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Author Mon Aug 19 2013

Two Authors Talking Wednesday at City Lit Books

Chicago meets Brooklyn this Wednesday August 21 with Two Authors Talking at City Lit Books 2523 N. Kedzie. Presented by City Lit Books and MAKE Literary Productions, the two authors representing their perspective cities are NYC based author Amy Shearn and hometown author of The Slide and Logan Square resident Kyle Beachy. Shearn is promoting her newest novel The Mermaid of Brooklyn. Beachy is a contributing editor at MAKE who's collaboration with Chicago comics artists Anders Nilsen will appear in the magazine's upcoming issue themed 'Visual Culture'.

The event will feature readings from the authors followed by a conversation covering topics such as their process and writing in their perspective cities. Gapers Block got to ask Beachy a few questions in prep for this event.

BeachyShearn_MAKE.jpg

What is something you enjoy when attending a live reading that you then consider when performing at one?

I'm not terribly good at listening, so I tend to enjoy two things out of a live reading: first, when a reader will allow the work to stand on its own without much in the way of introduction, and then when the reader allows the work to sit down on its own before it stretches the audience's patience. But then I also always appreciate people who get up there and are charming and hilarious and have great stories, since I'm not, really. I tend to get up there and sweat and look discretely for the exit, or clock, or my girlfriend's eyes to remind me that I'm worthy, loved, etc.

For your work appearing in MAKE's upcoming Visual Culture issue, what was the process like working with Anders Nilsen who provided illustration to your text?

I'd hesitate to call what Anders did for our collaboration "illustrating my text." The words, to be frank, are lucky to be there with his drawings. Anders is a pal I met through skateboarding, and in fact he did the cover art for The Slide, so it was a perfectly natural thing. I sent him three or four short, what I thought might be good starting places for a collaborative work, just a few options to get a sense what he was thinking. Then I didn't hear from him for several weeks until he came over one day and showed me these amazing images that basically took a metaphor from my text and exploded it into this entire storyline in four intricate and gorgeous parts. Then I fiddled with the text a bit, tried to make it stand up alongside his artwork, and here we are. Now I'm going to frame and hang the suckers because, really, Anders is a genius.

As a resident of Logan Square, how do you feel about reading at City Lit in your neighborhood?

I walk past CityLit at least four times every day, and always slow down and take my time, which has almost nothing to do with the fact that, and I'm sorry to be crass, but dogs like to pee on the corner. My dog of course just has to figure out who's peed where and then, you know, trump them with her superior marking skills. In all honesty it's a great addition to the neighborhood, and I love slowing down to appreciate what's in the window. I also love going inside and shopping. There are a lot of businesses coming into Logan Square these days, and there are those who make an effort to say hello to the neighborhood and those who sort of think we should be grateful to have them. City Lit is for sure a good addition -- they've been great from day one.

What are some of the topics the audience can expect between you and Amy Shearn at the event?

I'd hope we get into realism and fabulist writing, questions of plot and humor and the expectations major publishing houses have for different sorts of writers, a writer's relationship to his or her neighborhood, and whatever else comes up organically. The good news is that she's a very sharp and incredibly talented writer, so I can't imagine it'll be anything short of great to talk. I'm looking forward to it a whole lot.

There will be beverages available. The event begins at 6:30pm and is free and open to the public.


 
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