If, as Kurt Vonnegut declares, unusual travel invitations are dancing lessons from God, then the invites have been running hot this week. Wednesday’s memorable seder was followed by last night’s…reading? at the Make-Out Room in San Francisco. Minal Hajratwala’s memories of her Indian family, Stacie Boschma’s slam reading that was the very definition of performance poetry, Sean Stewart’s oddly moving dialogue between Yoda and Count Dracu, and Pam Houston giving us four cities and four adventures from a work in progress. Three of the four were about sex, more or less. In a bar packed to the brim with nicely intoxicated and enthusiastically raucous literary enthusiasts, who hooted loudly at the mention of, well, pretty much anything—body parts, Star Wars, bifocal lenses—made for the kind of reading you won’t see in too many parts of the world.
I hadn’t been to The Make-Out Room before, but I had a pretty good idea what I was in for: sex scenes. However, as you may have noticed, the Russell & Holmes novels don’t do a whole lot of sex, and I didn’t want to read from one of the older books that has a more graphic scene (anyway, as graphic as I do) such as Darker Place or Touchstone. So I read a discussion from Language of Bees between Mary Russell and 87 year old Clarice Ledger about sex. And black mass, and punting, and grouse.
The audience was very polite. Still, I couldn’t help thinking that they’d prefer the Touchstone scene where the young politician has symbolic intercourse with his lover’s country manor house.
Maybe next time…
And if you’re looking for something to do in SF on the second Saturday of the month, drop in at the Make-Out Room. Tell Charlie Jane (the world’s most enthusiastic MC) that Laurie sent you.