I had a difficult time figuring out what to do after the 8 p.m. reading. There was to be an Open Mic at FlashPoint studio downtown, which sounded fun, but I'd already read at one open mic and felt it would be piggie to do a reprise. And to go and not participate would have made me resentful, I thought, and it was late, and I was tired. Still, Karen Johnston wanted -- maybe -- to go to that one, and I wanted to go and support her in reading, and I thought it would be exciting to go to a new gallery. Ultimately, though, I joined Sue and Skeeter and decided to go to the Split This Rock film program, at Busboys and Poets. (Too many wonderful choices!)
The best part of that turned out to be the Metro trip back -- we met up with some other festival participants, and I had the idea that we should hold an impromptu anti-war reading right there in the train station. So we did: we read in the Metro stations, on the trains, and on the streets until we got to Busboys and Poets. A thrill.
We arrived late to the film festival, and sat in the back, and perhaps I was just too tired for it. None of the films particularly stood out to me (although I did not see them all), and Jimmy Santiago Baca's film actively annoyed me. It was a documentary of his (I am guessing expensive; this is perhaps cynical) residencies working in schools with high-risk children creating poetry. In general, using poetry as therapy rubs me the wrong way: I think journaling about your trauma is important, and I think painful experiences can lead to art, especially once you have plenty of distance on them, but journaling trauma is not itself art, and people who just write out their pain are not poets. Convincing them that they are cheapens poetry as an artform, and sets them up for a rude awakening when other people do not value their written work the way they do. Also, there were some painful moments on the video, where Baca's interns -- like him, people recovering from violence via writing -- dealt with the traumatized students in a ham-handed, hurtful way. At one point one intern tells a girl bent over her desk crying for an unknown reason and apparently unable to stop that she should stop: Ouch. Apparently it is ok to write about pain, but not to actually experience any.
Good films or no, though, I can recommend the overpriced-but-delicious mojitos at Busyboys and Poets. Also the yummy desserts.