Day 3 / Red Cloud, NE
I'm typing from Red Cloud, Nebraska having just stepped off the podium at the 63rd Cather Spring Conference. I spoke about the background to the Slow Read and the 8 years of installations and printed work I have created in response to reading this novel.
The conference has been game-changing, not only for the Slow Read project, but for myself as an artist/teacher/human. This is a special group of people, definitely not limited to literary scholars. So much generosity of spirit in this group of 200+ attendees with their hearts firmly linked to My Ántonia and their work aimed at community and education.
The first day of the Slow Read surprised and delighted me: the first lines of the novel described exactly my experience: "Last summer I happened to be crossing the plains of Iowa in a season of intense heat...." (it is quite hot here). Reading the 6 pages each day has allowed me to find meaning and inspiration that I can then walk away with and ponder. I'm liking this.
The Cather Foundation has installed two Slow Read monitors: one for day time visitors to the museum and one in the window to be viewed at night. In another week, over 500 BRAN (Bike Ride Across Nebraska) bicyclists will be staying overnight in Red Cloud. Knowing the revelry that can take place in the wee hours (I once did 1/2 a RAGBRAI) I'm imagining some strange interactions with the Slow Read!
I drove through and stayed overnight at Constellation Studios in Lincoln. The monitor looks beautiful in the front window of the gallery and faces the Spillway park which has its own Cather quotes embedded in the cement structures. CS is also a Pokemon Go site, so lets see if this grabs new readers! The monitor at the Love Library is also up and running and looks great.
Sunday I will drive through the Sand Hills to Alliance, NE (home of Carhenge) with the aim to project the Slow Read on a wall of a building while I'm there. Then on to Boulder, Vail, Salt Lake City and Boise to attempt other outdoor projections before returning to Portland.
AND the site host list is growing! This conference unearthed some new opportunities. I will post in another blog page as these are confirmed.