I just had breakfast in a tiny diner in Cleveland, actually the suburb east of Cleveland, near the part of town where my daughter and I lived for a brief time just before she went off to college and I moved to France with Wreckless Eric. The Yours Truly was a cozy scene, a few booths, a short counter, Rick James’ “Give It To Me Baby” over the speakers, a TV playing an adorable Animal Planet show about raising puppies. The coffee was good, I treated myself and ordered bacon AND hash browns. Everything felt right and then— there was a commotion towards the parking lot. Just outside the big plate glass windows, in full view of the entire place, a guy was breaking into a customer’s car. A few people ran outside, the manager called the police, for a second it felt like the guy breaking in was going to come in to the diner but then he took off down the avenue. I’ve probably seen too many movies because I watched the whole thing unfolding thinking “is this where I meet my end? This random diner? Why oh why didn’t I just drive on to Pittsburgh yesterday?”
I couldn’t face Pittsburgh just yet. I’m so tired, I didn’t have the strength to go that far back into the past. Cleveland is one layer of bark just towards the surface of the tree, easy enough to break a piece off, turn it over in my hands, crumble it between my fingers. Pittsburgh takes a chainsaw, or an axe, or one of those taps they stick deep into a maple to extract sap to turn into syrup. I can’t excavate Pittsburgh on this trip, when part of what I’ve been doing on this trip has been excavating Pittsburgh. I think I might have book tour burnout.
It’s been a great tour so far. I think the thing with outings like this (not that I’ve ever had an outing like this before, but similar to a tour with a new record) —don’t stop. Don’t take breaks, chill out, relax and have down time. Because down time is when you go…down.
Think about a perpetual motion machine—it feeds on its own energy. When you take that away, what’s left? Nothing. A void. That’s what I am right now.
Don’t go down. I think of all the dear familiar faces and new ones I’ve met on this trip. Towns I have close relationships with I’ve gotten to drive into in a new way (look out bitches, get a load of me! Oh if only…usually more like hello, is it me you’re looking for?) There has absolutely been a feeling of accomplishment and I have to keep reminding myself it’s not the end of everything —it’s the beginning of something.
I don’t know who will come in Pittsburgh tonight. I wish I could go get a facial, or a pedicure but —my car needs an oil change. Maybe I need an oil change? I’ve done some hotel swimming and usually don’t go full bacon/hash browns but I miss walking. Too many hours in the car. In Girl To City, I wrote that rules of touring say never examine your life too closely in a dressing room mirror or at the end of a tour. What about in the waiting room of a Subaru dealership somewhere on the outskirts of Cleveland?
The only way to keep going is—don’t stop. I’ll see Eric in less than two days, for two days. There are serious fires out west, people being evacuated from their homes in Northern and Southern California. I fly out there next week. Is it okay to go?
It’s all leading somewhere…even if it’s just to the next book. That’s a lot, right?
*Book Tour Burnout
Order GIRL TO CITY here or see me out on tour. I’ll rally, you know it!
- Tues Oct 29 Pittsburgh PA City Books 7 PM (in conversation w/Rege Behe + reading/performance)
- Sat Nov 2 Newark DE Rainbow Records 5 PM
- Sun Nov 3 Wayne PA Main Point Books 5 PM
- Thu Nov 7 Oakland CA Starline Social Club tickets 9 PM
- Sat Nov 9 Los Angeles house concert
- Tue Nov 12 Los Angeles Stories Books (in conversation w/Pat Thomas + reading/ performance) 7 PM
- Fri Nov 15 Portland OR Turn Turn Turn (w/Scott the Hoople!)
- Sun Nov 17 Seattle WA Third Place Ravenna (in conversation with Kristi Coulter + reading/performance) 7 PM
- Thu Nov 21 Catskill NY HiLo
- Fri Nov 22 Rochester NY The Bop Shop tickets
- Sat Nov 23 Cambridge NY Argyle Brewing at Cambridge Depot tickets