I was preparing to host my first ever reading in a few days and was short some readers, so as well as stealing some Bodega people, I’d asked friends if they knew any Staten Island writers and poets. That’s how I learned about a guy called Thomas and once I had sufficiently facebook stalked him, he invited me to a Tom Waits inspired poetry reading he was hosting at Parkside Lounge (for all you Bored to Death fans, it’s the place where in the first episode Jonathan orders a whiskey and almost chokes on it).
I was late because of weekend train schedules and JoAnn text me that Lecco from Bodega was at the reading and was going to be performing. I felt like this Bodega connection would give me some extra cred in Thomas’ eyes. It also made me start to realize how small and interconnected the NYC literary scene is. For the past month and continuing into this month, I’ve been trying to go to as many readings as possible and have been starting to recognize audience members and readers elsewhere.
After the reading and introducing myself to Thomas in the least stalkerish way I could think of (by just admitting it and saying “Hi I’m Allie, I’m the one that’s been facebook stalking you. Please read at my reading on Saturday”- it worked, he said yes!), Lecco, JoAnn and I had to flee and jump on the L train to get to Bodega since all three of us were reading.
JoAnn was in the same block of readers as me, Prospero, Puppet Bus and Manny. I later joked to Rob that he put her in the best set of the night and he sheepishly said “Oh you picked up on that?” JoAnn said she was nervous but she kicked ass. I think that’s the thing about Bodega, the elevated stage is intimidating but once you realize the crowd has got your back, you really start to take off.
I was a little nervous to be reading my first ever non-fiction piece, as I usually stick to hiding my reality behind fiction, but it couldn’t have gone better. I guess everyone, including myself, were suitably tipsy and in a laughing kind of mood. A bunch of people came up to me afterwards and said they liked my piece. I was just glad they could laugh at my dating misfortunes.
The night gets a little hazy after that, but the way the reading went and Rob’s kind words about how I had the crowd in my grasp and was so relaxed on stage, bolstered me up so much that I’ll be reading another non-fiction piece at the next Bodega.