The Millay Diary

Crawl, Part 1

Days 20 and 21

Dear Diary,

Well the artist camp studio crawl is officially in the books (okay there aren’t really any records of the event except this one, so I guess it’s in the process of being in the book) and to say it was a doozy would be like saying Space Jam is a pretty decent flick, in other words it’d be a HUUUUUUUGE Patrick Ewing and/or space monster-sized understatement. Some artists really thrived in the crawl and some fell flat on their stupid faces, like any good shindig there was no shortage of surprises, laughs, tears, or meat.

I dunno who came up with the order of the crawl since they did it on an email thread that they forgot to include me on—go figure Diary, these artists are space cadets to the very end, I mean how do you blank on an email address like But Heather the Queen Space Cadet went first and since I’m not sure where to start I guess I’ll start at the start, with Heather the Queen of the Space Cadets and a gal who used to hold the deed to my heart but no more, Diary, I’m a free agent now and my dad always says that term “free agent” about me like it’s a real positive thing and I’m inclined to trust him given his selfless service to this country and our family and his sixty-two years of experience dealing with the ladies OH MY GOD HOW HAS HE SURVIVED THIS LONG.

One of the nice things about talking to you Diary instead of other people is that I can be totally honest about things without anybody squinching their eyes up or judging me, so I’m just gonna come out and say it: I don’t “get” art and I sure don’t know what the heck Heather’s presentation was all about. She showed us a buncha weird shapes she’d made out of wood, scrap metal, bones and turds, and words like “critique” and “conceptual” and “abstract” and “post-art” flew around the room a lot and Lennon, Agnes, and Abe seemed totally into it (which speaks flipping VOLUMES, Diary) but I was basically just smiling and nodding the whole time like an Encourobot (encouraging robot: great gift for friends with low self-esteem, Diary) ‘cause I don’t want her to think there’s any hard feelings over her deep-frying my heart like a turducken, but I ALSO feel like if I smooshed a buncha peanut butter against a canvas and told people it was my poop I’d be the next big thing.

So the art part of Heather’s studio was confusing and the whole room reeked of pots but she at least had the decency to feed us some little grilled cheeses and apple onion tarts and she also did a real sweet thing at the end which was to give us each a personalized tarot reading. I don’t remember what card everybody else got because who cares it’s all a bunch of hooey anyway but I do remember that I got the Fox Lady which Heather said means I’m crafty and emotional. Yeah the drunks were snickering when I pulled a girl card but I’m comfortable with my machismo and I think they were just jealous because their cards weren’t as anthropomorphic and they were also drinking even though it was still light out which gives people the giggles. This crawl would’ve been a perfect time to stage an intervention, Diary, remind me to do that for all the artists next year.

Also we all maybe got a contact high from all the pots Heather had been smoking in there? It smelled like skunks but like good skunks and I was awfully hungry but then again that’s pretty typical of me especially when I’ve been writing as much as I have. I know it’s a sitting activity but I am still growing and I use up truckloads of energy when I write especially since I like to read my scripts out loud to make sure the dialogue is real good and funny and sometimes rapid-fire like BLAM-BLAM-BLAM and that it all rolls off the ole tongue like a catchy song. Lots of people tell me I should be an actor since I read my scripts so good but my posture is awful and I’ve been told I am “completely devoid of stage presence,” whatever that means.

Okay so that was Heather’s presentation and next was Jason’s which was pretty indescribable. There was no introduction or anything and we had no context for it since he never talks, he just let her rip as soon as we were all in the room and it was really something, it incorporated at least nine genres (two of them I didn’t even know existed) and it reminded me of a Twin Peaks dream sequence (crazy show, Diary!!!!!! Can’t wait for Season 3) crossed with burlesque poetry and a multimedia historical fiction/improv memoir scene. It kinda blew everyone’s mind and we had a ringing in our rears afterwards, of course the medical term is tinitass, I learned that from that stupid doctor a few days ago. Honestly I’m pretty sure Jason is going to be famous which he’s going to HATE and I really hope I’m wrong about this but he seems like one of those hot shot celebrity artists who punches pastarazzi in their noodle noses and winds up dying in a motorcycle crash or drowning mysteriously but they never find the body so REALLY he’s probably just living off the land, off in the woods reading and making art and cooking moose steaks and wishing he could bring himself to love again. Speaking of love Jason served moose steaks after his presentation which means Jason is okay by me for the rest of time, seriously between the steaks and the pep talk he gave me the other night this guy gets a pass for any aloof drifter weirdness he ever pulls and that includes murder as long as it’s nobody I care about, I mean it okay I don’t mean it but you know what I mean.

Next up was Lennon and his presentation was also indescribabl………… y TERRIBLE! (Nailed it, Diary.) Seriously Diary write this down, this is one of my main takeaways from all my years at Auschwitz: the more somebody talks about their writing, the crappier their writing is. Lennon’s poems are just a bunch of obscure references to OTHER poems and operas and French essays and Spanish bullfighters and Portugese philosophers and gosh knows what else, I mean this was some of the most incoherent gibberish I’ve ever heard and I watch Twin Peaks online all the time (ahhh, Season 3’s gonna be so awesome!!!!!!!). NOBODY liked or even got Lennon’s poetry, not even his wino pals who had clearly never seen Lennon’s stuff, they’d just heard all about it because he never shuts up about it and you could tell they were way disappointed, Agnes and Abraham were both trying not to make eye contact with Lennon the whole time. Honestly it seems like Lennon cares more about impressing people with his poems than actually saying something, that’s the impression I got from this chapstick anyway. I’m wondering how he even got into artist camp, I mean not that my application process is 100% fair and I’m no Ernest Herringbone but at least I know how to write on a basic level that people can understand, not some super-dense nonsense that’s just trying to show people how many big fat books I’ve skimmed.

Sorry for the rant Diary but Lennon always steams the beans outta me, especially since he didn’t even give us any food during his presentation, just red wine which Abraham and Agnes practically chugged because they were so embarrassed to be associated with such a talentless blowhard. Which is totally typical but it was also sad because by the time it was time for Agnes to present she was already drunk and kinda slurring over her poems. I guess when you’re sixty years old your tolerance takes a real dive but you’d think being German might counteract that sort of thing. The saddest part of it all, well there were two sad parts actually, one is that you could tell Agnes’s poems were actually pretty good (hate to say it, Diary, but she seems to be a real seasoned vet of the poetry game), the other part is that Lennon and Abraham didn’t help her out at ALL. Lennon was actually giggling when she messed up, I mean where did he learn the meaning of friendship, from that Walking Dead episode where Shane sleeps with his best friend’s wife? There’s no way Lennon’s not an only child, Diary, I would bet my entire comics collection on it.

Meanwhile Abraham was just staring at the floor swirling his wine just like he did during Lennon’s thing. I dunno if it was the pots or the fact that Agnes had served up some delicious little schnitzels before her presentation, Diary, but I felt real bad so halfway through the reading I asked her if I could read a couple poems for her since my eyes are better (NOT REMOTELY TRUE, DIARY, MY EYES ARE WORSE THAN DAREDEVIL’S) and the print of her chapstick was real small and she seemed relieved and said sure. So I got up and read a few of Agnes’s poems and it seemed to go pretty good, Lennon stopped laughing at least which was the most important thing and everybody clapped at the end for me and Agnes both. That just goes to show you, Diary, just because somebody’s a jerk doesn’t mean they’re a jerk, except in Lennon’s case because that guy is a total jerk.

Well Agnes switched to water after that and we all moved from the barn to the main building for Abraham’s reading, Laurel’s drawings, and my script read-through (with at least one actor who might surprise you!!!) but I’m way too beat to get into that now, Diary. You’ll just have to wait till tomorrow night, I’m sorry Diary but patience is a virgin so you just cuddle up with her and keep your wandering hands to yourself and trust that it will pay off in the end.

Thanks for listening, goodnight Diary.



Evan Allgood's work has appeared in McSweeney's, The Millions, LA Review of Books, The Toast, and The Billfold. He lives in Brooklyn and contributes regularly to Paste. Follow and maybe later unfollow him on Twitter @evoooooooooooo.