A few weeks ago I posted a short piece from Beyond the Margins to the Paper Darts Twitter account—Being A Good Literary Citizen: A Manifesto. I shared it even though I, personally, didn't meet all the criteria. I know I participate in the literary community in a different way than most literary citizens—being on staff at a volunteer-run lit mag is kind of between the two camps of "insider" and "everyone else"—but the manifesto reinforced the creeping feeling I've had that I'm not doing enough, that I somehow need to rearrange my free time to be a better participant in the scene that's been so good to Paper Darts.
I didn't want to make "be a better literary citizen" a New Year's resolution, because fuck those things, but the first event I wanted to check out happened to fall in the resolution-keeping time frame: January 2. It was Rain Taxi's next reading in its Social/Brief series, Blank Slate. It also happened to be New Year's themed—a bunch of 20 second poetry readings, by hand-picked poets and during an open mic, inspired by wiping the slate clean and planning for things to come.
I could talk about the ideal time for a poetry reading (20 seconds might actually be it). I could also talk about how chill the event was (no pun intended) and how it got me fantasizing about the benefits of doing more frequent but more laid back events compared to infrequent literary spectacles. But because I'm currently more committed to publishing things that are timely than things that are well thought out and analyzed (thanks, Internet Age), here are my notes from the evening. (Words said into a mic in bold.)
- I have a total of $6, which can only get me a soda from the cash bar. Y'know, that's fine.
- These white couches are kind of cool. Hah, what if I get my period?
- Oh my god, what if I get my period?
- This is the first art gallery I've checked in to on Foursquare in five months? I'm so uncultured.
- Someone I know! Thank god.
- Keep thinking of things to talk about, keep thinking of things to talk about, keep thinking of things to talk about, shit shit shit.
- I wonder what came first—the blank slate theme or securing an empty gallery for the event?
- You must caramelize your life.
- Turns out that granola bar was not a sufficient dinner.
- I thought that "many lunches" line was going to turn into a doge thing. Why am I so disappointed that it didn't?
- Why do I love doge so much?
- Gretchen Marquette wears really tall shoes.
- Turns out the second best thing that can happen to you is heartbreak.
- What we need to do is give up more.
- Wouldn't a skinny person be fine on just a granola bar for dinner? Are skinny people hungry all the time?
- Fuck me like fried potatoes.
- I hope I can find that poem online later, even though it was definitely short enough to memorize.
- Found it.
- This woman's using poetry voice, noooooooooo!
- Oh, the poem was funny. That's okay then.
- All resolutions are the same.
- Whatever you're doing right now is it.
- Venus DeMars' coffin purse is pretty on point.
- Don't be humble.
- Hey look, I didn't get my period.