There was tension in the air at Bodega for various reasons and it was supposed to be a joyous occasion. It was the second anniversary show, the launch of the second Bodega anthology and my last Bodega. It was one of those times where you want everything to be perfect, this last moment, as if all the sequential moments before won’t hold up in your memory, but just this last one.
But once the show started, things went smoothly and spectacularly. The crowd seemed larger and newer than usual, perhaps because of JoAnn’s article in the Bushwick Daily.
The only problem was that it was a somewhat loud crowd, meaning that Puppet Bus, Prospero and I all had to make some kind of comment, ranging from polite to humourous to threatening, to get people to quite down.
I realized I can’t focus on the reader before me or after, because before I’m prepping and getting ready and after because I’m analyzing what went down well, what got unexpected laughs, etc. I felt bad about this but then Puppet Bus confirmed he’s the same way and it’s just something you can’t help.
When I got on stage I said I didn’t want to get all emotional and rambly (“Cry for us!” Kelley shouted out) but I said how this stage and everyone at Bodega has changed my writing for the better.
So I read my second non-fiction piece in a growing series, and when I sat down, Puppet Bus turned to me and said “You got a lot of big laughs.” I suddenly began to realize that although I originally thought everyone was laughing at my ex-boyfriend in the series I’ve been reading, they’re actually laughing at me. Well, at least they’re laughing.
I was told by others that my new writing style rings true and that I’ve found my voice. I’m glad but I also realize it means one of my best friends who’s been telling me for years that I should write non-fiction was right. (Hear that, Omar?)
The Bodega crowd wished me well in my return to London and Puppet Bus and I headed to a different bar for a nightcap (which makes it sounds way more sensible than it actually was). So this wasn't exactly the raucous, debaucherous, drunken piss-up Bodega send off I’d imagined. But that was what my leaving drinks a few weeks later was for. The Bodega crew showed up and passed around a notebook Laura bought for me, each writing words of wisdom ranging from “write til you DIE!” to how I should take the stage in London.
If I was religious, I’d say I was blessed, if I was superstitious, I’d say I’m lucky, if I was if I was spiritual I’d say the universe has got my back. But I’m just glad I took that first scary step last June and emailed a man about a show and everything just fell into place with this rag-tag bunch of literary lunatics who are some of the craziest, boldly unique, talented and supportive people I’ve ever met.