Fire Writers

It works well. Fire and writers. Bonfires and readings.

Friday night, we — Currie, Chance, Susie, Colleen, Neil, and I — met in Neil’s pasture around a fire pit he carved out in July. We roasted hot dogs and ate them with potato salad, slaw, and beans. Then Neil made each one of us a s’more.

It was dark. Cold. We heard an owl, we heard coyotes, close, screaming. “That means there was a kill,” I said. Colleen brought her dog, Jazz, and for five hours, we took turns throwing sticks and branches for Jazz to retrieve.

Currie stoking the fire

We took turns adding logs to the fire — even Jazz threw a few in, we roasted marshmallows, we warmed our hands, we drew our circle in tighter. We even sang “Happy Birthday” to Chance and ate cupcakes and listened to musical cards. Mine had the song “Hot Diggity Dog.”

Colleen & Chance in a rare quiet moment

Then we pulled out our stories. And we took turns. We read by firelight and flashlight. We talked about storylines and word choices and novel first chapters and memoir segments.

Neil the Prof

It was quiet in the country, but for our voices and the words we’d put together, but for our laughter and sharing.

Susie taking a picture

Dark, in the country, under a half moon was a perfect setting for Chance’s description of death — as one meets darkness and sees something like a thousand fireflies in a field before him, and each glow is a memory.

This night will be one of those glows.

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