Monday, October 13, 2014

Los Angeles, 10/12/14, The End

The tour ended at David Rocklin's Roar Shack Series. There was a packed house and fine readings from Jeff Edwards, Allison Burnett (who has a new book)  and Tanya Ward Goodman. Their credits and the quality of their work made me a little nervous, but my reading went well and people laughed when they should have and didn't cry when they could of.

Best of all, I had family, friends who I knew from Boston, friends I went to college with and writer friends that I knew in the audience. Gay Degani bought me coffee! I felt so grateful, blessed and lucky after the show.

Overall the tour was wonderful. I sold every book but two and the only burp was waiting for Obama's plan to take off from San Francisco, while mine waited on the runway. DON'T THEY KNOW WHO I AM??
Los Angeles Guardian Angel, Mike Siditsky: Besides having a cool place right on Hermosa Beach and looking a lot like me, he showed me where the tacos were. I had a pork and blueberry flavored one; perhaps, not authentic, but damn it was good. How lucky was I to be able to meet up with my three nephews, my sister and her husband on the trip.

from left, brother-in-law Andy, friends John and Kathy, Mike Siditsky and sister, Martha

Me and Nancy Hopkins

Strange but true LA story: At the Roar Shack, they have a competition called Live Write. The audience fills out cards with prompts on them and two writers have seven minutes to write something, winner take all, by show of hands. My prompt, "Kale vs. Snickers Bars" was not chosen.

Strange but true LA story Part 2:  Virgin America plays this on their flights, instead of the live pantomime performance (More Improv!) , the stewardesses and stewards have been doing, I'd say, for the past 40 years.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

10/11 Oakland, Ca.,

Be About Presents was perhaps the most fun of the readings so far. I was picked up in the airport, left my heart in SF, one of my favorite cities, (stayed only 20 minutes), and brought the rest of me over the bridge to Oakland.

The reading was hosted by Alexandra Naughton, who created an event for me at an exact date and time I needed. Without getting into much that I could blog and blog about for pages, if you google her, there were reasons I wanted to change venues. I cannot thank her enough for the ability to schedule and run events in short notice. The WM Wolfman's bookstore is flexible enough, and is super cool, so that Alexandra can make something happen anytime she wants.

I got .to see some old friends, Paige and another of my nephews, Jordan tonight. That was pretty cool. I also met SB Stokes, a poet, who is pretty bad ass.

Christine Hyung-Oak Lee and Julie Grengo

Also, old friend, Julie Gengo, picked me up at the airport and drove me around. Christine Hyung Oak-Lee, pictured right, read with me and she too has an incredible survivor story which you can read here. It's a must. After I read it, I friended her on Facebook, asked her to join me in Oakland and in all of fifteen minutes, it all happened.

I enjoyed her reading, as I did the others from some promising young writers from the Oakland area, Paul Murafus and Carmella Veronica.


Saturday's Guardian Angel: Julie Gengo, who as stated above did it all. I also got to meet her friend Lee, a Cape Codder---who I guessed was not from the California area and was correct.

Strange But True Oakland Story: Driving Jordan back to Berkeley, took about 17 hours or at least it felt like it. Hey, Oakland, ever think of timing your lights? Drive a block, stop. Drive a block, stop. Julie said that when the crime was bad it made the alleged criminals easier to stop. Oh. Now I get it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

10/10-Portland, Oregon/ It's too late to turn back, here we go.

The Jade was a cool venue, which is very open to literary folks.  I was able to meet Dena Rash Guzman and Parker Tettleton who've I've known on-line or have been published in journals with for years and years and years. Also it was a pleasure to meet Sam Snoek-Brown, Yuvi Zalkow, and Julia Clare Tillinghast. 

Dena Rash Guzman

The readings were phenomenal, as were they, as people...GOOD PEOPLE, as they say. Portland was an enjoyable city--reminded my a lot of Austin, Texas, in fact, they even stole their slogan.

Me, Dena, Sam, Julia, Yuri and Parker

 Friday's Guardian Angels: Danny Gicker (a University of Delaware buddy) and Kerri (lucky to remember the first name, so last name not incluced). Had a great time with Danny and Kerri was super nice. She asked tons of questions, which is a great way to be nice. Went to a street vendor for Mexican and for dinner, a New Orleans tapa place, called Tapalaya! Blessed to have some old and new friends.

Strange But True Portland Stories: The only down side was that the kitchen area in the back was noisy. Kitchen work is hard work and communication is key, but the chefs seemed to be yelling about opening the mayonnaise or lighting pilot lights or other such shit. So notes (old school text messages) were passed.

Friday, October 10, 2014

10/9 Seattle, The Interrobang Appointments of Bill Sloan

Interrobang?! (Derek Kavan, Britney Barber, Phoebe Richards, Becky Bartlein* and Dave Clapper) is an improv troupe who performed in tandem writers at AWP last year. Dave Clapper from Smokelong Quarterly asked me to read from The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, for my tour, and they would do their thing. I don't know what to think about the actual reading or event. I think it was great, but I was shuffling through the book looking for sections that I missed a lot of what was happening on stage-- there were a ton of laughs. What?? Yeah, I was lost too.

The set up was that Interrobang started and set up their stage characters. The were given a genre prompt of Science Fiction, so when it came time for me to read, their story evolved along with me. I read six, less than five minute segments (many from the TV segment from the book, which I'd never read out loud before) and they Interrobang?! total of eight times.

Phoebe, Britney and Derek


Timothy Gager

Stay tuned there will be video! I can't wait to see it. Sold a few books too!

Strange but true story Seattle story:  Britney Barber walked in on my in the bathroom, then, embarrassed, burst into a song. I quickly had to do my own improv. I love theater!

 Thursday's Guardian Angel: DeeLynne Troy, an old-school newspaper woman, whom I've know at Scrawl, the Writers Asylum since 2004, who drove an hour to Seattle, hung out at the show and will drive a few more hours to get me to Portland. She was extremely gracious and I enjoyed her company so much, that I wasn't allowed the chance to feel bad.

Happy, Thankful and Grateful w/ Dee Troy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

10/7-10/8 Off Days, Simi Valley, LA, Westwood

After a few days off in Simi Valley and LA, where such momentous events occurred such as:
visiting with my sister Martha and her husband Andy, pool swimming, dog petting, IN and OUT Burger, and authentic Mexican at Talpas with my nephew Matt (where an ox ate my brain) I'm now off for four readings, for four days, in four different cities.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

10/6 San Diego

After leaving Boston at 6 AM, I landed in San Diego, where I

a) forgot that I checked a bag, realizing this while on a shuttle toward Alamo.
b) exited shuttle, went back to retrieve bag, and walked back to shuttle area and somehow managed to misplace my glasses between a and b.
c) all points bulletin released to all Alamo shuttle drivers. Result: no glasses
d) back to terminal where I found my glasses on a luggage cart in the baggage area.

T=45 minutes, 2 miles

I stayed with Heather Fowler, (Guardian Angel of San Diego)  who I read with and we talked about books for awhile. She was a gracious hostess as we swam in a pool with her kids, then had Mexican Food. First, though, I landed in Target, where I:

a) bought a pair of swim trunks that were too small. Pictures not available, thank God, but I borrowed some San Diego Charger trunks. (see butt selfie). Now, it's morning, and everyone's gone. I dangerously have the run of the KEURIG.

San Diego Super Chargers

As far as the reading went, we had a really nice time. SD Writers Ink supplied the cookies, I read then, Heather Fowler read from her new book, Elegantly Naked in my Sexy Mental Illness,  The book absolutely kills, and Heather is a good reader, so that was a real treat. Bonnie Zobell's work, blew me away. She is very talented as a writer--it was very good stuff. She completed a book tour much grander than mine--her book is amazing too. Maggie May Ethridge closed up the night with a reading from her novel in progress. It struck a chord in my bird phobic heart, as she set the scene of an injured crow's attempt to be saved and how it ended up attacking it's rescuers. Yes!

Here's living proof of the wonderful and talented San Diego crew:

Timothy Gager, Bonnie ZoBell, Heather Fowler and Maggie May Ethridge

Strange but true San Diego story: It took twenty miles before someone scratched and added white paint to my rental car. Do I call Alamo or not? "Honest Tim" did and Alamo said, "No, problem." When does that ever happen?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

If it's not the greatest, it was the most difficult....which lead to a life second to none.

 Here's the interview  HERE by author, journalist and TV commentator Ognian Georgiev.

When I first decided to or hadn't yet decided to quit drinking, I used to the hate mottoes but mostly because I hated myself. I was a good time until I came crashing down which was often.  In the acknowledgments on page three of The Thursday Appointments of Bill Sloan, I wrote,

For my family, my children Gabe and Caroline, and all others involved in the process. Thanks to the good people that attend Dire, The Davis to Porter Group and the fine folks at Scrawl. Special thanks to Teisha Twomey who never lets me get down on my writing, as I tend to do that. Very personal acknowledgments to Rene Schwiesow, Rusty Barnes, Christopher Reilley, Sue Miller and Ned Vizzini. Additional thanks to television, my babysitter as a child, and to Phil McGraw.

 I also offer gratitude to a fellowship which saved my life and made The Promises come true, and to a HP, which I understand

Thanks and gratitude -- along with an inside joke about Dr Phil, but more importantly without the last sentence here, none of this, the book, the tour, would be possible. In the past I've been pretty open about my drinking in an essay published in The Somerville Times and maybe in a drunk-a-log found in my blog. Drugs and alcohol itself in my fiction a few million times. HERE"S JUST ONE None of this even begins to tell of the shame and regret I had in my life.

Today in the interview, I talk about sobriety as being the biggest accomplishment in my life and also about writing and my process.