I was nervous. Unbelievably nervous and stuffing my face with starbursts and wine. I was so nervous, I forgot who I invited to come and so when people I knew showed up I was completely surprised. I shouldn’t have been nervous, especially since at the most recent Bodega I felt I’d conquered the stage. But hosting a literary reading is way different than just showing up and doing your thing.
My friend who works for the Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island suggested I curate a reading at their new collaborative arts space, The Curiosity Project. This conversation had taken place in her car and although I was excited about the idea, I wasn’t sure if it would actually turn into something, until a few days later when she emailed me and basically said let’s make this happen.
Each month the Curiosity Project has a different theme and the only problem was that this month’s theme was fiber. So although it was great for the visual artists, it was a bit of a stretch for writers but luckily us writers specialize in connecting loose strands and weaving things together (see, what I did there? . . .).
One reader ended up being late and another reader wanted to go on earlier so his friends could see him, so I just swapped the two around. Problem solved. One person completely bailed on me but luckily there was someone in the crowd who had expressed interest in reading weeks ago, but had just never emailed me back, so I threw her on stage. I realized being a host or curator requires some diplomatic skills and quick thinking. I don’t know how Rob at Bodega does this every month.
Around 50 people came and went throughout the night and maybe 25 stuck around, sat and listened. Two of my Bodega people read and Thomas who I’d harassed to read (see previous post) read as well. I knew two other readers from a writing group I used to attend and the other two were pleasant surprises. So it was one of those events that drives you crazy at the time, goes well and then you realize you didn’t get a chance to enjoy it because you were so damn panicked during the whole thing.
It’d also been a good excuse to get some Bodega people out to Staten Island and the monthly art-walk, Second Saturdays. So after the reading finished, we went to Deep Tanks and created our own wall poetry, pinned the ear on Van Gogh and met a vampire poet. I’d like to say that’s a typical night out on Staten Island but it only happens every second Saturday of the month.
Photos by: Monica Valenzuela