So, having been so pleased with my heady entré into the local literary world, I was eager for another taste. To this end, I perused my Powell’s electronic newsletter with greater attention, and came up with several events to attend. The first one was tonight.

So we gathered, those who were anxious to be seen to Know People, those of us eager to remain in our isolated bubbles, and all of us watching each other, no doubt all to write about the experience in our blogs (we’re all too old to have moved on to MySpace. I hope.) As I said, people-watching was everywhere, and all of us were a bit self-conscious as a result. As I sat, unfashionably early, I read one of my MFA reading-list assignments, Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power of the Darker Side of Human Nature, scribbled notes and musings, and wondered how pretentious I looked. Half the women (as I did) pulled at their shirts to force them to meet their fashionably low pants in back, exposed by the folding chairs. Half the people (as I did) sported Timbuk2 bags — I guess I’m wearing a uniform, unbeknownst to me!

The reading was fun, and I bought a book of stories by Aimee Bender, whose story, reading, and demeanor I liked most of all. Of course they have the three readers sitting at one table to sign, which creates a subtle dynamic of competition. Poor writers; but poorest for another reason.

MOBILE PHONES. Dear Goddess on a Lotus Leaf, MOBILE PHONES. We complain about poor courtesy at movie theatres when one or two phones among 200 viewers go off in two hours. How about five phones among 90 people in less than an hour? 90 people listening to live humans with feelings read things they wrote? I guess I was spoiled by the attentive audiences at the Residency!


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