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Spoken word

There had been some confusion about the time that the reading would start, with the bookstore claiming that it started at 8 pm and the organizer insisting that it was 7:30 pm. Since the organizer wasn’t there, the bookstore was telling everyone that it was at 8 pm. About quarter till, we wandered into the reading area and I was a bit relieved to see that there was a microphone. The reading posse wandered around, browsing at books, and Desmond, one of my buddies from past workshops, came up and made sure that he knew how to pronounce the title of my story “Billets Doux”. I gave him the phonetics and then realized that it meant that I was up first, because he was about to get started. Early. Oh shit. At least I had done some creative visualization beforehand. He read my bio, including the parts about the toast, and the crowd laughed lightly, which was a good sign, since it maybe meant that they were going to accept a little irreverence.

I went up and the rest was a blur. My voice shook the tiniest bit, but it helped that I could hear people laughing at my favorite parts, and I think I only stumbled over words two or three times. There was a decent amount of applause when I finished, and then Desmond mentioned that he was proud to helped workshop the story last spring, which was cool.

Next up, was the Birkenstocks guy, who was, true to his pseudonym, wearing Birkenstocks on his winter-chapped calloused feet. His piece was, in Monique’s opinion, a Hemingway ripoff, but it was probably the best stuff I’ve seen from him so far. He has a decent reading voice and didn’t do the weird lilting thing that some poets do, although he did give the words a lot of weight, reading them slowly and drawing out the most simple of phrases.

Maybe I just get impatient with slow talkers but that bugs the shit out of me.

When he finished, Desmond asked for a round of applause again, since we were essentially, the warm up act for the established poet/faculty member. I’ve actually registered for and dropped her classes at least twice, if not three times, because it either doesn’t work with my schedule or I see the reading list and can’t bring myself to read Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony again. She’s a friend of my undergrad advisor, though, so I figured that I would have a good rapport with her. But listening to her read, I was really struck by what I used to think was a great reading and how I feel now.

Sometimes, I just have to roll my eyes and think ‘Oh my god, we writers are such pretentious assholes.’

I think I was a little embarrassed, actually. I wish it had been Dr. O. Henry reading, rather than all the vibrato and stage performance poetry stuff. At one point, she couldn’t find a poem that she wanted to read and kept saying ‘Fooey’ into the microphone, and then one time, said ‘Fooey! Ooops, can I say that in here?’ which seemed to be a specific comment about my using the word ‘Fuck’ twice in my story, without even worrying about the fact that I was saying ‘FUCK’ into a microphone in a very pretentious book store. Ah well. At least this is the last of the student readings of the year.

After the reading, my workshop buddies came over to talk to me and shake my hand, which was kind of cool, since it was all guys and they brushed past Birkenstocks to come talk to me. I introduced them to Steven, and then the faculty member who read came over and told me that I had such a great sense of humor. Which is I guess what you say when you can’t say that you enjoyed a story.