Saturday, September 30, 2006

Awkward Moments

Earlier today, I remembered that AB's Fun Home reading would be happening this evening. Yes, I know I shouldn't forget something like that (especially since I had posted about it), but things happen. Things like going to the bar where Soozi was working and running into former scientist co-workers who were at the bar to see another former scientist co-worker play drums in her band. Just a bit awkward! I generally don't mix my work life with my personal life, and when I don't feel comfortable around co-workers at work, I definitely don't mix the two! So, it was like worlds colliding.

Actually, it wasn't that bad.

Anyway, so I remembered AB's reading tonight and thought I should read a chapter before going. Thinking I would just glance through the book while I drank my afternoon tea, I ended up reading the whole thing in a two-hour stretch. It's pretty good, unlike the reading, which was painfully awkward. The reading part was great, but the Q&A session was horrible! Embarrassing! Awkward!

I generally try not to complain about things on my blog because I don't want to be that blogger, but I can't help it. Here's a list of annoyances from the AB reading:
  • The white sheet used as a projector screen. Come one, Left Bank Books, couldn't you have splurged and rented an actual projector screen? This would have prevented the embarrassing screen-falling-down-moments.

  • The guy sitting beside me was complaining about having a hard time finding Bechdel's comic strip in print, so he said, to the folks sitting around him, "And, you know, I'm (ha ha) kind of embarrassed to buy Bitch magazine at a bookstore..." Dude, why're you trying to impress us with your knowledge of feminist mags? Especially since Bitch doesn't even run DTWOF.

  • The woman talking to the guy above. For some reason, the woman felt compelled to out herself as straight to strangers! She said something like, "I don't know...I'm straight, but for some reason, I end up reading all the lesbian comics, like Hothead Paisan..." This comment elicited lots of eye-rolling from me.

  • One of the two ladies sitting on my other side sat down and said, "I've just never seen a book like this [FH] before. All of these graphics and artwork." Yo, it's called a graphic novel, and it's an entire genre. Alison Bechdel is smart, but she didn't freaking invent the graphic novel. Seriously.

  • During Q&A, a lady asked AB how AB's brother is doing. AB looked perplexed and uncomfortable.

  • Also during Q&A, a lady made us all uncomfortable by saying, "Alison, I just want to say how brave you are for writing this book, and I really wish you would stop apologizing for it [AB previously said she was sorry that the book has caused so many problems for her family]. This is a story that needs to be told and you are just so brave for telling the story of so many of us..." The lady carried on, while AB was obviously thinking "what the fuck." It was horrible and awkward and embarrassing. Also, I kind of disagree with the lady. I mean, was this really a story that needed to be told? I enjoyed FH, but I seriously question the pressing nature of it. Maybe pressing for AB on a personal level, but for the rest of, not really. It's not like it's the late 1970's and there's a dearth of coming out stories. Mainly, I'm just tired of audience members talking to authors like they (audience members) are personal friends of the author and/or feel like they're imparting a big pearl of wisdom that the author has never heard before.

So, those are my complaints.

Good things: AB looked super-cute with her little glasses and jacket.


EBuz said...

Much appreciated the blog coverage of AB's reading! I was bummed she's not coming to Noho this tour but with all the juicy details in your description it was like being there myself.

I hooted out imagining the woman who said, "I've just never seen a book like this before!" Seriously is right. You'd think the people self-selecting into that particular audience would either have a clue or know better than to admit their cluelessness. :)

Anonymous said...

hi carebear. i hope AB comes to Chicago I would like to go see her. did the woman who outed her straightness and buys hothead paisan have skinny pants and giant sunglasses?

you are my favorite!!


Carrie said...

Ebuz: Porkchop appreciated that line, too! I think I actually kind of snorted when the woman made that declaration. Seriously.

KGS: Yay! Thanks! Unfortunately, I have to report that the woman who outed herself did not have skinny pants or giant sunglasses, but she is taking a Women's Studies class at Mizzou. Hopefully not with Kitty. Please, no. Kitty would definitely teach her students to not be stupid.