I can't be bothered to think of a title for this entry

Today’s not-to-do-list

Caught up with Bethany and Chris Crawford last night. It was nice to get out and socialize after so much time spent burrowing my way through a rather slow paced travel and tourism translation.

At one point during the evening, Bethany and Chris were discussing their teaching schedule for the next day. For some reason I went through my to-do list for today out loud:

1.pick up my new business license (something I was supposed to do two weeks ago)
2.sign papers at my bank to switch my business account into a normal savings account (something I was supposed to do last Thursday)
3.return library books (over a week overdue) and get new ones (I am way overdue for some good reading material)
4.proofread Jitka’s translations (we’re working together on a collection of essays for the History Department of Charles’ University)
5.translate the travel & tourism blahblah (natch)
6.meet Czechlisters for a few drinks
7.meet a friend/client for drinks and dinner

Well, here’s the long of it: after putting in a few hours of work at Incognito, Bethany and I went to Blind Eye for what we reckoned would be one beer. Then Chris showed up and I had the pleasure of getting re-acquainted with Freak Parade bassist Mike Bowling. So much for that one beer. And so much for my sobriety, despite the fact that Bethany and I had just talked about how boring getting wasted has become. I rolled in at around 2 a.m., which got me in Dutch with Jitka as I hadn’t told her I’d be out late. Ah well, it won’t be the first time and it won’t be the last and weathering angry female shitstorms is something I’ve gotten good at over the years. Though “shitstorm” is probably an exaggeration this time – it was more like a shitdrizzle. Fo’ shizzle‚??

Anyway, needless to say I didn’t get anything more than a few pages of proofreading and even less pages of translating done. I watched a little bit of Arrested Development, which I had borrowed from Incognito John. I should be getting ready to meet my mate Vladan for dinner (he, rather his company, owes me a meal and some drinks for a couple of gratis translations I did a few weeks ago. I should have gone for a barter deal to score a new mobile). I suppose this blog entry is the most productive thing I’ve done all day.

Alchemy: 16.9.2002-17.10.2005

Three years, one month and a day after its birth, the Alchemy Open Performance Series passed away – last Monday’s English-language poetry reading and open mic was the last such event to be organized by Ken Nash. Bethany Shaffer’s Poezie a Provokace open mic at Villa Incognito on the last Sunday of every month (or is it the fourth Sunday of every month?) will keep running.

This is probably too little too late, but I want to give massive props to Ken for organizing Alchemy and keeping it going for so long. Having had a little experience organizing open mics myself, I know first-hand how draining, frustrating and thankless it can be. I also know there are times when the exhilaration and a crowd’s appreciation of a successful event compensate for all the blood, sweat and bullshit that goes into putting it together.

I stopped going to Alchemy a while back for various reasons that I’ve mentioned on a few occasions in this blog. It was a good idea with good intentions to nurture a community of expats with literary ambitions and appreciation. The problem lies in the fact that there is no such community here in Prague, but a group of people who like to get together on occasion and read and perform to one another. Which is not such a bad thing. Ken tried to take things a step further by bringing in features, a lot of whom gave stellar performances, often for free. Most, if not all, of us took this for granted, and this is, in my opinion, the clearest possible proof that this city does not have an expat literary community.

Yes we expats have writers of all sorts – journalists, poets, novelists, essayists, content managers, screenwriters, etc. I even know of a few small writing groups (if you can call two people a group) that get together to exchange ideas and critiques. But what prevents us from building a cohesive and, more importantly, constructive community?

I’ll leave that open for now, as nothing is coming to me and I really should get my ass downtown for my free grub and grog.

And once more, cheers Ken.

Oct 26, 17:58 (Filed under: , Prague events )

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