Why do I love living in New York City? Because I get to attend things like this
Tonight we made a trip down to the KGB Bar in the East Village to hear readings from Michael Kandel and Elizabeth Bear.
At least, I think we were in the East Village. My knowledge of city geography is woeful.
I think The Boy mostly went with me because in addition to monkeys, he has a strange fascination with all things Communist. He's not actually a communist, and his political beliefs run somewhere around moderate to liberal - but apparently big red flags and Russian guys saying "comrade" just does something for him. I blame his Ukranian heritage.
Though the bar was very crowded, we did get to hear from two really fantastic authors reading some wonderful stories. I was glad that they had a microphone because we ended up having to sit right by the door where the books where being sold, and as a result I spent a good amount of time apologizing to the people who had to squeeze by me to get in and out of the door.
I wish I had links to share, because the stories were fabulous. Not to mention chock full of funny. If you ever see them again in print, give them a go.
One was from Michael Kandel and it was a story called "Foosh" (I hope that's how it's spelled) and was about a very odd kind of pseudo-yoga. The Boy declared it was his favorite, and I enjoyed it immensely. I don't think I liked either story better than the other, because they were apples and oranges to each other, and I appreciate all sorts of fruit.
I think my favorite bit was about the book written on Foosh, and the credentials of the author (or rather, lack of). I'm trying to imagine what a Pharoah in Australia would've been like.
I also completely misunderstood the story for the first few pages and so, for about ten minutes, everyone else in the room was probably hearing a much different tale than I was.
I thought that somehow Mr. Guh was in a cage and that the people in question were students studying him and that it was in a future Earth where the history of mankind had been mostly forgotten and rewritten in an absurd way, thus people didn't know how to identify Mr. Guh's origins, especially when they started guessing everything from India to Oceania. The big mislead for me was the part when the story described Mr. Guh as not talking much and a linguist trying to identify what language he was spoke natively.
That's not even close to what the actual story was. Mr. Guh was an instructor in a kind of offbeat psuedo-yoga and his students just didn't understand him because he had an accent, and it was pretty much set in present day America.
I kind of liked my version of the tale, though.
I think I might have a gear loose in my brain somewhere, because every once and a while, even when someone feeds in some perfectly good data, it comes out very warped.
The other story was from Elizabeth Bear (aka matociquala
) and was about old, has-been zombie rockers with interesting meta about life vs. art and a very valuable lesson about the word "fucking". The lesson being that fucking can be an adjective, an adverb, a noun, and a verb. Thus, linguistic vagaries are bound to happen.
In this instance, the phrase: She'd had enough of fucking rock stars
. Although, given the story and what I got from it, all possible interpretations of that phrase are true. She could be tired of rock stars in general, or just tired of having sex with them.
The Boy insisted I should go over and say hello after the readings were over, and even maybe ask for a signing of the book I'd brought and the one I'd purchased (I got Whiskey and Water
). However I vigorously shook my head and we left very quickly - only to encounter a Grade A fustercluck when the L-train decided to NOT RUN for more than half the line.
He's right - I do need to get over my fear of meeting new people and introducing myself to them.
There's a little matter of me having a paralyzing fear of ever appearing to be the least bit stalker-y or otherwise inappropriate in a way that makes people uncomfortable so that they take a step back and say, "Oooooookay, then" in that
You know the one. The one that says, "I'm going to be *over here*. Please don't follow me and if possible, get further away because I now would really like to no longer be anywhere near you, you big big freak."
Because I can't help it. I just *know* that I'll screw up and across as horribly creepy and make someone think my next words were going to be: "So would you mind if I followed you home, camped on your lawn, started warbling Shakespearean sonnets to you through your window at 3am, and started a cult in your honor that slaughters goats and small children?"
I probably should have mingled more with the people there, but good lord, you try walking around the East Village and see how completely unsophisticated you feel. Especially if you're not a native New Yorker. All these people who are very obviously artists and fashionistas and whatnot are walking around.
And me? I feel like I have someone playing "Dueling Banjos" as theme music wherever I go.
Also in my possible defense as to not being so social, the room was very crowded and a bit cliquish. Not in a bad way, but when I got there, it seemed like there was a big group of people who all knew each other having very interesting, animated conversations. Thus, giving me the fear that everyone in the room knew something I didn't and that, as a result, somehow, I was going to end up looking like a complete idiot.
I just can't take myself anywhere. But the stories were good, and I'll definitely be making my way there next month for more. And I'll get there early so I can snag a better seat.