At Canzine West yesterday, I was quietly sitting in the audience for a reading. The first reader was Anna Swanson, a poet, reading some poems in that cadence that spoken word poets have. It seems easy to parody, but it fit with the things she was reading. She talked about being a fire watcher and how in that job you earn your money by remaining sane while being alone in a fire tower for long periods of time. I really liked her poem “When Women Were Clouds.”
Amber Dawn decided not to just read from her novel, Sub-Rosa, because it sounded too much like she was in space, so instead she brought the microphone out to the audience to ask people why they deserved to call themselves an artist, and what they hoped to get out of being there that day. Sadly for me, I was the first person she came to. I don’t do well with that kind of thing at the best of times. Being put on the spot to say something about something I struggle with anyway (go on, ask me the last time I wrote any fiction; I’ll collapse into a puddle of self-loathing) wasn’t very much fun. I told her I didn’t deserve to call myself an artist and asked her why she was doing this to me. It was probably funny for the others sitting there but also painful and sad. Now, of course, I have an answer but it’s too late. When she was done she thanked everyone for playing along, conveniently overlooking my terrible performance in her game.
Other than that, I had a good time. And then watched a Phillies-Giants game (that wasn’t the pitchers’ duel we’d hoped for but was still damned fine baseball), before heading down to Marlis’ photo exhibition from the 12×12 photo marathon. Holly’s pointed out that it seems like I have quite the social life here, even when I’m ostensibly getting schoolwork done.