The Stories on Stage Davis series will present author Kate Milliken and her debut collection of short stories, “If I’d Known You Were Coming,” and author Alexa Mergen’s short story, “Learning to Swim,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Pence Gallery, 212 D St.
Milliken’s stories take place in California and are emotionally haunting. Her story “A Matter of Time” has been chosen for the reading. This story has won the Iowa Short Fiction Award, and was first published by the San Francisco publication ZYAAYVA.
“A Matter of Time” is about a character called Lorrie who is hosting a dinner party to help her husband, an unsuccessful actor, impress a movie producer. In the early pages of the story, Lorrie frets and fusses over the dynamics of the party, but like so many of Milliken’s short stories, this story’s apparently honest tone weaves through humor to a conclusion that you didn’t see coming.
Mergen has a long history of writing as a newspaper reporter, curriculum writer and editor. She has completed two novels and is working on her third. Like many writers, she goes back and forth between poetry and writing prose, which leads to a wonderful cross-fertilization. “Learning to Swim” was first conceived 20 years ago, and has grown and changed over the years. It is a story a teenage girl in a displaced family that lives at a campground and how accepting children can be of their external circumstances.
“A Matter of Time” will be read by the actor Shelly Gilbride, who received her Ph.D. from the UC Davis in theater and dance department and has worked in art management with the Davis Art Center. She is currently with Linda Blair Dance Company, which presents dance through California.
Analise Langford-Clark is the actor chosen to read Mergen’s piece. She has been involved in the Sacramento theater scene for the past 19 years in roles from “The Drowsy Chaperone” to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Admission is $5.