I’m in the final stretch of my book tour, but it’s a long one with something scheduled every night until December 18, with the exception of six days over Thanksgiving. Yesterday I flew from San Francisco to New York, arriving at the Mixer Reading Series just in time. The series is in a basement and I felt dizzy. Sometimes flying makes me a little ill. The bookseller didn’t show up but I had books with me. Tip to young authors, always have your own books.
The thing is, you don’t sell a lot of books when you read in bars and when you do readings as a group anyway, so maybe that’s tip number two. Still, I sold five books and got to hang out with Melissa Febos, the curator. I could see a person falling in love with Melissa and trying to convince her, unsuccessfully, to move to a farm upstate. But not me, not now. It takes time to fall in love.
I remember Sonja, my first real girlfriend. We met in the parking lot of a TJ Max and had sex on our first night. In the morning she was getting dressed to leave but I grabbed her ankle, or something, and asked her to stay. “Let’s go see a movie,” I said. That’s what it takes to fall in love, enough time to spend the night and see a movie in the morning.
There was a kid at the reading. He told me several times that he was interested in my book because he was interested in Adderall. He would take a step toward me, then step away like he was contemplating something heavy, then move back in close. He had written a book, he said. Thirty or forty percent of the book was written on Adderall. The amphetamine had messed him up in a bad way. He asked me if I had ADD and I said it depends who you ask. He said I was the only reason he was there. And it must have been true because he was pounding away on his phone while the other authors were reading. He said he had an agent and several sections of his book were with publishers RIGHT NOW. I don’t know what he wanted from me. When I was done reading he asked Melissa if he could say a few words into the microphone about the pharmaceutical conspiracy. She said no.
After the reading I went to the Fleshbot Awards (NSFW). There were several worlds colliding there. Jonathan Ames was presenting and the editors of all the large blogs were in attendance. Of course there were tons of sex workers. And there were sex workers who were also artists and there were sex workers who were just sex workers. I won’t go into detail but lets say I knew more people than I thought I would. There was a woman there who represented stability and another who represented chaos, and also a third woman who was nice but represented neither chaos nor stability. We would just become friends.
At one point I ended up on my knees behind the woman that represented chaos, blood pouring from my nose, my hand inside her long black skirt while she typed into her cell phone a quick blog post about how this wasn’t really working for her. And the woman that represented stability, who was also a friend, was standing nearby, leaning against the railing, and our eyes met for a second and I thought I would never go on a date with that woman now. To my left was the photo gallery with the large light setup and stripper poles. Later, Ames and I ended up on either side of the third woman. I don’t remember what we were talking about but it was nice because they were both nice. We weren’t in a hurry. It was already one in the morning. A drink had been spilled and the couch was soaked so we sat close together to avoid the mess.
Of course, this doesn’t tell you much about book tours, but it does say something about New York and the kind of parties you can get into, even wearing gym shoes. And also about the link between sex workers, bloggers, and old media types as well as the people writing and acting in television shows and people who think of themselves as literary writers and why New York has nothing in common with the rest of the country except that every small town has lost a few to Gotham City.
picture from Mixer reading by Sean Doyle