Feeling Prosy

Stack of Books

Spring for me means the Virginia Festival of the Book. To say this writer gets jazzed is an understatement. At last year’s Festival, I volunteered at an event called Poets In Prose and learned a lot. The first thing I learned, what a damn ugly crowd it was. Writers and poets and those who love them are not eye candy.

I was the hottest guy around!

Just kidding (maybe). The event took place in an old time bookstore — up the open staircase to the second floor—kinda like a movie set and with the characters you’d expect too.

It was standing room only: upstairs, down and in-between. I enjoyed waiting on the Festival goers and the panel of moderator and two poets. I walked around with the microphone for audience questions. Very Phil Donohue. Their shtick was interesting enough, although one of the vivacious poets professed utter astonishment at how she, a writer of lyric poetry, could ever consider writing fiction in this lifetime or being a prosier person. At the microphone, she paused twice, contemplating this conundrum with outstretched hand, gazing up to the ceiling and the great beyond. There was a telling disconnect there that made me a little more than curious.

I’m messing with you!                                                           Climbing a Pile of Files

She was illuminating. I discreetly poured ice water for the panelists as it was hot as hell up there as they exposed themselves. And I mean their souls. Seriously, they did an inspired job which I only hold dear being still young in my writing career and wide-eyed. I yukked it up with the literary-minded comers and goers. They, as a whole, are an eager bunch, despite their outward ordinariness and my being mostly their junior. But when telling any random person I’m a writer, the questions popped –and the right ones too– wow don’t indulge me! I’m easily egged on here, ya see? And live under a rock. But the scene was out of my comfort zone, and to loosen things up, I made a day of it with familiar faces along the way, a discreet duck into the cigar shop beforehand, and dinner afterward (a big pot of Cioppino).

Celebratory.                                                                                                                                               tall_stack_paper

I love twelve-dollar cigars.

Oh, remember last February when I submitted that FAT manuscript to that publisher? Yeh, as if I hardly remember myself!  Well, I was satisfied at the time with that manuscript and the publisher was a good-looking operation, according to my own gut-instinct parameters. That was during my winter crunch time when I was locked down in my writing space. I wasn’t talking much to anyone as I sweat, and bled, and stared at myself in the mirror too long. Literally and figuratively. And over-dramatized! The Festival of the Book was a long way down the road – a spring thing. In relation to my life at the time and my personal writing trajectory, it was something I looked forward to and wanted to be a part of. So yeh I submitted the FAT manuscript to that good-looking, from what I knew publisher, and who do you think wound up the moderator on this panel?





Feeling prosy. So it was a good day, and yes I do have a sick fascination for what I believe is proper decorum. I wound up shaking the hand of this publisher goodbye and thanking him for leaving the attendees happy. I cracked a few jokes.

Then as gracefully as I could, I presented him a copy of said manuscript which happened to be under my arm.

“Why?” he asked.

I gulped, “Why not?”


–Pete Armetta


Pete Armetta is a writer of Flash Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories and Essays. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia via too many places to count.   It’s a life of big sky and mountains and dogwoods and hawks. Of back roads and wood-burning stoves. It’s bourbon and mint from the garden in spring and swimming in the river in summer.  Pete’s poems and stories have been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Gadfly Magazine, The Piker Press and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.
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