Last night in Waterville, after Richard Foerster's and Kate Miles's wonderful readings at Common Street Arts, more than a dozen people--an amalgam of readers, hosts, community activists, students, faculty, spouses, artists, writers--adjourned for dinner at a restaurant down the street--a gathering that morphed into chatter about poetry, politics, food, personal lives . . . conversation among disparate people, most of whom had not spent much, if any, time together socially. And you know what? It was a lovely occasion--entertaining, easy-going, comfortable. As one person happily told me, "It's like a salon!" And in a way, it was.
The idea that such an event should take place in frigid central Maine, should exist in this fabled land of snowmobiles and guns and white pines as big as mainmasts, makes me a little tearful. It's the loneliness, I think . . . and the sudden shift when the hull of that loneliness splits. Perhaps this contrast, between silence and spilling lamplight, is itself the bond among us. Maybe this is why we need art.