Tuesday, April 14, 2015

20. Hugo House: Hugo Literary Series - The Parent Trap

Twenty down. Thirty five to go. 

We weren't sure what to expect when we showed up for The Parent Trap at Hugo House on Capitol Hill. Before the show, Hugo's director Tree Swenson told us not to worry: they're never sure what will happen at these events either. You see, in Hugo's Literary Series, authors read new works written in response to a prompt cooked up by the Hugo House staff. That makes it particularly fun and engaging.

The "Helicopter Parenting" theme seemed a perfect (but perhaps somewhat brave) choice for an outing with our eldest daughter, herself a parent and a psychologist who directs the infant and child program at a local non-profit.

As Swenson predicted, The Parent Trap went in unexpected directions. The three writers explored the complicated landscape between parent and child far beyond the current discussion of "helicopter parenting." Their works were a compelling and often humorous celebration of its beauty and pain. Musician and prize-winning poet Alicia Jo Rabins performed several original works including a wonderful love song she wrote for her baby. It got an emotional response from at least one grampa and one young mom in the audience.

Hugo House is a place for writers. It is also a place for all who love the power of language and are energized by the company of writers as they create and share new work. Drawing on a faculty of over forty – each with impressive credentials in writing, teaching and editing – the House offers up to eighty classes and workshops every quarter on a myriad of topics designed to help writers generate new work and improve their craft.

The classes and workshops, however, are just the start at Hugo House. An innovative teen program provides opportunities for young writers to find mentors, develop leadership skills, and create and present their work. There are workshops where teachers bring students to the House, and a fellows program to support writers age 35 and younger. In addition to the Literary Series, one can learn writing skills at the Word Works: Writers on Writing events. In the Under the Influence series, you can hear contemporary authors present tributes to their favorite classics. The Cheap Wine and Poetry and Cheap Beer and Prose series pair inexpensive beverages with some priceless writing. 

Our night at Hugo House was a perfect example of what I am learning from this project. The arts in our region are full of varied, unexpected and wonderful experiences.

I had no idea.

Hugo House is planning a move
to a new building to be constructed at
the current Capitol Hill site. They also
offer classes and programs at other
partner locations around the city.

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