It’s September 14, 2018. I’m sitting on the floor by an open window, in a spare bedroom in a doublewide trailer in Phoenicia, New York. This evening, at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock, my dear ex-Zendik friend Kyra and I will offer the final episode of Composting Utopia: The 2018 Zendik Reunion Tour. Tomorrow, she will do a house concert in Tarrytown, then head south and west to complete her own Home to You tour; Sunday, I will vend for eight hours at the Brooklyn Book Festival.
For almost three weeks, I’ve been consumed by this project. I’ve foregone sleep in favor of late shows and gabbing with old friends. I’ve allowed the work of designing and offering our performances to stand in for my daily three hours at my desk, in solitude with chocolate. I’ve given form to that mythic thing I used to dream of, pre-publication: The Book Tour.
I believe I imagined myself, then, in a gauzy cloud of praise. I saw myself floating from stop to stop, smiling beatifically at my adoring fans, signing books with the detached grace of a priest dispensing the sacrament.
In reality, of course, there’s the work of getting from A to B, and meeting and coordinating with strangers, and getting the word out, and schlepping books around, and navigating the conflicts that can’t help but arise in close quarters. And there’s the joy—when I’m not purely exhausted, and yearning for bed—of encountering this human, and that one, in a sphere threaded with stories and ideas that matter deeply to me.
I am looking forward to slow mornings at my desk. To reconnecting with the monk part of my nature. To reassessing how I invite people to gather, and the role Facebook plays (or doesn’t play) in that process. I am seeing that Facebook events fall somewhere between the personal invite (in which I affirm that your presence, in particular, is requested) and the honest broadcast (in which I announce my event to the public, in quest of numbers): they pretend to be personal but, really, they aren’t.