Tao Lin Was at Harvard

Somehow (until Friday night) I had not been to a reading in about a year. The last was Eleanor Wilner at Emerson’s bookstore – and that was a class assignment. Pathetic, right?

One of my goals for this year is to go to at least TEN readings. Ten. I feel like this is achievable.

Anyway, my friend Sean (AKA the main person I gush my love of Brandon Scott Gorrell to) told me Tao Lin was reading at Harvard. I thought about it and then I went, even though the only work of his I’d previously read is the stuff he’s got over at Bear Parade. Sarah and Anna were also there. While pretty neat, they are not important in this story.

Sad news: Tao was sick. He said he thought he had a fever and the audience went “aww” because it was an “aww” kind of moment. Nobody should have to read with a fever.

It makes me wonder, though, if he would have been more animated had he not had a maybe-fever. Because he just kind of read from his novella Shoplifting from American Apparel and then answered the few questions the audience had. [Side note: The audience kind of sucked. One guy dominated the question-asking and it was obvious he had no idea what was going on / had done ZERO research / generally didn’t feel like he had to hide his suckiness.] So while it wasn’t a bad reading, I just got the impression it could have been so much more.

Good news: I bought the book and he signed it. Tao drew these happy little bubble-people in green pen on the title page. They kind of made my night. In general he seems like a great guy and I’m happy I own the book and I’m happy I went.

Other news: The novella is really funny, in a tragic kind of way. Consider buying it.


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