It’s hard to write about a book that feels already like a timeline of my life. “Sweet William, Don’t Even Bother Denying It” (from Three Denials) and I go back to July 29th, 2006, at a show that made me think, “I could do this.” It was the first time I’d encounter Jeremy, though I don’t remember him or his photos at all, just some mumblers, stories that went on too long, the guy who tried to ruin Masculine Feminine by boring me in front of it, how drunk Deb got, and telling Micah where a story really should have ended, as if I were some kind of authority.
“Rules and Regulations” (well, part two of “Rules and Regulations”) was the first story read at the first reading I held two years ago. My brother watched, wide-eyed, mouthing “baby dad” to me from across the room, while I got away with murder – a real audience, and real applause, and someone (whose tears are unpredictable, but regularly so) even cried.
“SS Attacks!” was the highlight of Toiling in Obscurity’s first anniversary, and “Moldering” was read at the first reading where I learned for myself that being a girl’s no way to win over an audience.
None of this has anything to do with the book and how good it is, unless, perhaps, you count that fact that good stories are like good records: they remind you of all the selves you’ve been since you first read them. The Awful Possibilities is full of good stories, even if you haven’t grown up with them.
Christian rarely gets enough credit for how funny he is and how sad his jokes are once you really think about them. On one of the postcards dividing the story her writes,
“Your father seemed embarrassed. My mother wasn’t there because she is dead so get over it.”which sums the book up well: Christian TeBordo writes stories that are forceful and funny and stealthily sad.
Christian TeBordo will be reading at the next Toiling in Obscurity, on March 26th. You can order The Awful Possibilities here.