Thursday, March 10, 2011

I Caught the Blake Butler Express

Every so often, I feel an irresistible urge to visit NYC. It's like my body is keeping track of how many days have passed since my last trip out there. Some women have a biological clock that tick-tocks within them. I have a big-apple clock. It's tick-tocking down the days that I've been away from the city. I'm certain of it.

The There is No Year marathon reading event, hosted by Harper Perennial and HTML Giant, was the perfect excuse to head out into New York, visit the Word Brooklyn bookstore which I have been following on Twitter for quite awhile now, and meet the incredibly creative Blake Butler.

The ride down was a stressful and nerve wracking experience. I do not like to drive in NYC. I like to pop out of the Lincoln Tunnel and drive right up the Port Authority parking ramp. Sure, parking there bleeds you dry, but you know exactly where your car is and you have complete access to it all day long. You are free to walk throughout the city any which way you like without worrying about being sideswiped or pushed along past your turn because no one will let you merge!

My partner in crime (we shall call her "mommy") decided she should drive us THROUGH the city into Brooklyn for the event. Being a nervous first time city driver, I decided to mapquest the directions to Word while using the GPS to navigate us should we get lost.

For an idea of just how horrible this ride was... allow me to share my now-humorous, then-terrified tweets:

Ack! Gps is taking us one way when my directions tell me to go another. Trust in gps. Trust in gps. Trust in.....
Made it to the midtown tunnel. Don't know how, but we did. My mom makes me so fucking nervous! And I gotta pee.

Oh my god! Gps said exit 17w. My directions say exit 13. Holy fucking fuck. I have no clue where you are taking me ms. Gps

Sure, I can laugh about it now, but at the time it was quite the butt-clenching experience. Props to my mom, though, for getting us there in one piece, and in plenty of time to grab a quick bite to eat before things got started. We swung into the bookstore first, so I could personally thank the ladies of Word Brooklyn for the twitter help they offered me before I embarked on my trip.

At the suggestion of Harper Perennial's Marketing Manager, Erica Barmash, we walked up to Manhattan Ave and ate at the extremely cozy Calexico restaurant. You must try their pulled pork burrito. So yummy!

Back at Word, we snuck downstairs just in time to hear Editorial Director Cal Morgan introduce the event and the readers for the night. Some of them were amazing. It was very interesting to see how each reader interpreted Blake's stories. This is Erica, reading a section of There is No Year -->

(For a list of all of the readers, scroll to the end of this post.)

Blake Butler took the stage last. Commanding and passionate, he wowed the crowd with his reading. I have watched his live webcasts before, but they do not do him justice. His stage presence is amazing.

After the three hour event came to a close, everyone crowded Blake to congratulate him. I waited patiently, chit-chatting with Erica and eventually got to turn "fan-girl" on him, asking if he would mind signing the review copy of Scorch Atlas he had mailed me a few months earlier. A quick photo later, with rushed thanks and goodbyes, my mother and I hopped into the car for the 2 hour + drive home, having thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the city.

It never fails to weave it's spell on me. The people, the places, the overall atmosphere. If it wasn't so large and intimidating, I could actually believe that I belong there. NYC, I was in you. And I will be back... sooner this time, rather than later.

Thanks to Erica and Blake for putting on such a fantastic event, and I hope the final two nights were as wonderful as the one I was able to attend. Happy on-sale date this April, and here's to hoping that This is THE Year!

A list of the readers at Word Brooklyn: Wednesday, March 9th -

Giancarlo Ditrapano
Erica Barmash
Kendra Malone
Sasha Fletcher
Melissa Broder
Heather Davidson
Claire Donato
Mark Doten
Jeff Johnson
Jonny Diamond
Emma Straub
Blake Butler

1 comment:

  1. Sounds awesome. :)
    I'd like to go back to NYC too, for somethin like that.