02 June, 2011

I got Fight Clubbed last night.

Last night, I attended the Minneapolis Writers' Workshop as it was the first Wednesday of the month and, according to the rules, was an open read. I took a short, fictional vignette that I thought probably most encapsulated the overall feeling of the longer piece it was culled from: drugged out, gory, obscene, and perverted. Also? Puppies.
No, I'm not shitting you.
While the Writers' Workshop seemed like an open minded bunch, I didn't really know if I wanted to be that guy that showed up out of nowhere and started using 'fuck' like he was trying to out-'fuck' Tarantino directing Joe Pesci, all the while describing proper disposal of a dead body.
Conversely, I'm not sure there would be a better piece to make an introduction with. So, fuck it, right?
And then, as I sat there and hoped that they would go through all the other folks who had signed up to read first, the moderator called me out. Apparently, it was the eighth rule of Fight Club.
I was up after this Asian kid who wrote about getting his ass kicked as a kid up on the North Side. I went up and took my seat next to the moderator, my old performance anxiety kicking in and my knees starting to quiver so, without looking up, I adjusted the mic down to two inches from my mouth, focused on the page and said, Fuck it.
They nearly literally asked for it.
Bitch this, fuck that, speed freak has no tolerance for depressants, BANG! Shit in her pants, brains on my shirt, he's puking on her, COCKSUCKER! Find the keys, don't fuck up the carpet, Saran wrap her head, what if I just jerked off a little? No. There's a line.
There. It was done. Now I had to sit and take my licks.
And actually? They kind of liked it. You could tell some folks were kind of reserved and didn't care too much either for the material or for the fact that the new fucking guy who didn't even pay membership dues or any of that shit came in with his radio voice, with his ability to change voices per character, read like it was a fucking performance piece instead of stale black Times New Roman on dead white office paper, and with his story of totally morally bankrupt people. You could tell some folks weren't into that guy.
Also? I felt bad for the lady that looked older than either of my grandmothers. I know women in their eighties have seen more and seen worse but I also get this feeling that by the time you hit your eighties, you're probably not out hunting it down.
But then? What do I know? She could've been a thrill junkie.
The other half of the group, though, were enthusiastic and positive. A couple of them had laughed out loud even during some of the gorier parts. And one of the white-hairs on that side of the group, an older bird but not as old as the grandma from the other side, I presume, had some of the most helpful critiques and celebratory reinforcements. Another guy compared me to Neal Cassady, which means I now have another author I have to look into.
All in all, not a bad experience.
I was followed by a woman with a short piece about college or painting or something. Couldn't tell what she was on about.

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