August 5th, 2010

Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Reading

So a lot of people have been asking to see some video of the reading I gave at the Library of Congress when I was in high school.

Okay, not really, but here it is anyway:

Yeah, that's right, unlike some seventeen-year-olds I might name, who've accomplished absolutely nothing in their lives, by the time I was seventeen I'd already racked up an impressive series of writing awards and publications, all of which had me totally convinced that I was going to be rich and famous by the time I turned 30.

HAHAHAHAHAHA! Ahahahahahaha. Hahaha.

Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, so anyway I won this Gold Award in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and they invited me down to DC to give a reading at the Library of Congress. Seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime, so I made the trip. So I get to the place, and they inform everyone that due to the large numbers of readers there's going to be a strictly enforced time limit of five minutes per person. My story was pretty short, but even so there was no way I could read the whole thing in five minutes, so I pulled out a pen and started hastily crossing out large sections of the story -- basically I had to trim it down to just the climactic confrontation.

The story, BTW, was called "Recreational Suicide."

So I read my story (quickly), and then later I got a letter asking if I wanted to buy a videotape of my appearance. It wasn't cheap -- something like $60 -- but I figured this was something my grandkids would probably be dying to see someday, so I ordered a copy.

So the tape arrives, and I pop it in the VCR, and I watch this girl start reading her story, and I'm like, "Hey, that's not me." I had sort of expected that the tape was just going to be of my reading, but actually it was the whole hours-long session, so I'm fast forwarding and fast forwarding and not seeing myself, and this went on for a long time, and every once in a while I'd get curious and actually play the tape and listen to one of the readings, but they were all boring high school kid crap about their stupid feelings blah blah blah with nary a cyborg or evisceration in sight, and finally I get to my appearance and start playing it and ...

Well, you can watch it if you want. Basically the tape cuts out right as I'm starting and picks up again moments before I finish. I don't know what happened. Maybe they ran out of tape right in the middle of my reading, and then spent several minutes looking around for a replacement? Whatever, out of all those dozens and dozens of kids, I'm the only one who got mostly cut out. There's less than a minute of my reading, which at sixty bucks works out to about a dollar per second of footage. So I hope you enjoy it.