Monday, August 5, 2013

A Magical Evening of Storytelling

The back garden of ML Gifts & Accessories was transformed into an intimate club of sorts on the evening of July 31 as we hosted “There’s Magic in the Art of Storytelling.” It was yet another of our special events designed to offer both something unique for our customers and something to foster a sense of community. And we think those in attendance – and we thank the several dozen who joined us – would agree it was quite a success. Maria Luisa Whittingham met writer Jayme Rudolph Cooper when ML Gifts hosted an exhibition of the stunning portrait work created Jayme’s sister Lauren Rudolph (her work, in prints and cards, continues to be on sale at ML Gifts). Maria and Jayme got to talking, an evening was suggested and as Maria said “We set a date, finally, then Jayme ran with it.” It was, in Maria’s eyes, another way to tap into the wealth of local talent. “We have such a wonderful artistic community,” she said. And Jayme surely helped turn the spotlight on that talent. In the outdoor space so artfully styled by Kris Burns (you’ve probably seen her work in Maria’s windows), the evening got under way with more than a few laughs as Michelle Churchill, author of “Flashes: Adventures in Dating through Menopause,” shared a bit of her background. She then read us a chapter on a date that included a former athlete, candy kisses and a gift set of Lady Stetson perfume. (You have to hear it to believe it!) The evening’s well-paced variety continued with Jayme then sharing a few selections of her own work that touched on universal themes of love and family. Emmy Laybourne took us along on a fast-paced glimpse into her latest thriller, “Monument 14: Sky on Fire.” Amy Clarke then shared a chapter of a nonfiction book. While it’s designed to teach children how to find their passion, it also tapped into something everyone can remember: “Keep going and don’t stop until you have the life that you want.”
The evening’s diversity was continued with the remainder of the lineup. Anupama Amaran shared poems that took us from horseriding in Vermont to a stroll down the evening streets of Slovenia. Kim Purcell, author of “Trafficked,” shared the drama of a new immigrant standing in line at customs; and Diana Wilkins capped the evening with poetry that in its truth and beauty transcended its personal nature. It simply resonated, as did the whole event. As Maria said, “Everyone deserves an audience to hear their stories. Jayme, in her opening remarks, had also touched on the power of the women and their words. “That’s really what it comes down to in life, sharing our stories.” And on a mid-summer evening at ML Gifts, that sharing proved something magical indeed. ~ Mary Shustack Editor, Maria Luisa Newsletter