Daniel Nestor on his experiences writing in public @ Painted Bride Quarterly.
Friday, March 11, 2011.
A woman in large sunglasses and chunky jewelry, straight out of a movie’s end credits as “Arts Patron Doyenne,” plants her heels in front of me, as if hitting a mark. She looks down on the desk, up to the lamp, plant, and card file in front of me.“Just what exactly,” she asks, “does this Memoir Office mean?”Her severe manner reminds me of my English mother-in-law. I smile in my best performance artist way.“I am The Memoirist,” I say, “and this is The Memoir Office. I will writemymemoir while I am here, and visitors are invited to help me with my work, or discuss their own memoir. Or just ask questions.”“I see,” she says, and walks away. The twirl of her long tan coat leaves a soft, perfumedbreeze.It’s my last day as a performance artist in an art gallery in Troy, NY. By the end of a two-week residency, I’d grown used to this sort of exchange: some skeptical, others trusting, a person on display, a ritual of confrontation or acceptance.