Monday, March 13, 2006

Down south, y'all

Austin Texas Muthafucka
Category: Travel and Places

Aight, so here I am in Austin Texas, home of ACL; the only city in the world whose chamber of commerce has the slogan "keep Austin wierd"...and before any smart-asses tell me that's because it's the only one called Austin, I'll point out that there are 8 cities in the States alone with the name so fuck off and get into the spirit of the thing.

*snort* so what am I doing on a gorgous Thursday evening in party-town, TX? Catching a reading? Shaking my ass off? Grooving to a killer blues band? Whooping up with my hostel-mates? lol. As if. I blew them all off (they're going to a reading then shaking their asses off to a killer blues band) in order to take notes on William Langland's 1387 opus Piers Plowman. Yes, I am that fucking cool.

I spent 4 hours this morning, volunteering for the writers conference. My job was to sit by the sign that tells everyone where the registration desk is and tell the writers (who presumably also read) where the registration desk is. My presence was necessary, I kid you not. I also had to keep the writers from going up the wrong escalator to a musician's conference being held in the same building (it is very important to keep the writers and musicians separate). The escalator also had a sign...*sigh*. Explaning that the SXSW sign didn't mean AWP challenged me in ways that truly thrill and tickle. So cool, you could see the sweet dears coming a hundred metres off...slowly peeling from the stream of people like leaves from an autum birch and inexoribly drifting to and past the sign that told them where not to go. With hope, that will be me someday. BTW, a mind blowing percentage of people limp, here. Not Austinites; the writers from across America...more than half of them have stumbling, uneven gaits. Weird.

But I's time to get my ass back in gear and quit stalling:

In a somer seson whan soft was the sonne,
I shope me in shroudes as I a shepe were,
In habite as an heremite vnholy of workes,
Went wyde in Fis world wondres to here.

Yeah, dog.

Back from da Austin, AWP style format

Well, I made it home from Texas largely intact and largely hung over. A recap on some notable seminars: Bin Ramke on calculus, Beaudelaire and Beauty in writing. Beauty is a calculation in text, an expression in balance. Judith Johnson and Patrick Lawler were wonderful in Surrealist Landscape in Text. Johnson's insight into the difficulty of surrealist imagery in TEXT where no image can be recognized (the matter being non-text) was timely and well presented. Patrick Lawler presented a marvelous ficto-critical exercise in surrealist terms regarding the intertextual affair between a third-person Lawler, Duschamp and Magritte. "This is in the borders between what I had to say and what I didn't say."

The Canada contingent was brilliant in writing for failure: Nicole Markotic reading through Kroetch to show the importance of understanding the paradox of failure in disability writing. Christian Bok on why the poets of the Avante Garde are inescabably dependant on the failure of mediocrity, Clem Martini presented a fine argument for the necessity of failure to produce worthwhile theatre and Jessica Grant presented a muscular treatise on why ALL writers are failures - at life. If they could suceed in doing, they wouldn't write about it: if they could have faith, they would feel no need to talk about faith.

Then the drinking started. Met up with some folks from the hostel and went to the Victory Grill, where SXSW sang out in a series of alt-rock bands...notably the Happy Bullets who kicked out serious ass, horns and all...and where a plastic cup full of gin cost $3.00. 24 hours later and my brain still throbs. Since going to sleep was pointless in the eye of my 4:15 cab ride to the airport I am

g'night all.