Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moments in Moments

We lose ourselves. I could mistype that as “we loose ourselves” but the meaning doesn’t leave the meaning of my meaning.

See: I count people on their phones and turn it into percentages. 95% of the people on a bus from the car rental place to the airport. 75% of people on a metro. 25% of every table at a restaurant. Buried heads. Inert eyes. I observe but am not observed.

Of course, I submerge as well. I am bored, so I see if Facebook is more interesting than the present reality. A text trumpets, so I respond. But I do resist. I do. There is nothing particularly real in my mechanical palm. It has no smells or tastes or sounds beyond the preprogramed and unsurprising. And the words? They wait. That’s the thing; they wait. What’s in front of me however…

I’m preaching, of course. I’m proclaiming a certain preference over another and a conservative one at that. If by conservative I mean it’s an attempt to conserve what was. That immediacy of life. That confinement in the moment, unable to be lost—or to loosen the ties. All of us forced to exist within the full grasp of our environment or the imprisonment of our interior lives. How the hell did we suffer through such a thing? I’m not even sure if I mean that as sarcastic.

Here’s the point:

I love my iPhone. But I hate yours.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chicago Was...

So, I AWPed again. Books, booze and beards. I don’t have a beard. But I made up for it in books and booze.

At some point between Denver (my first and most recent AWP) and Chicago, I became the kind of person who runs into people at the book fair. I ran into a lot of people. And, of course, I sought more than a few others out. It was all a hell of a lot of fun.

Cool moment: discovering that Hayden’s Ferry Review made a button out of my story “Leap.”

Another cool moment: meeting Jarrett Haley at Bull and getting to thank him in person for publishing “What Our Fathers Knew,” the first story of mine to ever really got noticed in the indie publishing world.

Beautiful moment(s): hearing Cheryl Strayed read twice.

Beautiful moment addendum: I got to hang out with Cheryl Strayed for a while in the hotel restaurant. She has been a mentor and a friend and I loved getting to tell her how happy I am for all the attention and success she’s having.

Continuously awesome moment: rolling with my MFA gang (literally rolling, as it seemed we were always in cabs). Seth Fischer, Heather Luby, Yuvi Zalkow, Eric Steineger, LeVan Hawkins, Telaina Ericksen and Robert Egan are all killer writers, cool people, and fine, fine drinkers of adult beverages.

Most awkward moment: in a weekend full of awkwardness, I managed to compliment Michael Czyzniejewski on a story he didn’t read. Or rather, I completely misheard the story he read and told him afterwards how wonderful his story on William Wallace was, when it was a story about William Wells. Which should have been obvious even to my AWP-addled brain. He was reading from his excellent collection Chicago Stories.

Regrettable moment: all those moments I didn’t get to spend with people I’d planned to see. The whole thing goes by so fast and there are a million events at any given moment and my best laid plans were, apparently, not so well laid.

Best moment: The world that flowed chilly and occasionally snowy, so full of words, on pages, from mouths, in minds.