Tuesday, July 19, 2011
So I got a shout-out this week from Joe Clifford of (among other things) Lip Service West. He claims to be the last of the angry white male writers, and it's true. He was like three guys ahead of me in line when they ran out of licenses, and ever since then I just haven't been able to pull that shit off. I'm kinda pissed about it, actually.
Joe's been on a roll with his fiction, working smart and hard, and it's been fun watching him build his chops in stories like this and this.
So, as I mentioned before, I'm gonna be reading at Lip Service West on August 12. Save the date; I expect to see you there. It will be my second reading, and I'm looking forward to it.
Part of my pleasure here is stepping outside of genre fiction distinctly. (I am willing to be photographed with genre fiction, but I don't want us to be perceived as having a 'relationship.') But more than anything else, I look forward to the pleasure of terrorizing an audience. There will be a laugh or two; they will be emitted under conditions of great pressure.
I see this as the first story in a three-part sequence to be read as a one-man show. It will be roughly half an hour long, and it will be called Bone Chips: Stories Of Intimate Violence.
The first section will be the piece I'll be performing on the thirteenth. It concerns a beating I received in high school, and what it meant from a racial perspective.
The second will be the first piece I performed. This was based on an excised chapter from the novel, and concerns how being kept at a specific proximity -- not to near and not too far -- from a number of women led me to break one of my knuckles a couple of times.
And the third will be based on an old blog post, about how I developed a sort of wistful romantic nostalgia toward a splash-mark left by a suicide. That one goes a little dark, but it's probably the funniest of the three.
These were all formative experiences for me to one degree or another, and by taking them and using them in this way, I'm pulling some of their teeth. I own them, not the other way around.
Performing made me feel powerful. I felt at home on the stage, and I knew that when I meant the audience to laugh they'd laugh, and when I wanted them to cringe, they'd cringe. To watch people responding to me, moving in their seats, expressions changing to match the story, really feeling it. I sit here and tappety-tap-tap and think, "Yeah, boy, that's gonna get 'em," but writing ain't nothing next to DRIVING THE WORDS DIRECTLY INTO LIVING BRAINS WITH BRUTAL FORCE AND OBSESSIVE PRECISION.
And I want more. I feel that this is a very unseemly desire, but I have it, and I know that it will not diminish with time. I want to see an audience full of people who have come to see me. I need to take steps toward achieving that.
And this may be an unseemly statement, but I have the first requirement down. I got the goods, and I can deliver them. Now all I need to do is find out how to put something like this together, get funding, find a support crew, and then round up a bunch of people who are really into hearing me rant about blood-spattered nihilism. Sex and violence, audience! I've got sex and violence!