It’s easy to imagine all pre-teen girls who have a kitty diary with “I love (insert name of the most popular twelve-year-old boy)” doodled in purple glitter pen all over it. Luckily for us, we are all now getting a peek inside these precious tomes and other personal stories at the “Oops” reading event at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park. It’s packed—finding an open seat proves to be a tough endeavor.
“Oops” was put together by Jaime Calder during internships with Featherproof Books and Make Magazine. “I wanted to ball together a bunch of things I liked,” she explains. And Calder’s ball turned into a reading of diaries, letters, poems and personal stories all based on being completely embarrassing for the writer to admit—like the woman who wrote about her seventh-grade love and the summer that, “his voice changed, he changed and I changed. And I love him more than ever.”
While taking a page from David Sedaris’ recorded readings, Calder created this “diary slam” just two weeks ago. With everything moving so quickly, the name “Oops” begins to make a little more sense. “I couldn’t quite figure out what to call it and how to do it all…and I used to say ‘oops’ a lot when I was younger,” she says, shrugging her shoulders about how unknowingly perfect the name just might be.
Calder dives in headfirst as she reads from her foam kitty diary—one that proves it could keep secrets, as she had to bust the lock open since losing the key. As she travels back to a time when she “was interested in V.C. Andrews and Jane Austen, so you can see them battling it out in [her] 11-year-old psyche,” it becomes clear that we all have our regrettable moments. And there are many bad moments that should be erased—like the time one reader wore Packer overalls with a Packer shirt and a Packer watch. Oops. (Molly Sullivan)