The ad in the Flyer read: "Seeking Female Authors to perform a 10-minute reading of their cool/hip/sexy/sassy/savvy/funny/confident/counterculture literature for an upcoming Memphis ChickLit event." That was then: February. This is now. Time for "ChickLit: Memphis," an evening of readings by 10 local writers at Minglewood Hall on Friday, May 4th. Those writers are Tobacco Brown, Anna Esquivel, Valentine Leonard, Addison Odum, Ellen Prewitt, Paulette Regan, Shelonda Richardson, Willonee S., Jaclyn Schaffer, Pam McGaha (your master of ceremonies for the evening), and Eva Morris (the woman behind "ChickLit: Memphis"). For profiles of the writers, go to chicklitperformances.com. But for a thumbnail on Eva Morris:
It was Morris who put the call out by placing that ad in the Flyer. Her goal: to find some local "chicks" (Morris' term) who can not only write well but hold their own before an audience. (Or as Morris put it: "The women should be able to cha-cha when they get up there.") The added goal of the evening: to serve as a book-release party for a collection, based on the night's readings, called Red Hot Chick Lit Review, which will be on sale.
Morris herself has been on the move as the country-crossing "Roadbabe" behind the wheel of her 1964 Mercury Montclair or 1981 Alfa Romeo; as the author of Roadbabe, an auto, erotic free-for-all published by Grove Press founder Barney Rosset; and as an interviewer of Hunter S. Thompson, who late in life championed her writing. Morris champions writers too — especially women writers, the more fearless the better — whether she's in Memphis, on Long Island, or at her retreat (complete with treehouse and pool) in Hardy, Arkansas. And nobody says it quite like Morris, who admitted that she'd wanted to be a writer growing up. Then, to clarify, she put it more memorably:
"In high school, I did rock-and-roll reviews and stupid stories for a local newspaper. It was the only option except for being a drug slut."
And she's done all right by her writing. Right after "ChickLit: Memphis," Morris is off for a tribute to Rosset, who died this past February. One more reason, then, for "Roadbabe" to high-tail it and hit the (what else?) road.