I was headed to Greystone Bar for a reading salon courtesy of BWF. I was keen to hear the David Unaipon winner, and see Christian Lander. I was going to tell him no, not all white people like Frisbee sports or shorts or unpaid internships or modern furniture, but yes, I do like writer appearances and musical comedy and breakfast places, so perhaps the argument was moot.
I had only recently heard your name. I’d seen your book in the bookstore, a striking portraiture with splashes of neon amongst the obscure and poetic anthology covers. I was thinking about buying it simply to see the fluro green on my bookshelf.
You took the mic, reserved and considered – and you slapped me in the face.
You didn’t read: you exuded, you embodied and enlivened. It was short fiction, but not as I had ever heard it. You read three pieces, each a dance, a fight, a display of lyricism and humour. Each word was delivered in an explosion of imagery. You painted ninjas and explosions and robots, and in the same strokes sketched love and loss and heartache and heartbreak. And each word was a weapon and an invitation, and we all sat spellbound, speechless.
And after, you were humble and unassuming and I thought, yes, this is a reading.
And then Christian Lander read some stuff and it was funny and I laughed, but I couldn’t tell you what he read.
So thank you Tom Cho, for giving me ninjas and explosions and robots, and a neon green spine on my bookshelf.