I was never this cool in college
My reading at Oberlin was kind of a last minute thing, but I’d never been to that town, and I know so many cool people that have graduated from there, so I decided to give it a shot. Chelsey Johnson, who knows the awesome Sara Marcus (and, as it turns out my Portland friends Peyton Marshall and Pauls Toutonghi, who are also awesome), teaches at the school, and she set up the reading for me. She also offered me her home (the “Hotel Chelsey”) for the night. Obviously she is great, and I am grateful.
I think there were maybe ten students at the reading? I didn’t count. They were all bright, and they laughed at the right times. And they asked questions and the room was sunny. I felt warm. It was a nice event, and I was happy I had made the trip.
I realized it was going to be hard to sell books to college students because they do not have disposable incomes. But still I wanted them to have my work if they were interested in it. I had considered this problem on the drive to Oberlin, as I sat in silence for half of my trip because I hated every CD I had in the car and all I could get in on the radio was Jesus music. I decided that if anyone wanted to make me a mix CD or two, I would trade them a paperback of The Kept Man or Instant Love. During the reading, I made that very offer. Chelsey told the students when and where we were going for dinner, and if they wanted to show up and make a trade they could. No pressure. Chelsey and I took off for the restaurant.
People came! One young woman, and then another, and then another, and they had put thought into the mixes and there were little stories and explanations behind them and they were funny and I smart and I loved the color in their cheeks. Oh, my heart was warmed. You have no idea. I will glow for days. What do I love more than connecting with bright young women? Not much.
But there was one more person who I swore was going to come, one of the guys in the room. I just had this sense he would come and was a little bummed he did not, not in any deep painful way, but more in a “Is my Spidey Sense off?” kind of way.
We went outside, got in the car, and at the last minute he showed. One of the CDs was filled with punk rock music.
Tipping point to bliss.
My heart was so so so full.
This is it. This is why I tour.
Already it has been so much better than I imagined. I cannot expect anything more but I will keep my mind clear and ready for future greatness. Just in case anyone wants to make me a mix CD.