Dire Literary Series in Cambridge


What a great weekend in Boston, and what a pleasure to read at the Dire Literary Series in Cambridge last Friday night. It was a bit surreal to leave NY after Sandy, but in some ways it was also a relief. My friend Francesco decided to come along for the weekend and we were very fortunate that the LIRR was running smoothly so we could catch the Bolt bus to Boston.

Timothy Gager runs the Dire Series and he’s been doing a bang-up job for years now. I believe he said our reading was his 140th(!) so congrats on that, Tim! I really enjoyed the space–a cozy art gallery called Out of the Blue–as well as the diversity and creativity of the other readers, both the Open Mic as well as the featured readers. My friend Aparna surprised me at the reading and on the fly decided to sing a song at the Open Mic that her friend had written that addresses the treatment of women in India in the caste system. The other Open Mic readers were probing and gripping as well. MC Tim kept things casual and funny, and even read a few short works of his own.

It was a pleasure to share the bill with the two other featured readers, Thomas M. Cirignano and Carolyn Zaikowski. Carolyn read an excerpt from her forthcoming novel that was mesmerizing. She’s a terrific reader. Thomas was once a mechanic to a mob, and he wrote first a memoir and then a fictional account about his experiences dealing with gangsters in South Boston. Fascinating stuff! I chose to read what’s becoming my go-to story, “Dear Guy in 24 B.” I’ve been experimenting with new work lately, but when I travel I sometimes like to go with the time-tested stuff.

I am SO grateful to all my Boston area friends who showed up! You guys really packed the house, and I am humbled by your support. Seriously, Boston peeps–you rock! Afterwards we went to Koreana for some bim bi bop and bulgogi. The rest of the weekend was also wonderful–I’d forgotten how charming Boston was, and the people were much nicer than I remember. (Don’t hate, I had a few bad experiences in Beantown before. But it’s all good now!)

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