THE GLORIOUS THING about the literary scene in Seattle is that despite the city's size, writers are still as accessible as your high school guidance counselor. Aside from the big bookstore readings, or the cathedral atmosphere of the Seattle Arts & Lecture Series, there are scores of smaller open mics and reading series in the city. These smaller series are like teenagers who won't shut up, needling the more "adult"-curated series to pay attention to less commercially viable writers.

Like all great adolescent angst, these smaller series are often borne out of a rebellious frustration with the status quo. The Rendezvous Reading Series began in the early '90s, when there were two basic reading series in town: one at the UW, and the other at Elliott Bay Books. Original founders Matthew Stadler, Frances McCue, and Jan Wallace wondered why readings couldn't occur in a more salon-like atmosphere, with alcohol freely flowing and access to the reader a must.

Current curators Novella Carpenter, Paula Gilovich, and Rachel Kessler (The Stranger's food critic) are carrying this vision to new heights. As Carpenter puts it, "In a way, once a month, the Rendezvous curators are basically hosting a party. It isn't a job for us, it's part of our social life." This approach allows the curators to arrange readings that might draw an audience usually foreign to literary readings: Last season, the group hosted an "Indie Boy Showcase," where rock musicians such as Slim Moon and Joshua Plague read their own poetry and short stories. This season, they're planning a corresponding "Indie Girl Showcase."

Other eccentric reading series include the always thought-provoking Subtext Reading Series at the Hugo House, Titlewave Reading Series in lower Queen Anne (a really excellent series to familiarize yourself with up-and-coming local writers), Charles Mudede's Soft City Prose series at Pistil Books, and the poetry readings at Open Books in Wallingford.

Also, this fall, Eleventh Hour Productions introduces the Mercury Literary Arts Performance Series at Columbia City's Rainier Valley Cultural Center. The multimedia series promises to be energetic, and include highschool participation. Readings will start October 7.