Seizing Opportunity: A Literary Reading at an Art Show

Seizing Opportunity: A Literary Reading at an Art Show

When Carolyn Flynn invited me to participate in her friend Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey’s art opening at 5G North Gallery at the Factory on Fifth, my initial reaction was, “This could be fun.”

I went to meet Katy at her home and studio, so that we could discuss with Carolyn and the other readers (Albuquerque poet laureate emeritus Jessica Helen Lopez, Santa Fe author Rob Wilder) how we would approach the event. It was a brief meeting, one person on the phone and the other not available.

Because I was buried in the second volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, hoping to finish it in time for my book club, I did little of the vetting of the other readers as I would normally do. So, I went, having not read anyone else’s work or knowing what to expect. Because I have, like many writers, a degree of OCD, this lack on my part contributed to an anxiety that I would have had in any event, but a bit more insistent than usual.

A happy surprise

The artist Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey welcomes the audience to the literary art night, "The House of Eternal Belonging," at 5G @ Factory on Fifth.

The artist Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey welcomes the audience to the literary art night, “The House of Eternal Belonging,” at 5G @ Factory on Fifth.

I was so happily impressed and surprised. Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey and her husband, Bob Dorsey, also an artist, musician and sound engineer, had set up a beautiful and welcoming space. The art was professionally displayed with perfect lighting. And the people who attended, drawn from all of our separate and loyal fans, composed an attentive, responsive and most generous audience. I left feeling that I might have made a few new friends to add to the lovely old friends who attended.

This past spring in Boston, when I read with Dr. Anna Ornstein, author of My Mother’s Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl, something that impressed me about her was that she rarely said no. At 91 years of age, Anna embraced every invitation to present her work. In fact, we attended a lecture of hers at Northeastern University for Holocaust Remembrance Day the day after our reading at Brookline Booksmith. I felt the trip was worth meeting Anna. I was pleased to feel the same way at this unique event.

Not a performance artist, and yet…

I will confess to being somewhat of a hermit. I am not a natural performance artist, but I do love to read aloud when someone else makes the introductions and I have nothing to do but read! Carolyn accomplished that all very nicely.

Jessica Helen Lopez was a force of nature. Her poetry, delivered with such passion, made me want to read more of her work, as did the two pieces in progress, one by Robert Wilder from his memoir-in-progress, and another by Carolyn Flynn, from her novel-in-progress. I read “Irrevocable Bonds” from Myopia, a memoir.

And, I will never forget the smallest member of the audience, a baby held in his mother’s arms, who, right on cue, as if we had rehearsed this beforehand, upon my reading the words “I whimpered,” broke out with a whimper that was too perfect for me to have imagined. And only one!!

A long, circuitous route

Along my winding road in life, I have met many wonderful and talented people. As I cut the umbilical cord to one career, psychoanalysis, I feel so fortunate to have been able to transfer that love to writing and the arts. Psychoanalysis and writing are the two career loves of my life. I knew exactly what I wanted at age 5, but I had to negotiate a long and circuitous route, along with overcoming the follies of youth, to get here. Proust says that this is necessary in order to gain maturity and wisdom.

I am so grateful for every opportunity. When we do not embrace them, we lose them, sometimes to not have them raise their enticing heads again.

Katyraven Hernandez Dorsey is hosting two more art events this month, “Studio Sounds,” from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 21, and “Entanglement Buzz,” a quantum discussion about the intersections of art and science, from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28. Both events are at 5G @ Factory on Fifth, 1715 Fifth Street NE, Albuquerque NM, and they are free. Find out more here. Find out more about the artist at

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