Risk & Second-Guessing & Really Bad Wings

I've been feeling a little uncomfortable with my interview in the Hand of Wheel podcast this week. Not because of Maura and Haele, the hosts, or the fact of the interview itself, but in my relatively privileged response to some of their questions, primarily about the MFA. I feel a little douchey. Douchy. How does one make douche an adjective? Anyway. I feel alternately like a shit heel, and then defensive of my relatively low and insignificant place in the world of poetry, because it's a hard-won place even if it is cramped and spectacularly unremarkable.

Also, listening to yourself laugh has got to be one of the most torturous exercises ever. But I'm getting sidetracked.

I cringed inside whenever I heard myself say something on the podcast that I felt could, quite easily, be countered reasonably (and/or unreasonably attacked by internet trolls). A skilled rhetorician I am not, and it's quite evident here. And yet, part of me shrugs, too: nothing is accomplished without risk, right? I've been interviewed about writing maybe three times in my life, and this is the first time where I've done it on a podcast. Having listened to the podcast twice now (once for editing purposes before it went live, and once to the live, posted version), I'm glad I didn't throw in too many "likes" or "uhs" or sound completely incoherent as I edited myself, speaking as I was thinking of answers to their good questions or statements, sometimes backing up, throwing in parentheticals, etc. There was the risk of sounding like a major idiot. I sounded like a minor idiot, maybe, at moments. And maybe that's the end of my experience with podcasts, but at least I did it. So it goes, ammarite?

M.S. does her thing and does it well.
I watched a colleague and friend participate in a risk-filled activity on Tuesday night and it was so interesting and new. I accompanied my colleague and friend M.S. to an art-crit of her new work at this gallery she just joined in Bed-Stuy. It was energizing and fun to watch a process that isn't wholly unfamiliar to me, but filled with alien art-school terms that I had to kind of define on the fly as I observed from the corner of the room. M.S. speaks really well about her work; she communicates her purpose and process so well. I took notes.
Also, M.S. and I ate some really terrible wings -- like, we think they were chicken? -- at this hotel bar/restaurant/performance space around the corner from the gallery, and that's another type of risk, I suppose. (Not half as rewarding as the podcast or the crit, but we were really hungry.)

Also: Seamus Heaney! Terrance Hayes! Jorie Graham!
And just before we went to the crit we visited Books Are Magic, a new bookstore in Brooklyn begun by the author Emma Straub. I visited the poetry section (natch) and was a little disappointed in its selection (we can't all be Poets House, I suppose . . .) but thrilled to see Ruth Irupe Sanabria's newest book on the shelf, as well as Rachel Eliza Griffiths' Lighting the Shadows. I don't think seeing the work of people I know on actual bookshelves in actual bookstores and libraries will ever grow old. 
Today A. and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage and, as one does, escaping our children to do said celebrating. Sleeping in and drinking champagne in bathrobes -- even if the sleeping in and drinking champagne takes place less than 20 miles from where you live -- feels exotic, luxurious, and celebratory. No risk here, though -- thanks to the army of relatives and friends who keep our children loved and happy and full of contraband food and caffeinated beverages while we're away.


Popular Posts