After Randall Keenan’s craft class (which was fun and useful) I had big dreams of a quick nap, but it was time to head to Treman to set up for our Harley-themed night. We put up posters of motorcycles, made a bar sign for the front door–“The Exhaust Pipe”–turned out the lights and used red, green and blue lights clipped to the bar. We had whiskey sours on the menu (a special drink for the special night) which were very good, by the way. I’d never had one before, but mine hit the spot.
The most fun for me was being the tattoo maven. We had a big selection of temporary tattoos and we offered them to all who attended. It was great fun seeing who picked what to adorn their body and then applying it for them. As one young woman said, “This is the most physical contact I’ve had all week.” I’ve decided if this whole writing gig doesn’t work out I’m going to open a temporary tattoo parlor and make people happy without the commitment or the pain. After all, how many people can claim to have given Mark Doty and Michael Collier tattoos?
(I think I need to write a story about a tattoo artist…there was definitely something powerful about adorning another human body, even if it was temporary adornment. Imagine what it must be like to permanently mark people every single day. To send them out of your shop knowing they’ll be wearing your art every day until they die. Now that’s commitment. Unless of course you’re Cher.)
Another great thing about Harley night was looking out into the crowd and seeing Merrill Feitell and Chris Castellani, and having Merrill tell me she’s been reading my blog (Hi Merrill!). Merrill and Chris were both waiters and fellows at Bread Loaf and it was wonderful to see them back on the mountain. They are both fantastic writers, too, so check out their books. Plus, I hear they kicked some serious butt at Bread Loaf poker.
After Harley Nite, we went to dinner, still in our full Harley regalia, and got a great welcome from the waiters when we strutted in. After dinner I made a quick wardrobe change because my dear friend Laila was reading with Carl Phillips, and much as I loved my Harley costume, it didn’t belong in the reading hall. Laila read from the beginning of her new novel and it was marvelous, plus she looked absolutely radiant at the microphone. I know it’s superficial, but it really does make the reading even more pleasant when the reader is beautiful…and even that word is misleading, because I don’t mean the traditional trumped-up-movie-star beautiful, but the beauty of an artist, sharing her/his work and glowing…it’s an aura, an attraction that makes you want to know that person, that makes you wish you had equal talent…the rock star quality. Am I making sense?
After the reading, I had my turn at Barn Pub, which is basically just standing watch at the barn and making sure no one leaves with alcohol or brings in their own. Easy enough. I sat with Isaac (fellow social staffer) and read the next day’s workshop stories. The shift ended at 12:30 and so did my day. I had told myself I would party more after hours this year, but I just couldn’t. I need my sleep in order to be coherant in workshops and also to keep from getting sick. Maybe if I come back as a scholar someday (read: No responsibilities) I’ll party then.