First of all, I’m not great at blogging in a timely fashion. I get to these things when I get to them, so apologies for the fact that I should have posted this a week ago.
So yeah, The Basement Series last Friday night. It was pretty great actually. I hadn’t performed at a reading in two years, almost to the day (that one was to support the publication of City by City, in which one of my essays appears, and which was held at the fantastic Green Apple Books on the Park), and outside of the fact that Muni took so long getting me to the Sports basement that I almost missed the cutoff for check-in, it went quite smoothly. I was the fourth reader of the evening, right before the intermission.
Of course, I was a little worried about how my piece would be received, especially after hearing the three writers who led off the evening. The theme of the night was “strange travel suggestions,” and the first three readers – and everyone other than me, as it turned out – all went with straight-up travelogues. I … hadn’t prepared anything like that. For years I’d had the idea in the back of my head that I would eventually write a story about a boy who could only communicate via maps. I thought the theme of strange travel would be a decent approximate fit, so I decided to finally write that story. Because the deadline was approaching rapidly, I had to do it on vacation, but I managed to find several hours spread over two or three days in Lucca to get something down.
Thing was, I wasn’t sure if I actually had anything when I was done. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a terse, perfunctory rejection email in my inbox at the end of the week. And I still wasn’t sure about it when I stepped up to the mic to read last Friday night.
I guess I shouldn’t have worried. The story – which I called “Fantastic Atlas” – seems to have resonated with a good chunk of the audience, so I will be working on adding some meat to its spartan, 500-word frame and seeing what else I can do with it.
Overall the evening’s program was thoroughly enjoyable – I particularly enjoyed work from Karolina Connolly and Naomi Marcus – and if you are in the SF Bay Area, you should really try to get yourself to a Basement Series reading one of these months.