Faces of SAL: Mary Kay Feather
December 24, 2018
With the holidays in full swing, we are pausing a moment to appreciate our terrific team of volunteers. Mary Kay Feather and her husband, Michael Dedrick, have volunteered for SAL for over thirty years! Mary Kay shares with us some of her favorite books she’s been reading lately and how she found SAL—hint: it involves one of our sister organizations.
Mary Kay also claims to have no hidden talents, but we disagree—read on to learn how she learned to drive a manual car!
What’s been your favorite SAL event?
I am not one to choose a single favorite out of thirty years of attending SAL events, but some of the most memorable include John Updike, James Fenton, Ted Kooser, Anne Carson, Jim Harrison, and Kay Ryan. There is something exceptional in meeting an author who you’ve read for years, and who awakens in you a new appreciation for literature. My notebooks are loaded with recommendations gleaned from SAL writers.
Why did you decide to volunteer for SAL?
Deciding to volunteer for SAL was a natural extension of our long-time experience attending City Arts & Lectures in San Francisco. When we came back to Seattle, we wanted to support literature and hear favorite authors and volunteering for SAL for these many decades is the perfect opportunity. We started attending and volunteering in 1988.
What are you reading right now?
Right now, I have just finished the new Kate Atkinson book, Transcription, and am starting Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters for my book club, but my favorite title in recent months has been this year’s National Book Award winner, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, the story of a writing professor living in a 350-square-foot pet free apartment in Manhattan who inherits a 185-pound Great Dane. I’m also revisiting the poetry of Raymond Carver, whom we saw in 1988.
What’s your hidden talent?
No hidden talents come to mind unless I include my experience stock car “powder puffing” in my twenties.
What? Tell us more!
It is stock car racing, and the car belonged to my starter husband, a 1963 Pontiac Tempest, on which I learned to drive a stick. I did not go on to a career in the field, but it was exhilarating for the moment.