Novelist and Non-Fiction Writer Speak of the Depths of Human Experience
by Carole Schor
The Literary Sala will present two writers with compelling messages on Thursday, January 12, at 5pm at Posada San Franciso, corner of Hidalgo and Canal, across from the Jardin.
Literature: The San Miguel Literary Sala presents two novelists: Rikki Ducornet & Patricia Selbert. Thu, Jan 12, 5-7pm. Posada San Francisco, Cnr of Hidalgo & Canal. 70 pesos, 50 pesos for members
“A playful mind is deeply responsive to the world and informed by powers instilled during infancy and childhood, powers that animate the imagination with primal energies.” Rikki Ducornet
“There is a hero in every one of us: having it reflected back to us is what makes us want to raise the bar and achieve.” Patricia Selbert
Two very different authors, two very different backgrounds, two very different new works will be presented at the Literary Sala event.
Rikki Ducornet grew up as the intellectually privileged daughter of a Fulbright scholar who opened up the world of literature and imagination to her. He gave her books; he taught her to question and delve deep into the inner recesses of the word and the world. When she was 15, her father, a professor at the innovative and open-minded Bard College, gave her a stack of books including Lao Tzu’s Tao and Kierkegaard, Suzuki on Zen Buddhism, and Jean-Paul Sartre. He encouraged her to read them and talk about everything in them with him, to be passionate about ideas, to hold no taboos. And so Rikki did – she read and then she wrote. She wrote about ideas and about families and about history and about sex. And if writing in such a broad and deeply searing way was not enough, she began to paint. Words are not enough to convey the surrealistic pictures and emotions that form in the mind of Rikki Ducornet, so she paints them. And her paintings maybe say things that her eight novels, three collections of short fiction, a book of essays and five books of poetry may not have been able to say. While she is here in San Miguel, she will be holding an exhibit of these fabulously fantastical surrealistic pieces of art at the Casa Diana on Recreo. And when she leaves San Miguel and goes back to her native Port Townsend, Washington, she will continue to work on her latest passion – a libretto based on the bloody, gory epic story of Gilgamesh, the Mesopotamian hero who seeks immortality and encounters floods, death and sex: Gilgamesh, the musical version written by Rikki Ducornet!
Long-time San Miguel resident Jon Sievert is the publisher of humble press (sic). One of his clients is his long-time friend, Boston Woodard, an inmate in the California Prison System, where he is incarcerated for armed robbery. When Woodard ended up in prison for a second time, he made up the slogan, “Don’t serve time; let time serve you.” He became educated, and he began to write. His book, Inside the Broken California Prison System, (humble press, 2011) is a scathing exposé of the abhorrent conditions in California’s Dickensian prisons.
Woodard has published articles in several California newspapers, and has been persecuted within the prison for his courage to reveal the truth. But he is not deterred. He continues to write. His publisher and representative outside the prison, Jon Sievert, speaks passionately about the many concerns that Woodard raises in his writings.
With the harshest sentencing laws, toughest parole policy, and highest recidivism rate in the nation, the California prison system is a supreme failure on all counts except for those who profit from the $10 billion spent annually to maintain it. In his essays, Woodard not only reveals the inner workings and true horror story of the broken California prison-industrial complex, he also offers solutions.
Sievert will offer surprising details and stories about what goes on inside prisons, and what needs to happen to bring prisons into the 21st century of far more enlightened “correctional institutions.” “They don’t even pretend to ‘correct’ or rehabilitate anyone,” says Sievert. “They only punish.”