Went to a terrific reading last night at The Saint Mark's Poetry Project by two fiction writers, Diana Cage and Jane DeLynn. Great crowd and great organizers. The introductions for the readers were works of art and performance themselves worth the price of admission.
I didn't know Diana Cage's work before but was impressed with not just her writing but her delivery of the first chapter of a novel called THE HUSBANDS. Full of clever references and ironic observations that Cage put across like a great stand-up act, the reading drew lots of knowing chuckles and even outbursts of belly laughs from the audience.
The self-effacing narrator she created broaches subjects and descriptions that once were seen as "transgressive" (and still are by many, though when Jane and I were first publishing and reading our work at Saint Mark's in the 1970s that word hadn't become common yet, so mine was just called "raw" and Jane's "dark" to some) but now are the currency of many younger writers.
Jane was introduced by a young writer who shared how she'd been told for years to read DeLynn and had put it off, but once she began she realized she'd have to mark her reading life as pre-DeLynn and post-DeLynn. Exactly the kind of introduction Jane deserves. And she didn't disappoint, reading from a new novel that was ripe with her unique brand of humor and parody that had the audience once more constantly chuckling when not belly laughing.
The subject was aging and dying and dealing with the medical system and establishment. Dark humor indeed, but nonetheless so brilliant that the audience kept applauding long after Jane had sat down and the reading was over.
Then I had the good fortune of going out afterward with Jane and mutual old friends I hadn't seen in decades, though some I immediately recognized as though I'd just seen them yesterday, because I had, on Facebook, others vaguely familiar, until a name was mentioned evoking an entire history of friendship.
The creative act, whether mine or another's, continues to offer much of the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in my life.