Thursday, April 20, 2006

Lydia Davis did something interesting at her reading at DU tonight -- after she had read a new piece, about (yes rather a loose way of talking about a Lyia Davis construction) trying to find ways to pay homage to people who have died, she asked if after the reading people would tell her whether or not they thought the piece worked (it did). The first question she was asked during the q&a portion of the evening was what she thought wasn't working in the piece. She mentioned a few things she was questioning, then asked what the audience thought. Some thought it was too long, others too short, etc. She took it all in, asked a few follow-up questions and that was it. But everyone in the room (or at any rate a high-enough percentage of those present for me to call it everyone) seemed struck by the moment -- here's Lydia Davis for God sakes not just performatively asking for feedback, but actually asking for it and listening to the advice offered, for whatever it was worth. Humility, detachment, confidence all seemed to be in the mix. Very appealing.


Blogger Black Lodge said...

Yes - this was great. Her asking us for our reactions has kept my thoughts returning to that piece over the past few days. I am struck by how it recast a Sebald(_Rings of Saturn_) understanding of relationships - the predicament of grappling with what moves through us. I felt the narrator was orbited by these remnants of others - that she was caught in the boundary between what she identified as her own and what she identified as belonging to others. She was in the mindset of choosing what to carry on with her - but no choice is made. Our very human rubble of mannerisms/habits/stories that has no traceable beginning, yet Lydia's piece set my mind towards trying to trace histories of the characters and at the same time wonder what will carry on. She captured this expansion, but also offered a feeling of being stuck, of stuttering and a sadness of not knowing how to choose or even if it is her choice to make.
Her openness to reactions did create a mood that is hard to find at a Reading - that in that room, something was happening, that one of us might display a similar gesture when we have the chance.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

Beautifully put, Kevin.

"Our very human rubble" indeed.

9:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home