Greetings from Atlanta Hartsfield, where I just said so long to Mark, who's flying off to Tulsa (joy!) for another literary festival. My flight doesn't leave for another two hours at least, so I'm sitting at my gate, in a fugue state--or trying to shake myself out of my fugue state. The cold's still taken up shop in my sinuses, but I'm in far better shape than I was 24 hours ago when I began to convince myself that this wasn't any run of the mill thing. That didn't stop me from taking a mile walk to Little Five Points while Mark taught a memoir workshop at Emory. I ate at a sushi restaurant that wasn't very good--I imagined that the packaged California rolls from Publix down the street were probably fresher, and more flavorful--but I nevertheless had a good time. I know Atlanta doesn't think of itself as a smaller city, but I've come to appreciate the virtues of smaller cities after spending so many years in global, money-driven, hyper-polished Manhattan. Little Five Points reminded me a bit of Austin, with its trees, arts and crafts houses, coffee bars, and totally stoned young people hanging out. Who would have thought?
The reading took place at my friend Philip Rafshoon's Outwrite Books. I had an unexpectedly great time, no small feat when one is feeling like crap. Some friends from different eras in my life (Provincetown, Houston) showed up, and it was a complete delight to see them. I shared the stage with Sister Soami, Dan Vera, and Alex Sanchez. Then Mark read a brand new poem, "Immanence," and introduced me. (No easy task: introducing one's partner; I don't think either of us were ever asked to do that before.) I read "Junta" from Famous Builder, the first scene from Lawnboy's Chapter 5, and two new pieces, "The Boy and His Mother are Stuck!" and "A Phone Call With My Father." I called it my All About My Mother reading, after Almodovar.
Halfway through the reading it occurred me that my burnt orange Penguin polo shirt pretty much matched the color of the cold/flu potion I'd downed an hour earlier.
Afterward, a young writer named Zack asked to take some photos with me. The two of us very much enjoyed the way the camera turned our big noses into even bigger noses. I'll post some when he sends them to me.
The other news is that my story "The Roofers" got accepted by Hotel Amerika for the TransGenre issue, to be published this coming spring.