Journey to Leacockland 4- Gasparini and Mirolla
The last event of the Leacock Festival I attended was the Guernica Editions Showcase. All the readers were wonderful, but I want to comment particularly on Len Gasparini and Michael Mirolla. These two grizzled veterans, though I am far from young, made me feel like a fuzzy-cheeked toddler splashing around in the wading pool while they cavorted in the deep end of literary accomplishment. Perhaps 'cavorted' is a touch too nubile a word, as these gentlemen did not exude a rosy aura of good health. Gravitas, passion, and humor they did have; all of these in abundance.
Mr. Mirolla told two stories; one was about bandages; one about a holy man and a sand flea. The were so well wrought, so impressive- in the truest sense of the word- that I think I could do a fair job of re-telling both of them. They did what good stories do: penetrated my guts and changed me inside in ways difficult to explain. Len Gasparini's work had the same effect. I'll not forget his praying mantis named Goliath, nor the Port Hope woman who chose to end her life high in a tree, shielded by leaves that fell and died in their turn, revealing her scarecrow shell months later. Young writers, all writers, would do well to come and listen to these men if they get a chance. You aren't likely to be dazzled, but you are sure as hell going to learn a thing or two.