Last week, I sent a bunch of my students to different literary events around the Bay Area–mostly readings, but a few plays–and had them write about the experience. Okay, granted, that’s probably cruel and unusual punishment. But their papers have some funny-ass stuff in them and I’ve been giggling my way all the way through the grading. Why? Because they are so freaking right about their assessment of the frequently snobbish literary world.
To begin with, not a single student (out of 18 students) felt comfortable in the experience.Â Most felt too young and awkward;Â some felt underdressed or not dressed artsy enough ; some of them felt too straight; some of them were creeped out by the lady dressed all in black who glided across the floor to fiddle with the microphone on the podium before the author took center stage; and none of them expected the booze they were served.Â I’m glad to report, however, that one of my students whoÂ didn’t expect or accept wine at the swanky place he accidentally stumbled into was glad that he “happened” to have Tecate hidden in his jacket.Â (I wonder, though: did he have limes?)
But the best of all, the best statement of all, was the one where the student admittedÂ thatÂ the reading he attendedÂ might have been allright if they hadn’t been trying to pimp the book so hard. Yep. That’s what he said. And he is sooooo very right. Way to tell ’em straight, cowboy.Â