VOTM: What’s the most unusual experience you’ve had at a reading?
JOHNSON: Once I was reading to a packed house from my short story, “Melvin in the Sixth Grade,” which is a story about many things, but focuses on an awkward black girl’s crush on a bellbottom wearing hillbilly from Oklahoma. It’s a sweet story–I think–but I accidentally turned it into soft porn when I misread my own line from a moment where they were just walking home from school one hot day. The line should have been, “Melvin took off his jacket.” Instead, I read “Melvin took off his pants.”
Dana Johnson is the author of the short story collection In the Not Quite Dark. She is also the author of the novel Elsewhere, California and Break Any Woman Down, winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Callaloo, The Iowa Review and Huizache, among others. Born and raised in and around Los Angeles, she is a professor of English at the University of Southern California.
Come see Dana read at Book Show in Highland Park on Friday, January 20 at 7:30pm