Jan 16, 2007

So I am sitting in my friend Lana's gigantic amazing loft in downtown Portland, surrounded by multi-colored wigs--pink and green and purple wigs with rabbits and birds jutting out of them!--and astonishing paintings and crazy patchwork curtains and plastic mannequins and brick walls and huge windows looking out over a ton of snow. Lots of snow! I woke up before anyone else and sat here in the quiet looking out over the snow falling down, in this light-filled loft, and it was really lovely, even tho it means my plans have all done been cancelled and I don't know if anyone will come to my reading tomorrow. This does seem to be a city that shuts down in the snow. But my sister is in town and Joi is here, and this morning Lana made us coffee and pancakes with berries and rosewater and cinnamon, and today I don't have to do ANYTHING AT ALL until later when we will all have dinner and drink bloody mary cocktails.

I flew into Portland yesterday. Last night's show at the Someday Lounge was incredible. I wish every reading could be like that. The Someday Lounge is just a gorgeous space, and we walked in and they were playing a whole Devotchka album, and then the show started and basically I read 4 scenes from my book that sort of wove a little story of how my character meets the librarian woman and then learns trapeze from her and then sees the circus/sideshow for the first time and then, finally, performs in front of a crowd. And around those scenes there were: this amazing French Chanteuse, Veronique Chevalier, and two different (and beautifulll) trapeze acts, one on a regular trapeze and one in a hoop, and this amazing juggler Rhys Thomas, who juggled knives and walked on blades, and then Lana's band Power CIrcus--noise and accordion, very spooky/dreamy--played while this gorgeous bellydancer danced with a sword and a veil. And the ringmaster for all of this was Lana's friend Noah, or Mr. Batty, who was hilarious and gentlemanly and mad, straight from the last century. It was amazing. After, we hung out and had food and I was very conscious of it being one of those magical nights that only happens one time.

Oh, and Lana and her lovely beau have a bunny rabbit named MR PICKLES who supposedly never leaves his patch of rug in the downstairs bathroom. I had a feeling that MR PICKLES was up to no good, however, despite his innocent demeanor. Sure enough, last night I woke up to find MR PICKLES staring at me, a foot away from where I was sleeping. I pointed out this astonishing fact to Joi, who said "really?" and promptly and insensitively fell back asleep. MR PICKLES proceeded to run and run along the wall, to the front door and up to the kitchen, then back to the bathroom. I woke up later to see him gazing longingly out over the living room floor, no doubt scheming and hatching secret plots. In the morning, however, he was back on the bathroom rug, pretending that nothing had happened at all. This is definitely a rabbit who is up to no good.

San Francisco was also fun, tho on Saturday I had the most miserable flying experience of my life and almost missed my flight despite being in the airport almost 90 minutes before my plane took off. It was complete chaos, total confusion, screaming people everywhere.. Awful. I stood in this one line for half an hour before being told that I had to stand in some other line first, even tho there had been nothing and no one around to indicate that that was the case before then. But somehow I got to CA in one piece and then went straight to meet Tony Dushane, who interviewed me for his radio show Drinks with Tony, and then I went to meet my old friend Mike to stay in his apartment near the Civic Center, scene of my former crimes when I visited lived for a time in SF as a wayward youth. Later that evening I hung out with Mike and my friends Charles, Marcie, and Greg, none of whom had met before, at my new favorite restaurant Original Joe's, an old time and mobster-ish place with big leather booths in the Tenderloin.

Sunday my friend Greg picked me up to go with me to Lafayette, for the little last-minute event I did at the Lafayette Bookstore. It was amazing. All these incredibly sweet women who had read my book or were reading my book, many of them in book clubs that were/are reading it, and we just sat around and had tea and cookies--and I had the kind of tea that flowers in your cup! it looks like an acorn and then comes to life in the water--and I read one little scene and the women asked a lot of questions, and they were really so kind and sweet, and I signed a lot of books, and after I signed one woman's book Greg overheard her exclaiming to her friend that I was adorable, like a "tea cookie" !

Then Greg took me to this coffeeshop in Berkeley and eventually we got back to San Francisco, where I read at Cody's bookstore and got to see more friends, including the amazing poet Daphne Gottlieb. Also my friends Patrizia and Becka and Alan came, and clown Dizzy Decimal did a cute little performance with two of his friends. Then we had cake that Patrizia brought and a group of us went out for drinks, and eventually I ended up in the Mission eating the best burrito of my life, so good in fact that I was momentarily convinced that I had to move to San Francisco or else I might die. Later we went to the bar Mike works at, where we had an astonishing array of overly sweet drinks that he gleefully prepared for us.

Tomorrow I read at Powell's, and Thursday I fly to Texas!