Spotlight on open books, Long Beach.
Dude it feels like a weird combo of emotions and sensations inside every time I have to go and do a reading. Part of me loves it. Like, loves it loves it. I don’t know why, either. I’ve always at best been a reluctant performer. Whenever I played music, I was content to play the drums or the bass, never wanted to be out in front of people. I think maybe there is a little romantic streak or something oddly nostalgic about sitting around in a pre-technology era, telling stories, building community and sharing in an oral tradition that must get me going. Which is weird, I think.
The other part of me dreads it. There are plenty of stories of people like Bukowski (who at some point has been a hero for many of us, even if we currently hate him or can’t forgive ourselves for once liking him maybe too much) puking every single time before reading to people. And for everyone who says, do NOT drink a single drop before performing, there are just as many vocally strong about having a sip of the juice before heading up there, if for nothing but to deaden a nerve or two and maybe show up a bit more yourself, instead of a nervous ninny. I don’t know. I’ve done both. Don’t have a preference, in the end.
So here I am to tell you, when you go on tour for your book, make sure to stop in at OPEN bookstore in Long Beach. I don’t know how much these guys are on the map for all of you, but they sure deserve to be. Tons of integrity and five years going strong in a great community of artists, musicians and authors, including my own press, Write Bloody Books. Shea Gauer and Se Reed are delicious human beings with their hearts in the right place, people who show up squarely on the side of the author. Their space is cozy enough to feel like you can be at home among friends, but big enough to house a nice-sized reading. They get people out to the show, and will really work with you to put something special together.
Take a gander at their site, or post up a comment if you have an OPEN Books reading story.