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Thisbe Nissen: Tour Diary

Preliminaries - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 -
Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 -Day 12 - Day 13 - Day 14 - Day 15 -
Day 16 - Day 17 - Day 18 - Day 19 - Day 20 - Day 21 - Day 22 -
Day 23 - Day 24 - Day 25 - Day 26 - Day 27 - Day 28 - Day 29 - Home Diary - July 25 - July 26

Day 7: New England

Actually slept last night, and well. What a concept. Heartened and made less homesick by the Bruggers Bagels in Amherst. Disheartened by the fact that they're out of tomato. I'm working through my disappointment.

Lunch in Hartford with Dave Daley at The Hartford Courant, with whom I've been corresponding for a while now. We sit on a rooftop patio and talk for a long time about me potentially writing book reviews for the Courant, about David Schickler, about Ryan Adam's solo career... In the car on the way back from the restaurant we listen to Lucinda Williams new CD, "Essence" which I'm dying to get home and buy for myself at Sal's if Chris hasn't already gotten it -- but of course Chris has already gotten it, he was probably there the day it came out, snapping up the first copy. Maybe he'll tape it for me for the road (hint hint...) I truly know that Dave Daley and I are going to really be friends when he joins in singing and knows the words to "Scenes From and Italian Restaurant." "Well they got an apartment with deep pile carpet and a couple of paintings from Sears. A big waterbed that they bought with the bread they had saved for a couple of years. They started to fight when the money got tight but they just didn't count on the tears. Whoa, oh oh, Whoa, oh oh..." Dave is a huge Arthur Bradford fan, making special note of a movie he's made called "What's Your News?" (I think.) Dave wants to have us back in late summer, early fall to do a reading together. He says they'll throw a party and everything! (Someone from publicity call this man before he comes to his senses and takes it back!)

I make it to Boston in plenty of time, then get totally confused by incomplete directions and streets that seem to end where they're not supposed to end. I wind up stuck in Boston rush hour crush, miss my interview with Robert Birnbaum at identitytheory.com, and finally, close to tears, ask a kindly man at a gas station to help me get to the Brookline Booksmith where I know there will be friendly faces and people to take care of me. I make it, and beeline for Jim Behrle who makes everything all right immediately. He feeds me "focus" and "rejuvenate" ("replenish?" "revamp?" "redecorate?") vitamin water in shades of green tea and kiwi-strawberry and gives me a crash-spot on a couch to regroup and recollect. People start to arrive and there's Brian who went to Oberlin, and Michael who I met last fall at Brookline, and Theresa from Table Talk, and my kissin-cousin Amy, and Patricia and Jane and the friends they've kindly dragged along to fill the room, and Robert Birnbaum (who has forgiven me for missing our scheduled interview time) and his sweet dog Rosie, and Elizabeth McCracken whose novel comes out later this summer, Iowa folk, and other folks too. It's a nice-sized crowd, and Jim gives the most amazingly inflammatory introduction ever and I want to hug him for the miracles he works on my ego. I read Chapter 2 which feels kind of self-indulgent (all those names!) and I almost totally crack myself up once which feels like it must be incredibly bad form, to be moved to laughter by your own joke. But anyway, I get through it, and do the signing and then take off with Robert and Rosie to do our rescheduled interview back at Robert's house. We talk for, god, and hour and a half, two hours maybe (ok, fine, I talk, I know, is there anyone in the world who'd be surprised to learn that for MY interview he had to pull out an extra tape? Will I ever just shut up already? I'm not sure if that's rhetorical or not...) and it turns into a really good conversation, something that gets me thinking a lot about education and community and about my little place in this big little world. He seems very interested in this tour diary thing, so I go to my hotel afterwards and write in it.