BROOKS: For the past five years I've hosted a reading series in New York that has seen its share of rowdiness/nudity/illicit drug use/etc. But I'd have to say that the strangest thing that ever happened to me there was a few years ago...it was one of those off the wall, totally out of nowhere displays of low stakes insanity, which involved a well-known New York writer who shall remain nameless. (Let's just say she's probably the country's most famous middle-aged lesbian poet who self-published a well received book of essays a couple years ago, the title of which involves a Scandinavian country) She was the headlining reader for the event; there were two other writers on the bill before her. As the second writer left the stage, I came on and announced the reading's one and only five-minute break, at which point this well known writer leaped from her seat in the audience and screamed at the top of her lungs, "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! No fucking break! I'm fucking reading now and we're not taking a fucking break!" I could see from the glint in her eyes and the sharp furrow of her brow that this woman meant business. She then fixed her gaze on the audience, "Do any of you really want this break? If you want this break, stand up and say so." The terrified audience remained in complete silence. You could hear a fucking pin drop. She then took the stage and read a twenty minute hastily written essay about how reading series suck and how people who run readings series are assholes. The audience responded well to it, and I'm not sure if it was out of genuine appreciation of the work or utter fear of what this woman would do to them. In any case, after the reading she thanked me and said she'd read for us again.
JASON NAPOLI BROOKS's stories and journalism have appeared in various publications, including Ninth Letter, Asymptote, Index, and the Spanish national newspaper El Pais. He is the author of the internationally distributed spy serial, Cock of the Walk, from which he will read at Vermin on the Mount. He lives in New York City.
Come see Jason read at 3rd Space in San Diego on Saturday October 20 at 6pm.