I took three personal days at work and drove to Lansing, Michigan, for the weekend.
I left Thursday and spent a night in a motel on the road, halfway up. I drove the
family car, your father's Oldsmobile.
Jeff Potter and Crowbar had scheduled me and John M. Bennett to read at a tavern on Friday night, sign books at an antiquarian book fair and paper show, where Potter had a booth, Saturday afternoon, and to read Saturday night at a gallery. I would leave Sunday morning and stay at a motel Sunday night on the way home.
Jeff and Martha had a caravan for me to stay in out back of their house, in Williamston, which Jeff called The Jack Saunders School of Fiction Writing, Northwest Outpost.
John M. Bennett stayed with Crowbar, in his digs in Lansing.
Crowbar had now gone from Rev. David Crowbar Nestle to Rev. Suzy Crowbar Poe, and had distributed fliers for the readings to the gay bars of Lansing, where her tranny friends hung out. We knew that they would attend our readings.
Reading in Cellars
Charlie Parker said he was tired of playing in cellars.
This photograph just looks like we are in a cellar. But it wasn't a football stadium, either. It wasn't Madison Square Garden.
It was a beer joint.
A man whom I had corresponded with drove over from Ann Arbor, with a friend from Jackson, Michigan. It was good meeting them.
There was also an Australian who had read my work in an ezine on the Internet. I don't remember which magazine, or what piece he read, but he was excited to meet me.
After the reading I gave away a pamphlet I had written for the occasion, The Beat Poet Tour.
I had brought a box full of Beat Poet 1, a 12-page newsprint self-cover flier, the first installment of the 18-flier serialized-novel BEAT POET, but I was ashamed to give them away, and left the box in the trunk of my car.
I didn't think that I was a beat poet. Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso were beat poets.
But I read an A&R man say, in an interview in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, that any bluegrass band that didn't want to add a drum kit to their records and make MTV videos like some kind of country music hat-act, should go off and be a beat poet--as if that were the most quixotic and self-destructive thing he could imagine a person doing.
That is what I had dedicated my life to doing. Going against the grain of what the smart money was doing.
Doing art for art's sake.
The Book Fair
I sold a few books at the book fair. Met people I knew. Roger Jackson came
by to say hello.
One man told me I was lucky to have Jeff Potter for an advocate, and I said, "Crowbar too."
I would have added John Bennett, but that might have confused people who did not know that the John Bennett of Vagabond Press and the John M. Bennett of Lost and Found Times were not the same John Bennett.
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