Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Portland: Last night was the reading at Powell's City of Books, the massive, multi-block new and used book store that happily dominates the city of Portland. It's an inspiration--even after seeing eighty or so bookstores on this tour, Powell's is so far above and beyond the scope and scale of all the others that it's like walking on the moon...when I came down to Portland from Seattle over the last few years on trips I always visited Powell's, and it was delightful to be reading there. Great turnout, much stronger than I expected, and it struck me as I was speaking that it has already become old hat--in just a few weeks I've gone from brand-new author type to an old hand. Granted, I'm a performer by nature, but it was still funnny to feel how rapid that transformation has happened.

The hotel I am at, the Heathman Hotel is very weird--it's a nice, upscale hotel like the other's I've stayed in, but the doorman is dressed in tights, wig and old English footman livery. Even stranger, when my friend Amanda dropped me off at the front at 2am they were loudly playing jazz Muzak out the front doors, which apparently is the Heathman's soundtrack all day long. I fell asleep thinking about what it must be like to wear those tights and wig while listening endlessly to the looping tape of Kenny G-inspired licks over and over. You see? There's always somebody with a worse job than you.