Sunday, October 19, 2008

Seattle, Seattle, Seattle (I just crashed again before thinking of what to call this)

I've never read at Elliott Bay before, but I've been to readings there -- I like the way they have a separate room set up it's big yet intimate like a library with dramatic lighting and the microphone is precise and smooth like at Powell's. The room is crowded even though the store is almost completely empty -- maybe because there's a Presidential "debate" -- almost all the chairs end up full, they even bring more chairs out right before we start and the reading goes well again, I like playing with the intonations of my pieces as I get more comfortable although I'm aware of this self-consciousness I have in relation to Thea's work. I'm worried people want me to be reading nonfiction too, and even though Thea is brilliant and I think the combination is interesting I'm not so sure that I like the way it makes me feel.

The first questions are for Thea, about writing about people she knows and she says that actually it's brought her closer to ex-lovers, which wasn't, um, exactly the case with me, although Thea also mentions that with one person she realized she'd gotten their identity completely wrong, and the piece really was about that person and not Thea so she decided to change it to make a correct. A question for me about how I write in a nonlinear way so I talk about my goals of writing without plot and then the way I was able to use disability to actually further that goal I mean I didn't know if it would work but it did. A question about make/shift and that means I get to talk about my relationship to feminism, yay! Then for both of us about how we started writing and I love that one I end up talking about the crazy things I read so early like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in sixth grade I was an overachiever and then the way writing made me feel like I could survive in the world starting with elaborate stories of floors made of lapis and floors made of amethyst on to language poetry where everything became two or three words on the page and the way it was spaced and then to stories about turning tricks and eventually to where I am now. A question about whether deadlines help me to write, in particular my Maximumrocknroll column but actually now I write so much that the question for the column is what should I include? But I like that my Maximumrocknroll column gets read by people in prison, that's exciting. One person says my writing is more like someone would think, inside your head, and he's right I'm trying to collapse the boundaries between thought and action, feeling and what happens.

Right afterwards I crash but then end up going to the co-op with Socket and Ponyboy and they help me get my groceries and yes, before I was thinking of getting dinner with people but no one can think of a place and actually the co-op is calming, it's almost empty just before closing but people are friendly and I like getting groceries. Makes me think about Seattle and when I lived here and it was the first time when I kind of felt calm, so now I have this emotional relationship to the town in a way, even though it was 11 years ago when I moved away, after living here a little over a year but you know the way that a year in one place can feel like a whole period of your life and I wonder if I would feel calmer somewhere other than San Francisco I mean I'm not sure.


gina said...

I'm trying to collapse the boundaries between thought and action, feeling and what happens.

this is brilliant, mattilda.

you are.

ok, i'm off to the last day of volunteering in the south street seaport dressing rooms of mix. i still miss you. even more in that place where there would be no where for you to sit.

i hope your seattle day will feel calm...


kayti said...

what has thea written?

Anonymous said...


Yay! I am glad you are enjoying Seattle.

I just got my copy of your book, and guess what!??! It is signed! Ha! I didn't expect that. I am so excited to read its various chapters over the next couple of weeks as I camp out in San Diego helping out the labor movement and doing community organizing around Queer and Labor issues.

Lots of Love,


mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Gina, you are so sweet -- I'm so glad you like that quote, it makes me like it more!

And I miss you...

Today went through many waves, but now I do feel calm.

Kayti, Thea's new book is called Intersex (for Lack of a Better Word).

Tony, that's crazy that the book is already signed -- makes me wonder where it came from, since I haven't signed many books yet...

But I'll personalize it (more) when we meet!

Love --