By Robert Laurence

OPWC logo. C 2012 Steve Holst

Copyright 2012 Steve Holst

Sometime around now, in the fall that is, in 1994, the Ozarks Poets and Writers Collective was organized in Fayetteville and began its run of monthly (except December) meetings of readings, open mics and entertainment. Or maybe it was in the spring of 1993. Maybe the first meeting was at the old, missed-but-not-forgotten D-Lux. Or maybe it was at Gaylord’s. Or U.S. Pizza. Memories are not as sharp as they once were, and the archives are sketchy.

Nevermind. The fall of 1994 is close enough to the date when Lisa Martinovic and the late Brenda Moossy got the idea, called their friends together and started the OPWC. Which makes this September the 20th anniversary more or less, and worthy of a celebration. Which will commence at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept 30, 2014 at Nightbird Books on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.

The event is free, open to the public, and refreshments will be available for purchase. So there will be words for sale, plus plenty of free ones.

But, what to do after 20 years? Gather the founders? Alas, Lisa lives on the West Coast, and even sadder, Brenda died of cancer in ‘09. The OPWC and the Fayetteville writing community at large miss them, find them irreplaceable, but carry on without them. But who could possibly be a Featured Writer to fill their shoes?

No one, we think. Instead — and in a move of which we think Brenda especially would approve — the mic will be open for all. For the entire meeting. Six minutes each – instead of the usual four – for the writers in the community to do as they will. Poetry! Prose! Essays! Jokes! Prayers! Performance! Songs! Everything and anything, as long as there are words involved. Cancel that. Mime! Juggling! Sketching!

We want it all, and Nightbird is the place for it to happen. The new, cozier, more intimate Nightbird. (Same parking lot; one door to the south.)

So, stop by and join us. New to Fayetteville? Welcome! Old-timer? Welcome back! Published? Come on! A new writer? Try us out! Just want to listen? Allowed! Have a favorite poem written by someone else? Sure! Someone famous? We’re all ears! Someone unknown? Introduce us!

Tuesday the 30th, the last day of September. (The bikes will be gone, the blues remembered, the bbq eaten.) 7:00 pm. See you there.