Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And Now for Something Completely Self-Referential

Every now and again, my wife and I attend a local poetry salon founded -- co-founded? tri-founded? I leave this to the historians -- by my friend Patrick Finley, who was many things. Unfortunately, everything about him may be catalogued under "was."

Rest in peace, dear boy, and flights of angels help you score whatever it is you need to score.

My current role in the post-Finley salons is to prod. If I don't prod, the salons don't happen. But my most recent prodding has borne fruit, and a salon is coming up this Saturday. But scheduling a salon is not enough. One must create some buzz, keep the salon on the front burner of the collective awareness. Thus, here's my most recent email to the salon regulars.

Of course, it's self-indulgent to post this, but in writing the following, as one might with one's cellphone minutes, I used up today's allotment of writing time. So it's this or nada, our nada who art in nada.

And that was a Hemingway reference suggested by the topic of the salon, which is god/goddess/godless. Or, if you like, God/Goddess/Godless. (Might "Godless" merit a cap? Yes. We must have that conversation sometime.)

It sounds like fun. All of you are invited. What? Friends from out of town?

I understand.

Dear Salonistas:

Well, that salon friend (SF) is still barking about there not being enough pre-salon missives, that drumbeat of ephemera designed to nudge the fence-sitters -- towards the salon, my friend, not away, but I wouldn't be the first victim of the Intentional Fallacy. Anyway, here goes:

* Hostess Lyle and Mary of the group, The Mary and Monica Flower Arrangement, will be doing something, maybe instrumental, maybe not; file this under anything could happen and probably will;

* Michael Koppy, the Hillbilly Hindemith, will be selling his CD out of the trunk of his car. He will perform, of course, which should provide motivation to purchase, either to encourage him or to nip this virus in the bud;

* Jon McKenney is going to -- can't find my notes; can't find my notes -- do some Wallace Stevens, I think. That should be money in the bank;

* Gayle Feyrer is going to -- I really can't find my notes -- do TK, as we used to say at the newspaper. Anyway, more money, more bank;

* Jessica, of Jack and Jessica, might just make it.... I promised to hold the curtain, if necessary. If we get Jessica, of Jack and Jessica, I like our chances;

* Where are my damn notes????? Other performing people are going to be performing. Those people: Remind me now

* Yours truly is uncertain. I had planned to read an excerpt from my novel from back in the day that I have been rewriting, but Patrick Finley used to say that the salon is not the place for new work because a) odds are it won't be as good as already published material, stuff that has been fretted over and revised and submitted to professional editors who vet and edit before it tumbles into print, each of those steps winnowing out the chaff; b) actually, odds are new work will be awful because that's sort of the nature of new work, isn't it? And then you get the audience painfully aware of how eager and vulnerable the writer is, and thus the audience feels obligated to feign grimaces of pleasure.

Which leads to the Bob Wieder exception. Bob Wieder always does his own material, but much of it has -- no secret this -- been published before and thus is the product of vetting, editing, etc. Also, he's a professional writer and has some sense of the quality of his material. Also, on one level, frankly my dear he doesn't give a damn. (What will he do for Saturday? Something blasphemous, probably. I am excited. I'm just saying that if I were Ben Franklin and Bob were in the vicinity, I'd break out the kite.)

Also, Bob sometimes enjoys prodding the audience, pleasing them at first and then taking them where they may not want to go- JFK/MLK love nests and so on. Oooooh boy. Anyway, when it comes to my opening the door into my own secret garden -- the kitten licks its paw; the dew shimmers on the leaf -- maybe I will and maybe I won't. Come early and watch me drink my way toward a decision, until red-faced and huffing, I lurch into some York family heirloom and blot my copybook down to the bone.

Okay, SF, you happy now?

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