By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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No other word will do. For that's what it was. Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going . . . So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute . . .
“Don't weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I'm a lucky man.
I've had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don't forget it.”
Carver's family and friends have not forgotten. His widow, Tess Gallagher, a native daughter of Port Angeles, approached Peninsula College well over a year ago with the idea for a festival, a celebration of Carver's life and work.
And it's here. The inaugural Raymond Carver Festival begins Thursday and concludes May 25, which would have been the writer's 75th birthday.
He lived just 50 years and died of cancer Aug. 2, 1988, leaving the world with his inimitable short stories and poetry.
The Raymond Carver Festival, with its 20 events over 17 days, is not your typical festival, said Bruce Hattendorf, its coordinator at Peninsula College.
Gallagher has personally assembled a series of internationally known writers, filmmakers and other artists who will come to Port Angeles for readings, lectures, movie screenings and a public art exhibition at and near the college.
The first is an introduction to the festival during the Studium Generale program in the Little Theater at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
This presentation, a look at Carver's place in the literary world, also will discuss the festival's featured authors: Gallagher and poets Jane Mead, Lucia Perillo and Alice Derry.
Friday night will bring the first of several movies inspired by Carver stories: “Jindabyne,” starring Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne, will screen at 7 p.m. in the college's Maier Hall. The 2006 movie is based on Carver's “So Much Water So Close to Home.”
All festival events are free except for the film screenings, for which admission is $5 or free for students with identification.
Most events will take place at venues on Peninsula College's main campus at 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd. Details are at www.PenCol.edu.
“I'm excited about the multidimensional aspect of it,” Hattendorf said.
“The college has never done something so across-the-arts.”
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at email@example.com.