September 27, 2010

I Like the Way It Hurts

I am Best American Poetried! I sat next to Sharon Olds (sweetheart) and Thomas Sayers Ellis (sweet shoes). I experienced the verbal cat's cradle that is David Shapiro. I was hidden from the audience by Gerald Stern's hat. Here is a video of Amy Gerstler's intro to the evening, followed by my reading of "Unit of Measure."

Beforehand I was lucky enough to be treated to dinner by a quartet of fellow writers--Dylan Landis, Janice Shapiro, Susan Coll, and Joanna Smith Rakoff. There is something very special about women turning out to support each other. (They even sat together in the auditorium, cheering me on.) Afterwards, poet Tom Healy hosted a kickass reception in his Fifth Avenue apartment. I asked him if he'd been able to make the reading, having a vague sense that he'd just been...on the road. Somewhere.

"No," he explained apologetically. "I didn't make it. I just got back from mountain climbing with Russell Banks." All righty then. Best get-out-of-jail-free card, ever.

Now I am back home in DC, and up to my knees up to my neck over my head with edits to Don't Kill the Birthday Girl. This is the nature of it; trying to return to a text and tweak the rendering of facts and metaphor, all while maintaining tone. I feel so lucky Crown is excited about the memoir. While in for a meeting last week, my editor sent out a call ("Sandra Beasley is here--stop by and say hello--") that elicited appearances by five staff-members in the space of five minutes. Still, oof. 200 pages of edits I have to feel confident in by Wednesday.

So I am doing what I often do in moments of crisis: perusing music videos on YouTube. Lately I'd have an affinity for Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie," featuring Rihanna. I don't know which pains me more: that Megan Fox looks so young (she's six years younger than me) or that Dominic Monaghan looks a bit old (and he's only four years older than me). It's the eyes that give him away. "If you've lived well, your smile lines are in the right places, and your frown lines aren't too bad," Sophia Loren once said. But when you're an artist, what equals "living well"? 

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