TOUR DIARY: PORTLAND
I'm in the blessedly wi-fi-packed Portland airport having just finished the first of two rapid fire trips to Portland, Oregon. I gave a talk at the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association yesterday afternoon. It was this program where they had ten authors speak for 12 minutes each and we were told to not read from our books. I was scheduled to go on 9th. For a while, we were ahead of schedule and all the authors moved along briskly. But then someone went and mentioned that and the next author, a teacher by trade, happily gobbled up the loose minutes. The 7th speaker was my pal Ryan Boudinot, author of the darkly brilliant book The Littlest Hitler. He pushed us from "on time" to "way over" as he read his title story. That made the 8th speaker annoyed, which was a bad thing because she was already a poet so she's inevitably annoyed anyway.
She talked about how little respect poetry gets and then, as she tried to find her place in her own book to read something, she commented on how nice it was to have silence. And I'm thinking "the only reason we have silence is because you've lost your place". And then she talked about genocide for quite a while.
And then I had to get up and talk about my book and make jokes and try to have fun. A laugh was a lot to ask of the poor booksellers by this point but they did their best. Later at the book signing table I had a huuuuge long line of people waiting for me to sign. Which was awfully nice. So I think it was a big success.
On the air this morning with Thom Hartmann today, Portland lefty radio host. He's earnest but I got some jokes in. Flying back to Seattle to do Michael Medved's show at 1. I was scheduled to be on Rachel Maddow's Air America show too but that got postponed.
Update: Just got off the air with Medved. Nice guy. Had a lovely time. But conservative talk radio can be such a weird prism of reality. He said things like "well obviously the major network news organizations have a liberal bias and so do the colleges and even the high schools" and then move on to another point. And I sit there wondering if I should challenge that fairly ridiculous simplistic supposition or just let it pass. I let it pass and waited for my next chance to tell a joke. He obviously never met, for instance, every single high school teacher I ever had ever.