#427: The Vein

January 19th, 2015

“There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”

- Ernest Hemingway

Many years ago, a woman I was dating told me I talk all the time, but don’t say anything.

It’s not as harsh as it sounds. I was writing a lot of jokey ha ha stuff at the time (still rather proud of the “Scared Straight” sketch with the Hamburglar) and she was trying to encourage me to write more personal, open things.

She was telling me the things I was afraid to share had value.

Tonight and tomorrow, I’m going to share a few things.

On Tuesday, I’ll be co-hosting “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” the latest installment of the reading series I run with Rachel Hyman of Anthology of Chicago.

We’ve selected writers and poets from different neighborhoods around Chicago (Englewood and parks Hyde and Wicker for this one) and matched them with artists from around the city to bring their works to life.

It’s at the MCA, the Reader did a piece on us and the Trib’s book section is going to cover the event live, I’m told. The writers, artists, Rachel and I have been working our asses off on it. It’s going to be great.

But that’s not the one that has me scared on a Sunday night writing for Monday.

Life is sad. And I’m going to share some recent sadness with a roomful of strangers as part of the Essay Fiesta reading series tonight.

I’m going to walk up to a microphone and open a vein, to paraphrase Ernest the Hems.

I ask that if you know me in a personal setting, you not attend. If I’ve never met you and you’re up for some emo drama on a winter night, feel free to pop by The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square at 7 p.m. to watch six readers share personal essays about their lives.

I’m the second of the six.

I talk all the time. I write here three times a week, I work at a magazine about lawyers, I teach a course at Loyola yammering for three hours a week about research methods and how those two students who always sit together should really stop whispering so much during class. You’re not fooling anyone. We can all hear you and it’s super rude.

But my yammers about Chicago, law and FOIAs aren’t me. Tonight, you can meet me if you want.

Tonight, I’m going to say something.

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RSVP for tonight’s Essay Fiesta

RSVP for tomorrow’s “Welcome to the Neighborhood” reading at the MCA

Read the Reader piece

A story about a homeless man and a bridge

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