Celebrating Life on the Spectrum

Puzzle HeartBack when I inherited Storied Nights: An Evening of Spoken Word in late May 2013, I might have had no clue what I was going to do for programming in the short-term, but I knew I wanted to do an autism-related theme in April for Autism Awareness Month. Assuming we lasted a year.

Well, it’s been close to a year and Storied Nights is very much alive and kicking. Art Happens stopped happening in downtown Livermore last fall, and we continued to plug along—alone. Our attendance dropped a bit at first, but mostly nothing changed. We are still showcasing the best writers and poets in the Tri-Valley and greater East Bay, and producing a fun and eclectic monthly literary event. Over time the project that once seemed so challenging has become, if not easy, something I can do with ease. I’m so grateful to Len Alexander and the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center for conceiving of this event, to Peet’s Coffee & Tea for hosting us and providing delicious beverages and (free!) snacks, and to Karen Hogan for moving to Washington after the first event, which allowed me to step in and take over.

I will admit that I agreed to take on Storied Nights, in part, out of a sense of friendship and loyalty to both Len and Karen. But now, almost a year later, I am deeply grateful that I did. Because it’s April, and that means it’s Autism Awareness Month. To celebrate, as well as to officially launch the nonprofit organization that I founded, Autism A to Z, we’ve planned a very special Storied Nights.

storied nights_program page_apr_11x17Tonight five incredible Bay Area writers and kickass autism moms–Katherine Briccetti, Jennifer Bush, Michele Bissonnette Robbins, Laura Shumaker, and me–will read their funny, bittersweet, and inspiring work from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum. Former Livermore Poet Laureate Connie Post (and fellow autism mom) will read poems from her new book, Floodwater, which was published in January. They will be joined by John Hutchinson and Marilyn Kamelgarn reading additional selections dealing with autism spectrum disorder. It’s going to be a powerful and moving evening, and I, for one, can’t wait.

The event will take place from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Peet’s Coffee & Tea, 152 South Livermore Avenue, in downtown Livermore, CA. A book signing will follow the reading. Due to a generous donation from Chicken Soup Publishing, proceeds from the sale of its books will go to the nonprofit, Autism A to Z.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to produce this event for the residents of Livermore. In so many ways, this feels like my true 50th birthday celebration. So if you’re in the area, don’t miss it!

Until next time,
Cynthia Patton

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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