Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Spruce Goose is in Oregon.

Thursday night, we at CMU were treated to an extraordinary reading performed by Davis Schneiderman. He is a revolutionary writer, even releasing a book entitled Blank which only features chapter titles, leaving the rest to the readers' imaginations. As my current creative writing professor said, "I'm not sure how he's going to read this stuff." After the show, that professor remarked to me that one of his pieces had no punctuation.

He read snippets from various pieces, including his latest publication Drain, which is set in a world where the Great Lakes have dried up and people move in to inhabit. The excerpt he read involved a machine which takes in human waste from its posterior and regurgitates it from its mouth as the pre-digested entities it once comprised. So if someone had expelled the remains of a candy bar, the bar would be restored fully. He read each piece with such animation and vocal patterns, especially giving life and vibrance to this piece.

This is the cover for his latest novel:
After this and a few other pieces, he performed a reading where beforehand, he passed a rope along through the audience and had them pull on him as he read. He resisted, of course. Schneiderman was quoted as saying he wanted to make his readings more engaging and forcing audiences to pay attention. Quite frankly, he didn't need the gimmicks because he read with such power and emphasis that you couldn't help but become engaged. He read a summary of Alice in Wonderland constructing using Word's auto-summary feature. It was interesting. He also did this for a play, which spat out mostly characters' names.

At one point, he passed along some books which had been sawed into shapes. One was in the shape of a gun. I believe the purpose was to chop off a chunk of a book and read what is left, forcing a new perspective. Afterward, he honored me by gifting me what he called "his favorite one."

He closed the performance with a piece of "prose poetry," recanting various lines both relevant and irrelevant to the Spruce Goose while chanting "THE SPRUCE GOOSE" before each one.

Certainly, he is an author to look out for.

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