January 26, 2011 – Song 83

My friend and writing partner Nicole Johnson is always complimenting me for being “bold”. Like anyone, I have my moments I guess. Tonight we went to see Lynda Barry speak in the amazing Unity Temple because Nicole saw it in the Reader. While waiting in line afterwards she said “I have notecards in my purse. Maybe we could get her to write us something inspirational to hang above our desks.”

I might be bold babe. But you’re the one who always comes up with the greatest fucking ideas. Song 83.

When I was young, probably like 12, I was at the book store with my Mom (see Song 82) and she was letting me browse around for a book. Somehow what I came up with was a book of strange cartoons by Madame Barry called “Down The Street” about growing up in a crazy ass house. The thing that sold me was a panel about being obsessed with her older sister getting her period. It was about sitting in the hallway while her sister listened to “Color My World” over and over again and not knowing what it meant, but knowing that it was huge. What’s funny is that I was thinking the exact same thing about the little book in my hands.

I wasn’t nervous about it at that moment, thank God, because I have always been an easy read. My Mom would have sniffed me out from across the store and the jiig would have been up before it even started. But I hadn’t really seen more than that when I handed it to her. Later, after I got home and read it from cover to cover something about it made me sweat.* There were swears and people smoked and I was convinced if anyone ever saw what else was inside it would be promptly taken away from me. I took to keeping it in an old typewriter box that locked beneath my bed. It was where I kept all of the things I deemed sacred and/or contraband.

I told Lynda this while she was signing our books and she laughed so loud I thought I was gonna die. She then looked at me and said “You are aware that you have just made a writer’s dreams come true.”

That’s funny. I was just thinking the exact same thing.

*After she finished laughing, which by the way was so fucking stellar to hear echoing off the walls of what is probably one of the greatest buildings Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed, she told us a story about a friend of hers who once happened upon a book of Robert Crumb cartoons as a kid. He told her that he knew it was probably bad, but he just couldn’t look away. Eventually he got so nervous about having it he straight up buried it in the backyard.

They don’t call her the Funk Queen for nothing people.

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