W. Bush reading "The Pet Goat".
Plastic Sugar Press (PSP) "The
Tuesday Aug 17th 7-9PM, Bar on A
Written by Elizabeth DeCoursey
I had the distinguished privilege
of witnessing New York City open her impressive
bosom to nurture one more independent publisher,
Plastic Sugar Press. Nicole Hughes, publisher and
founder of Plastic Sugar Press, kicked off the honor
with a debut reading, in a monthly series, featuring
local authors and publishers, which was aptly themed,
The First Time.
The evening unraveled flawlessly in typical DIY
style. I rolled into Bar on A, which Hughes had
transformed into a cheerful classroom landscape.
Though I hadn't met Hughes, I recognized her immediately.
She sat proud and exuberant with a lovely pink flower
pinned to her lapel and excitement positively erupted
from her direction. Prolonging the introduction,
I took time to digest the bar. Its serious red walls
had been festooned with balloons and crayola drawings
(one bore Jesus brandishing American flags) while
trays of cookies invited the attendees to relax
and open up for irreverent fun.
Finally, I spoke with the wonderful and cordial,
Miss Nicole Hughes and I developed symptoms of sympathy
anticipation and enthusiasm. She was waiting on
readers and copies of books, but with grace and
the attitude that 'the show must go on.' Diverting
her attention, I asked about the main event featuring
George W. Bush, portrayed by Kenneth Robinson, reading
"My Pet Goat" in its entirety. "My
Pet Goat" is the story our illustrious president
read during the infamous 7 minutes of frozen indecision
following his notification of the September 11 attacks.
Thus, the classroom affect on the bar. Hughes said
the mission of Plastic Sugar Press was to publish
politically and culturally progressive fiction and
non-fiction. The main event's cheeky political commentary
remained in keeping with that sentiment and set
the aim for potential scribes. Also, anyone attending
the event was invited to donate to moveonpac.org.
In addition to the
main attraction, readers included: Richard Nash,
publisher of Soft Skull Press for which Hughes interned,
Ada Calhoun, associate editor at Nerve.com, Jackie
Corely, publisher for Wordriot.org, and Patrick
Rimassa. Nash opened the reading, giving a caring
mix of wry humor and benevolent advice to his protégée,
Hughes. I got the feeling he was sending her off
to college or giving her away to a qualified young
groom. One of the more resonating bits he passed
on was an analogy about publishing as a whole. He
thinks of "independent publishing as an ecology
where you need as many organisms as possible to
thrive." Hughes must have internalized that
outlook because plasticsugar.com already provides
several links to other independent presses and even
to independent information resources. I was heartened
by the sense of community among these independent
authors and publishers. It appeared open and comforting
being based on achievement rather than competition.
The evening progressed with endearing mic trouble
and masks only adding to the gaiety of creating
another niche from which fringe voices could be
heard. Although I adore the commando toys I amassed
during Bush's reading of "My Pet Goat,"
(my favorites are from the Police Series of America's
Bravest tm) Jackie Corely gave the best reading
of the evening from one of her own short stories
titled, "Suburban Swindle". Corely's story
was a gritty sentimental interpretation of love
between a little brother and older sister. Her voice
was fierce and independent but tempered with hard
knocks love, it reminded me of Jodie Foster's characters.
At one point she describes a feeling in the story
as "thick and beautiful," which I think
captures her tone. I'm looking forward to hearing
more from her.
In all, the debut reading for Plastic Sugar Press
was a success. I came and left with a smile and
a sense of security that fledgling literature has
another place to lift its head and scream from.