Tag Archives: writers room

Cornelia Street Cafe: Reading Tomorrow, December 16th

I’m doing a reading on the 16th at Cornelia Street Cafe along with Thaddeus Rutkowski and Alison Summers.

From the Cornelia Street PR:

Meakin Armstrong will read his short story “Gigantic” Meakin Armstrong is a screenwriter, magazine editor, fiction editor of Guernica (guernicamag.com) and a freelance writer working on his first novel. For 2007, he received a Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference work-study “waitership.” Meakin is also contributor to the book, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (Dist U of Chicago Press, 2007). Most recently, his work appeared in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. His work will also be featured in an upcoming book on movies.

Thaddeus Rutkowski will read his works “Smoking” and “Recovery is for Quitters”. Thaddeus Rutkowski is a graduate of Cornell University and The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the novels Tetched (Behler Publications) and Roughhouse (Kaya Press). Both books were finalists for an Asian American Literary Award. He has been the fiction editor of the literary magazine Many Mountains Moving since 2007. He teaches fiction writing at the Writer’s Voice of the West Side YMCA in Manhattan and has taught at Pace University, the Hudson Valley Writers Center and the Asian American Writers Workshop.

Alison Summers will read from her work-in-progress Predator. Alison Summers´ first play Punch me in the Stomach co-written with Deb Filler premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in 1992. Since then she has written freelance journalism for newspapers including The Times in London, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald. She has edited several novels which have won literary prizes, and is now writing her first novel.

Cover $7 (includes one house drink)

“Desires” A Reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe

Last night’s reading at Happy Ending was great, but it’s on to a new one this coming Tuesday:

DESIRES: A READING AT The Cornelia Street Café Tuesday, February 19th, 6:00 PM 29 Cornelia Street 212-989-9319

It’s a great little place where many people have been reading for years and years, from singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega to poet-senator Eugene McCarthy along with members of Monty Python to members of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Power Ballad, a short story by Meakin Armstrong

Vegas-Habitat, a short play by Andy Podell

Across Town, a short story by Carol Ghiglieri

ANDY PODELL is a playwright, filmmaker, and activist. He is a founding member of The Radical Homosexual Agenda (www.radicalhomosexualagenda.org).

MEAKIN ARMSTRONG is a screenwriter, magazine editor, and freelance writer working on his first novel, Kings of the Wild Frontier. He is also the fiction editor for Guernica / A Magazine of Arts and Politics. For 2007, he received “waitership”) for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Meakin is also contributor to the book, New York Calling: From Blackout to Bloomberg (Dist U of Chicago Press).

CAROL GHIGLIERI has an MA in creative writing from Boston University, and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She has published stories in Alaska Quarterly Review, descant, and River City. She has won the Writer’s Voice New Voice Fiction Award and descant’s Gary Wilson Short Fiction Award. In addition to writing fiction, she works as a freelance editor and writer.

Cover $7 (includes one house drink)

“Desires” is a part of the Writers Room reading series. The Writers Room readings are supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Directions to the CORNELIA STREET CAFÉ

By Subway

A, C, E, B, D, F & V TRAINS

Get on the south end of the train.
Take the train to the West 4th Street stop.
Exit at West 3rd Street.
Walk one block north to 4th Street.
Make an acute left onto Cornelia Street.

1 & 9 TRAINS

Take the train to the Sheridan Square stop.
Walk 2 1/2 blocks east on West 4th Street.
Make a right onto Cornelia Street.

Creative Boredom

Today’s entry at semi-twee site, The Writer’s Almanac notes the birthday of illustrator Saul Steinberg.Link
I’ll go ahead and quote the whole entry (maybe because I’m bored). Really, however, all you need to read, is the last quoted sentence below:

It’s the birthday of Saul Steinberg (books by this author), born in a little village near Bucharest, Romania, in 1914. He came to this country and became a longtime artist at The New Yorker magazine. He painted many covers, including his most famous, “View of the World from 9th Avenue,” which shows a New Yorker’s view of the country with New York City huge in the foreground and the rest of the country off in the distance, little bumps of details.

Saul Steinberg said of his childhood, “I got high on elementary things like the luminosity of the day and the smell of everything – mud, earth, humidity, the delicious smells of cellars and mold, grocers’ shops.”

His mother was a cake decorator. His father designed specialty cardboard boxes. As a boy, Steinberg liked to rummage through his father’s supply of paper and rubber stamps and colored cardboard and blocks of type. He also loved to read, and he later said that he would have become a writer if he had inherited a better language, but instead he learned to draw.

He studied architecture in Italy, got a degree, and at the same time started contributing satirical drawings to humor magazines. He got out of Europe just in time – 1941– and he sailed for America from Portugal, carrying a passport that he had doctored with his own rubber stamps. Through the intervention of the editor of The New Yorker, he was allowed to enter the United States in 1942. He enlisted in the Navy, went off to fight in World War II, and then came back to draw cartoons and covers for The New Yorker magazine. He parodied most of the popular styles of painting of the 20th Century, cubism and abstract expressionism, even children’s art. His work was always playful and funny. He put in Easter bunnies and the Statue of Liberty, the Chrysler Building, Santa Claus, Mickey Mouse. He once drew Uncle Sam as a bullfighter, fighting a turkey instead of a bull. He loved to make elaborate counterfeit documents – currency, passports, licenses, and especially diplomas.

It was Saul Steinberg who said, “The life of the creative man is led directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.”

I’m not entirely sure that that is the case, that boredom drives creativity, but I like the idea of it. All of those little short short stories I wrote in my bedroom in South Carolina–was I bored? Possibly. We’re talking about South Carolina, after all. Come to think of it, yes, I freaking bored. Bored out of my mind.

But was I writing to avoid boredom–fighting it creatively, rather than through (say) regular doses of TV? Not so sure.

In any case, does boredom as a driving force, apply to me today? Perhaps, but these days, what I think really drives me: time keeps moving anyway. Why not spend it wisely?

Where I go to write, The Writers Room, has magnificent skyline views. One window-wall looks out onto the Empire State Building (and also, sadly the building in which I work). At night, it’s all very inspiring–it’s a typical movie establishing shot that says, this is New York, City of Wonder.

The other window-wall, however, looks out onto a massive beige, Sixties-style apartment building, a hulking monstrosity. I prefer that mundane, typical New York view. Why? Because I can see into dozens of apartments simultaneously.

Basically, I see privileged people shuffling around in their socks, watching TV. And that’s inspiring to me, because that view offers a concrete option: I could be unproductively bored in front of my own shiny-new flat screen TV (that sometimes, I’ll admit calls to me like a siren).

But no, I’d rather look at a computer screen and try to write. God knows what those people in that beige building think of me as I sit in a dark room under a single pool of light, staring at a computer screen. They probably look at me and think, Lok at that guy. I could be over there, working. Instead, I’m watching TV in my socks!

But I don’t care.

My necessary fiction (more on that at some other point): those shuffling people are drugged by TV and are unproductively bored. I’m single in this city, often bored, but at least I’m doing something I count as worthwhile, no matter what. And that’s not boring at all.

But still–none of this disproves Steinberg–not at all. It’s actually compatible with his statement; something of an elaboration. Watching TV is boring, after all. It’s what sends me to The Room to write. Nonetheless, I prefer my own notion: we must fight the encroaching morass. We must avoid the ever-present, mind-numbing TV that imprisons the be-socked masses in their tiny beige apartment buildings all over the world.