We have such great talent performing tomorrow: Marianne Stewart, Martin Matamoros, Erin West, Earnest Pettie, Gabriel Hart … and of course Stephen Kalinich, who I interviewed for the upcoming issue of L.A. RECORD and who had a great performance at the New L.A. Folk Fest. I’m also very excited to have Susan Burke on board, who directed an upcoming film that looks amazing called Smashed, and Paloma Alexandra Parfrey, who was in the Sharp Ease, possibly the best L.A. band of the aughts.
I worry that I’m going to be a crappy host, because I’ve been desperately trying to finish a short story, one that’s kind of dark and personal and which brings up icky feelings that make me want to crawl into a nook behind my record shelf. A lot of it is fictionalized, but the few parts that are real make me feel like a whole observation room is looking at me while I’m naked–except, you know, that I’d probably be totally fine with strangers watching me naked. Especially if the room wasn’t cold!
But the writing is taking its toll, both emotionally and in sleep hours missed due to staying up and trying to finish this shit. Here’s a short, raw cross-section, so you’ll know what to expect if you come to the reading and hear the whole thing. I’m thinking of titling it “Ice”:
Sam spent the rest of Saturday in his bedroom. He chopped a pile of speed, small so he could save the rest, again and again with the razor blade, finally snorting it as the sun went down. He lay in bed in the dark all night without sleeping, and then the next day and next night.
By Monday he had still not slept yet, and he had Italian class in five hours. He showered, put on a shirt and a pair of polyester pants, and walked towards campus, to use the computer lab before class. The grey day blended into the cement of the sidewalk. The street beside him was parallel with the sidewalk, and the lines in the sidewalk were perpendicular to the street, and everything lined up just as it should, and while he felt exhausted, at the same time he felt propelled, like he was on a conveyor belt, or the moving sidewalk of the Jetsons. Frat boys on giant wooden skateboards zoomed past him, all around him, but no one and nothing exists outside the self except what we perceive. We’re all alone, stuck in our own heads, and Sam was alone with the sky and the concrete and cement and the stale billowy puffs of dead-looking trees. The Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation” would have been the score of this movie. A phantom razor blade, as big as the Jolly Green Giant, was chopping lines and pushing them against the sides of the sidewalk in front of him as he walked to school.