How It Went

Some thoughts:

1. Oh, lord, it was awesome. The poetry was really great.

2. The thing I was most unsure of–the talk about slasher films–ended up being incredible. I now want to take a class from that dude.

3. The Jack Lawrence on the poster? This Jack Lawrence. I’m glad I didn’t see Jack White until after I read or I might have peed myself. Like any good Nashvillian, I noted his presence and then pretended I didn’t know who he was.

4. Okay, so I read two stories–The Ghost who Thought You Were Lying and All the Same Old Haunts. And as soon as I got to the first cuss word in the first story, a weird hush fell over the whole bar. And then I noticed people dabbing their eyes. And then I realized, “Holy fuck, something is happening here.” And then I read “All The Same Old Haunts” and there was a slight uproar when I insisted Robert Johnson hadn’t sold his soul to the devil. And then I finished and people clapped. And then a beautiful woman with dark black, perfect eyeliner told me she loved my stories and that they had caught in her throat.

5. And I got a poster! One with tape on it, so they must have known how bad I wanted one and stole me one from the wall.

6. And now I am home and I am feeling like, whoa, holy shit. How is this my life? How can one nerdy girl be so lucky?

I need to go to bed, but I am still just wanting to feel this feeling a while longer.

Allendale: A Shunned House Part 25

Something like fear chilled me as I said there in the small hours alone—I say alone, for one who sits by a sleeper is indeed alone; perhaps more alone than he can realize. My uncle breathed heavily, his deep snores accompanied by the soft thunder outside, and punctuated by the sound of dripping water somewhere in the house—the house was repulsively damp even in dry weather and, in this storm, it seemed positively swamp-like.

I studied the loose, antique masonry of the walls by fungus-light, and once, when I felt that the thick, still, putrid air would choke me, opened the door and looked around the yard and down toward the river, feasting my eyes on the ordinary landscape of a dark hill in the night rain and my nostrils on the wholesome air. Nothing occurred to reward my watching and I yawned repeatedly, growing more tired and less fearful as the night wore on.

Then the stirrings of my uncle attracted my notice. He had tossed and turned restlessly on the cot during the first hour of his nap, but now he was breathing somewhat irregularly and occasionally he would sigh and moan, almost as if he were choking. I turned my flashlight on to see if he seemed to be in any pain, but he was turned away from me. I then walked to the other side of the couch and what I saw unnerved me, as small as it seemed. It was just that he didn’t look like himself. My uncle had always been so kind, so calm, so dignified, most of all, so pleasantly happy. But now, a variety of emotions crossed his face, all of which seemed so out of character for him. I think it was the variety of those emotions that disturbed me most. My uncle, as he gasped and tossed in increasing agitation, with unseeing eyes open even though he slept, seemed not one but many man.

All at once he began to mutter, and I did not like the look of his mouth or his teeth as he spoke. The words were at first indistinguishable and then—with a jolt—I recognized that old Elias Allen was muttering in French.

This is Why They Drink

This month has made me realize why it’s so easy for performers to get caught up in drinking and sleeping pills. I am only reading two stories this evening and I had the hardest time sleeping because I kept waking up to fret. Will I do okay? Will people like it? Will people like me? I have to see the guy who’s hosting this again on Sunday at the Atwood thing. What if he thinks I’m a dork?

And then I’m going to spend all day gearing up, do it, and then feel like “Woooo, that was awesome” and probably not be able to sleep.

Either you find some way to kind of vibrate at that frequency in a healthy manner or you find some way to chase sleep effectively.

Or you don’t do that much of it, I guess. Sleep or keeping up this pitch.

Still, whew, nerves.