The Bard’s Town

I went to a poetry/fiction/essay reading Friday night, the InKY Reading Series at The Bard’s Town in Louisville, KY, and got read to. I wanted to go because that was my last weekend in Louisville for a few months, and I found out while I was there that it was the last reading of the season, which is the new real reason why I wanted to go.

My goal was to blend in. I carefully picked out my non-ironed red fitted Express shirt, my non-ironed but you couldn’t tell anyway charcoal gray Express pants, and my unkept-but-okay-for-a-Kentucky-guy beard. I wore my shirt untucked and didn’t wear a belt, and I wore shoes that weren’t too shiny because that shit draws eyeballs to it like a cut for TV version of Forrest Gump. My sleeves were rolled up and the top button of my shirt was undone so that I’d look super casual, but like I’d at least done some research on who was coming so that I’d know to wear something at least kinda nice.

When I walked in, I asked the lady who gave the menus if there was a literary reading thingy, and then I was told to go to the other room past the sign that says restrooms. It was a white sign with green goo letters that, to be honest, I don’t think I ever actually read. In the next room there were big tables for large groups, because apparently all writerly people come in large groups, like cats. There’s almost never just one cat. Trust me on this.

I remember surveying the room. There were people dressed in clothes that looked like they had been selected purposefully, so I knew right then that I had to be on my best behavior – no laughing out loud when someone says nipple or forgetting to silence my phone, for example. I picked a corner that looked like it would stay empty. It didn’t. It was next to  a window, which proved to be a great distraction during the reading because, you know, cars and stuff. But I pushed on through because I knew that corner I’d selected was a great place to hide and remain unseen, at least from the authors. I was wrong and everyone saw me and I felt naked. And no one was on their Grindr.

Failed attempts at blending and all, the reading was nice and I’m glad I went. Caitlin Horrocks read from her collection, This Is Not Your City, and other writers read from their work as well. I couldn’t tell if any of them felt naked or not, so they did good. After it was over everyone started being politely social, so I couldn’t stay, what with me being shy and not talking and sticking out like a red finger in the middle of the room and all. I managed to sneak away.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

1 comment

  1. Too funny, Eric! I felt as if I was there at your elbow. Good job!

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