So we did this thing Elysia talked about last week and I felt five stars, good times, the answer is yes. Some things I treasured (like they are porcelain dolphins or VHS recordings of the Pokemon cartoon series):
- Meet’n’greet dinner beforehand at Yats with the authors, where Roxane Gay encouraged us to get matching tattoos. (THERE HAVE BEEN MUCH WORSE IDEAS)
- Sean Lovelace reading excerpts from Charlie Brown’s diary.
- Andy Devine being a sleazebag.
- Buying How They Were Found, The Avian Gospels, and (god, fucking FINALLY) Scorch Atlas.
- Matt Bell being real great and signing my copy of How They Were Found, and reading The Cartographer’s Girl, which good god, is magic like how this sounds or these look.
- Aaron Burch’s story “The Pain of Humiliation,” a story about hemorrhoids, and embarrassment, and straightforwardness, and honesty, and and and and. I laughed several times, and hard, which I think everyone knew because my honest-to-goodness laugh (which this story DESERVED and RECEIVED) is a rude train running through your house.
These many good words in one day, GOOD-NESS, a fleece blanket for my heart.
On Friday, we went roller-skating. I am twenty-two years old, and before Friday I’d never been roller-skating.
I mean, there was the band party in high school at a skating rink, but I clomped around on carpet drinking a slushie or playing Pac-Woman. I wanted to learn, to go real fast, but the place rang with This is a place for people who know what they’re doing.
I am twenty-two years old, and before Friday I’d never been roller-skating.
Everything at the roller rink is neon and braces and hard smacks like punishment. A scrawny boy making out with a girl with no breasts. A swoop-haired middle-schooler wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with LIKE A G6. A five-year-old girl with a bleeding mouth being led out of the rink. There aren’t many mothers here.
Two snooty thirteen-or-some-shit-year-old girls make faces at me, knock-kneed and learning. Abby says, Be Brave and I yell that I was fat when I was thirteen and I DON’T NEED ANY MORE THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLDS MAKING ME FEEL INSECURE SO THERE. And she grips my hands tight, pulling us around the back curve. Liz takes a turn leading me, eyes soft. They say Hold my hips. Grab my hands. I won’t let you fall.
And though our circling is whoa and hold on and I’m sorry because I am scared, there is a bow dragged across my gut strings. When else have I clutched friends’ fingers, met eyes when they said I love you in so many words. They might look at this and think why are you making me an angel; I just dragged you around a roller rink but I hope they understand holding hands in the dark and strange changes the language of location, says This is a place for people and that means you.
One of my former professors had this as her Facebook status and I say yes:
”Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.