Sunday, April 05, 2015

the writing life: releases and readings and signings, oh my...

Friday night I had the pleasure of reading at Quimby's Bookstore to celebrate the release of major characters in minor films, and it's always one of my favorite places in the city.  I was sort of inspired to start dgp way back in the day one day while perusing their zine and chap selections, which are still pretty awesome.  I don't get over there nearly enough since it's a public transportation morass to get from Edgewater to Wicker Park on any regular basis, but it's still hands down the best bookstore anywhere if you're looking for indie press goods.

Readings always make me anxious (will anyone actually come?  will I freak out beforehand?  Will I read too fast, too long, not enough?  In other settings, will I drink too much?  To little?)  Add in some social anxiety that I suffer from pretty much all the time, and pretty much the day or so leading up to the event and I'm a mess.  Once I'm actually up there, it's usually okay and I relax a bit.  It's still a far cry from the state I was in for my first reading in 2002 for the Poetry Center (I had placed 3rd in their Juried Reading a couple years before I actually won it.)  We had a sort of trial run @ the Evanston Library before the big event at Harold Washington, and I was pretty much freaking out for both.  I started reading at a few open-mic things after that and got more comfortable on the stage in the next few years, read on the radio, in bars, galleries, bookstores,.  My favorite during this time was the year I threw my hat in the ring at the Guild Complex's annual Gwendolyn Brooks open-mic, where I really had no chance of winning amidst so many awesome performance oriented poets, but where there was still this amazing energy in the audience I've never encountered elsewhere.  In 2004, after winning the Juried Prize I read in the very grand and intimidating SAIC ballroom where I felt like I didn't really belong with my self-stapled Bloody Mary chaps, but people were so damn nice, I got over it when the audience wanted to not only buy them, but for me to SIGN them.  It was one of my first "real poet" moments and it was exhilarating,  Other highlights over the years :  drinking too many beers before an ACM release at the Hideout and almost falling off the stage.  All the readings amidst gorgeous art at WomanMade and DVA gallery.  Amid the shelves at  bookstores like Woodland Pattern, Myopic, The Book Cellar, Uncharted. Feeling like a bluesy songstress reading in front of the piano at the the Revolving Door Series.  Traveling all the way to Georgia State University to give a reading and conduct a workshop.

My favorite part is also guaging reponses to new work and I usually try to end with a handful new poems no matter what else I'm reading. This time it was some pieces from my strange machine series (which incidently has some poems in the newest Split Lip Magazine issue.)   In the chaos of the past couple of years, I wasn't able to do release readings for book #3 and #4 due to timing of when they came out, so I am glad I got to do this one.

{all this NAPOWRIMO month I will be blogging about poetry-related things --inspiration, publication, other verse-related randomness-- so stay tuned for more...}

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