Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mona Washington Reads at Infusion Tea

Monthly author readings have resumed at Infusion Tea. Mona Washington who is the new resident author at the Kerouac House, read from a work in progress. Terry had never been to Infusion before so she asked that I get there a half hour early so we could talk for a while before I started sketching. I got a last minute call that T-shirts I had ordered for the ColORLANDO event were ready to be picked up. I called Terry to let her know I was bound to be late. I parked two blocks away from Mother Falcon, where I had ordered the shirts. I called Terry as I walked and again after I had the shirts in hand. I got to Infusion just as Naomi Butterfield was getting up to the podium to get things started. There was little time for conversation before I got to work. When Mona got up to read, Terry mouthed, "I'm going."
Mona's story had to do with a married couple who no longer knew how to communicate. The romantic spark of their youth had burned out. The husband created a promiscuous mistress in his mind that satisfied his sexual desires whenever he wanted. As Mona said, "They fell into a pattern where they didn't treat each other with even the respect they might show a taxi driver." The couple went to a marriage counselor where they talked about their feelings and how they felt about their feelings. They then fell right back into old established patterns of behavior. The husband hinted at his wife's weight when he suggested she shouldn't have ice cream. She tortured him by licking the ice cream cone with pornographic delight. The only exchanges the couple seemed capable of were clandestine attempts to destroy each other's egos.
After the reading was over, Mona confessed that she needed help resolving issues in the story. I hadn't realized that the man's mistress was imaginary. The sexual exploits were so vividly descriptive, that it seemed more real than the bickering. A discussion followed, but little insight was offered on how things might be structured better. In the break that followed, Rachel Kapitan, who had been serving tea from behind the counter, walked up to Mona and started offering suggestions which the author listened to intently. She was delighted, shouting, "This is much better advice than what I have ever gotten at writing workshops." She jotted down Rachel's number so they could get together and chat some more. Mona's play "The Mason Jar" will be read by the Bleeker Street Theater Company in Greenwich Village in NYC on Monday, October 4th. If you happen to be passing through NYC be sure to check it out.

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