I took 13 writing assignments for money in the next six days, which basically means I’m royally fucked. In order to finish them (and get paid enough to make up for the Minkpink summer dresses I bought yesterday), I need to stay as far away from this blog as I can possibly get. Which basically means I can’t open the Tumblr page. Or think. Or read the news. Or have human interactions.
But before I do that, I wanted to write quickly about my experience reading last night. I’m not a trained writer — I’m not an artisté. No one has ever asked me to read anything in public before, and I’m not sure they will very frequently in the future.
But I guess I enjoyed it. I spend some much time writing in my own head that I don’t really know how other people respond to it in a visceral sense. To be honest, I don’t even know how I myself respond to it. Usually, the voice in my head is pretty impassive — I see words as…I don’t fucking know, I think I see them as having weights that need to be balanced, like in a physics problem. Standing up there in front of an audience, I shook so hard that I was afraid my leg was going to give out from underneath me.
I was pretty sure that I was bright red — I could feel the blood pumping up through my face and neck like a fucking geyser. But when I asked people afterwards if they could tell that I was trembling and burning up like I had typhoid fever, most of them just said that my voice only shook at the emotional, appropriate times. “Emotional times?” I asked them.
Because I truly didn’t know that there were any emotional points in the reading. I thought that it was a sort of cruel glimpse into my terrible relationship with my ex-boyfriend, plus a bit about homeless men in Los Angeles, plus a bit about some sexual positions I prefer.
But then it occurred to me that all of this crap is coming out of me, and perhaps I do feel emotionally about it without even realizing. Hence the shaking. Hence the heat.
That’s sort of scary, no? You write stuff like it’s just a lot of nonsense you kind of are just spitting out from you brain, and then when you read it out loud after the fact, you have a violent physical reaction? It’s like the words have a life of their own, devoid of you, that can affect not only other people, but also yourself, when you read them. Or maybe it’s just that I have terrible performance anxiety.
In any case, what I took away from the night was a lot of love. Nobody from my family of origin, as they say in fucking therapy, was there, but my chosen family really showed up. Their love emanated everywhere. None of them had read the essay before, but a lot felt like they had, that’s how well they know me.
Afterwards, we went out to dinner, led by Hairilyn. I have to say, if you’re in a pinch, and you can’t find a fucking table at a restaurant in Soho, you should hire Hairilyn to come down, sort out the situation, and order all of the food — she’s a fucking masterful decision maker.
Given that I was with my chosen family, we spent most of the meal talking about anal sex, and the different — and best — names for the perenium. Apparently, Sadie Lady said that when she walked back from the bathroom, the table beside us was just gazing in our direction, mouths open wide. “Whatever, bitch,” I can hear DEH saying.
I think I chose my family because they’re funny. But I also chose them because they’re like the earth — here comes a fucking stupid maudlin metaphor — crusty surfaces, but deep, throbbing wells of kindness within. They’re not the people who walk into a party and make everyone feel less cool than they are. They’re the people who walk into a party, and talk to everyone, no matter what they’re wearing or where they went to school or what they do, and then leave with a funny little anecdote about each.
I drove my bike home alone, over the Manhattan Bridge. The air was cool. I rolled my sweatpants — I had changed by this point — up over my knees. I reveled in how strong my legs feel. A cab almost hit me — I started to yell expletives, but then saw that in the back, a blonde girl was mounting a meaty looking dude, and realized that the driver was just fatally distracted.
When I got back to my building, two girls were walking down the street in the darkness. “You gotta forget all that,” one was saying to the other. “I’m who you got. You don’t got your family. You don’t got him. You got me.”
And I thought that was the perfect end to the evening.