Categories
Joyce, James

Counterparts

In my many years of Bloomsday readings, I’ve neglected to tell you about my first run-in with the text.

It was more years ago than I’ll ever admit, when I had recently moved to New York, and had almost immediately found myself a nice new literary teenage boyfriend. We had only been dating a few weeks when he had given me a copy of Ulysses with the naughty bits highlighted (I later learnt that this was a hand-me-down from his brother, and he had never read much Joyce beyond Portrait, but if you’re a teenage boy looking to get laid, let me assure you that this will do it).

I wanted to impress him, because that’s what you do to teenage boyfriends, so I took him to a staged reading of Dubliners at a bar with a pinhole-sized black-box theatre in the the back. This event didn’t come particularly recommended to me, but in was in the Village Voice, and on Avenue B, so I felt it would be sufficiently edgy enough.

We arrived surprised to find a two-drink minimum required to attend. Now, we were neither seasoned nor legal drinkers, so we ordered four draft beers up front and downed them within a few minutes, to hide future evidence of any wrongdoing. Admittedly, the reading wasn’t so great as I recall– black turtlenecks, very somber, very serious, a deathly production. But two pints down amateur gullets coupled with the snoozer of a show worked its magic, and midway through Eveline (the fourth story in), my guy began snoring.

I spent some time kicking him awake before succumbing myself, and the next thing that entered my consciousness was the polite applause of the audience as the show was wrapping. And while these years later I have better judgment for those who hope to become laid by me, and a more acclimated constitution for a few pints, I remain convinced that it was a shit performance, and not beyond my then-inchoate acumen. At least, we can hope.

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Categories
Bishop, Elizabeth

The Housekeeper

Hello and would you just look at the calendar and where has the time gone?

I would make excuses for the lapse in months or tell you what I’ve been up to, but that would be projecting, and if you want to know these things, I’m sure you’ll just ask.

In any event, the theme of tonight’s story hits awfully close to home, so maybe if you listen you’ll understand a little more why I keep creeping back.

A week or so ago, the delightful Joanna Walsh wrote a lovely screed about reading more women writers this year, to which I respond with an approving ROAR and attach herein what I hope is the first of many such in the months to come, in the name of the incomparable Elizabeth Bishop.

Here’s more chatter about #readwomen2014. Read more women. And read more men, too, I think, and more people who don’t quite easily shoehorn into either classic gender.

ps: Some background noise, yes. I’ve moved house, and recording space, again, which means I need to throw my equipment against the walls to get the acoustics just right.

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