The Accidental Reading Series

The short version of this: I’m on the lineup with Elizabeth Isadora Gold, author of The Mommy Group, for the last installment of my friend Nelly Reifler‘s Accidental Reading Series at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, 7/2. Please come if you can!

TYOLA: Nine Copies Left
The longer version: Not counting hurts (even a small galley printer run of 150 copies has hurts) and returns (from when the book was no longer moving at the consignment table at McNally Jackson), I am down to my last nine copies of The Year of Living Autobiographically.

I have a few copies I’m going to send—quixotically—to writers and artists I admire (and whom, I should add, I don’t know personally). I’ve already done this a few times; I’ve sent the book to Anne Lamott and George Saunders, for example, both of whose writing has been a huge inspiration for me.

I’ve mentioned, in my notes to my heroes, that when Ed Sanders started a literary journal in the early sixties, he mailed copies to his heroes, such as Beckett, Ferlinghetti, and Ginsberg.

(I haven’t mentioned in my notes that the journal had what I still believe is the best name in the history of lit journalsFuck You: A Journal of the Arts—or that part of what was so exciting about the name at the time was that mailing it was, I believe, either totally illegal or quite possibly illegal. That all seems like more information than is necessary. Especially since the books might never make it to their intended readers.)

I also have the idea that, since the book struggles so much with what we do and don’t share on social media, I should send the last numbered copy, #150, to Mark Zuckerberg. The first copy went to our friend Dorothy Albertini, so it seems fitting that the last one should go to Zuckerberg. A to Z! Alpha to Omega.

I guess I should save a copy for myself as well? (And maybe, somehow, I could get a copy to Ed Sanders himself?—it looks like he still lives in Woodstock.) But that leaves four or five copies that I’ll bring to the reading, which I’ll be ready to sell, give, trade, or barter. And I’ll read from the book as well. Probably the same set list as last year’s reading at the Sunday at Erv’s series, which worked well, I think.

Again: please come!

The World’s (Seemingly) Most Boring Set List

Emily and I had a great time reading at the Sunday at Erv’s series. Thanks to everyone who was there, and thanks to Madeline Stevens for hosting us! It was an amazing experience to read from The Year of Living Autobiographically for the first time. I was delighted to get more out-loud laughs than I’d ever expected.

I love it when writers—poets especially—share set lists for readings, so I’m doing the same here, in case anyone’s curious. I felt good about the entries that I read, but the list of dates, below, is not exactly poetry without the entries themselves.

Thanks also to everyone who made suggestions for what I should read. With any luck I’ll have more readings from the book in the coming year!

Saturday 15 October 2011
* * *
Monday 21 November 2011
* * *
Monday 12 December 2011
* * *
Thursday 15 December 2011
Friday 16 December 2011
* * *
Sunday 18 December 2011
Monday 19 December 2011
Tuesday 20 December 2011
Wednesday 21 December 2011
* * *
Wednesday 11 January 2012
* * *
Thursday 19 January 2012
* * *
Saturday 26 May 2012
Sunday 27 May 2012
Monday 28 May 2012
Tuesday 29 May 2012
Wednesday 30 May 2012
* * *
Saturday 23 June 2012
Sunday 24 June 2012
Monday 25 June 2012
Tuesday 26 June 2012
Wednesday 27 June 2012
* * *
Friday 29 June 2012
* * *
Tuesday 03 July 2012
* * *
Saturday 13 October 2012

I am reading competition-style Thurs. 5/10!

That’s right!

I am a SEMIFINALIST in this year’s LITERARY UPSTART: The Search for Pocket Fiction competition, brought to you by The L Magazine.

WHEN: Thursday, May 10, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Avenue (at N. 11th), Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I’m going to be reading a short-short story called “An Obstacle to Empathy” that starts like this:

I am conducting an interview with a general who is in the process of authorizing an invasion of a country that borders both his and mine. This—the invasion—is not an out-of-the-ordinary thing for him to do, which is why he feels comfortable doing two things at once, launching a war and chatting with a foreign journalist. The atmosphere in his office, here in the marble palace of the ruling military junta, is relaxed; or, at least, as relaxed as it can be on an intensely hot day like today. Our interview takes longer than it might under more peaceful circumstances. His telephone keeps ringing—his subordinates calling with questions from the front. He needs to take each call, although he gives me an apologetic smile every time.

“He is very sorry,” the general says, picking up the receiver.

“He is entirely all right,” I say.

Please come!

How the Reading Went

Oh, man! I neglected to provide the details that I promised before I would post anon. I think I was thinking—if I was thinking at all—that, since the two of you who I know actually visit this page with any kind of frequency (hi Jess! hi Eric!) don’t actually live anywhere near Kingston, would it make a difference? And would anyone turn out for a reading at a gallery in the Rondout on a Friday evening in the snow? The answer to that second question turned out to be a resounding yes: the inaugural reading of the new Friends of Dorothy series at KMOCA (possible tagline: “the gayest non-gay reading series in the Northeast”) was packed; Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang’s story was sad and great; and I read “Instructions for Reading Your Work in Public,” “The One-Room MFA Program,” and “A Note about This Business with the Bear.” That second story is a new one—I borrowed the title (with permission) from a joke my fellow NYU alum Robin Beery made in class one time. I’m not sure if the piece works on the page; it seems to benefit greatly from being read out loud in an attempted approximation of the voice of Foghorn Leghorn. But, you know, it’s out there, so we’ll see.

Reading July 13

I don’t know why I haven’t mentioned this before in this space—oh no wait, I totally know why, it’s because we’ve been so completely insanely busy for months now looking for a place and then finding a place and then moving a hundred miles with us and the cat and every last one of our possessions including some we’d forgotten we owned plus a few that have been living out at the end of a peninsula off the coast of New England for a decade or two and then painting walls and mowing the lawn and, okay, I’ll stop—but I have a story in The L Magazine‘s second annual summer fiction issue, which will be out on Wednesday; and in celebration of this awesome special issue, I will be reading with Ned Vizzini and Darin Strauss on Friday, July 13, at 7:00pm or so, at KGB. Please come!

Readings May 18 and 19

Two upcoming events:

1) I will be reading with the great and daring fiction writer Joshua Harmon (his first book, Quinnehtukqut, is just out from Starcherone) on Friday, May 18, at 8:00pm. The reading is being hosted by Paragraph, and will take place in a health club on 14th Street.

2) The very next evening, Saturday, May 19, at 6:00pm, I will be reading with my stupendously brilliant wife at Canio’s Books in Sag Harbor.

Please come!

Addendum: photographs from the Paragraph reading here.

What We Read at Our Reading

First, as an introduction, our inimitable One Story cocktail hour and reading series host Hannah Tinti gave a dramatic reading of our Styles section announcement (thus alleviating all my capsule bio concerns).

Then I read (and sang) the last five and a half pages of the first chapter of Emily‘s awesome first novel, The Testament of Yves Gundron.

Then Emily read “The Possibilities Are Endless,” which I wrote originally this past fall for the other blog to which I make occasional contributions of a highly unreliable frequency, and “An American Casanova in New York, by Balthus Poindexter: A Reading Group Guide,” which is live, as of today, on Yankee Pot Roast.

It was so much fun! (As I mentioned before, One Story, a.k.a. the best literary journal ever, has posted some pictures from the reading here.)