What a couple of months. When I look back at September and October, I have a vague impression of a large, highly inflated, multi colored beach ball, from which a variety of sounds (bells, laughter, clanking glasses, scraping chairs) emerges as it bounces up off my ceiling.
Something like that anyway.
3 Dead Princes: An Anarchist Fairy Tale, by Danbert Nobacon, illustrated (you already know all of this, I know, I know, but I’m so punchy I’ll just keep saying it again) by our own dear Alex Cox, and then E. E. King’s Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, all got pushed out of the production nest and took off on their respective flight paths. Dan in particular amazes one to watch how much he seems to really love getting up there and reading and singing and ventriloquizing (have you seen his Mr. Death puppet? I mean, how did he have the time?), but that’s a professional musician all over. Give them a night on a couch and a couple of beers and a plate of pasta, and they’re up again the next day, ready to do it all again.
We all converged on Portland for an EAP hour at Powell’s Hawthorne store, back at the start of October. I love Powell’s. Have I mentioned how much I love Powell’s? How much I love the store, and the website, and the Hawthorne branch, and, most of all, how I love all the various people who sail in the Powell’s brave ship of indie bookselling state? I mean, really love them. And why? Well, I just generally approve of Portland, which would be the only city I would move to in the US, if I could face living in a city. Because it’s the only city that still can afford a young, what we used to call bohemian, culture. Public transportation. Street life. Multi age population. Things going on that don’t cost a million dollars to dress for or attend.
And they read in Portland. There’s that, too. When I read all those articles about how reading is dead, I just shrug–oh yeah, right. You know, what I think is that serious reading will never be a mass market activity. How could it be? It’s got its own limits, just based on what it is. But there will always be the same proportion of the population picking up and loving books, loving ideas no matter what the platform, come to think of it, and wanting to spend its time playing with them, batting them around, peering at them after they’ve batted them around, and just generally, well, loving them. Always. There always has been and there always will be.
Anyway, when I see Powell’s people like Gerry Donaghy, and then Scott Mahoud (who told me how he goes bike riding with his eight year old granddaughter three times a week—she lives down the street—and I thought, ‘lucky, lucky granddaughter’), and Jill Owens who worries about literature and okra (two subjects I am particularly interested in myself), I can’t help but feel heartened about the state of the polity. I did get to see them at Wordstock, the Portland book fair, where EAP had its first booth (next door to Chin Music Press, and their fraternal display also of another great Consortium press, Two Dollar Radio), and that was a blast, although I did get so I couldn’t say ONE MORE WORD, which was a shame, really, because at the end of the day, Alex and I went to KBOO Community Radio (they’re pretty great too), and he gave an interview about his movies for an hour with both of us getting so hungry and tongue tied we were both about to explode, so that I had to get up after one glass of wine with all the guys at KBOO and apologize for both of us and just flee into the night to a peaceful dinner where I think the highpoint of the conjugal conversation was ‘damn this is good beer,’ (Alex) and ‘I will never be able to make this good a blue cheese and bacon salad at home,’ (me). Really, that was as much as we could say at that point. But it had been a good day.
Alex, partly to please me, and partly to amuse himself, shot footage of Danbert and EEK and Wordstock, and of me, too, and you can see the resulting videos of Danbert Nobacon Talks About 3 Dead Princes, and E. E. King Engages With Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife if you click in the appropriate places. Check out Mr. Death.
As for me, I’m going to get that beach ball down from the ceiling, knock it around the room for awhile, and get back to work. There is hoeing and mulching and sowing to be done in the EAP Garden. SNOTTY SAVES THE DAY, our Spring book to get out! The Fall 2011 books to get down to editing! David Marin’s book THIS IS US to get into! Brian Griffith’s CHINESE GODDESSES! The Consortium November sales conference! Our first audio download of THE SUPERGIRLS! Not to mention performing my role of Good Wife with Alex as he does the rounds first with STRAIGHT TO HELL RETURNS, his film coming out November, on DVD with San Francisco’s Microcinema, then with the next five films in the series. (If you’re near the Roxie Theater in SF on Halloween, come on by and say hello. And then the Rafael Film Center in San Rafael on All Saint’s Day.)
I’ll get back down to work, but after a nice glass of red wine by one of the first fires of the season. It’s just turned cold, and the leaves are red and gold and green, and there’s nothing like a brisk walk in the woods, followed by
aforementioned wine, followed by a nice roasted vegetable dinner, followed by reading (which is why I never can imagine reading going out of style—not in our house anyway), followed by sleep, followed by tea, followed by back to work all over again.
Not a bad itinerary actually. There goes that beach ball…