Tuesday, July 03, 2007

reading/books

There was a reading of my play He Asked For It at the Celebration Theatre tonight which was really productive. An awesome group of actors, and a talkback afterwards that was great. I often find talkbacks rambly and unhelpful because you have to wade through a lot of contradictory opinions, but tonight's discussion was really good--there are a few scenes in the play that need some work and I know what I want to do to them now.

I don't usually write about writing stuff on the blog because that's not what the blog's about. But honestly, I don't really know what this blog's supposed to be "about" right now. For its first year, it was all about "new things." Then it was all about Uma's brain. And now...I guess it can just be about whatever I damned want it to be about--but still, I feel like it needs some sort of definition, some sort of mission statement. And I don't know what that is. It'll evolve, it'll find itself. I'm just mentioning the blog's identity crisis as an explanation for my lack of blogging the past month. (Yesterday's long rambly post notwithstanding.)

BUT back to my play reading, the reason I started writing this post in the first place, which I bring up because during the talkback one of the audience members mentioned that he's part of the AIDS Dissident Movement (the play follows several characters who have HIV) and he was wondering why I didn't include that viewpoint in my play. Now, I've heard of AIDS Dissidents, but honestly I didn't know much about them, and I didn't really know what to say to this guy, other than the truth: the Dissident movement has nothing to do with the story I'm telling in this play. But then I came home and did some googling and read more about this so-called movement (the Dissidents basically believe that HIV doesn't cause AIDS) and it totally freaks me out. They're like the Holocaust deniers, except AIDS isn't something that happened sixty years ago. It's happening now, people are still getting infected at alarming rates, it's bigger than we want to admit. We're already too damned complacent about it as it is--we don't need people going around denying the problem. It's scary and dangerous and upsetting.

*

After the reading, before the googling, I spent a few hours organizing books in my new apartment, and I cannot begin to express how satisfying I find the simple act of alphabetizing my books.

They've been in storage for two years and every time I open up a new box and pour through its contents I get these waves of excitment, like I'm being reunited with all of these old friends.

(Is that the geekiest thing ever, or what?)

6 comments:

frank's wild lunch said...

First! And my friend Kevin would love you for having the Alexandria Quartet up there; they're among his favorites and they always make me think of him. They're also part of a long list of books I've yet to read. Of course, I'd like to finish Sophie's Choice first! I've got about 150 pages to go.

I'm sorry I didn't get to the reading last night! I was up until almost midnight but I finally finished the new draft. Good to hear it went well.

Doug said...

I love looking at other people's book shelves. Giles Goat Boy! I haven't thought of that in years.

Anonymous said...

Erik,

I think that you're being totally unfair. The AIDS Dissident guy wasn't irrelevant. After all, you wrote this whole play about AIDS and people catching/spreading AIDS, and living with it and how it's a problem and making people think about AIDS when they watch this play... and that guy was simply pointing out that some people want to defend the right of people with a deadly disease that is spread by having unprotected sex to have unprotected sex ("natural sex").

Maybe you could add a character to your play who kills people everytime he shoots them and then he wants to defend his right to shoot people ("naturally shoot people"). Just make him Henry's brother or something.

You can figure out something.

drc said...

I love that you get to keep all your books! I want a house with lots of bookshelves...

Erik said...

Anonymous, (and I know who you are),

Your tongue-in-cheek comments aside, the point I was trying to make was that this is an issue of responsibility. And if someone wants to argue that HIV doesn't cause AIDS and that it's a mass government conspiracy, they can do the research and they can argue it all they want, FINE. But, but, BUT--enough doctors and professionals say that hiv DOES cause AIDS that it's irresponsible and reckless to spread the viewpoint that one should be out in the world having unprotected sex if one is HIV positive, especially if you're not disclosing your status. I don't view having unprotected, or "natural," sex as a God-given right, I view it as a privilege that you EARN by acting responsibly and engaging in safe (i.e. condomed) sex until you're in a monogomous relationship. To have an opinion that differs from the majority is fine, but don't put others in a potentially life-threatening situation. This is a matter where erring on the side of caution is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Erik,

You are such a snob.

I can't believe that you think that people shouldn't be able to kill other people if they want to. Like, you actually think that it's wrong to not tell people that you MAY have a disease that will probably kill them.

Grow up.

Love,
Anonymous