On those rare occasions when I attend parties, I often search for and find quiet spaces. Recently, at a party, I found myself alone, soaking my aching feet in the jacuzzi. From the jacuzzi, I could see the orange glow of the living room.
I thought of Bill Callahan’s lyrics, “The orange glow of a stranger’s room looks so much warmer than mine.” In The Rumpus Interview with Bill Callahan, he says in Austin “you can find the edges of the city. There are points where it just stops and becomes miles of grassland.” I’d probably like Austin if Bill Callahan were showing me around. It sounds like he finds quiet spaces, too.
In a short documentary about Natashia Deón’s readings series Dirty Laundry Lit, I say that I like readings because they bring people together. Which is funny because I’m always looking for a place to hide when I’m in a room full of people. Or I’m looking for a role to perform. At one point, I played bar back with bartender Iris. We called ourselves Team IZ, and Iris told me that this party was definitely a nerd party.
There were people you’d know in the living room. Stephen Elliott, Ben Loory, Melissa Chadburn, Cecil Castellucci, Joshua Wolf Shenk, Jillian Lauren, Joshuah Bearman.
Speaking of them:
Stephen Elliott would love food donations for his film
Melissa Chadburn’s Communion
Ben Loory’s book is Kerry Cullen’s The Last Book I Loved
Cecil Castelluci’s Ides of March
Joshua Wolf Shenk’s What Makes Us Happy?
Jillian Lauren writes about her experience at AWP
Joshuah Bearman’s The Other Argo
That night I wore a white lace dress, the same dress I wore for my session with Mistriss Morgana. Months ago, when I was feeling depressed from unending physical pain, she told me to look at Emergency Compliments and Is Mercury in Retrograde. The sites cheered me up.
The host told me three things make a good party:
2. Copious amounts of food and alcohol
3. Good lighting.
I kept thinking what made a good party was:
1. A woman who thought putting gardenias in the pool was a good idea.
In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion writes, “It was an hour before the party but I had already dressed when the gardenia idea presented itself. I knelt on the coping and lit the candles and used the pool skimmer to guide the gardenias and candles into a random pattern.”
Throughout the night, I looked at the empty pool. I searched for her. But there was no woman. There were no gardenias. I’m not sure what to tell you except that I was in a particular mood and it wasn’t a party mood. After I soaked my feet, I slipped out the front door and drove home.