Sunday night, I had the pleasure of reading a short story that takes place in Pike Place Market right in Pike Place Market, at the Can Can. The event, a literary cabaret produced by Sailor St. Claire, was called The Naked Bunch, and its theme played off of William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch, asking: what’s your fix? So I read a short story called “Sugar,” the first story I’ve set in Seattle since moving here that I actually like. What I really loved about the event was how eclectic and yet cohesive it was – fiction, poetry, strip tease, and music all coming at that what’s-your-fix question from differently kinky angles. The night before that was also a treat. I read another new story called “The Zoo” at the Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues reading series hosted by Zachary Watterson at Liberty Bar. Zachary named the series after a novel by Ron Sukenick that is comprised of one extraordinarily long sentence, which lends a certain urgency to the series that I really like. That’s two nights of readings with wonderful, talented writers – not to mention burlesque dancers and musicians! I feel really lucky.
There’s another reason I’m feeling really lucky these days. I’ve been awarded a Made at Hugo House Fellowship! This new fellowship provides funding, space, and resources to four to six writers age 35 and younger in King County. During my fellowship, I’ll be completing my short story collection “More Like Home Than Home,” which explores themes of migration, place, and home in settings like Bucharest, New York, and Seattle, and several places in between. So there was something extra sweet about reading “Sugar,” a story set in Seattle that I’m finally happy about after three years of living here, at such a great venue like The Can Can. Hooray!
Reading at The Can Can. Photo by Kristen Young.
I needed a high-res photo for the fellowship webpage, so I asked my friend Sayed Alamy at GuyEatsOctopus to take a few shots. He did a super job!
Photo by Sayed Alamy.
October in Seattle will be brimming with literary events. Between Arts Crush, City Arts Fest and a whole slew of other goodies, I’ll be glad I went back to drinking coffee and taking my multivitamins! Here are a few events I’m involved with, one way or another:
- Wed. Oct. 3, 6-7 pm. The Furnace Reading Series Presents “The Last Night at Manuela’s” .What happens when a stage play is adapted for radio? That’s what Buffy Aakaash has done with his award-winning play, which is set in Mexico on the Day of the Dead. Come watch it live as it’s broadcast on Hollow Earth Radio! We’ll have hot chocolate on hand (just sayin’). This is a free and featured Arts Crush event made possible with support from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Hosted by Corinne Manning. (Nb: I kicked off this free quarterly series in August and now help to coordinate it.) Facebook Twitter
- Sun. Oct. 6, 6-7 pm. Sunset Reading on the Melrose Promenade. An evening of poetry and sunset-gazing featuring the fabulously talented poets Brian McGuigan, Elizabeth Cooperman, and Katherine Ogle, plus one of the best views in Seattle. One of a string of events promoting the Melrose Promenade project, which is working toward making Melrose Avenue Seattle’s next great open space.
- Sat. Oct. 27, 1-5 pm. Found Stories at Richard Hugo House. I’m teaching a one-day class using found objects as generative material for new fiction. Fun! And then, right afterwards…
- Sat. Oct. 27, 6 pm. Long Talking Bad Conditions Blues reading series at Liberty Bar in Capitol Hill. I’m thrilled to be reading with Eugene Cross, Jane Wong, Katherine DeBlassie, Matthew Nienow, and Suzanne Morrison. Hosted by Zachary Watterson.
Then of course, there’s the marathon Seattle Lit Crawl on Thursday, October 18, meandering from First Hill to Capitol Hill from 5 to 10 pm at which many of my talented writer friends will be reading.
Whew! I think in November I might need a nap.
It came early this year. Earlier than the East, but also a month earlier than normal for Seattle. Cherry blossoms budding in late January and bursting in February. Then dogwoods. Then magnolias. The storm clouds were consistently inconsistent, but in them now instead of grays and blues there was also the reflected pink. On my birthday a tsunami warning. Then the fluffy white blossoms turned streets bridal. In early March, it was sunny and warm. M and I rented a canoe and paddled about Portage Bay, lightly buzzed from margaritas shared with friends earlier in the afternoon. We diligently avoided the Montlake shipping canal, the only instructions given by the boat rental place. Of course, even with my life vest on I was nervous of toppling over, every time a motor boat or yacht made waves and we bounced and I heard a faint trickling of water (was there a hole in the canoe?). Eventually I relaxed and we paddled proficiently and enjoyed the near-crisp views of the Cascades and Mount Rainier and contemplated life in Laurelhurst and Sandpoint across the water.
Driving to Portland this past weekend we caught even more spring. So much pink with occasional bursts of yellow forsythia. I couldn’t remember a time I’d seen so many blossoms along the highway. Wandering the neighborhoods of Portland, we didn’t need to stoop to smell the flowers, their fragrances wafted up to us. The friend we were visiting rasped with seasonal allergies. All the pollen, he explained, was stuck in Portland. The geography did not allow it to blow away. He told us it used to be called the sick place. Too much spring. I was relieved my own eyes weren’t bursting with stinging moisture. We saw a play there at the Imago Theater, an “opera beyond words” about an authoratarian typing school, in which the task master (a bit like a business-y, malevolent bride of Frankenstein) skewered out one eye from each typist and hung the ball from its red cords above that typist as he or she sullenly tapped away. We brunched at Screen Door, where M spotted Catherine O’Hara, and then took the streetcar from Nob Hill to the waterfront. Of course we stopped at Powell’s; M picked up Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends and I finally got Irene Nemirovksy’s Suite Francaise, which I’ve been meaning to read for a long time.
Now spring break is upon us. We’re heading back East to visit friends and family, where their own spring should be just emerging.
For my birthday, M. is taking me to see Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard. Last year, we saw the Classic Stage Company’s rendition of The Seagull (not to be confused with the production that was on Broadway, which I also wanted to see). Sometimes I still walk around the house imitating Dianne Wiest as Arkadina bellowing, god-like, “I am not Jove.”
If you’re into the Chekhov, apparently CSC’s Uncle Vanya (with that handsome Brooklyn couple Maggie Gyllenhaall and Peter Sarsgaard) has been extended until March 8.
My friend Tim‘s musical Tock Tick is opening at the Prospect Theater on February 5. The enticing blurb promises dragons, seagulls, and interstellar gondoliers, among other things. I am very much looking forward to this show.
I’m excited for fall. Aside from the end of wretched, bludgeoning-sun summer, aside from the fresh breezes, crisp air and crunchy leaves and all that good stuff, I’m going to two fun shows at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo.
First, for Halloween I’m seeing the Tiger Lillies, who I first saw in Shockheaded Peter last year (the song “Snip Snip” is still in my head).
Then I’m going on a double date with M and my parents to see the world premier of Lou Reed’s Berlin, in December. It’s going to be depressing. Hooray!
Even sooner than that, I’m going to the Brooklyn Book Festival (yow!) and my friend Andre’s play. Fun will be had.
My friend Andre Lancaster is making his directorial debut this September with A Love Like Damien’s at the WOW Cafe Theater in the Village. I saw a staged reading of the play (by Andrea Davis) this past spring; it was quite strong on the bare stage, so I’m looking forward to the full production.
Spoke the Hub is now offering a clowning workshop! I wish I had the time and/or money to partake.