May 24, 2009

Pilcrow Musings

“I need Plot: people growing, banging into each other and into circumstances; stewpot citizens: growing and hurting and loving and making the best of various bad jobs.” –Sylvia Plath

I’m sitting in my pajamas, listening to Cat Power and thinking about the past week. The sun’s out and Chicago’s alive with drivers and bikers and people hung-over from Saturday night festivities.

Last Sunday the Pilcrow Festival began. I was nervous and needed hosiery to finish my fifties outfit, complete with a bright pink peacock pin on my black cardigan. David drove me to the Walgreens because we were running late and I didn’t have time to walk. That’s right. I don’t drive. I don’t care who knows. Driving scares the shit out of me. I’d much rather ride my bike or even take the train. Maybe that makes me old fashioned. Maybe I don’t quite fit in this hyper modern world.

We had hard cider at Matilda’s, sharing it because we’re so damn broke. We met a few people, introduced ourselves to the shockingly beautiful and entertaining Amy Guth. I bought her book, Three Fallen Women, and started reading it this morning. It made me cry.

Monday and Tuesday we didn’t attend Pilcrow events. Monday night was the season finale of How I Met Your Mother and we had a little party. David made a kick ass pasta dish. Tuesday I was exhausted. Work was kicking my butt and I still don’t know if I’m going to get laid off or not.

Wednesday, we went to The Book Cellar and heard some interesting readings by action/thriller authors. The bookstore is tucked away in this cute little nook of shops and restaurants at Lincoln and Western. David, ever my promoter and publicity extraordinaire, spoke to the manager and they’re going to carry my book. I think being part of the festival is doing some good things for me. We chatted with Amy, her husband, and a sci-fi author named Mark R. Brand.

Thursday, despite being wiped out by work, we went to a reading by the students and teachers at StoryStudio at 42 Degrees North Latitude. We got there late so we had to stand by the emergency exit door and I was afraid of leaning against it. There was one poet that really stood out to me. Marissa Spalding read two poems about her mother: "A story between sisters" and "Farming." We left immediately after the readings because I wasn’t feeling too well.

I woke up Friday morning sick and hacking up phlegm. I pushed through and went to work anyways. Around 1:30, I felt like I was being run over by a bull dozier, so I called David and he picked me up. I slept the rest of the day away.

Saturday morning, I over-medicated on decongestants, antihistamines, and Mucinex. We took the El to Belmont and we were almost the first people to arrive at Trader Todd’s. (Can anyone say, Over Eager, maybe?) We chatted with Leah Jones and Amy Guth while helping assemble name tags for the participants. The next few hours flew by. We spoke to other authors and writers, attended panels, and ate a couple of burgers. I re-medicated. We hung out with Mark a lot. David and Mark talked about book cover design. David really wants to do more of that since creating the book cover for CTFS.

I was pretty chill by the time the Young Adult panel started. Maybe it was the hard cider or the antihistamines or both. I immediately liked the other Y.A. authors on the panel, especially Stephanie Kuehnert and James Kennedy. (Look these authors up now!) I think I did pretty well despite normally being terrified of speaking in front of people. The other authors were very gracious, humorous, and down-to-earth. It was a very good, first experience for me on a literary panel.

I really wanted to go to the Literary Death Match at 7pm, but my medication was wearing off and I was starting to fade. So, David and I hopped back on the Red Line and went back to our apartment. We heated up some soup and watched 40 Year Old Virgin for the umpteenth time. I felt pretty good about the day. I felt like a real author.

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