It’s noon and I’m leaving Columbus. Last night’s reading was kind of a hybrid. I was invited to read at OSU by Michelle Herman but it was unpaid, so it was kind of like a house party, but more like a University reading. There were at least 50 people there and the local B&N had a table and I think they sold a dozen books. It was mostly MFA kids, young and earnest, and they weren’t all from the midwest but they seemed like they were.
After the reading we went to a college bar, the kind graduate students go to with thick wood booths and tables and a pinball machine. It was really a great time, though I can’t put my finger on exactly why. It might have been the ride from the airport with Kyle Miner who’s living the post MFA life with a book of stories out, a couple of kids, teaching classes up in Toledo, finishing what sounds like a fantastic novel and contemplating law school. Or it might have been Claire, the student I stayed with. Or the walk for donuts at 10:30 on a Wednesday night, which felt late in that town, especially on the strip.
I tried to get in Claire’s bed. It was a big, comfortable bed. She said no, how would she explain it to the boy she was getting to know. I said there was nothing to explain to the boy, nothing’s going to happen. It’s like sleeping with your gay friend. But she wasn’t so sure. She had been drinking and I don’t drink. I slept on the air mattress in the other room.
I think for a while I didn’t enjoy being on the road. Now I enjoy it again. It’s like running away, but in the best sense of the term. Every runaway knows it’s all about timing and luck. You look at what’s coming up behind you, then out the window to what’s waiting ahead, which you never really know but you can guess at based on weather conditions. Then you step into the cold air, move as fast as you can.