September 6, 2015

9/4/15 – #KAF15 – Sweet Dee Susie Asado

Dee tries the pickle soup, and finds it wanting

Artist: Airea “Dee” Matthews

Location: Toast, Ferndale


DM – Coffee (black), dill pickle soup (sent back), Mediterranean salad with grilled chicken

SRS – Coffee (black), breakfast burrito

A date with Dee! A date with Dee! Excuse me while I flail around with happiness. If you notice this recap is a little late to post, that’s because I’ve spent the last few days in a Dee-powered poetry fugue, just trying to get my next set of poems together. Such is her power.

Also, such is the power of having someone with a serious, critical eye read your writing and give you some feedback (unless the feedback is, “Never write again, you are the worst.”) Love your poets! Support their massive, fragile egos! It is the most thankless job in the world. The percentage of people who want to hear your poem is only slightly larger than the percentage that want to hear about this crazy dream you had last night. I cannot argue convincingly that poets are useful people, but I know the world would be a sadder and less-awake place without them.

I think the best thing we talked about, in our mad dash to cover a lot of ground in a small window of time, was the idea of extending benefits in the direction of other people. Kresge benefits, in some cases, but Dee is Executive Director of The Offing–which, if you are not keen to this incredible enterprise by now, you’re welcome–and I, you know, write about art in Detroit. In both cases, we have an opportunity to signal boost for people doing incredible work, and we share an ethic around doing so as hard as we can. A rising tide can only raise all boats if everyone is in a boat, you dig? So lets get some people in some boats. I noticed in our discussion that Dee characterizes it as one big boat (“Let’s get as many people on the boat as possible”) while in my mind, it’s a sea full of little one-man rowboats–but clearly I’m a fuddy individualist. I like Dee’s way; I’d take that boat ride. It also brings to mind the full-fledged crisis of real Syrian people in real little boats, currently taking place half a world away.

Which is a good example of something else we talked about–having an acute awareness of problems, of struggle, that interferes with our ability to completely enjoy our own successes. Dee ran up against this, hard, on a recent trip to Disneyworld, which was not quite as transcendent as she seemed to hope. “It’s the happiest place on Earth,” says Dee. “Here I am, a person who is publishing a book called Simulacra, inside this massive simulacrum, and it’s not working for me.” I mean, Dee, of course not. Because you are not the kind person who can silence your awareness of the suffering of others, not even when you embed yourself in the midst of a fully-articulated false reality. I know the feeling, and I’m sorry. On the bright side, you are awake, the way Detroit is full of people still mostly awake. That horror is your hard-earned right to full awareness.

The more Dee, the better, so here’s an interview with her on the Kore Press website (BONUS: it contains writing prompts lol see you in a few days). And, I don’t have to worry whether Dee gets the title of this entry, but in case you are wondering.

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