Our weather has been more like March than April. I’m happy for the rain, which we really need, but without the sun shining in our south-facing windows, the house feels chilly and raw. It really isn’t. Sixty-plus degrees is comfortable all winter, but lately I have wanted a fire in the evening. I tell myself it’s because our antique cat, Mona, needs to be kept warm. Yesterday I saw her sitting so close to the wood stove I was afraid she would burn her fur.
I get all sorts of stuff on the computer, and have written before about my COVID-driven discoveries on Zoom. Besides reading the New York Times and Washington Post every day, I get Substack blogs on a variety of subjects, The New Yorker and the Atlantic send daily articles, and all sorts of announcements from places where I have watched programs.
This weekend brought an interesting set of articles about writing and books. Today, Sunday, is Independent Bookstore Day, and Imani Perry of the Atlantic wrote a lovely essay on treasured memories of being in actual bookstores, of looking through books and discovering random interests and possibilities, an occupation I treasure. It’s never as much fun to go directly to a subject as when you can ramble and explore at your pleasure. She would love our Bunch of Grapes, where she would even have Bookmark the cat to play with. If that doesn’t enhance book shopping, I don’t know what does.
Moving along, I discovered that Wednesday, May 3, will be World Press Freedom Day. As newspapers disappear and writers are imprisoned around the world, celebrating our constitutional imperative of a free press seems worthy of note.
Wednesday is also National Freedom to Learn Day. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale is hosting a Banned Books Read-In between 4 and 6 pm. Participants can read from a book provided by the library, or bring one of their own.
All this is, for me, a paean to reading. Books have been my lifelong companions. My husband would call my piles of books, magazines, and newspapers an obsession. I don’t care. Reading has filled my life, enhanced it, even saved it. Many of my best childhood memories are of time spent in the Ridgefield library or Books Plus. My parents were prolific readers, and believed that reading was important, so much so that they allowed us to read whatever we wanted, regardless of subject or supposed suitability for our ages. I happily remember reading “Peyton Place” and “Hawaii,” books considered racy, when I was a teenager. The important thing was to read and to love reading.
I think of this as schools and libraries, teachers and librarians, are besieged daily with required book-banning and threats of imprisonment by states and parents.
The Mayhew family wishes to invite all of us who were friends and admirers of Shirley Mayhew to celebrate her life at a cocktail-hour event at the Ag Hall on Saturday, May 12, from 4 to 7 pm. There will be time set aside for speakers beginning at 4 pm, followed by the reception and live music by Katie and Seán McMahon. The family will provide wine and soft drinks. Guests are asked to bring finger food to share. Please come and share your memories as well.
I have been watching the activity around North Tisbury Farm Market, and am pleased that it heralds the opening of the market this Friday, May 5. Rose will certainly stock familiar breads, cheeses, fresh vegetables, and fruits we have missed all winter. I am hoping (I have asked) that she will also have some of the delicious prepared meals she sells down-Island at the Larder. If you ever drive by and see the sign for her fried chicken sandwich, it is the best sandwich ever, and comes with really good coleslaw, too.
Paul Karasik is teaching a comics workshop at Slough Farm in Edgartown on Wednesdays through May, beginning on May 3. Students ages 18 and over will learn the fundamental language of comics, then will tell their own stories on the theme “Graphic Vineyard.” “All you need is a pencil and paper,” said Paul. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register. The workshop fee is $250.
Some special programs at the West Tisbury library:
- Thursday, May 4, 10:30 am to noon, the first meeting of a five-week memoir-writing workshop led by Moira Silva.
- Friday, May 5, 1 pm, “Music Is a Visual Art: A Concert with Julian Loida.”
- Saturday, May 6, 1 to 3 pm, a concert by students of Maureen Fischer.
- Sunday, May 7, 1 to 3 pm, Lynn Christoffers will photograph Mother’s Day portraits for moms and grandmothers. She will send a free JPEG to your email. There will be an artist’s reception between 2 and 4 pm for Virginia Stone, who is exhibiting her drawings through May. She began a daily drawing practice during the COVID shutdown, when her Featherstone drawing group was unable to meet.
Now that the column is done, I’ll go downstairs to start the wood stove, feed the animals, and finish the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. Sunday is hot dog night, so I don’t even have to think about dinner.
If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, email@example.com.