By Adam Gnade
(East Coast Tour Diary)
May 13th. 2014
Sometimes you stay awake for two days straight getting ready for your book-tour before you realize you’ve never been on a book-tour before and your brain kind of breaks. What do you do when you don’t have a guitar/banjo/band to hide behind?
The NYC Anarchist Book Fair. Free vegan food for everyone. Fresh fruit. Samosas. People who know my books. Black mask MCs on stage rapping in Spanish. AK Press, PM Press, Bluestockings. The nicest people ever. Holy hell. I live here now.
Verdict on NY from the tour-mates. Sam: “New York is everything.” Marc: “What a shit-hole.” Me: “A little overwhelmed but glad to be here.”
Good times in Wassaic last night. Did the reading at dusk out in the farm’s herb garden with the horses watching from the field. Right there in the valley with mountains all big and lush on either side of us. Had a bonfire with dogs running around in the darkness and summer/winter ale then spent the night in the CSA field. Big thanks to Tender for putting it on and everyone who came out and all the bands that played after the readings. You’re good folk.
Nice couple days in Baltimore. Bookstores, beer, good times last night at the password-only secret hotel reading. Really like this city. Splitting for Richmond in a few. Hittin’ up Red Emma’s first in search of secret/hidden copies of the White Rose manifestos then tour rolls on…
May 21st, part 2
Why does Baltimore have all the best bands? Lower Dens, Dan Deacon, Beach House, Future Islands … does Viking Moses count?
Craziest thunderstorms of all time in downtown Richmond. Reading is at Chop Suey later today but the tornado watch is going to keep a lot of people away. Sucks. Richmond … you’re supposed to have a great scene. Where is it?
May 22nd, part 2
Sam and I walked into the woods talking about stuff like direct action and mutual aid and it felt like Calvin and Hobbes. Good times.
Best part of the tour so far? The Seed in Lancaster, PA. Vegan reubens? Great people? Amish-looking religious cult singing beautiful old-timey gospel on the corner? All things go, all things go. I live here now.
Vegan pizza at Blackbird! I live here now. Good times with Sarah and Ryan folding zines around the kitchen table! I live here now. Wooden Shoe Books! I live here now.
Reading at Lucy Parson’s Center in Boston went so damn well. If you go to Boston and you skip that goodly place, you are dead to me.
Hangovers. Endless drive. Sam and Marc arguing about 9/11 conspiracy theories. Into NYC again en route to the good Elliot’s place.
Cool stuff on this tour so far…
1) Put my hand in the Atlantic Ocean and found a bunch of shark eggs on a Massachusetts beach.
2) Got interviewed by Razorcake magazine in a Scottish bar in Boston.
3) Fell in love with Wassaic, NY.
4) Did a book reading behind a hotel in Baltimore. Sam played IWW songs.
5) Searched (unsuccessfully, so far) for the collected White Rose manifestos in Richmond, Lancaster, Philly, and Cambridge.
6) Went to the Salem Witch Trials memorial.
7) Marc and I rode a ferry boat from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
8) Wrote (my first) back cover blurb for a book while sitting in the passenger seat en route to Bushwick.
9) Stayed with a lot of good-hearted people. Made a lot of friends.
10) Got rained on in seven separate states. Maybe more. Losing track. Onward to New York City. Drizzly Connecticut motorway. Youth Lagoon on Marc’s car stereo. All things go …
Cool stuff on this tour, part 2
1) Did a reading at Mellow Pages Library. Fucking cool place. Mellow Pages is the best thing about New York City. Go there. You’ll find my books. Hell yeah.
2) Actually the best thing about New York City was all the good people we met (including Matt and Jacob from Mellow Pages so I guess they win the big ribbon twice).
3) Played drunken skiball with Ara Arnn, the friend I’ve had the longest and am still friends with. (Does that make any sense?) He’s a superstar architect now and travels all over the world for his job. I travel a lot for mine too I guess, just differently. I love Ara Arnn. Unimpeachable heart. Star of my sky.
4) Whiskey and ginger and Bushwisk Open Studio warehouse partying at Elliot’s. Ran into sweet Willy Muse.
5) Drinking beer with Sam and Marc in hotel rooms in Amish Country. Outside the room it smelled like horseshit.
6) Ran into Jenny Lewis in NYC. Afterward I told Sam, “Rilo Kiley’s second record kinda changed my life.” Not sure if that’s true looking back on it but it’s nice to think it did. No, fuck it, it really did. “It’s 16 miles to the promised land/and I promise you I’m doing the best I can.” Yeah.
7) Almost ran into a car in rural Indiana. White-out rainstorm. Near death on rainy highways. Survived. Cool. How good does old Future Islands sound during a wild rainstorm as you drive blind? So good.
8) Curb-side conversation about mutual aid vs. theory outside a shitty motel that wasn’t ours in Carlisle, PA. Also, roadhouse dive bar in Carlisle? You’re scary as fuck but I like you. Glad we got out alive.
9) Went to a party at C Squat and watched the new Defiance, Ohio band, Shark Shark, play their second-ever show. Pretty fuckin’ good. Trombones and trumpets. Can’t wait for their record. Oh, and Will’s Green is the New Red was one of the only books on display. Friends do well.
10) Driving to Bloomington, Indiana as we speak. Rainy highways, part 73. Lush woods on either side of the car. You should really see the sky right now. Sunset. All gold and tawny and ecstatic. Smoky woods in the distance. Billboards about Jesus and the right to bear arms and White Castle. Double rainbow on the other side of the road. Bronze and dark-emerald dusk. Wow.
Pool-hopping forever. Drunk conversation in cemeteries forever. Vegan reubens at the Owlery forever. The reading in Bloomington sucked but you can’t win ’em all.
Back from the East Coast book-tour. Been back a week but the week has raced by like a motherfucker. Up against some awful, panic-attack-inducing bullshit right now but I feel pretty okay about the future. And I’m excited for it. A lot of “big change” ahead and some of it is going to be pretty damn hard but what’s adventure without adversity? Here’s the play by play/rundown/tally: Four AM, broke to the point of scariness, big progress on the next book/never want to read aloud from the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad again, wrecked from stupid panic attacks, can’t sleep/don’t care, wild thunderstorm blowing in, raining like hell now, decided life is too short to be afraid, fresh in from a hot bath where I read half of Matt Gauck’s Next Stop Adventure book, New York Dolls songs in my head, crazy lightning, whoa the whole farmhouse is shaking, lying in bed with the lights off and a nice rainy breeze through the window. Verdict is something like: I’m alive and doing fine. Is that a quote? I feel like I’m quoting something without wanting to. Regardless, I’ll say it again: I’m alive and doing fine. I hope you can say it too.