Monday, September 02, 2013

Me at the Thomasville reading. I don't know why my hands are in fists.

One-Stop Book Tour, More Kittens, A Bigot, A Nazi, Jesus, and Folk Singers.

In the middle of August I drove to Thomasville, Georgia to participate in a book event, sponsored by The Bookshelf, an independent book store, at the Thomas County Public Library. I had a fine time reading from my poetry collection, One Day Tells its Tale to Another, sitting at a table among 17 other authors, chatting, listening, networking (I think), enjoying the bookish milieu. For luck I wore both strands of pearls my mother left me, and they worked: I didn’t stumble, wobble, freeze, faint or burp. I even sold some books. After the reading I drove to Tallahassee, checked into a swankish hotel and read or watched movies on TV for two days because it poured off and on my whole weekend away. I did visit the old state Capitol, had it all to myself, and read about the political history of Florida. Most of that was as heart-wrenching as I expected it to be, but there were shining moments. Did you know that the pioneers in protecting the state’s ecosystems were  women?

Another litter of backyard kittens was born in June. Their mother has disappeared, but they have a champion in Peach, a gorgeous little guy who was born in the spring. He watches over the four toddlers and my brother and housemate Drago and I feed them twice a day. I am going to get them all fixed (somehow) when they are old enough, or our backyard will, at least in terms of cat population, will be like Venice or Rome.

Last week there was a raging bigot hanging out in our Florida room.  It was the first time I've been afraid of being alone in our house with a man, or woman, for that matter. I didn't like the way he called me "dear" and I didn't like the way he went out of his way to assure me I'd be safe with him--he wasn't going to cause no trouble. Bud the roofer finally came to fix the leaks. This has been a summer of deluges here on the Panhandle. Bud has MS and the heat is bad for him and I'm sorry about that. He came inside every now and then to cool off and drink ice water. I was watching the ceremony commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The first time Bud saw the camera pan to Pres. Obama, he said "I'd like to shoot that man." He's ruining this country." I said, in a civil voice, I'm a Democrat and I voted for him twice. Bud shook his head a few times at the speaker, King's daughter, I think, then went back to the roof. He came back in later when Obama was on screen again, and let it rip. "He has no right to be President-he's not a citizen-he should be in jail-he's a Communist, a Socialist, a Muslim, not a Christian. I said something about it was the 1% who hold the wealth in this country that are hurting it and Bud said, "If they have that much money they worked for it or inherited it," and I, raising my voice, said that they stole it or their family stole it, and he said, "Every man is entitled to the money he works to git," and I said I didn't want to talk about this anymore, that I was getting upset, and thank you for fixing the roof. Luckily, he was finished with his work and as soon as he went out the door I locked it. I was shaking. Smoked one of my brother's cigarettes. My gut told me to get out of Florida-then I thought, no. We all can't leave the state to people like him.

I went to the bank Saturday to cash a royalty check for $19.60. The guy in front of me had an Iron Cross tattooed on his neck. I wondered, hopefully, if it was a sloppily done Maltese Cross. Then I looked down and he had a big swastika on his calf and other mean looking tats. I put more space between us. What's was going on with my Karma last week? The bigot roofer Wednesday, and and then a Nazi?  Jayzus!

Speaking of Jesus, I’m halfway through Reza Aslan’s fascinating book Zealot. I often promise myself I’ll read more nonfiction, and when Drago finished this book, and I’d finished another Donna Leon mystery, (speaking of Venice) I plunged into the first century, Common Era. I recommend Zealot to anyone who is curious about the historical life and times of Jesus of Nazareth. And who wouldn’t be? Okay. Many of us. One thing though: there is a hell of a lot of rampaging, bathing in blood, chopping off of heads, all that. Aslan reassures us that violence has been with us all along. I knew that, but damn!

Yesterday I read again, but this time close to home. My friend Katrina and I went to an open mic and music performance in Lynnhaven (so, one town away--a tiny tour.) The other performers were folk singers and storytellers. The afternoon tripped along with guitars, bass fiddles and some heart-stopping voices. Warm people, good music--the best parts of Southern. It was a fine start to September.

1 comment:

david coyote said...

Ah - ah - you are the best start to September, so accept it. A conscience afoot in a crowd of strange values, yet laced nicely with appreciative readers and friendly folk, all reminding one that it's good to be.

Cuz coyote