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Word Up!: Suzanne Burns and others get literary at Word Café 

Welcome to the Doll Hospital. Local writer Suzanne Burns reads from her flip book at Barber Library. The first reading by Dave Eggers I

click to enlarge Welcome to the Doll Hospital. Local writer Suzanne Burns reads from her flip book at Barber Library.
  • Welcome to the Doll Hospital. Local writer Suzanne Burns reads from her flip book at Barber Library.
Welcome to the Doll Hospital. Local writer Suzanne Burns reads from her flip book at Barber Library.
The first reading by Dave Eggers I attended exploded midway through, as two dwarfs dressed in medieval armor burst into the San Francisco bookstore, battling through the crowd. The event ended then and there, and we all knew Eggers had hired them. Larry Brown and I downed a bottle of Jack Daniels before our (and one of his last) readings in Oxford, Miss. Slurring throughout, the crowd gave him a standing ovation afterward. So we went back to the bar to down another.

Authors hate readings; it's a bit like a mechanic being forced by his wife to go to Les Schwab. That said, the Word Café is holding its thirteenth event on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7pm at the COCC Barber Library. There's no admission fee and refreshments will be served. Omnipresent Ellen Waterston, COCC's current scholar-in-residence, will be there, and Brad Hills' Innovation Theatre Works will perform the short story "Yellow Cake" by former Source staff member Josh Beddingfield, starring Vicki Pennock and Rod Dahl. Since Bend seems to love open mics (please hold the slamming), there will be time at the end for three-minute readings. Keep the material clean and no jokes about cocks on rocks, "Law & Order" or The Bulletin, please.

If that isn't enough excuse to attend, local author Suzanne Burns will be reading something completely different, maybe from her forthcoming (ETA 2009) collection Misfits & Other Heroes. Discussing (read: "bitching") about the local scene - or lack thereof, other than poetry slams and keyboards clicking at coffeehouse tables - Suzanne described her selection for the night.

"I'm going to be reading an excerpt from 'Death and Love in the Doll Hospital' - a short story told from the perspective of a doll in the future, when technology has replaced dolls and things like that," Burns says.

Suzanne Burns is solid; her flipbook Double Header: Tiny Ron b/w An Acquired Taste (Future Tense Books, 2008) is a fine addition to her two prior poetry collections. A local since age 8, Burns wonders about writing and reading in Bend.

"I don't think there is a scene, that's the sad part. Unless they're reading their own stuff they don't come," she says.

Hearken dear slammers and scribes, sit back and watch a fine performance directed by Hill and reading by Burns. Then you can take the stage and read your little poem about some fart floating through the universe, or whatever three minutes will allow. As for me, I'll be in rear, dressed in a tube-top and tutu, sharpening my machete and swigging the last drop.

Word Café

7pm Thursday Feb. 21. COCC Barber Library, 2600 College Way. Free!

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