How crabby have I been recently? So crabby my colleagues heaved sighs of relief when I mentioned I'm leaving town tomorrow morning and will be out of missile (or missive!) range for four full days. I'm sure the MANY offers to help me pack, snare a cab, and water my plants so I could stay a few more days were motivated by nothing other than normal helpfulness (suuuuure!)
In scrambling to get ready, I was clearing up old email and discovered my wonderful client Dan Tomasulo was going to be one of the readers for ParkLit this evening.
ParkLit is a reading series held in various parks around the city. I've known about it for years and never managed to get off my slacker ass to slither on over to one.
But tonight, duty called. Besides, I just love hearing Dan read. I didn't grouch too much and I coerced Godsend Joanna into coming with me (the better to have someone to run for coffee before the reading, naturally!)
And as I sat there in Washington Square Park, under the darkening sky, enjoying a faint breeze that hinted of cooler days ahead, I could feel the crabbiness fading.
The first reader of the evening was ASKOLD MELNYCZUK
From the very first line of his selection I was enchanted.
I knew I was in love forever when he said a woman's house "smelled like she washed her floor with cookie dough."
It made me feel better just to listen to him read. My crabbiness at the mundane and annoying parts of publishing fell away in the wash of his lovely elegant prose.
Of course, I had no idea how to spell his name, and I totally butchered the title when I went over to Shakespeare & Company to buy it. Bless their lovely helpful hearts, they looked it up for me based on "There's 'widows' in the title, it's an unusual name, and it's from Graywolf." I would have bought it if they'd had a copy but I guess other people got there more quickly, dammit.
It's always easy to get really serious and somber about The Importance of Literature, and to pontificate madly about The Importance of Books. Tonight though I really understood viscerally that simply listening to beautiful writing is important. I'm pretty sure The House of Widows will not save the world but tonight it did save me.