This is my friend Steve reading at Magers & Quinn last week. His reading was the last stop on my whirlwind September literary tour. Of course, three readings in ten days might not seem like a lot to you, but I’m an angry hermit, remember?
I was a little stunned to walk into Magers & Quinn on Thursday night to see them setting up the chairs in the middle of the store. I walked up to Steve and raised my eyebrows in question.
“Look,” he said. “They’re giving me the middle.”
“Wow,” I said. “I thought you’d be back in poetry.”
“So did I,” he said. “But apparently there’s been some buzz.”
“You have buzz?” I asked.
So yeah, I got to see the much buzzed about reading of Steve Brezenoff. Try to contain your jealousy. The reading was kind of fabulous and I sat through the whole thing beaming like I had anything to do with anything at all. I was just so proud and happy for him, I had to resist the urge to turn to the person sitting next to me and say, “that’s my friend up there.” I resisted only because Jem, a fellow Inglorious Bastard, was sitting next to me and he was fully aware that I knew Steve. I also had to resist the urge to ask a question that would turn me into that jackass at readings who always asks the obscure question in an attempt to prove that they know more about the writer than anyone else.
I resisted, but it was tough because the week before at the Colson Whitehead reading some crazy lady asked Colson, and I quote: “You’re here to be all funny and fluffy, but what is your message to the world?” And after that reading I vowed many times over that I was going to ask Steve that question at his reading. But when the time came, I just couldn’t be that jackass. Damn. Opportunity missed.
After the reading while Steve hobnobbed with his public and signed books, I bragged to the Inglorious Bastards and our former writing teacher Dale about how once I got Steve to sign my copy of The Absolute Value of -1, I’d have successfully added four signed books to my collection. Nobody was that impressed (though I still am, come on Gary Shteyngart, Colson Whitehead, Jonathan Franzen, and Steve all in a weekish time span, that’s impressive), so instead we listened as Dale tried to sell us on that biography of Raymond Carver none of us were interested in.