rec room home | list night

the listener
by francois

Lists1. I felt on this night that I listed. Congested2, sitting in the far back, leaning, favoring the right ear to hear the performers, the left ear occupied by typical bar activity. Disappointed, initially, that I couldn’t recall the majority of items on the various lists, and so I was a sieve. But, what do sieves do but retain the bigger, more substantive pieces? These I remember3. And the tots.

  • Manda Aufochs Gillespie: presented a list of ten (10) rejections (excuses) from a terribly unsympathetic (incompetent) publisher (publishers). It hurts but it can be funny, too.
  • Sarah Mallin: an explanation of how Keith, the boyfriend, attempts to disrupt the Chicago Transit Authority with…his saliva. Specifically, his frozen spittle expertly deposited on train tracks. Despite the consequences of a roughly 400 ton, 40 mph train derailing in a crowded area, Keith’s wish for the safety of any passengers involved is genuine.
  • Chrissy Courtney: items and abstractions, some immediately graspable and some not. It’s learned, eventually, that these assorted bits exist, on some plane, in her studio.
  • Melissa Walker: described an awkward but unexpectedly natural triangle involving two men and a woman4.
  • Dave Snyder: a comprehensive assortment of images, moments, and spectacles that conveyed the grandeur of dual symmetry/asymmetry in the world.
  • An intermission: there was no handheld glockenspiel playing a four note chime, as it turns out.
  • Elizabeth Graettinger and Abbi Cucci: lead a game of “I Never” with the crowd. I quickly understood that these were two very spirited young women.
  • Erin Teegarden: offered “Afterglow Emotions,” available for two low payments of $19.95, on two cassettes or one compact disc (shipping and handling not included). Act fast as supplies are apparently limited5. Della Watson contributed.
  • Chris Bower: a list, and it seemed dark to me. I was reminded of a slightly menacing landscape. I thought that I knew these, but not inside, in the warm.
  • Michelle Taransky and Meg Barboza: a pop quiz, Scantron style, questions asking the student to identify between pop icons or public school poets. I didn’t dare incompletely fill in a bubble, nor did I risk marking outside of a bubble. No talking. Eyes directed forward upon completion of each question. Thinking caps on. Attempts to reconcile these demands of my schoolmarms past with the same charges issuing from two young women proved…stimulating. Is it acceptable to admit that?
  • Della Watson periodically played what I assumed were excerpts from conversations (or perhaps the same conversation). Voices at a higher speed. What I distinguished was her laugh; when she laughed, everyone did. At one point, Elizabeth Graettinger read an inspirational letter (which, in three pieces, comprised the body of this event’s flyer), an item she actually reads to herself after a breakup. Elizabeth also shares this letter with her friends when they suffer a particularly onerous split (and it’s not embarrassing; it’s beneficial). Beth, the librarian, won the raffle – “Hits Throughout the Ages” and a 2005 almanac6.

Richard Curtis did not post the 95 Theses, thus he didn’t spark a theological debate; he was not in attendance7.


1. English isn’t my native language.
2. I’m mostly over it now. Plenty of rest and fluids. Thanks for your concern.
3. No specifics, only an overview.
4. I believe I have correct the number of individuals and assigned sex.
5. Yous l’avez compris, Francaise, et il me semble qu’on besoin d’interdire toutes les publicites.
6. These two items can’t be found in her school’s library.
7. Come back, Richard Curtis. Come back to Rec Room.