Raymond drops the book on upcoming show
STARFest show only one not featuring an author
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013 06:00 am
Friday, Oct. 18 at 7p.m.
St. Albert Place, 5 St. Anne Street
Tickets: $20* each, available through the Arden Theatre Box Office (in person or call 780-459-1542), and Ticketmaster outlets (at 1-855-985-5000 or online at ticketmaster.ca).
*Agency fee in effect.
As it turns out, the St. Albert Readers Festival isn’t just featuring a bunch of authors. Sometimes, it’s simply a celebration of literacy and booklovers everywhere.
Just ask Corin Raymond, the musician and stage performer behind Bookworm, his one-man event set to take place next Friday. The show is basically the story of Raymond’s relationship with his father and how he grew up and left home, all told through the experience of the books that his father read to him when he was a boy.
As the star himself puts it, the act of reading wasn’t only a source of pleasure for him throughout his life.
“It also gave me the fuel I'd later use to pursue my vocation, and to make my bid for freedom in the world,” he began.
“Reading is important because it returns us to ourselves, it gives us access to our inner life – which is often under siege in this age of tweets and smartphones. I feel very lucky that I was raised at the tail end of the age without Internet, and also that I was introduced to the pleasures of reading at such an early age.”
Raymond takes his connection to books very seriously. “How seriously?” you might ask. He considers it like a lifelong relationship.
“I've said before that the fact that my father introduced me to reading is a little like the way, when we introduce friends who later get married, we like to take a little credit: ‘Oh yeah, they have a baby now – I introduced them, you know.’ That's how it is with me and my father and books. He introduced us, and we got married.”
He hopes to take a little bit of that kind of influence to instil a love of reading to those who attend his show. It might be a little bit like preaching to the masses, however, because of Bookworm’s title and its association with STARFest and Edmonton’s LitFest, the non-fiction literary festival running at the same time.
That doesn’t matter, he continued. It still brings books back into people’s lives in one way or another.
“It reenergizes readers who have drifted out of the habit, and it inspires those who've never been readers to start. I've performed the show in several high schools and one of the best results is to hear about the kids who professed to hate reading who got excited about books after seeing the show.”
The best thing that reading does, he stated, is to make children of us all again. Every new story gives us a sense of wonder and hope not unlike every childhood fantasy we ever heard or read.
“I believe that each time we pick up a book, we're hoping for that. And not in a nostalgic way, but in a way that makes us notice again what an incredible thing it is to be alive. We want to feel wonder,” he said, adding that his creative career are simply extensions of that childhood joy. “My reasons for living were somehow contained in that activity and that I've been lucky enough – and fought hard enough – to bring that joy with me into my grownup life, and to give some of that wonder back.”
The only sad part is that as he tours Bookworm and works on other projects, he finds himself without as much free reading time. He’s halfway through the third book of the Game of Thrones but he tends to find himself reading in fits and spurts. He must be a fairly proficient reader, since he only started the voluminous series at the beginning of the summer.
“Reading is such a beautiful thing to do. It's a way to practice solitude, and to realize that, the more we cultivate our inner lives, the less alone we are when we're alone. Reading is such an amazing way to spend time in our own company, which is a pretty hand thing to be able to do well.”