n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

first chicago reading, yes

i was bullied into it, really. 'cause i'm nervous being in front of people and mainly that, a kind of "why am i up here in front of these people when i see my writing in words on the page usually, up front and visual and composed of pieces separated from myself." of myself certainly, but not really attached to me, except in my head or somehow written within the sinews and lines of my body, a part of me known to me, but unknown to others except as something projected away like a bubble blown or a balloon released or a spitwad flung to the board. and so, getting up in front of people is not something i really enjoy except as a teacher, when i feel that what i'm teaching is detached from me and stuck to others, a performance, a mask, something that rides me temporarily and then leaves me as i gather my items and leave the classroom.

i had a little wine to "facilitate."

anyhow, i got bullied into this by a good friend, who was organizing a reading of poLITical writings, readings, and as it turned out, mostly plays. she pinned it on me before the summer began and told me she'd hunt me down with a spear and a missile fuselage if i ignored her plea. so, i did this thing, submitted the work, hated the work, and rewrote the work from beginning to end.

beforehand, i whined, dragged my feet, dreaded everything, procrastinated, wailed about my miserable fare, whined some more, disclaimed, deleted, hated, and then tried on three pairs of pants. i wore the fuzzy boots to make it okay.

i really had a great time.

there's more than one thing that happens up there, at a reading, depending on factors and audience and influences and wine content. one thing consistent is that i turn beet red. totally and utterly red. from earlobe to earlobe to neck on down. i am "red," the primary color, the vision, the platonic idea of. and although i may have "ideas" before i go up there, something else kicks in and mostly it is the nervousness, but a kind of focus i find in nothing else in my life. my vision narrows to the words i am speaking, my mind is blank. completely, like a closed off entity, i achieve a nirvana nothingness, narrowed down and beyond down and into. i am a mouth that speaks what is before me, which is something i know, not think, but know and understand like an entity and i say it and it is said and nothing happens in between the two. true, i hear things, like the appearance of a person, a cellphone going off, a ringing, a laugh here and there (this is something i need to change, i am utterly incapable of recognizing when i need to pause a few seconds to let the laugh play out before i continue), best yet, a sigh, an "oh," a "yeah," a whoosh of air from someone who understands what was said, not by me but through me.

the heat, the red, the page, the spoken, nothing else.

this is one half of reading i dread, but then feel truly like a swoosh of water in a storm. the second half is the others who read. i can't really pay attention right after i read because i am busy backing out of some kind of zen other i've been for a few minutes, but once i am there, and before i am there, there's the secondary rush of these people are with me. they are their own minds, creating, playing, loving, hearing, laughing, motion. they are next to me and beside me and with me and i am in the middle and to the sides and we are all together and, yes, we share some kind of vision of where we stand. we are together, in it. belonging and loving that we belong. and afterwards, i can't get over the hugs, the swoons in each others arms, the flush of knowing we were there, with, true, a few watchers who were also there, but there. joking around and moving furniture. drinking another glass of wine together, so temporary, transitory, immediate, but present. i may dread, but i need more of this.
I have never tried to read anything I've written (poetry mainly) in public. When I have had to speak publicaly, I get some of the same mental blankness, that kind of tunnel vision that you described. Everything in sight and mind goes sort of black except for whatever is right in front of me.
My heart pounds, mouth dries! It's really kind of scary or intimidating. It's something I would like to get more comfortable with.
I don't usually think of myself of a shy person except for times like those.
Hmm. I'm glad you were brave and then enjoyed the expirience.
So, your piece was political then? I'd like to read it sometime.
:) ha ha...i am so glad you got bullied into this.

l, yeah i think some of the speechmongering effects are universal, but then there's the possibility of the experience being an adrenaline high you're actually quite into. anyhow, i've posted some of the throwaway versions of the political piece - the story about Rita and the silences. but i ditched it all and started afresh, trying to get at some type of center instead of waltzing around prettily at the edges.

yes, b, sometimes a little browbeating is good for the bones. calcium bullying. gonna go check to see if you've got new stories posted up. talk soon, you.
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