First of all, I no longer love flying. I hate it. The wings looked like they had been painted in the air by a mathematically inclined seven year old child. They did not look substantial. It did not help that my first seat assignment placed a pilot next to me who looked clammy and said, “I hate doing this.” Give me the road, the train, my own two feet any day!
The festival kicked off with a rapid fire reading by a host of amazing readers, among whom were V. V. (Sugi) Ganesananthan who read an excerpt involving cadavers and ragging (hazing), from her book Love Marriage, and Deepak Unnikrishnan, who performed a series of shorts among which were the articulation of loathing and disgust toward a spastic pan handler described as being vaguely Shel Silversteinian (poetically speaking, not physically), a brilliantly evocative image, and a dying mother. It was easy to embody, in the listening, those feelings, the kind which are usually relegated to the shadowy recesses of our being. Quite an act.
I also enjoyed hearing Nawaz Ahmed, my friend from Bread Loaf and now headed to the MFA program at Ann Arbor. Nawaz has a sharp, edgy, naked writing voice, both challenging and imploring. I still remember the short story he read in Ripton last year during the wonderful From The Dark Tower reading, and I know that I will enjoy his work in the years to come.
I leave you with two lines from Rachna Vohra, a South Asian poet and spoken word artist, who performed an ode to love which was sweet and refreshing and over the top, kind of like my favorite drink, Faluda, which was evened out by a somber meditation on America’s war on Iraq. I close with two lines from the beginning of that work:
“September days have gone from
autumn leaves to nine elevens.”
And now, fortified by advil, neosporin and enormous bandages, I leave to get back to Stevenson Hall and to the pleasures that await.