See: Long Breakfast Coming
Sometime Sunday morning, afternoon, actually, the day after the final Greenwood Lit Crawl, eating a veggie breakfast burrito at a favorite Columbia City brunch spot, an hour and a half before working a crazy shift where I had to use both elbows to get through crowds of dancers (without spilling beer), on a recap-tip with Rachel, I still swam with half-thoughts and images. I thought about the writers group I started attending in Jr. High and loved, then grew completely frustrated with by the time I was 19; there was no exit point. I thought about getting kicked out of the UK about six months (at least) too soon and trying to scramble to put things in place so the stuff I started there would work. I thought about how I'd loved Bellingham, Washington, in November 2005, how I'd have not moved to stop a fullscale demolition in May of 2007.
See: Not to be Confused With a Swedish Rock Band
I was recapping the story of how Basement Poetry ended-- a 67 year old one-handed veteran reading an epic narrative about his father to about 20 people, four cop cars, three separate noise-violation tickets of $250-- to Rachel, who'd either not heard it, or felt I needed to feel like I was telling a new story. Either way, a once-storied thing I'd put together (not coincidentally, with two other friends, over beer) I'd apparently not even mentioned to my girlfriend. Buried? Blurred? (ask her, however, if she wants to hear about The Crunch again. . .)
See: Everything I do, I do for Love and a Suffocating Sense of Obligation.
There is no online recording of Lobster Manor, the Poem that,had I written later in my writing career/education, would have probably taken on a greater element of word collage. I was palpably bitter because I was twenty six and had enough fucked shit going on personally that I could afford to spread it around, and because me, Jake, Ryler had to live in that house for a year after the tickets, could barely even have people over ("If this happens again, you'll probably get evicted") and I, at least, had folks I barely knew coming up to me and guilting me for not risking my house and prosecution in order to keep having shows and readings. . .you know, FOR THE SCENE.
See: Getting to the Nostalgia At Hand
One year ago Saturday, we had the first Five Alarms Lit Crawl. Below you can watch my rambling, overexplanatory introduction and Eva Suter's set, which kicked off the whole shebang. You can also remember that sometimes I don't have a beard, and then there's my hair, solidly at the middle point between "terrible" and "decent" grahamhair.
I, Aaron, and Greg got better and briefer with the intros. Saw some fantastic readings, some readers stepping in at clutch time to fill a void and knocking it outta the part (larry, jesse, kris, erin), got love in the local press, love from our friends and got to know a lot of awesome folks that we'd not beforehand. I tend to think that curating is a delicate balance between sacrifice and selfishness; when you have respected writers getting on a mic and saying "This is one of the best/my favorite literary event series. . ."
well that may not be the reason you started (because that is a bad reason to expend so much effort) but it can help you keep going (perpetual motion machine. maybe we can top ourselves)
I think next to starting The Crunch, Five Alarms has been my consistent favorite curation experience. Merging the fun (drinking! crawling! socializing!) with a commitment to quality and challenging work (that line betwen crowd-accessible and experimental and confrontational) both nailed my personal aesthetic and helped to expand it. The energy, shifting vibe-- the crawls all had basic ingredients in common, but no two had the same atmosphere around them. This was huge for me.
For comprehensive video, photos, check out www.fivealarms.wordpress.com.
I was going to have a mini list of my own personal favorite moments, but that would be some saccharine bullshit.
See: All Good Things
So if you clicked his name, you know Greg is going to Cambodia. If you've talked to any of us in person, you know we somewhat arbitrarily set out to do 5, and that you are welcome to pick our brains if you want to pick up where we left off. There've been more than a few "Why are you stopping?" queries, but they've generally been unloaded; no guilt, no guff. Partly because I think it can actually be harder to stop a reading when it's struggling; it feels like a defeat, like no one will step up. I have no question that we would have gotten to that point if we'd tried to drag it on; there were many writers I'd have loved to see at a crawl, but you know what? I'm pretty sure the scene can take care of itself. There was a sense in the conversations I heard and was a part of that this can be a start, or a link, in Seattle's ongoing literary metamorphosis.
Ending like I started: On a personal note it's been so. good. for me to be involved in something that ended at the right moment.