I decided it was time to step up my literary education. I’d been keeping myself occupied (distracted) with literary readings and events all month and now it was time for the big guns. Granta. Granta was holding a launch party for their newest issue in McNally Jackson and there I was, prepared to have my mind blown by hardcore literature.
Instead, I was vaguely disappointed. Nothing really grabbed me, nothing was daring. In fact, when I read serious literary magazines or go to serious readings (aka readings that are not in a bar) I always try and decipher why a certain story got picked. It’s usually easy to figure out why, either it’s about a far away country or issue nobody writers about or someone from a prestigious writing program. The more they try to represent events, people or places that get overlooked, the more they lose sight on a story that crackles in the mind of the listeners and tries to break boundaries and do something different. I'm not saying these things shouldn't be represented but they shouldn't take precedence over a good story and style.
While my mind drifted off as I leaned on a bookshelf because the place was packed, I thought about a short story I’d read recently. Then I realized I hadn’t read it. I’d heard it at Franklin Park Reading Series. I usually take it as the mark of a good story if a piece of it follows me around and pops up at a random moment. I think I prefer Franklin Park to get my literary on. At Granta, a lot of people walked in late and silently mouthed “hello” to a friend and would go up and give them a hug and then they would all leave shortly after, as if it was just to say they had attended a Granta reading.
I expected Granta to be a paramount of great writing, instead it upheld this idea of what writing should be and how no one should break the mould. I guess it was a good lesson to not be intimidated by something just because it’s prestigious. I thought it'd be good to go to an 'official' reading like that rather than all the ones I go to in bars, back but to bars it is!