random encounters

Ah… suburban girlie’s Day Out in the Big City. I felt like Cherry Am3s in New York City — all the modern conveniences of taquerias, used bookstores, cafes, and genderqueer eye candy as I frisked about happily on V@lencia and 16th! Take that, coiffed, pantsuited preschool moms – I can fake it for a whole afternoon! I love my people! There is somewhere I belong – yes. But I don’t live there, because I feel that my personal utopia includes a parking space, a grocery store, and a back yard without shooting up or people pissing all over everything.

In Muddy W@aters – relaxing – translating L. V.’s poem “Yo So Un Br@ssiere” and wondering what “covachitas” means. I noticed a cute butchy late 80s s/m dykey sort of person come in. But why was she smiling? And waaaaaait a minute. That is not at all a san francisco s/m dyke even if this is NOT 1990. that is a nerd wearing her best black t-shirt with some sort of Buffy ironon from a convention and a leather bracelet from hot topic. Scribbling in a moleskine-ish notebook and shyly grinning at me. Totally staring at my hot-pink spandex-coated, braless, reasonably perky boobs. I felt like a total imposter AND just like some jaded Parisian guy from Balzac who notices a pretty young seamstress from the provinces who has just got off the train and is bewildered by the big city – whose clothes cleverly mimic the “latest fashions” which are actually quite out of date. Awwww – why don’t I sit with her? It turned out she was reading a sort of Baedekker to SF and was incredibly pleased to sit with me and had in fact just gotten off the airplane. “I’m getting my BA in cre@tive writing at U. of Ut@h.” Can I call it? Oh yeah. And was in a punk band. I love this girl instantly. She quotes K@thy Acker and R1lke’s letters to a young p0et at me. I believe she was upset that it was not in her backpack – she left it in the youth hostel. I don’t know if anyone reading this blog would understand how absolutely charming that is to me.

If it were 15 years ago, or perhaps 15 years into the future, I would have been screwing her silly in the bathroom of Muddy W@ters in about half an hour. Because I was — and who knows, potentially could be again given the stimulus of menopause — just that kind of total sleazebag. As it is, I asked her to come along with me and Quilty to dinner and this talk at V@lencia St. Books on science fiction and literariness or something. Benevolent tour guide R us.

SF talk made me nearly scream. I believe the proper way to describe it would lbe to say that at one point, a strangled cry escaped my throat, and then I swooned.. something about “But that’s just NOT TRUE. Gothic romances! Mrs. Radcliffe! Mary Shelley? aaaaaagh!” and then I stuffed myself into a bag and sat on myself — the disorderly, squeaking guinea pig was suppressed.

Oh! pompous windbags! misogyny! ignorance! inability to say the words feminism and capitalism! irritating conflation of naturalism and literaryness and both with “quality” and total inabilty to see “naturalism” or “the novel” as a Genre — and in fact as the Genre of imperialist capitalism or capitalist imperialism or however you want to put it – my horror at the setup of the 3 mr. award winning authority white guys with not a postmodern bone and no awareness of The World In General or anything not establishment – as if they represented some sort of broad spectrum when in fact, they seemed like the same species of fighting cocks from slightly different barnyards – teaming them up with the 20 years younger non-caucasian girl with no particular credentials and who is an mfa student – Well, thank god she was smart, articulate, and had her head on straight and was at least able to throw in a non-us-centric sentence or 2 about “magical realism”. (Quilty felt she was a little overacademic, but I don’t mind the word “reify” now and then – a perfectly good word.) For god’s sake. I actually got VERY AGITATED and felt that I was desperate to flee the room and began having asthma.

parenthetical aside, I ran into A. from Chicago, now apparently Mr. A. or shall we say M. A— of intederminate beardedness and identity location, who picked me up and swung me around with wild, reckless disregard of the state of my bladder and the effect of motherhood on my musculature Down There. Ran for bathroom. Apparently A. “works” at the store, which appeared to be on its last legs as a bookstore – very sad. I can tell these things. A. funny, nerdy, wild-eyed, just the same as ever.

My soul was saved by:
a) the charming enthusiasm of the darling butch girl from Utah who will certainly be a Writer someday and probably already Is
b) the thought of Rook’s certain outrage if he heard the vile discussion of genre, “marketing” and the ass-licking of the east coast “literary establishment” vs. the equally vile and out of date patriarchal SF establishment
c) the knowledge that Quilty, next to me, was also grinding her teeth and rolling her eyes
d) the extremely fizzy Ch@rlie who introduced the whole event. you know the thing where roald dahl says that he expected c.s.forester’s head to be whizzing with green sparks but it wasn’t and he just seemed like a normal, shy, quiet little man in glasses and an overcoat? I didn’t know this person but their head was definitely whizzing with green sparks. Wildly hysterical genius-like ranting extended meta-metaphor about supermarket checkout of swooping reality across the scanner thingie until the thingie bleeps and it becomes a metaphor. But it was all meta. get it? I nearly died at the extended and apparently spontaneous riff on Astr0phil and Stella’s sf comic book sequels and the resulting slash with Britomart. That was fucking funny. I knew reading the F@erie Queene would come in handy some day.

Somehow, I did not explode in my truck on the way home down 280 as I imaginarily argued with the Catastrophe Wheel guy and the Made of Meat guy. I didn’t bother arguing with the McSwiney’s guy, as he would be the first up against the wall when MY revolution comes. Marketing. Ugh! Vile mouthing of “border” and “pleasure of reading” watered-down fake theory scumminess!


I’m back in the suburbs now, fat and sassy. Maybe I had a little too much coffee.

Settle down… focus… CATCH UP. Think of my Wittig database project, and translating Delmira, and making Moomin’s lunch in the morning, and taking a nice hot bath right now and reading more of You Know What, volume 5.

One more thing re: the quality of the writing read rather than the discussion.
Made of meat guy: story familiar, funny, classic, v. 1955.
Twilight zone catastrophe guy: best actual writing, subtle, enjoyable. not earthshattering.
mfa girl: perfectly competent amusing irony laden mary-sue-ish slashy fic. not earthshattering.
mcswiney guy: overwritten horridness. indescribable. “Twee”. fake steampunk. my teeth were grinding. workshoppy and self-conscious. the epitome of why i can’t stand to read new writing.

granted i’m hard on everything. what would make me happy? Delaney? Piserchia? Pullman? Well, yes.

Related posts

4 Responses to “random encounters”

  1. Iris

    It’s so cool when you write this swooping stuff – I feel as if I had been there with you.

  2. Charlie Anders

    Hi, it’s Ch@rlie the fizzy girl with the supermarket checkout line metaphor. I’m really glad you liked my intro! I can’t really comment here on your criticisms of the event, but I’ll be happy to do so privately. (My email address should be posted with this, but it’s charlie (at) othermag (dot) org.) It was nice to meet you!

  3. Jo

    *gasp* Celebrity!

  4. badgerbag

    Note to self. Watch how you talk about your blog, give your blog name to someone expecting them to forget it, and then talk about them (at least, nicely and with all the lustful bits about the lovely translucent skin and the tight skirt suppressed) and a bunch of people who for all I know could be their best friends. Yo, I’m a dork! Obviously I don’t reallly mind though.

Leave a Reply