One of the things I promised I’d do less this year was work and live on Facebook. It sucks and profits off my productivity. With that said though there are people I’m in touch with I wouldn’t be in touch with without it, there are people I know that I wouldn’t know without it.

One of those people is Kiese Laymon. Somebody dropped one of his essays on me last year, and I ended up befriending him on Facebook. One day last year Judy Cooper from the Enoch Pratt Library called me, told me that Kiese was giving a talk at the library, and asked me if I’d introduce him.

I said “yes” before she could even get the question out. What he does with How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America and also Long Division is nothing short of magic. By not so much writing ABOUT but by writing FROM a dirty southern blackness he takes the legs out from under what we think American literature is supposed to be…and replaces them before we blink.  I suggested we continue the discussion we began at the Enoch Pratt, and continue it during the Baltimore Book Festival.

The result is below. Judy Lombardi should get a medal for the work she’s done over the past few years documenting this and other progressive events in and around Baltimore.