Like piano music, excellent writing can play on every key of the emotions, from the deepest and darkest to the middle range and the bright notes of the upper register, where most like to linger. Last night's reading by Michelle Latolais stayed mostly on the dark end, exploring depression and loss as well as obsessive trauma. So virtuosic was the exploration, however, that it opened sealed caverns of those emotions to our sight that have hitherto remained unknown. Every detail was embroidered with inventive metaphor and expressed with intense honesty and accuracy.
It is rare that prose writers consider the value of every word as much as Latolais has here, even when we would rather look away, when she would probably look away as well. The reading felt intimate as few do, perhaps, as she said, because it was on her home ground, done for a room full of people who had long known her so well and followed her work, her life. But readers of her books feel the same connection, even if they do not know her at all. It is woven into the words so lovingly chosen, so deservedly praised.