wyatt Stevens. A former middle school English teacher, Stroud has pivoted into writing freelance magazine stories, but her submission to Song, a long poem entitled "Song of Modern Mom," was the first time she had submitted creative work to The Cabin's contest.

"I don't know why I hadn't in the past," she said. "I'm a writer in the attic, but I haven't proclaimed that yet."

Hargreaves and Stroud arrived at the release party early, joining approximately a dozen other winners whose work had placed in the collection, and as The Cabin staff prepared the room for readings, the authors sat alone studying their copies of Song, or gossiped in circles near the bar.

Each year, The Cabin asks a local member of the literati to judge the contest, and this year, author and screenwriter Samantha Silva agreed to pick the winners. In all, she chose 48 pieces by 40 authors, pulled from 169 submissions. Before the winning authors read from their work, Silva praised all who sent stories and poetry to The Cabin for consideration.

"Each piece was this very brave thing to put out into the world," she said. "That made the responsibility feel that much greater."

She closed her remarks by breaking into song herself—thankfully, nothing by Christopher Cross.
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