And so the Belladonna/Dusie reading went really well I think...last time I came to New York to read a few months ago the last time was my first time the only attendants were necessaries and begged stragglers and here and here now was a full room a full room of writers and notables and listeners a crowded room in fact a crowded room in a used bookstore in Williamsburg and yes I think that would classify it as high up in my brief experiences reading in public. I have also ceased being nervous reading in public, although I am becoming a bit bored reading O Fallen Angel and so it feels like a restaged performance like Marina at the MOMA and less urgency or bravery to it. Although I will note, if I am being honest, that although I am no longer nervous reading in public I am still terrified of flying on a plane, and keep on babbling small words under my tongue to John that we are imminently soonly plummeting to our violent and dreadful deaths while digging white moons into his arms and sometimes bobbing up and down in between my knees like I am praying when instead I am murmuring Oh FUCK Oh FUCK. And on and on. I am a really pleasant co-passenger and aisle mate.
It is a wonderful high having a good reading. I was all chest banging ego being a body again wanting to fuck and gobble up wine and sweets and things I don't ordinarily consume and chatty and so certain of myself. Of course after a day this deflated and now of course I am panicked and normal.
At first listening to the lovely wonderful poets I felt like a sore angsty thumb love Mairead Byrne and her deadpan lilt but then we went alphabetical and I went last after Eileen Myles who read from her new book a scene about learning to give a guy a handjob while working at a massage parlor and going to opera and seeing Anne Waldman dressed in a hat like her mother's and I felt glad, in a way to go after Myles, cause I felt, yeah, I kind of do something maybe a little like that. And not that many people left after Myles so there was still a full room. Although it was a bit like being the Battle of the Band winner going after like, U2 or something, my musical references are iffy. Maybe Morissey? No Eileen Myles is totally Patti Smith let's make this reference more femme-y like a high school punk band going after Patti Smith. Although funny all through the reading I was standing next to this boy of about 11 or 12 this blonde skinny boy with his sister and his mom this blonde skinny boy with a neat crewcut and cargo shorts like he could have been a model for Old Navy and I felt charmed and embarrassed for him when Eileen Myles read although figured he knew what a hand job was or had at least heard of one but then I guess when I was reading he and his sister left! I guess handjob is less harmful than rape fantasy, or perhaps they were Eileen Myles fans. Also everyone was reading in front of a copy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and I was bemused by this by the swastika signs staring at me and if I wasn't the sixth reader and everyone was waiting for me to go up and finish already I might have pointed it out, also about a foot away was Durkheim's Suicide, which I think would have pleased my character Maggie.
What else? At the reading I met Anne Yoder who is interviewing me for The Millions, and she sent me all these amazing questions about my book and the blog and what it all means and my impetus behind all of it and it's thrown me into an existential crisis almost or like a session of psychoanalysis because I have to figure it out, as I am at a standstill with this and everything. And at a bar afterwards a hippie-dippie guy with a graying ponytail who had told me after the reading "You should be an actress!" (don't old guys know that's the worst of cliches?) he went up to me with his two friends chuckling behind and asked "Do you think you're an angry young woman?" And I was standing there with Anne and inside my head was swirling possible retorts like clicking clicking but I just decided to stare at him and he said "I don't think so, but my friends do" and he pointed at his two graying hippie-dippie dude poet friends and I just stared and decided to be noncommittal. And then I guess ALLEGEDLY these guys were with Pierre Joris, or one of them was Pierre Joris, who was sitting over by the bar later, as my John went to talk to him and slather about Paul Celan or something and I have to tell you I LOVED it. I thought this was hilarious. Whoever they might be they are someone in this poetry world, some translator of a WX writer or XY anthology or something or some poet who wrote a blah blah on Language poetry or something I don't care I don't care. These balding Bermuda short liberal dudes just like the balding Bermuda short liberal dudes at the adjunct faculty office at the community college where I taught in the Chicago suburbs who bloviated and blew themselves and called me a young woman. BUT YES I AM AN ANGRY YOUNG WOMAN. Ha! An "ANGRY YOUNG WOMAN." I love that. I love how loaded that is. How dangerous that is. How I wish I was actually that dangerous. But then later we went to a wine bar to meet up with Rachel and her partner Nick and others and I told the story, delightedly, and they all were a bit horrified and assured me it couldn't be Pierre, he loved women, he wasn't a sexist, blah, blah, it doesn't matter if it was him or not although of course the story is better if the person is more famous, but it was still patriarchal guy-poet who blathers and bloviates on poetics listserv being put off and uncomfortable by the anti-poetic chesty girl screaming at the front of the room with dead eyes like I'm a 20-year-old riot grrl planting a prose cherry bomb and I think if I did make some 11-year-old and his mommy uncomfortable and some poet guys uncomfortable folks it was a good reading! And I met Laura Mullen and her students and they were lovely, lovely, and spoke of Louisiana and bought two books.
What else. The Kiki Smith show at the Brooklyn museum. The Belladonna meeting very thrilling and exciting the plan maybe to stage an action on the Mall at AWP. I will be doing a prose salon/conference in the spring for the Belladonna collaborative. I saw a necklace in Park Slope that I desperately wanted - a delicate silver necklace with a charm of antlers, I wanted so desperately because the deer is my spirit animal, but then wondered what it meant to wear antlers, a very masculine sort of hunting prize, and it was $150 so I couldn't even though I don't have any jewelry which makes me feel poor and dirty. Ran into Jenny Boully at a coffeshop at Park Slope. Am in Prospect Heights staying with Rachel. Want to live here. John and I convinced we have to live here. I can think here be in cafes here read here EXIST here. I am a body here. In Akron I am without a body. Tomorrow the solo session with the yogi who specializes in the spine and scoliosis. Sitting on a couch now reading Thomas Bernhard's Correction. I can read here. It is just like the beginning of the book, the narrator's friend who can only exist and read and write and think clearly in the garret of their mutual friend. That is me here. John is reading I Love Dick. I cannot think about the essay collection. All I want to do is write, write more, not go back, can't go back, look back. Took down notes today on my essay on the female activism and my essay on the spine and disability poetics and Jane Bowles and Carson McCullers Frida Kahlo and my failure at writing the lyric essay that is now called c(h)ord. And then I need to make Book of Mutter publishable, Kristen and Caroline at the meeting last night said they want to read it and that is something, we all sat around and talked about our mothers dying and I think that there is some tapestry there I have weaved, have unweaved, that I long to be read and paid witness to. And now I am thinking I want to just write Thomas Bernhard novels. No I just want to read Thomas Bernhard novels.
Oh. And I am hopeful! About Under the Shadow of My Roof, that it will be done, that it will be read, because when I have showed snippets of it people have not been aghast but very supportive. Jon Leon is publishing one of my favorite scenes from Monkey's notebook as part of his Legacy Pictures project, the scene where Monkey narrates being a child prostitute for Roman Polanski, it will be on sale limited edition soon and you should get it! He is calling it I AM SHARON TATE. I am most honored and excited, and Kate Durbin will have one called FASHIONWHORE and Mike Kitchell has one out as well.
So all is going okay. Although I haven't sold a book online in forever like maybe two months? and a week ago SPD said I sold one and it said "41" and now it says "42" so I suppose someone returned it? Although I shouldn't check, it's crazy-making to check and care about such things.