Home again


Farewell, NYC, for now!  The reading at KGB was lovely, the interview on Hour of the Wolf, always a pleasure, the karaoke a blast, the food always wonderful, the Daniel Radcliffe in Equus, interesting and riveting in an old-fashioned psychodrama sort of way (great set, for sure, and great horses).

And Happy Holidays to those of you reading this.  I’ll be away, most likely, till after the holidays are over.  Plans?  Why, yes.  I’ll not only be Christmas shopping, cleaning house, washing Mt Fuji-sized loads of laundry, preparing for classes next semester, enjoying holiday festivities with family and friends, but also reading the submissions for Interfictions 2.0 (as I’ve come to think of it).  We have an enormous amount of submissions, and from what I’ve already read, going through them all is going to be a pleasurable experience. 

Again, Happy Holidays.


I was supposed to fly out of Newark, New Jersey this morning.  If you haven’t been paying attention to weather reports, the northeast is having a blizzardy time of it.  I got to the airport via train from Penn Station in NYC and made it all the way up to the check-in counter, plugging in my name on the self-serve computer, before suddenly a light blinked on and stated the flight had just been canceled.  I kind of figured this would happen.  As I was trying to get to my counter, I had kept looking up at the departure boards and every few second other flights were being canceled.  

So I trained back to NYC, and called Amtrak on the way.  They had a train leaving for Cleveland at 4 Pm, they said.  Did I want a reservation?  They had eight seats left.  I said I’d call back, because I needed to call home and see if I had anyone back home in the Ytown area who could have picked me up in Cleveland at 3:30 in the morning.  Calls were made, yes, my mom said, she and my dad could come get me.  By then I’d arrived at Penn Station and hoofed it to the Amtrak counter, where the line was long and sad.  By the time I made it to the window, all eight of those seats to Cleveland had been sold.

Defeated, I took the subway back to Rick Bowes’ apartment.  He’d given me a key in case this happened, as he was going out to see a play with friends.  Thank goodness for foresight.  I hauled me and my way too heavy bags up to his apartment once I got off the subway and put myself to bed, as by then I was feeling way worn out by the backing and forthing of the previous six hours.  When Rick got home, we went to eat Japanese food at a nearby place, my favorite comfort food.  I had a Volcano roll and tonkatsu and miso soup and ginger ale.  On the way home, I stepped in what looked like slush but was really a gigantic puddle that swallowed me up to my ankle.  

Looking at the possible ways to get out of NY tomorrow, it seems my flight at 9:15 out of LaGuardia is still scheduled to go, but who knows?  It could be canceled at the last minute, too.  If that happens, I’ve already discovered that Amtrak is not my savior:  trains to Pittsburgh and Cleveland tomorrow are all sold out already.  My last bet is a Greyhound bus leaving at 11:15 PM tomorrow night that would take me into Youngstown at 9:40 in the morning on Sunday.  Please, please, LaGuardia, fly me home in the morning.

Now I am off to sleep a little longer before I begin my next trek into the sleet and snow in just several hours.  It would be nice to get home in time not just for Christmas, but to actually finish my Christmas shopping.  Yes, I’m one of those people, not normally, but I am this year.


New York City is often referred to as the city that never sleeps.

This is a radical misnomer. A more apt name for New York City, at least where I’m staying, on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, a hot spot for young twenty-somethings out for a weekend of carousing, is the city that never lets you sleep.

Please, drunk girls, stop squealing and stop starting fights with your drunk boyfriends. Please, drunk guys, stop incessantly honking your horns as you pull the car around to pick your crew up. And when your drunk girlfriends pick fights with you, just walk away, really, until everyone is in their right mind again. It will make Everyone much, much happier. And will conserve energy expended on unnecessary drama.

Sleep. I will reach you…at some point.

NY Report

Am having a wonderful time in NYC. Just got back from an early morning radio show at WBAI and am going to crash for part of the morning. Later tonight, I’m going to see Daniel Radcliffe in Equus. Yes, that’s right, Harry Potter himself. The play is from the 70s, and I’ve never seen nor read it, but I hope it holds up or at least delivers something interesting if no longer the same thing it did when it first appeared.

Spent yesterday shopping in Union Square, signing copies of my book at St. Mark’s Bookshop, and eating wonderful Japanese at Kenka, also in St. Mark’s Place. I love Kenka because it’s a pretty traditional Japanese izakaya–the sort of place where a group of friends go in Japan to eat small dishes of many beautiful items and to drink lots of beer, or, in my case, chu-hai. It’s been a long time since I had a chu-hai, but they taste exactly how I remember them. Next Thursday, I’ll be going to a different izakaya with my editor, Juliet, and am looking forward to imbibing some lovely sake.

Also saw the movie “Milk” yesterday.  Sean Penn was amazing, as well James Franco.  It’s the sort of film that should be playing all over in America, in small town theaters as well as large.  It’s possibly Gus Van Sant’s best movie, though I’m sure others will disagree.  It’s a successful movie about civil and human rights, though, and coming on the heels of Prop 8 in California, it’s very timely, though it’s unfortunate that this issue really is still an issue these many years after the fight Harvey Milk waged for gay rights.

More later. For now, sleep.

The near future

This weekend I’ll be reading with Cat Valente at Suspect Thoughts Books at 4903 Clarke Avenue in Cleveland.  Looking forward to a trip up there.  If you’re around the area, stop in and say hi.

On Saturday, April 26th at 3 PM, I’ll be hanging out at Barnes and Noble in Boardman, Ohio with poets, Philip Brady, William Greenway and Nin Andrews.  These are three of our local poets here in Youngstown, two of which teach at YSU in the English department, all of which are fabulous wordsmiths.  Come buy a book of their poetry, have it signed, take their words home and read curled up with coffee, tea or whiskey, or some combination of the above.

I’ll also be in Columbus for the Ohioana Book Festival on May 10th. I get to meet the governor or his wife, or both maybe?  And to go to the governor’s mansion.  I get to bring one person with me.  I wish it were two, but maybe I’ll have to somehow get myself invited again in the future so I can bring various people I know and love who would like to say they have been a guest at the governor’s mansion in Ohio.  (“And all because of my son the novelist,” would be how my mother would finish that statement, as she rides around town on the back of a convertible speaking through a megaphone.)

And then of course at the end of May I’ll be at Wiscon, hosting the karaoke party and getting my groove on (at least on Friday night.)

Home again

I am back home from New York City, a bit bedraggled but thoroughly enjoyed myself. Saw Aimee Mann in concert, the anniversary reproduction of Harold Pinter’s “The Homecoming”, Southland Tales, shopped in open air markets, was a guest on the Hour of the Wolf, which you can listen to here, and ate lots and lots of good food. Gave a reading at the KGB Bar last night with Naomi Novik. The place was packed. My friend and colleague from YSU, Phil Brady, was in town and came, so we had another Youngstowner in attendance. Afterwards I had dinner with everyone at an amazing Chinese place nearby. The actress Helen Mirren was there, too. I stared unabashedly once this was brought to my attention. Luckily I was outside the restaurant when that happened, finished with my meal, and could stare through the restaurant window at the second floor at her, without her noticing and feeling like she had a stalker. I barely slept last night, got up at 5 AM this morning to get ready and catch a taxi to the airport in time for my way-too-early flight to Pittsburgh. On the way, my driver made it clear to me over and over that he had only just arrived in America recently, and kept asking me for directions to LaGuardia as he took me further and further out of the city. On one exit he asked if it said LaGuardia. I was totally out of it and sort of looked up and said yes anyway, even though after we passed into that exit and into a tunnel I immediately wasn’t sure if I had just said yes as an automatic response or if the sign really had said LaGuardia. Getting ready to go into another entrance ramp lane, he pulled up beside another cabbie, rolled down his window, and said in a hysterical voice, “LaGuardia!? LaGuardia!?” and the other driver looked back at him in puzzlement, concern and panic, shaking his hand as he drove, a gesture that said, “I don’t know what the hell you’re saying!” I rolled down my window at that point and said, “Which exit is LaGuardia?” and he told the other driver to follow him. It was the most ridiculous taxi ride I have ever experienced outside of Tijuana and Bangkok. New York, oh, New York, how the mighty have fallen.

My eyes are dry and puffy from lack of sleep. I have a cough that came with a cold two weeks ago, but didn’t leave when the cold left. My body feels heavy and fatigued. I am going to make tonkatsu for dinner, because tonkatsu makes everything better. Always, always.

Thank you for a great week, New York and its denizens. I hope everyone has a great holiday season. Now I’m off to settle down into bed for a cold winter’s night.