This Was Way Bigger Than Skateboarding

4 Apr

Holy god.  This weekend I went to the University of Alabama with Elysia, Tyler Gobble, Jeremy Bauer, and Ball State creative writing faculty Sean Lovelace and Matt Mullins for the Slash Pine Writers Festival.  GOOD THINGS HAPPENED.

  • We four students had the privilege of reading our own works at an undergraduate reading with students from Bama and Flagler College on the front lawn of this gorgeous place. There were four kinds of pie served during the intermission.  Pie, people, at a reading.  (The reading order came out that I read right before intermission.  I just want to say sorry for being the person standing between pie and people who want pie, yelling into a microphone about Doritos and Nicholas Cage.)  People said really complimentary/cool things to us afterward, which was nice, especially since we didn’t get the memo that nobody else was gonna say any cussnasties during their pieces like all four of us did.  (We’re bad at Southern etiquette or weren’t raised right or something.) But really, I’m super-proud of my peers.  I’m honored/humbled to call them friends.  There’s something awesome about knowing even just to some small degree the work they’ve put into their pieces and themselves as writers, and seeing them getting to show that to people who are hearing them read for the first time.  I even forgot to take pictures (MY BAD)  because I was too busy watching them and being happy that all these people were hearing them read their way cool words (but videos exist because Tyler and Matt are responsible people).


    • Sean and Matt slam dunked their readings.  Sean’s was at a children’s museum, so of course as soon as we walk in we put animal skins from the simulated Native American village on our heads.  And found a ball booth thing I told Tyler he had to play in or I’d force feed him straight razors but it worked just okay and he got fed up with it.


    [ball booth thing was whatever]


    Sean got the laughs and hmmms and yeahs! with Velveeta pieces (his only topic for 2011!)


    Sean reading at the children’s museum.


    • After the reading we met Michael Martone (AWESOME), who it turns out is one of the most dapperly dressed gentlemen I’ve ever seen.  (And Michael Martone by Michael Martone goes on the reading list.)


    • Matt read at a theater where a high school production of The Wizard of Oz was just wrapping up, so that was weird.  Also, the room we were in had one wall of all windows, so we saw a lot of eighteen-year-olds outside on their way to prom trying very, very hard to walk in heels.  But the reading itself was stellar.  Matt read this five-section poem that was quick/energetic but all under control at the same time, along with a couple sweet movie-inspired pieces.  Another highlight from this reading for me was hearing Chris DeWeese read things from his series Alternative Music, poems constructed from misremembered 90s song lyrics.  What goodness.  A couple shining examples.


    Matt reading at the theater.


    • Another reading at this place called Green Bar was real solid.  Brandi Wells read some things from her Worst Times series; we got to hear the last one here.   And I wish his poem “Ablation as the Creation of Adam” existed somewhere on the Internet, because Oliver de la Paz read it at Green Bar and my heart melted all over.  Instead, here is another good thing from the same book that poem’s from, Requiem for the Orchard.  Consolation prize.  Also, Friday at Green Bar, me, Tyler and Brian Oliu got our respective grooves on.  Brian dances awesome.  When Tyler tries to dance like Brian he looks like a middle school raptor nervous about asking a girl raptor out on a date, which is to say Tyler dances awesome.  I dance, I dunno, goofy or something.


    • Elysia fed me generic Sudafed the whole weekend because changing from brrr-chilly Muncie to warm-sunny Tuscaloosa jacked my sinuses.  Sean referred to raspberry Smirnoff as “foo foo vodka.”  We saw Jeremy’s bat tattoo.  Tyler and I wore tank tops.  We ate at more than one restaurant that served banana pudding as a side.  I made new friends from Bama like Shea when we thought of the same Arrested Development reference at once.  I saw exchange kids who came to Muncie read to us again and that was nice (i.e. Sara, who wants to be like me when she grows up).  We sat in a van for a lot of hours.  We are glad we went to Slash Pine.


    (thanks to Slash Pine staff and interns for putting the whole thing together, Ball State English/creative writing faculty for making this possible for us students, and thanks again to everyone who supported the Kickstarter; so much appreciation)


    13 Responses to “This Was Way Bigger Than Skateboarding”

    1. brandi April 4, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      !!! So glad you guys could come. And that you saw Brian dance.

      • Layne Ransom April 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

        Thanks! You were terrific (I was especially fond of that Phil Collins one).

        The first time I saw Brian dance, my jaw went slack and I said, “This is really happening.”

    2. Brian April 5, 2011 at 12:29 am #


    3. Tyler Gobble April 5, 2011 at 9:53 am #


    4. christopher. April 5, 2011 at 11:48 am #

      I wish I could have gone to there. Sounds like an amazing time with amazing people. I’m so happy and impressed with what the BSU writing program has become. I’m glad to be somewhat a part of it as an alum.

      Keep up the ass-kick’ery, and I look forward to seeing you all on the 28th at Be Here Now.

      • Layne Ransom April 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

        Thanks Chris! It’s super cool that you come to readings/events as an alum and, you know, read this blog, ha. Looking forward to the 28th as well.

        • christopher. April 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

          I’m glad it’s super cool and not super creepy. Though, I imagine it’d be more the latter if I had a greasy comb over or something.

        • Layne Ransom April 5, 2011 at 5:38 pm #

          Elysia thinks you’re creepy, but she just turned sixteen so anyone older than 24 is “like, sooo old, LOL.”

        • christopher. April 6, 2011 at 9:15 am #

          Man. I’m a geezer…

    5. Joey McHoey Mic Foley April 5, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

      Two of the “Possibly related posts” involve the Holy Spirit and the third is on Leviticus. That’s funny because there is no such thing as the Holy Spirit but there is such a thing as the Way Bigger than Skateboarding thing. And I don’t see how the god of Israel’s rigorous and absolute temple commandments are related to you guys having a good time in Alabama.

      • Layne Ransom April 5, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

        Well good goddamn, wouldja look at that. What I get for including “[h]oly god” and “Ablation as the Creation of Adam” in here I guess, but you’re tellin’ me WordPress couldn’t come up with anything about pie or raptor dates?

        I mean, raptor dates are more real than the Holy Spirit. At one time actual raptors mated, which is close to raptor dates, which are therefore closer to being real than the Holy Spirit.

    6. Cathy Day April 6, 2011 at 12:51 am #

      Roll Tide Roll.

    7. elysiasmith April 6, 2011 at 8:04 am #

      har har layne.
      I’M AT LEAST 17!

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