Hello! I am hardly here! It is a pocket of the world that I have abandoned, yet I return to it every so often. What has happened? This time last year I was probably sitting on the port of Piraeus dreaming of fiction and the insane color of the Aegean sea. It was probably the farthest away I've ever felt. But this year I am in Pittsburgh, happily teaching and cycling and reading, and I'm not returning to California in a long time. This summer I was in Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, where I found my long-lost little sister, Melissa. We were both only children who have decided to change the course of our fates. I also met some other wonderful poets. It doesn't stop does it?
I visited Boston again for the first time in ten years. I missed that place so much--I will always associate it with wonder and childhood and the first glimpses into imagination and adventure and friendship. I stayed with Jill, who lives in Brookline only a few blocks away from my old apartment! Halle's Sanctuary, the park I used to go to as a child (I called the tiny trail "The Adventure"), has now expanded into a beautiful golden marsh and I felt like I was returning to that world...As a child I found a path into an amazing flower garden I called "The Secret Garden" - and it was still there! Just that magic made me so nostalgic and I want to visit Boston again....
When I returned to the Bay, I went to San Francisco a couple of times with Melissa--we went to the San Francisco International Poetry Festival, in the City Lights area and Chinatown. Annika also visited me and we went twice into the city, wandering everywhere from Mission District to Castro to Japantown...We stopped at several guitar shops, sang in the park, visited 826 Valencia. San Francisco is probably my favorite city in California and surely one of my favorite places in the world.
I am leaving today on a long journey. This is the first solo journey of my life. I mean, I've been on solo journeys before, but always I'd meet someone somewhere. When I went to Japan (Tokyo-Yokohama-Kyoto-Kobe-Himeji-Fukuoka-Beppu) and South Korea, I was traveling with two friends. When I accidentally ended up in Paris (more on that later), I was traveling with a friend from my program. I also went to visit Valia in London a couple of weeks ago.
This time, it's just me! I am going to Italy and Greece for eleven days. I know not a soul in both of those places, but that will quickly change as I will be couchsurfing! Here is my tentative itinerary:
10.15.08--10.17.08: Milano, Italy & Lake Como
10.17.08--10.19.08: Florence, Italy
10.19.08--10.20.08: Rome, Italy
10.21.08--10.23.08: Athens, Greece
10.23.08--10.25.08: Santorini, Greece
10.25.08--10.26.08: more Athens, then back to Amsterdam
I'm sure, as my past travels have been, that this will give me a chance to charge the battery of my soul power, independence, introspection...maybe even give me a bit of courage to write. Yes. No longer terrified.
Thursday--- Highlight: The reading. The first time I've read since the Variety show. I read some newer poems, including one about the apocalypse and interspecies sex. Michael Pisano had apocalypse sex in his fiction too. It was comprised of flow-charts and Japanese-to-English translation machines and other clever gizmos. As for the end of my own reading, the lovely Annika sang (impromptu!!) one of my songs. It will be a Honey Badgers classic.
can't I be a cat that eats bon bons and fucks all night to a reggae song
Thanks to Annika for putting up with my nonsense. Saturday--- Cause: War Protest. I was shaking a little navy blue egg with sand particles. Everyone was shouting and blowing horns and whistles and trumpets. Anarchists marched with us, red and black flags. Austin beat the drums, Alan held up our makeshift signs. Allison and I took pictures.
Night: Hung out with Eileen, attempted to watch Sympathy for Lady Vengeance but failed. Went to a reunion party with C-basementers, and then went to join Kelsey and Avery. Mushroom pizza, picture telephone, etc.
Sunday--- Adventure: Oscar, Eamae, and I got LOST on the way to Mr. Smalls to see Stars. The 54C dropped us off at East Ohio and we ended up walking over two miles ALONG THE HIGHWAY to get to Millvale, relying on Mapquest from ipod Touch to tell us how to get there, forgetting the fact that Mapquest is only for people with cars.
Along the way there was amazing scenery. As in, fucked up houses. Broken down, evacuated, forsaken homes. Cobwebbed birdbaths, plastic swans, shattered glass everywhere. So many haunts in Pittsburgh.
Music: But when we got there, Stars was AMAZING. I got a rose from Amy Millan, who got six stitches in her thumb that day. Bad day for her, but she still kicked ass. Inexplicable moments in the songs: "Your Ex-Lover is Dead", "Ageless Beauty", "Bitches in Tokyo", "One More Night". Ah, it was beautiful. This is a band I've waited over two years to see.
Reading: Junot Diaz read from his story collection, Drown, and his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I've listened to this guy read "How to Date a Brown Girl" on the NYer fiction blog and it was pretty damn mesmerizing. Hearing him read was even better in person.
After the lecture, we had a pen competition. He asserted his I asked him to be my pen pal, which he obliged. (hopefully.)