Since Friends Meeting at Cambridge (FMC) has been so much a part of the Way Opens story, the first reading had to happen there. As soon as possible. A busy, busy place, however, the only time available in May was Memorial Day weekend. Not a great time to launch a book.
But, I reluctantly decided, in the spirit of “The people who show up at business meeting are FMC,” the handful of people expected could represent the larger community, right? The May 24th event could be symbolic. So Saturday afternoon, David * set up twenty chairs in a circle in the spacious Friends Room, I arranged food and flowers, and then we waited for the first arrivals, braced, I think, for a lackluster event.
Close to forty people came! And rather than eat and shmooze, these lovely souls immediately sat down in the ever-expanding circle in “expectant waiting.”
Here’s the unexpected part: David has read the book more than once yet cried several times during the reading. In the years leading up to this book’s publication, I have read and reread Susan Lloyd Mc Garry’s poem, “Empire,” which introduces Chapter 10, countless times. Hearing her read it at the reading (Thanks again, Susan Lloyd) made me cry, however, as if I’d never before been moved by her powerful and deeply felt poem. When I read a little piece re Patricia Watson, more tears. After the reading, friends/Friends reported they’d cried, too.
I’d thought this reading was supposed to be an opportunity to thank FMC for all its love and support. But what it actually turned out to be was an opportunity for me to be reminded of something essential, something fundamental, something very, very deep.
So, once again, thank you, FMC.
* David Myers, “my L.L. Bean outfitter, my guide and companion every step of the way,” is my wonderful husband.