Thursday, February 12, 2009

AWP Day 1 Evening

My wee little brain is tired.
I went to three more sessions: A panel called "Writing Class/ Writing Gender," a reading by Eric Bogosian, and a lecture by Art Spiegelman. Not bad for a half-days work, eh?

The first session was amazing. The panelists spoke of the myriad identity conflict that come with working class roots while living a middle class lifestyle. Anecdotes of "class coding" were offered up to a roomful of women that nodded their empathy and understanding. I was totally smitten with a woman named Anna Joy Springer who riffed on the supposed representation of working class folk that was actually more of an experiment in existential, elitist, word play, performance art of the three minute "fuck" scene in The Wire. Other speakers on the panel were Veronica Gonzalez, Teresa Carmody, and Amina Cain, who read a piece written by Corrina Wycoff.

Eric Bogosian read and performed character monologues from his forthcoming novel Perforated Hearts. The experience was very....Bogosian-ian. The best moments were when he was very quickly reading passages about sex or shooting heroin and stopping to variously encourage, check in on, and poke fun at the cute little old lady that was doing the sign language interpretations.

Then it was every literati for themselves at dinner time and I found myself again eating greasy fast food. I wish my mother had forced me to take a brown bag full of healthy snacks like she does every time I fly out of California. I, learning the big picture lesson but not the finer point details, remembered to throw a measly couple of granola bars into my purse before I left the Excelsior state.

The Art Spiegelman lecture was one of those rare moments in life when I feel like I am a part of something truly monumental. I felt like I was part of a historical moment that few people have the fortune to witness. Sure, the guy may speak all the time, I don't know...nevertheless, I felt like something important was happening in that theatre. He presented so much history and insight in such a charmingly conversational way. This tone seemed so effortless, but his entire presentation was rooted in a very strong and carefully constructed, sophisticated structure. The Auditorium Building of Roosevelt University, where this event took place, is an impressively grand architectural work and its striking beauty and grandeur certainly contributed to my perfectly grand evening!

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