Catching up

This past weekend I went to Columbus for the Ohioana Book Festival, where I was one of the guest authors. It was a lot of fun to meet readers and sign books and meet other Ohio authors and catch up with those I already know. Afterwards, there was a party for the authors at the governor’s mansion, which is quite beautiful. I got directions to the mansion from several Columbus residents, or those who live in the suburbs of it, and everyone mentioned I’d have to drive through a bad section of Columbus to get there. But as I drove both there and back, I didn’t notice a bad section, unless they meant the several blocks that seemed to be mostly apartment houses and rental units, rather than homeowner-land, and if that’s the case, I could have told them that’s not a “bad area” where I come from. Besides, all the places seemed really well kept up. If Youngstown looked like the bad area of Columbus, I wouldn’t be as worried and concerned, I think. Maybe that’s why a lot of people have no clue of the reality that the dying rustbelt cities face these days. It’s just not on their mental maps, it’s not a part of their daily realities, so they don’t think about it. The governor’s party was fun. I was allowed to take one guest, so I took my mom for Mother’s Day.

Now I’m back home and catching up with things. It seems whenever I go away for a couple of days, I come back to fifty things that need to be taken care of now now now.

One item of notice I wanted to mention before wrapping up, though, is that the Interstitial Arts Foundation, for which I’m co-editing the next volume of Interfictions, is holding a handmade jewelry auction until May 28th. The pieces look interesting, and they’re all based on various stories from the first volume of Interfictions. Go take a look at the cool stuff people have made and bid on something!  There’s also a third Interstitial Salon going on as well.  Lots of fun and provocative thinking going on over there, so take a look at that too.

I’m off for now.  More sooner than later, hopefully!



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8 responses to “Catching up”

  1. Ellen Kushner Avatar

    Phew! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets totally thrown by a brief absence from home. Really – a week, two days, a month . . . hardly seems to matter: there are always fifty things waiting to overwhelm one upon return. Always. We are actually renting a house with friends for 4 days after Wiscon in hopes of being able to ride the Wiscon high (and concomitant motivation) into making some fiction, instead of coming straight home to be oppressed by mail & laundry.

    Thanks, too, for the shout out on IAF stuff. Now that you’re on the Brink of Fame, I feel sure that your co-editorship of INTERFICTIONS will push you right on over the edge. Just take some pre-addressed postcards along with you . . . .

  2. Robin Mizell Avatar


    I enjoyed meeting you and your mother at the Ohioana Book Festival. She’s charming.

    One of the guest authors mentioned his observation that most of the writers from Northeastern Ohio in attendance Saturday were poets, but no one could suggest what coincidence might have caused that to be the case.

  3. Christopher Barzak Avatar

    I’ll tak the pre-addressed postcards along, Ellen! 😉

    Was great meeting you, too, Robin. And it does seem a lot of the NE Ohio writers in attendance were poets. When I was an undergraduate and graduate student in college here, there were poets galore, but no fiction writers to be found. I’m not sure why about that either!

  4. janko Avatar

    The differences between what is considered the “bad part of town” in the two places is amazing. That being said, blight and “bad part”, i.e. crime, are two terms used interchangably but are in reality pretty different.

    Broad Street, going from downtown to Bexley (governor’s house neighborhood) is a beautiful road where you have parades of homes, rehabed mansions, etc. Of course in Bexley, this is to the west of the railroad tracks, where more minorities live, and Bexley residents don’t usually wander into unless in their car.

    If Columbus blows your mind, you should check out Portland. That place was so amazingly well kept everywhere. I asked to be taken to the “bad neighborhood”. There was one street with a few houses with paint peeling and that was it. What was all more unbelievable is that people told me to stay away from there. A few more people walking around aimlessly, but not many bars on the windows, all kept yards, etc. I saw not one yard with high grass for the many days I wandered around the town.

    It’s all relative.

    But we need to remember that blight not always means “not safe”.

  5. Christopher Barzak Avatar

    Precisely. And I did notice that primarily there were a lot of minorities on the streets in the area I’d been told was “bad”. I imagined that was the criteria possibly itself for some people. Or crime, sure. But blight is often what people refer to as a sign of a “bad area” like the folks in Portland with the street that you didn’t seem to be in need of warning away from. The two don’t go together, except they do, often, in the minds of people. So it’s relative to where you go indeed. “Bad area” in Columbus must not have much connection to blight for the locals.

  6. lucy Avatar

    Isn’t it funny what our context for a “bad neighborhood” is compared to others. I’ve gotten similar warnings any time I’ve traveled to a different city…New York, Chicago, etc. Thanks for making me think.

  7. kris campbell Avatar

    Hey, Christopher-
    I was just bouncing around Amazon and found your book. Congrats!
    Can’t wait to read it.
    Looks like you are having a great time out there!

  8. Christopher Barzak Avatar

    Kris! Long time no see! Thanks for popping in here. I hope you like the book. I myself am surprised at how much fun I’m having with it out there! 🙂

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