Eat Your Words, Not the Food

1. Lots of hungry New Yorker’s crawled over. 2. Theresa and Jesse, coupling out.

As I looked through the twenty choices for venues and readings at the fourth annual NYC Lit Crawl on Saturday, the one that caught my eye was No. 3, “Eat Your Words,” which took place at Jimmy’s No. 43. The description put me in Eat, Pray, Love mood as it drew me to Lauren Shockey, Joshua Bernstein, and Giulia Melucci “dishing about brews, ex-boyfriends and spaghetti,” all three of which I consume in great quantity.

The reading also drew in other New Yorkers in the mood for romance; I had the pleasure of sitting next to Theresa and Jesse, who I was told “are very much a couple.” It was their first event on the crawl and they came because “food is good.” I agreed with their statement and wished them luck on their project made together and out of love, an interactive installation that relates to “steam-punk and VCRs.”

Turns out ordering “Eat Your Words” as an appetizer for the dinner I planned after was probably not the best idea. The stories were captivating and entertaining, but as Shockey informed the audience, “you can have an incredibly uncomfortable meal but still find your place at the table.”

1. Tastes like dog. 2. Jenny and Riz, before the ramen.

Giulia Melucci asked, “The beer is a bit moldy, is it supposed to be that way?” before she read, setting the culinary theme for the evening. [Author’s note: No.] From moldy beer I traveled to Vietnam with Shockey and learned the fine art of canine connoisseurship. Apparently, it’s grey, chewy, fatty, and tastes “a bit like venison.” But be careful when you eat, because depending what phase the lunar calendar is in, eating dog can either bring good luck or great misfortune. So watch out for that.

To send us off, Bernstein performed an oral piece about his love for an espresso machine and an apartment whose predominant aesthetic revolved around the accumulation of empty wine bottles (I particularly admire this school of interior design). The East Village apartment also featured exposed brick, lots of light, and a “rolling carpet of cockroaches.” I won’t reveal any endings to you, but the words “colonies,” and “graveyard of thoraxes,” were used.

So, while I definitely didn’t leave Jimmy’s No. 43 with a big appetite, my hunger for well-written stories had been filled. I caught the event’s emcee, Jenny Miller, editor at Grub Street, on her way out with Riz, who “officially confirmed” their dating-status during the interview, though “it has yet to become Facebook official.” But before that milestone is reached, they were off to Chuko, a Prospect Heights restaurant, to enjoy some fine ramen and a beautiful night in the city.

“Eat Your Words”-Cloud: moist, companionship, crunch


— Craig Moreau, author of Chelsea Boy, has just finished a book tour and is currently drinking a beer. He is interested in identity, democracy, and word-clouds.

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