Eileen did read on Valencia Street in San Francisco (Dog-Eared Books) on Friday. The street is significant to me in that it was iconic, at least from the east coast, mostly because of Michelle Tea's book "Valencia," which was a kind of lesbian Kerouac novel, although, technically it's a memoir, but isn't Kerouac? The first place I drove when I got here from across the country, from that strange home of mine, Philadelphia, was the corner of 20th and Valencia. I found it without knowing where I was going. I found it without a single wrong turn. Conrad, in the passenger seat, was amazed.
Eileen is one of the few queer writers who straddles both worlds -- the experimental poetry community in all its forms and the queer spoken wordish world of Sister Spit etc. I always find myself wanting to be in a more directly queer writing scene but it seems that the queers don't know what to do with my work. Most recently, a very gay sex scene from my book was rejected from "Other" magazine (a queer journal from SF). The editor reading the work wrote something like "the writing seems repetitive." The aesthetic was not perceived by the reader at all and so I went back home to SPT etc. where I was understood aesthetically. These kinds of experiences makes Eileen a kind of hero of mine, as if one day I'll be able to be gay and a writer and be a gay writer in a complex way in a complex world and actually be read by gay people. I mean, I did write a coming out novel for God's sakes.
But Friday was nice. Eileen was greeted as a gay superhero in a crowd of mixed crowd of experimental writers and san francisco literary hipsters.