New York Tyrant
Last week, thousands of writers traveled to a convention center in Washington, D.C., to "do a reading" or "go to a panel" or "meet internet friends IRL"—yes, I’m referring to AWP, the annual event so difficult to explain that it’s best to not bother telling anyone in the "real world" you even went. At the end of the week, I did a reading on the largest escalator in the Western hemisphere (which is located in the Wheaton metro stop in Silver Spring, Maryland), along with Jordan Castro, Juliet Escoria, David Fishkind, Zachary German, Emma Heldman, Precious Okoyomon, and Nicolette...
Two years ago, my dad and I went out for dinner in Fort Lauderdale. The host brought us to a small table in the corner of the restaurant. This is more intimate, they said before winking and walking off. In the host’s defense, I was dressed like someone’s third wife, in a stark white jumpsuit, cut low enough to reveal a black velvet bra. It is possible I’m the one to blame.
Eleven years ago, though, when I was 14 and wore only Delia’s graphic tees, my dad took me to see Jewel in concert. Halfway through “Who Will Save Your Soul” a woman in the row behind us tapped his shoulder, hard. Why don’t you date someone your own age? she wanted to know. My dad insisted that I was his daughter, but she didn’t believe him. That’s Florida.
The knock, knock joke, much like the negro spiritual, began as a means of clandestine communication, a way for slaves to pass information to each other beneath the radar of hostile whites.
—Hiram Skylark Rollicks
Signifyn’ Revolt: Black Rebellion in the Antebellum South