Day two, written some in the morning of day three, some the evening. That’s how it goes sometimes. I can’t blog when I’m not at a computer then, can I?
Day two was all about the reading (being which it was the reason for the trip). I didn’t feel like doing a lot during the day, and the heat made doing difficult. Walking, quick trip to Pearl River to look for children’s chopsticks (the kind with the little finger clip on one side). Merida is still too small for said clip, but apparently they keep growing. Children, not clips.
Then on to Pearl Paint (no relation) to get cartridges for my Parker fountain pen, and was astonished and disappointed to see how the pen department there has been decimated. And the man working there didn’t even know if they had cartridges and sent me down an aisle that didn’t have any. There were cartridges at the counter that may have fit, but I didn’t have my pen on me and didn’t feel like risking it. This is for my replacement-Parker, that I bought on Ebay for $25 after losing my other one in Austin, after World Fantasy, I think at the Flight Path Cafe but when I called the person didn’t know what a fountain pen was…a pen I had bought at Pearl Paint as a $10 close-out from the Pen Guy, who must still be taking care of pens somewhere if not at Pearl Paint. The Pen Guy would have known what cartridges to use. However, my replacement Parker came with an ink converter, but when I bought the first Parker, the Pen Guy told me that the barrel of the pen was too small for a converter. Could Pen Guy have been wrong?
Dim sum lunch at Jing Fong on Elizabeth Street, one of those giant halls filled with tables, food carts passing every two minutes. And back to the room to practice a bit.
The reading was fun. It was the largest audience I’ve been in front of. I read from The Painting and the City. The microphone wasn’t working so I had to project, and the audience stayed quiet and attentive, mostly. At some point I heard someone on a phone. I decided that if it was the bar tender, it was okay; it not, that person will probably get earlobe cancer from overuse of cellphones.
The other reader was Kaaron Warren, an Australian currently living in Fiji. Her first novel, Slights just came out. Kaaron read first, a really coold story called “In the Drawback”. Drawback being how you say receding tide in Australian. Which is a fine term that I would like to remember. The story painted a setting of people living on the shore, during the off season, after the tourists have left, scavenging what the sea brings them, until it brings them something strange and fearsome. Even in my pre-reading jittery state I could tell how well she set up the story, showing the day-to-day lives of her characters and their relationship with the ocean.