INSIDESTORYTIME: crossing lines

(Charles Kruger)

Since 2006, InsideStoryTime has been one of the premiere reading series in San Francisco. And for good reason. You won’t find three more dynamic and interesting literary players than the producers: James Warner, Ransom Stephens and Yanina Gotsulsky.

James Warner, who often emcees the series, is the author of All Her Father’s Guns, a comic novel of distinction. James is a ubiquitous presence on the San Francisco scene, friendly and supportive to all in a self-effacing, non-assuming sort of way. His deferential manner is a sly cover for a wicked wit. Recently, hearing him read from All Her Father’s Guns, I saw him elicit the biggest laugh I’ve ever encountered at a spoken word event. What was the joke? Ah, you’ll have to seek him out and hear him read or purchase the novel. You won’t be disappointed.

Ransom Stephens is equally unusual. A working particle physicist as well as a novelist, Ransom is the author of The God Patent, described in the SF Chronicle as a novel which “sings of the heart and the scientific method as two parts of the same song.” Have you been around the scene for a while? So, how many particle physicists have you met?

And then there’s Yanina Gotsulksy—novelist, poet, translator and publisher, founder of Numina Press. Yanina is a novelist of ideas. Her book Ergo Sum is described on her blog as A Treatise On The True Nature Of Time, God’s Unlisted Telephone Number, Why We Speak Loudly When Inebriated, The Democracy of Reincarnation in a Cartesian Universe and Other Closely Related Topics. Numina Press is well named: everything Ms. Gotsulsky touches is indeed numinous. She is a writer and publisher playing for big artistic and spiritual stakes.

With producers like that, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that InsideStoryTime burns bright. It is well named: to sit and listen at this reading has the feel of story telling on a dark night around a warm hearth, cocooned in a spirit of attentive engagement.

Over the years, InsideStoryTime has distinguished itself by presenting well over 200 readers. This is an exceptional accomplishment: many readings tend to feature a few circuit writers and rarely branch into the new and upcoming. Not to fault them—it is difficult to do. But Warner, Stephens and Gotsulsky know how. The most recent edition did not disappoint. Not only were the performances rewarding, but (as usual with this series) the conversations before and after were something more than small talk. Much more. Really, if you like this sort of thing, you should attend. You’ll find the scene every third Thursday at Cafe Royale.

And here are the videos from the May 19 11 edition:

Benjamin Bac Sierra

Salvatore Zoida

Peg Alford Pursell

Chris Cole

April Sinclair