I went to a reading last night and everyone there seemed fancy. Like they blow-dried their hair, like they worked in publishing, like they worked in midtown. I couldn’t tell if I was reading the room right or if I’d just been surrounded by teenagers for the last several hours/days/weeks. I perched on a table and held my bike helmet in my lap, and the readings were great. I gushed to the writers afterward, and then talked with a woman who works in publishing but doesn’t scare me about the surprisingly long time that we’ll feel stuck between being fans and real people in the world. I ate a $2 slice of pizza and biked home. I sang “Let It Go” very very quietly to Brooklyn. I pulled up at a red light behind a man about my age. He turned around and looked at me. I returned his “hello” but then he turned forward again and kept talking, to himself, to his hidden phone, who knows. Who knows if the “hello” was even for me. I hung back behind him for a couple blocks to try to figure him out. But then I passed him and made the left onto Fulton without having to wait, which was really nice.
I loved California. Edan was so completely lying when she leaned over and very visibly told Colbert that the book has a happy ending. The ending is so much more complex than happy or not.
I was looking for something else on my computer and found a file called “after agee” from my first semester of grad school. It’s a less-than-page-long document about living alone and the farmers market and cooking - I don’t even know what class this was for. I don’t remember reading any Agee in grad school! I see how little bits of it snuck into an essay I wrote a year later, how I’d been getting words ready for their ideas. But it feels like a stranger wrote this, too. This is how it ends:
There is a cat sleeping in the window, and my knife slices through stems, heavy and deft. Cutting into smaller pieces, down and down, and I am alone in the room and alone in my home, but I am alone in my head and the inside of my head is vast. I had never known this place before I spent so many hours quiet, knocked on some door with the rhythmic hits of my knife blade on the cutting board after it’s sliced through a stem.
The whole piece is in italics and I have no idea why.