Four Stories Tall at Fiction Addiction
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1. Curator and Host Christine Vines holdin’ it down at 2A. 2. A giant Thad Ziolkowski considers a taco purchase.
The voices of Peter, Paul and Mary ushered us into the second floor of lower east side’s 2A with Puff the Magic Dragon, recognized for its soothing effects on fiction addicts in Honah Lee and beyond. What luck, since we were in for it (in the best way possible) at Christine Vine’s monthly reading series Fiction Addiction, what with Molly Tolsky, Lisa Dierbeck (The Autobiography of Jenny X, Unprintable reading series), Thad Ziolkowski (Wichita) and William Giraldi (Busy Monsters).
Molly Tolksy brought us face to face with the potential disasters of housesitting for a family that never returns. Some things to watch out for: accidentally inviting your teacher to move in with you, insinuating that the house (and its cat) are yours, and watching your teacher remodel the place — building shelves, as if you were “the kind of person who had things to store.” How did the narrator keep the lascivious teacher at bay? With the lowdown, “I’m not going to sleep with you. I just want you to meet my cat.”
1. William Giraldi with “family and pupil support”: brother-in-law and actor Stephen Lin, who likes Sleepwalk with Me, and a friend who wants to see Ted. 2. “I was in the next room with their older brothers playing strip poker,” Lisa Dierbeck, reading “How to Be A Girl”
Lisa Dierbeck also forewarned us, but with “I have trouble following rules, as a rule, so what I’m reading tonight may or may not be fiction.” Which means that as a child, “before [she] knew [her] play dough from [her] silly putty,” Dierbeck may or may not have plotted her “escape from Planet Girl.” Years later, Planet Girl has a way of reigning her back in, especially when you’re obsessed with the “deliciously degenerate physical appearance” of your rocker neighbor Jamie and his burnt orange-tinted hair “like bozo the clown.”
1. Then it got real tense: “I realized this whole scene was a kind of after image hanging in the air,” Thad Ziolkowski, reading from Wichita.
While Vines is a natural born citizen of Wichita, Kansas, Thad Ziolkowski admitted that his visit to the ‘Air Capital of the World’ was brief and opportunistic: “I got in and I got out.” This admission elicited noises from the audience suggesting that our writer should have extended his stay. (A well-timed noise can express so much.) In Ziolkowski’s novel, Seth, the “bipolar skate punk brother,” rolls out his tripartite Plan B to his parents on the off chance that he doesn’t get the starring role in a Gus Van Sant film: dance at a strip club, internet porn, and mixed martial arts with wild animals.
1. Who brought them to the reading? Issac Zair, Raina Teachout and Virginia Vitztham (Beautiful Trouble) pass the buck. Isaac’s last reading was an open mic poetry slam at a basement club in Raleigh, North Carolina, which began, “I have eaten your god.” 2. Wait, wait, guys, William Giraldi is reading his book to you.
In what could be a publishing industry save, William Giraldi, who goes by Billy, asked, “What if there were a bookstore in every bar? You could wake up every morning with a strange book in your bed with no memory of how it got there or what you might have read the night before.” While we contemplated the beauty of this dream, Giraldi’s narrator, Charles, who “could have modeled for one of those home gym systems” got all “woof and wow” when Gillian, “a tantric Mary Poppins,” accepted his offer to drive her home. Hubba hubba.
Leaves you wanting more, doesn’t it? You could say it’s the nature of an addiction to fiction. Which is why we know where you’ll be on the last Tuesday in July: Second Street and Avenue A.
by Lisa Dierbeck
by Thad Ziolkowsky
by William Giraldi
— Erika Anderson [text and images] moved to Brooklyn from Geneva, Switzerland. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts, contributes to Hunger Mountain and tweets for the Franklin Park Reading Series.
— Jeremiah Cumberbatch [images] is a photographer based in New York City, and regularly photographs Fiction Addiction. Find him here.