tour diary    
  shelley jackson  


This morning, I encountered a toad clambering through the grass by the van.

Some Ohio business names I like:

Luv's Interlude to Beauty
Goo Gu Bumps Hair Bumps Hair Salon
Lil Blast A Scent [a vending machine. It squirts perfume at you.]
Mr Chicken

We are driving from Cleveland to Chicago. Ohio is flat, green, hazy. Indiana is flat, green, hazy. The entire state appears to have been recently mowed. We smell cut grass. We pass hawks the size of dachshunds, sitting heavy in undersized trees. We pass a place called Pokagon, and Kelly exclaims, "It's a new shape!" We pass a plaque flanked with flowers where someone died, and we pass a sign to Potato Creek We pass a giant saxaphone and trumpet being squirted with water in the middle of an ornamental pond outside a business whose name I will not now learn. I decide it's time for chocolate and open my Toblerone which got a little too warm on the floor of the van yesterday and has hardened into a new shape, maybe a pokagon.It's windy and the van slews back and forth. Kelly yells "Whoa," laughs.

The woman at the toll booth said on the phone as we were pulling away: "Did you know there are two hundred and thirty nine ways to make change?" What does this mean?



Last night in Chicago, we read at a great store called Quimby's which sells zines and comic books and Hello Kitty vibrators as well as books. Many excellent Chicago people came. Kelly read The Specialist's Hat. I read the Phlegm appendices. My song was called "sweet and creepy."

Which reminds me that in Cleveland a man came up and said, "If my mother had played those songs to me when I was a kid, even if I didn't understand the words, I would have gone to sleep right away!" I'm not quite sure how to take this.

After Quimby's, I went to dinner with Rob and Sheila and Beth-Ann and we got $47.50 off because Beth-ann found a large metal shelf support in her "Crispy Goat Cheese Salad." Then we went to the book party that Joe Tabbi was hosting for me in his swank loft and I passed out clip-on mustaches and bouncing eyeballs and danced, and as a result spent much of this, the following morning, curled up on the fold-out bed in the back of the van while Kelly drove like a, like a, well, like a safe, reliable driver. (Apparantly lack of sleep has knocked all the metaphor out of me.)

I would like to dedicate the rest of this entry to the enormous, stately, bright orange moose whose noble likeness we just passed. We are driving over the green teddybear curves of Wisconsin. The sky is milky. Here, the signs for CHEESE tower above the signs for FOOD.

We pass a barn emblazoned "CHEESE ANTIQUES" which sounds very unsavory. Earlier, a Walk-In Cheese Room was advertized.

Now we are passing a statue of a black bull wearing an orange sign: EAT MORE CHICKEN.

Kelly and I spent some time today thinking about the short lives of the male chicks that are cast live into the shredder the minute their sex is determined, and how little opportunity they afford for the reincarnated to improve their lot by virtuous deeds and righteous chickenhood, such that it appears that if you were unfortunate enough to be reincarnated as a male chick you would be condemned to repeat yourself, and live a thousand lives, each a brief tumble down a chute with blades gnashing at the end of it.

Then we thought about the fact that if all souls were virtuous, there would be no more chickens, which seems a little harsh on the rest of us, who like to eat them.

Then remembered that there would be no other animals and no humans, either.

Then speculated whether the extinction of species is proof that souls are successfully reaching Nirvana.

Concluded not.

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