The last time I had a reading planned, I canceled it to stare nervously at the wall while waiting for biopsy results. We all know how that turned out. But the first hint that I might be slowly turning the dial away from the all-cancer-all-the-time-cancer-channel phase of my life (knockonwood) came the other day the frozen yogurt shop.
“Excuse me, can I just say—” began a woman at the next table.
Here it comes, I thought, bracing myself for a comment on how brave I was to have not found a way to magically keep my follicles from releasing my hairs while on chemo.
“I really like your purse,” she said.
Friday night I gave my first reading in seven months, opening for Sean Carswell at Skylight Books. It was a friendly, mellow, well attended reading, with a bucket of PBR fresh from the liquor store and no ice. I read a little bit of my near-future story about genetic testing. Jim Ruland read about karaoke in Alaska. Sean read from his new book, Madhouse Fog, which promises to be funny and unexpected. It was nice to feel like a writer again.
|Now featuring hair! (Photo stolen from Kathy Talley-Jones' Facebook page.)|
We had a small but mighty book club meeting, where we discussed Jon Ronson’s Lost at Sea (I liked the half I read—quirky essays that could be classified as stunt journalism but run a little deeper than that genre usually does). It was nice to feel like a reader again.
This morning we woke up at an ungodly hour to meet friends of AK’s for a beach run in Santa Monica. It’s fun to do city things in the off hours; it’s like the whole place was made just for you. Also, no traffic. I hung with the pack for a while, then started walking and enjoyed watching the boardwalk wake up so much that I didn’t even devote much time to feeling like a self-conscious sicky.
Artists unpacked their canvases. Panhandlers unpacked their cardboard signs. People outside halfway houses smoked their first cigarettes of the day, or maybe their third.
We meandered (in a car) over to the farmer’s market, where we bought peaches and beets and coffee. AK’s friend told me how to roast them. I just took them out of the oven a few minutes ago, all deep purple and delicious-looking. I feel so righteous for having PURCHASED BEETS AT A FARMER’S MARKET AND ACTUALLY COOKED THEM that you’d think I just wrote to my congress person.
|Just looking at this picture will add two years to your life.|
We also saw Andrew read at the Concord, an art space/somebody’s house in Cypress Park. At book club, people were talking about how Highland Park is apparently the hottest real estate market in, like, the world? I’m a happily oblivious renter, but I looked around at the stretch of San Fernando Road that is now tire warehouses, thrift store distribution centers, cement riverfront and sighed, “In five years this will all be breweries.” There are already some up the road.
Andrew read some poems about Turkey and death and some interesting new stuff and I felt excited to get back to one of my seventeen works in progress. A writer named Ashley Farmer read some great constraint-based flash fiction from her forthcoming book Pink Water.
(I basically typed the above as a reminder to myself to buy her book when it comes out in August, because it’s not listed on Goodreads yet.)
Tonight AK and I are celebrating our third anniversary of getting Canadian-married with dinner at Pizzeria Mozza—at which I will not be a vegan—and a late-night show that’s part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival.
And I’m currently synching my iPod and charging my Kindle for the first time in months. You can do a lot when you wake up at 6:15, don’t devote any of your day to sitting in traffic and plan to go to bed at 1 a.m.
In related news, I am super tired and my radiated right boob looks like the beets I just roasted.