It feels good to be back in California. Really good. Vitamin D good. So good that I was able to brave a rather frightening flight (well, frightening takeoff, anyway. There was both pitch and yaw.) into Sacramento. Anyone who knows me is aware that flying is one of my main terrors in life, right up there with phlebotomy the viewing of whales. Flying without someone’s hand to hold is even worse, and the lady sitting next to me on the trip didn’t seem too promising in the stranger hand-holding department.
But I made it without having an in-air freakout, and the best ramen ever with my agent, friend, and all-around good guy, Gordon Warnock, who somehow squeezed me in around all the amazingly successful launch of his new agency, Foreword Literary, just about two weeks ago.
Then it was off to Sacramento Poetry Center, which is a delightful little place inside an industrial-looking complex by the train tracks. When driving in, I had a moment of panic, thinking “there’s no way there’s a poetry venue in there. This has got to be how folks end up in water tanks. Drive on.” But the entire complex turns out to be a cool grouping of arts theaters and arts venues in unlikely clothing. Having appropriately identified the venue, I hit the stage (well, the mic!) for a small but really lovely audience. It was a strange but welcome meeting of the worlds at the event, as people from just about every era of my life were in attendance, from my Kindergarten BFF to a high school friend to grad school buddies to folks I’ve only communicated with online. I could feel my sleep-deprived brain trying to process and contextualize this fantastic meeting of different aspects of my life, and as kerfuffled as I must have seemed, I was thrilled and honored that everyone came out.
The program really got going when my co-reader, Stefanie Freele hit the stage, however. Stefanie read from her newest short story collection, Surrounded by Water, which has, like Stefanie herself, a wicked sense of humor. She had the audience cracking up. I was happy to have preceded her onstage, because I would’t want to have to follow her fantastic comedic skills.
Up next, Fresno! I’m looking forward to heading back to my home town and reading at Pinot Wine Bar Tuesday night at 7:00.