It’s after midday and I’ve only been up a couple of hours. The house is a total wreck. I don’t know how many people we had here last night for the Clarion West party. Over a hundred, certainly, but with party animals filling the back garden, the driveway, both decks, and every room in the house I couldn’t figure out how to estimate. Put it this way: we had more than a hundred name tags, and towards the end guests were tearing them in half and sharing, but still not everyone got one.
Most people enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. Sadly, I made two people cry. Good crying, I think. I have a tendency to tell truth at these events–not mean, just true–and a one or two found it a bit overwhelming. They got that, Oh shit now I’ll have to change my life look and wandered off glassy-eyed. Hey, if you don’t want to know, don’t ask. Especially when I’m working on my second six-pack.
Possibly this is what parties are for: falling in love, seeing your life true, meeting fellow-minded human beings, seeing your place in life. Perhaps they’re just for eating crap nibbles (no no, not at *our* parties; our parties have superior nibbles) and drinking until you pass out. Or, looking at the state of our floor, perhaps they’re for throwing squashy sticky fruity bread stuff underfoot and trampling it back and forth in an attempt at performance art. (It was excellent food squashy stuff, something called Monkey Bread, brought by our friend, novelist and talented amateur baker, Matt Ruff.)
Last night, clearly some partygoers believed the occasion was for ignoring all the careful labels that explained recycling should go in this bag, rubbish in this bag, food waste in this bag. But the smokers did smoke outside. And everyone did come in at 11 pm because of the local noise ordinance. And many, many people seemed to have a blast.
I didn’t get to sleep until about five in the morning. This morning we staggered out of bed to face the majority of the clean up. Before collapsing last night we cleaned up the squashy stuff, and the outside human tornado droppings, but the inside is still littered with half full bottles and smeared paper plates, and the furniture is still all in the wrong place. I’m writing this instead of coping with it, frankly. Pretty soon all the caffeine will hit my system and I’ll be able to deal but, ooof, not yet. Not yet.
We were supposed to go to another party this afternoon at a local writer’s house but I doubt we’ll make it. For one thing, I’m absolutely talked out. For another, I’m not sure my liver will take it. For yet another, I just don’t want to make anyone else cry today. Even if it’s good crying.
Here are some conversations I engaged in last night: boys as mastabatory toys, hardcore punk bass, how to find your way back to your art, disability and how it comes to us all if we’re lucky enough to live that long so yeah you really should make your fucking house accessible, changing life direction, gardening, the ways English people and Americans and Russians are different, how very super specially gorgeous Kelley is, yes it is nice when the crowd parts to let me through, yes it is nice when people bring me beer without me having to ask, yes in fact I am a writer, no don’t ever trust one medical opinion, sure if you have cancer followed by an operation then radiotherapy you are most definitely going to feel like shit afterwards for a while because, y’know, you’re human, death again, the fabulousness of Kelley again, the oh-it-must-be-awesome-to-be-you again, what a beautiful house we have, when are we going to get a cat, who is that gorgeous woman over there oh it’s Kelley, how to approach potential major donors to ask for money for non-profits, the death of publishing, the yes-publishing-is-dying-but-I’m-special-the-rules-don’t-apply-to-me, as a writer working from the outside in versus the inside out, the yes-you’re-special-but-publishing-rules-do-apply-to-you, and so on. Non stop. Much of it interesting. All of it requiring full attention.
I’m glad we did it. My guess is we’ll do it again in two or three years. It’s sort of like childbirth. After a while you forget the trauma and just remember the joy and sign up blithely for a repeat performance.