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!)
- 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.
- 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)