For thine is the kingdom, the power, & the glory, CALAMARI SLICE!

The keys to euphoria.

The keys to euphoria.

Mid-day on Saturday I can always be found consuming the most delicious $4.39 slice of pizza on this earth, the shit they should be transubstantiating in the churches: the Delfiore Calamari Slice with Spicy Sauce. Of course, I have it with my favorite beverage. Last week I went three days without a Red Bull and was almost scratching my flesh off. I don’t give a fuck about sugar or caffeine! I gotsta have my Austrian bull piss daily.

Non-sequitur: Yesterday my father (an obnoxiously avid reader of this blog and my Twitter) said to me, “You’re such an Alicia.” This is a nonsensical thing he’s been saying to me for years, but he added on, “One day they’ll put ‘Alicia’ in the dictionary and it will say…[long pause]…whatever it is you are.” Food for thought.

So! I went to the panel on the Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction at Instituto Cervantes yesterday afternoon, and it was definitely rewarding, as I had hoped it would be. It was about the anthology of that name put out by Dalkey Archive, and they had the publisher, translation editor, one of the translators, and two of the Mexican authors included therein present. The authors were Daniel Seda and Álvaro Enrigue, who both read and answered some thoughtful questions. Seda doesn’t speak much English, but spoke Spanish slowly and I understood before it was translated. I appreciated that. Enrigue is a new lit-crush of mine, due mostly to his writing in his moleskine while others were reading. He’s also pretty hot, whatever. Questions were asked about what’s happening in Mexican lit (poetry! poetry! poetry!); Enrigue made a joke about how the best writer about Mexico City is a chileno, and said that Bolaño uses slang from all of Latin America but that Mexican writers aren’t really using slang these days; and Seda joked that literature is all Mexico has to be proud of right now, in light of the stories about the country that are so prevalent in the news internationally. The translations editor said that there were 15 translators for 16 stories, allowing each to truly “embody the author,” which I found interesting and will be keeping it in mind as I read them in both langauges. During the Q&A someone in the audience name-dropped 2666 for no reason (certainly everyone in the room had read it or at least heard of it). Why did we need to talk about Bolaño, beyond the relevant statement about his writing that had already been made? You know I love him but let’s focus on the living writers in the room with us! His canonization is so obnoxious: it’s just another means of marginalizing non-English, non-white voices.

I bought the anthology. There was no choice, really, considering how impressive the panel was, and it’s bilingual with the Spanish and English on facing pages. You usually only get that with poetry.

Instituto Cervantes

Instituto Cervantes

The Instituto Cervantes is a fucking gorgeous place, incredibly designed. It was held in a room on the lower level which had comfy leather seats, and you walk through the garden pictured to get there. If I could have a space like this in the middle of Manhattan I would be there in a heartbeat, but you know, I am not… Spain. I will be looking into their Spanish class offerings for summer.

I went down to Strand after the reading because it was “Buy Indie Day,” which is to say I used that as an excuse to further indulge my book-buying problem. (Perhaps we should consider it a “book-reading problem,” though, because in that case it really isn’t a problem at all, right? Right.) I got Zizek’s and Millbank’s The Monstrosity of Christ, as well as very, very cheap copies of Daniel Alarcón’s Lost City Radio and A.M. Homes’ Music for Torching. The latter I got because it had a Zadie Smith quote on the cover and I don’t read enough women. I’ll have you know that I had a stack of 10 books in my arms and pared it down. Be proud!

After I made those purchases my flip-flop broke, but I only had to drag my left leg about 300 ft down Broadway before finding a place where I could get a $9 pair of sandals. I also lost my train ticket, but found an unused one in the depths of my wallet that Scott had given me a while back. ¡Qué suerte! Nothing could kill my Latin American lit geek out high.

Now I’ve got to get changed into something presentable so that Scott and I can go to the On Translation panel and then The PEN Cabaret, featuring Lou Reed, Parker Posey, James Franco, and Horacio Castellanos Moya. He isn’t excited. After that we’re hanging out at Kerry’s apartment in Astoria to celebrate her 24th birthday with Doug and I don’t know who else. Should be fun! Tomorrow I am going to get up early no matter what and write the day away. Don’t even try to distract me, internet, I am going to stand firm.


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