How I came to read was a lovely coincidence. The wonderful people who run the series, Melissa Swantkowski of Bodega Magazine and Bryant Musgrove, had seen my novella “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU” and wanted me to read part of it for The Disagreement. And, as it turned out, we had a friend in common! I happily wandered to New York to read the first half (or, if you will, the first six seasons) of “Especially Heinous.”
And it was a great time. An image of Gene Simmons graced the wall behind the readers, and a mid-reading thunderstorm punctuated sentences and lines with torrential rain and cracking thunder.
The other readers were phenomenal. There was a funny and bittersweet take on food service from J.T. Bushnell, gorgeous and hilarious poetry from Alex Morris and Nicole Callihan, and a sweet, smart short film from Sarah Hanssen.
The amazing folks at The Disagreement did a writeup about the event, and had some kind things to say about my novella:
Aloud, “Especially Heinous,” became hypnotic, alternately seductive and repellent like the show it is at once mocking and investing with a deeper, rhetorical power. Like a fever dream, or a couch potato’s acid trip spent binge-watching the entirety of the series, it operates with a strange, twisty logic, endowing its detective heroes with an almost mystical significance as it launches them headlong into battle with the world of sexual violence. Replete with mistaken identities, ghosts with bells in their eyes, doppelgangers, and a simmering but comic romantic tension between its protagonists, the story is sad, perverted, and gloriously grotesque. It is also hilarious, at times brutally and horrifically hilarious, but hilarious all the same…
Thank you to Melissa & Bryant, my fellow readers, my amazing girlfriend Val (who bolstered me when my nerves were failing), my friends who came out in the rain to see me, and everyone else who attended. I’ve never had the opportunity to give a reading of this particular story, and the audience was wonderfully warm, generous, and responsive. Thanks, New York!