From the West Coast comes this tale–
A friend of mine is part of Maxine Hong Kingston’s Veterans Writing group. They are publishing a collection of their work this October “veterans of War, Veterans of Peace,”, and he was invited to a reading in San Francisco. They are a program up there called “Drinks with Writers” that moves from restuant to restuant once a month. People come, have drinks, writers read, they talk. It’s run by a fellow named Charlie Anders.
When my friend shows up at the talk the place is packed. Hundreds of people. He’s impressed and goes backstage to talk with the other writers who will be reading. One young fellow in a suit and short hair looked very young to him–turns out his name was Judy–winner of the Lesbian Erotic Art Contest. She is called on stage by Charly–who it turns out is a very campy drag queen. The Lesbian fiction writer is sort of a comic, does a stand up routine on having to deal with guys when she goes to strip shows and various other entertainments. Mark isn’t sure the Vets will be able to follow her act, but is reassured when a feminist performance artist comes on stage to read from Simone DeBeuavoir’s Second Sex.
The twist is that she wears fishnets and is spanked while reading.
Then Charly comes backstage to get the Vets. She tells Mark not to worry–that’s she makes up wonderful introductions. She tells the crowd that Maxine Hong Kingston’s Veteran’s Writers Group have been living together in Maxine Hong Kingston’s secret South Pacific atoll for over the last ten years, that they drink pig’s blood and engage in all manner of secret rituals, that Mark and his fellow Vets have’nt been living in civilization for years and …well, you get the drift. Amazingly Mark was able to read his story, and they sold 11 of his books–he only had 15. It was the first time in his life he didn’t feel like one of the hipest people in the room.