Crescent Dragonwagon to speak at Dover library

Crescent Dragonwagon (Submitted photo)

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DOVER -- Crescent Dragonwagon is constantly writing. Whether it be for children, adults or those interested in food, she has plenty of material to draw from.

Currently, she is working on a memoir with the working title "If We Make An Exception For You: A memoir in 26 letters, three states, 11 recipes and 156 stories."

"My vision is you can pick it up anywhere, read one of the episodes and not have to know all the background of it or you could read it cover to cover," said Dragonwagon. "I have a lot of stories from my life. People have been telling me to write one for years."

As part of the annual dessert social on Aug. 7 at Dover Free Library, Dragonwagon was invited to speak. The event begins at 7 p.m. The library is located 22 Holland Road in Dover.

The Westminster resident's discussion will be titled "Once Upon A Time, There Was A Story That Wanted To Be Told." It will be largely improvisational but topics she tends to address include cooking and writing.

"I'm a fairly profound believer in the power of narrative to give meaning and shape to chaotic lives. And people tell me I've had an interesting life," said Dragonwagon. "Of course, whatever life you live, it seems normal to you."

She was part of a crew that served 1,200 people at President Bill Clinton's inaugural.

Dragonwagon is the literary executor for both of her parents. Her father was a Hollywood biographer. Her mother was a well-known children's book author and publisher.

Growing up with writers as parents and hanging out with writers has inspired the way Dragonwagon thinks about life.

"I have kind of come to believe that our need to write, read, listen to and tell stories is almost like the universe figuring out itself through us," she said.

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With two deaths this year, including the death of her husband and filmmaker David Koff, Dragonwagon says she has had an interesting year. Koff suffered from depression and committed suicide on March 6 at the age of 74.

"We had an interesting dozen or so years together," she said. "But he's not in the world anymore. All those things wind up going into how you figure out what your life is. We all love creatures with too short of life spans, not only pets but each other."

These experiences have taught Dragonwagon to celebrate the time she has with people. "Letting them go" will likely be another part of the discussion she will lead in Dover.

The way Dragonwagon looks at food and cooking always involves the processes of life.

"In Vermont, where we're sort of ground zero for farm to table and sustainability, that's very, very clear," she said. "The basic contract when you're born into life and into a body is you live off creatures that were here before you, even if you're vegetarian. You're eating food that's grown from the earth, which is the decomposed body of plants, animals, trees, berries and everything."

Dragonwagon speaks often at libraries. Her discussions are often aimed at librarians, teachers or kids.

Throughout November, she spoke at libraries around the state. Normally, she spends that time of the year writing in Arkansas but due to planning memorials, she stayed in Vermont.

Dragonwagon's book "Bean By Bean" was released in 2012. Its content focused on the larger implication of the bean and how it affects world hunger, she told the Reformer. During that same year, her children's book "All the Awake Animals" was published.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.