Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pressure's On

See, the reading in Toronto last night was packed. Fucking packed. There were probably more than a hundred people there, so I figure this had better be a killer post for when they all search me out.

Julia and I were running a little late, having lost track of time over rice and vegetables and shrimp and tofu and kimchi.* When we got there, we could hardly get in the door. My hands started shaking and I offered a prayer up into the universe that they would stop by the time I started and wished that I'd had time to put Eric's suggestion of less flappy paper into play. Luckily my prayers were answered and less shaky paper wasn't needed.

It was amazing to read with Julia. She is a fucking smart cookie and we had a really nice day hanging out. Funnily enough, we talked more about birds and fish** than about gender or her book. I had questions, and the book is thoroughly engaging, but to me, asking those questions would have felt too much to me like the cissexual cross-examining the transsexual.

I have had the luxury - the privilege - of not having to think very deeply about my own gender. Not to say I haven't put some thought into it, and I have thought a fair bit about my experience of going from straight to sorta-butch to sorta-femme, but honestly, it's something I can put away if I want. Whipping Girl provides a framework for thinking about gender and gender expression and sex and the relationship between them that allows for a much more thorough and nuanced examination than has so far gone on in my head. I don't think I've figured out enough about my own relationship to my own sex and gender to keep up a decent conversation on that with someone who has.

It was an honour to read with her.

But I'm a dolt when it comes to promo. I left some chapbooks up at the front of the bookstore, and then thought "Wait, I can't collect the money because I'm leaving for the bus station before Julia's done," and collected them on my way out. Because right, those chapbooks are far more valuable to me sitting in my desk drawer waiting to be paid for than given out free and actually read by people. Sheesh. Also, no email list for people to sign up to. Also, a blog name that is difficult to spell, pronounce and remember. I will go far, it's a sure bet. But hey! Pressure's off.

In other news, pride was fucking great. We got about 350 people out to the dyke march, and there were tons at the parade. I loved being in the middle of all those women marching, and was very happy that I was walking next to someone who laughed when I said "Where?" after reading the sign saying "dyke's rock." Even funnier, from our perspective, it was beside the sign that said "talk nerdy to me." Done and done.

It's great how community-oriented the parade in Ottawa still is. The last couple years I was in Toronto, the parade had gotten so big that you had to get there an hour in advance to see anything, and it felt like most of the floats were booze and make-up and there were big metal barriers to prevent you from you know, being proud if you felt like it for a few minutes. Bah. Ottawa is still mostly community groups - with the odd radio station thrown in. No metal barriers.

I nearly didn't make it to the parade though. I had one or two too many pints of beer the night before, and though I felt okay when I decided that yes, I would go out for breakfast with a group of people, it became very obvious to everyone that I was in no actual shape to be there. I sat beside Christine at the reading that night and she said "How are you? You looked a little green this morning. We could see you fading." So my hard work at keeping it under cover was for naught. Apparently, it's going to be a bit longer before my stomach settles down after the Halifax stomach flu. At least I no longer feel barfy after every time I eat.

And finally, if you want to get in my bad books on a long bus trip, you should alternate digging your knees into the back of my seat with putting your socked feet on the window ledge beside my arm rest and end that delicious set with repeatedly punching the back of my seat at 2 am after your seat mate has gotten off the bus and you have turned to stretch your legs out into his seat. You should also keep doing all of these things after I have turned my 180 degrees as if possessed by the demon of knee-digging-hatred and given you a dirty dirty look. Also, you should try to use your purse with the metal handles on it as a pillow between your head and the window and when you find it strangely uncomfortable, it being a purse full of odd-shaped objects and not actually a pillow full of soft fibres, you should reposition it 10 times and clank the metal handles very loudly against the window each time. Make sure you wait until 1:45 am to do this. And then I will write you up in my bad books. Because you know I have them.

*Apparently, kimchi is my new obsession. When I saw it on the list of things that I could put on my rice, I was really more excited than fermented cabbage warrants.
**The kribensis in Eric's tank have had fry and they're fascinating to watch. I spend far more time than I would have expected sitting in front of his tank, waiting to see what they'll do next. They've cowed the three giant fish in the tank, often herding them into a small corner and even then, the angel fish is in tatters from being nipped. They also herd the fry - if one strays from the school, one of the parents will search it out, scoop the fry up in its mouth and then spit it out with the rest of the fry. It's fascinating enough that I've started looking around my apartment to see if I can fit in a tank.


kat said...

i'm terribly disappointed that i missed you reading with julia serano in ottawa, but it was lovely to meet you in real life at certain sort!

Lindsay said...

I was at that reading. It was awesome and you did a great job! I hope to see you again soon.

Asteroidea Press said...

kat, it was lovely to meet you more than passing in person as well.

lindsay! because you went to the actual trouble of finding me, if you send me your address (email:asteroideapress@yahoo.ca) i will send you a copy of my chapbook. glad you liked the reading.