What do you do when you are busily preparing your domicile for the musical and social event of the century, which includes bunking down a troupe of travelling musicians for a couple of nights? Why, you go out pretty much every single evening in the weeks leading up to it, of course.
It's not quite as counter-intuitive as it sounds, as it is good practice for staying up late, just like a rock star.
Earlier this week, it was a reading at the Central Library by Chuck Palahniuk, which was awesome fun. I had heard tales of these Palahniuk readings and the throwing of body parts and such, so I assumed that this one would not be your average literary reading, with the author droning on and on in a Can-Lit-poet-meets-undertaker voice. But I had no idea that it would be as interactive as it was, nor that Chuck (I feel that since he hurled an inflatable plastic turkey at my head, we are now on a first-name basis) would be as engrossing a story teller as he is.
And he looks so incredibly normal. Button-down shirt and glasses. Not the sort of person who would write a story about somebody drowning because their lower intestine has been sucked into a pool drain in a masturbation attempt gone horribly wrong. Plus he removed his shoes to sit on the couch for a post-reading chat, which of course appealed to our collective Canadian sensibility about shoes and furniture.
This was the only Canadian stop on his tour, which made us feel all superior to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Chuck read us a story called Knock Knock, told in stand-up comic format, which dealt with the impending death of a parent. It will be published in December's Playboy, so this time you really will be reading it for the articles.
During the Q&A, Chuck explained his philosophy toward writing, borrowed from a long-ago writing professor - Dangerous Writing. This involves taking the aspect of your life that is absolutely unbearable, that is too painful to deal with, turning it on its head and writing about it. I think that explains so much about his body of work.
I wasn't particularly surprised that Chuck Palahniuk would have a lot of mesmerizing stories to tell. He does make up stories for a living, after all. But I was surprised at normal he seemed. And the fact that he stole the term "some kind of weird name-dropping Tourette's" from Sam Rockwell only made me admire both men more.
And if listening to a reading were not preparation enough for hosting a house concert, last night we went to an actual house concert.
The pet rabbit was kind of freaky, as pet rabbits are, but it was reassuring to see that you can indeed fit a whole pile of people into your living room for a concert and everybody gets along well and nobody stabs anybody over elbow room.
We were only able to stay for Shane Ghostkeeper's opener, but despite missing two of the performers, I felt that our little reconnaissance trip was well worth leaving the house for. I am now pretty confident that we can pull off next weekend's house concert of the century, with the fabulous Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, and fifty or so of our closest friends, with style and grace.
If you happen to find yourself in town, give me a call, come on over.