When I read at the KGB Bar earlier this year, one of the other featured readers, Tim Gager, invited me to his literary series up in Cambridge. He’s been curating the Dire readings for almost 12 years, holding them every month at a small arts gallery on Prospect St. There is an open mic hour, followed by brief readings by the featured authors.
I was a little anxious to travel all that way, knowing that I would not be reading for long, & would probably not sell any (or many) books, but it seemed like a good opportunity to get myself out there beyond the Connecticut/NYC neighborhood. My in-laws live outside Providence, so I had a place to crash that night, & it had been about 35 years since I’d visited the Boston area (two of my brothers went to Boston College), so I thought it might be fun to check the place out.
I arrived early to give myself time to walk around. I visited some bookstores (including the excellent Harvard Books) & the Harvard campus, which was populated by thousands of young, attractive, smart, wealthy-looking kids. The weather was hot & muggy. At about 6 pm it started raining, & the skies opened up, lightning flashed, thunder boomed. But by the time the reading started, the storm had passed.
I was thrilled to see two of my MFA colleagues at the reading, Linsey Jayne (who lives near Providence) & Cisco Covino (who just moved to Boston). It’s aways great to have support from friends, especially at an out of town event. They both read during the open mic session, & did a great job.
I was first up during the featured writer portion of the night. I read the opening pages of Carry-on, and it was difficult to tell how it went over. A few people laughed here & there, but there was no obvious sign that I was making any kind of impression, good or bad. The other two readers read from a short story & a personal essay, respectively. Each of the three featured pieces was wildly different, not just in genre but in tone & style, which makes for an interesting reading.
This is probably my final Carry-on reading. There’s always more one can do, but I’m not motivated that way. I can’t stand sending out all those emails & queries about readings, reviews, etc. I’m proud of the book & I’m thrilled it’s out there in the world. Right now I have to move on & find a home for the next one.