I go glam for all my readings. For my first, I wore pink, gold and green eye makeup, painted my nails magenta and ironed my hair into a giantly high faux hawk-ish structure. This week, I’m planning to spray myself with glitter, wear a gold lame zip-up and draw a giant teal star around one eye.
Yesterday my partner asked me whether my aesthetic theatrics might not be sending the wrong message by drawing attention away from my texts and onto my person.
He said, “Aren’t you making it about you instead of about the writing?”
Why do I wear makeup to readings?
Maybe it’s because when I was five years old, I wanted to be a rockstar, and a part of me still wants that. Or at least wants writers to rock. I like costumes, and I like finding excuses to don them.
But I also think my cultivation of a distinctive reading persona is connected with my project as a writer. In all my creative output, I am interested in disruption, particularly of narratives and norms related to sexuality and gender. I am additionally interested in the relationship between artifice and surface — particularly shocking, garish, grotesque or glamorous surfaces — and interiority, intellectual and emotional complexity and even startling honesty. I am interested in the malleability of identity and the unreliability, perhaps nonexistence of “the self.” Increasingly, I find art most provocative when it explores tensions — for instance, the tension of “profane” or “perverse” subjects rendered in gorgeously rhythmic or lyrical prose. I enjoy the disjuncture between my glammed-out personal presentation, and the somewhat mundane and/or formal environments in which I read — dive bars, galleries, coffee shops, etc. I’m not certain where I am headed w/ all this, but I am having a great time.