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Susan Stinson

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11:08 am: Book Chat Report
Went last night to a book chat at Food For Thought with Michelle Tea, Andrea Lawlor, Tara Jepsen and Dori Midnight. It was a live talk show, with Michelle as warm, interested host. (Really kind of brilliant, and so generous, all for love of the book.) Everyone was endearing, as were their chosen books and their own work. I had big opinions, mostly unexpressed. I'm resistant to reading Mary Gaitskill for no good reason. Reading James Baldwin is flat-out thrilling. I am nervous about Starhawk as a novelist, although I love and have used her other books. Ursula LeGuin sure knows how to build worlds. I want to read more China Mieville. I want to be a guest on a cool live book chat talk show! What a great idea. Also, people asked questions, and the guests opened the books at random to give answers. I have a big problem concerning my housing that I wanted to ask a book about, but was shy. Dori Midnight, who has a piece in a new book called Urban Homesteading, passed around sample herbal medicines, sprays and tinctures. Andrea read poems that were these delightful position papers on landfills, taxes and property. There a kind of deadpan wit and also serious joy about it: books need us. Bookstores, do, too.

It reminded me of events I used to go to a women's bookstores in the eighties and nineties. Many times I would have known almost everyone in the room, and other times I would have been kind of alone in the crowd, shyly and intensely drinking in the words of the writers and then pouring over their books. It was really good to talk with Andrea a little bit afterwards, because, although I knew a couple of folks just a little, and we chatted a bit beforehand, it was a little strange to be there, feeling all of this long history evoked, me with my big opinions, but also having a sense of visiting a community that is not quite my own. Part of that is a reflection of age, I'm pretty sure, and also of how slow I've gotten to get on a bus and go over the bridge. (I didn't get home until after 10:30! Golly!) Getting to talk a little let me feel -- what? -- not really more fully present, because I was having such strong responses to most of what was being said and read, and to the whole lovely idea of the event, but that gorgeous thing of throwing out a tendril response (morning glory vines, scarlet runner beans), having been invited to, and having it be received with live response of its own.

Book purchased: Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work by Edwidge Danticat

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[User Picture]
From:el_kamino
Date:June 30th, 2011 11:45 am (UTC)
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We should do an event like that at the library!
[User Picture]
From:susanstinson
Date:June 30th, 2011 10:48 pm (UTC)
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It would be really fun, it's true.
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