Monday, November 15, 2004

Night Train Reading

This was a truly awesome Bed & Breakfast in the truly awesome town of Kings Park, New York, but don't be deceived by the photo. There were no people who actually worked at this Bed and Breakfast. Never once during the two days I was there did I see any staff, maid service - nobody whatsoever - which was wonderful because all of the writers and guests for the Night Train event/reading had the place to ourselves.

(I must admit, for a brief drunken moment Saturday night, I wanted to be Keith Moon and get wild and trash every room. Why? BECAUSE I COULD! But I didn't, because I love Sue Henderson and Rusty Barnes and wanted to be invited back to Night Train events again. In fact, I was the one worried that we left a mess - dirty wine glasses, empty beer bottles, etc. and I ran around cleaning up after people went to bed, but I did not go so far as to wash all the dishes in the sink)

Also don't be deceived by the grounds. They were lovely, but not on acres as it appears in the photo and oddly enough, smack in the middle of a charming suburbanish fishing town in Long Island, surrounded by normal, residential homes.

I dug it to no end. It was the kind of inn you'd find in Europe. Eclecticly decorated with everything from antiques to oriental rugs to weird art (think a sadistic mother goose choking a chicken and I mean that literally) to our suite which had a lava lamp with little fishies in it. The main sitting room had a giant stuffed dead porcupine with its mouth open in horror, stuck to a cork board, over the entranceway. I'm guessing that's forget it, I have no guesses. No guesses at all.

And ah, the suite. When we opened the always unlocked door (at no point did any of us have keys because as I said, there was no staff), the first thing that greeted us was a huge four poster bed. Behind that was a small dorm type room with two twin beds. There was a large sitting room with a fireplace and sofas and chairs and even a bookcase stocked with best sellers and a Scrabble game; and a giant kitchen with everything from a microwave to one of those old fashioned sandwich makers with which you make grilled cheese over the gas range.

The suite was on the lower level kind of, apart from the main house, which is where most everyone else stayed, so they just had bedrooms and shared a sitting room and kitchen. There were three of us in the lower "suite", which I immediately dubbed The Honeymoon Suite because of the rather large bed.

Anyway, here's the complete list of awesome people with whom I hung out, talked off their ears and listened intently while they talked off mine, and partied throughout the weekend: Sue Henderson, Ellen Meister, Pia Ehrhardt, Rusty Barnes, John Leary, John Warner, Gail Siegel, Paul Toth and cool wife Kathy, Terry Bain, Joe Young, Jeff Landon, Tom Jackson and his lovely wife Deb, Todd Zuniga, editor of Opium, and his significant other, Amanda, who I believe will now be poetry editor of Opium (gorgeous New Yorkers who look all of about ten years old) -- plus I got to meet Ellen and Sue's husbands, both handsome, kind and charming men! (Like who didn't know they'd have THAT at home).

The readers were just unbelievable. Sue and Pia read two powerful short stories each, Terry Bain, Paul Toth, John Leary and John Warner read excerpts from their brilliant novels and anyone reading this should immediately google them or write to me and I'll give you the links to their stuff because you should all buy their books and support them, plus, you'll be in for a real treat; then there was Jeff Landon, who lost his stories somewhere between Virginia and New York and ended up handwriting them from memory, and he was hilarious (one line in particular - he's talking about a love affair when he was sixteen and his girlfriend is begging him to "Make it last this time, baby" but of course "he never could"...and then Jeff made a side note to the audience "Oh, that is sooo not true" (and he said it in his really great southern drawl, and well, I hope I'm not forgetting anyone because the reading was so chock full of interesting people. Oh, Tom Jackson of Zoetrope and Night Train was a truly inspiring emcee for the evening. And I want to give a special shout out to John Warner, who somehow managed to keep his cool because he read at the end, just shortly prior to which a large, loud, rowdy drunk crowd showed up and basically almost drowned him out, but he continued on with poise and dignity. If it were me, I'd have stopped in the middle, turned around, and screamed SHUT THE FUCK UP ASSHOLES.

Yeah, sure. I'm such a wimp I probably would have started to cry, but he held his ground and kept reading and he deserves a trophy.

I also want to add that Sue's husband and his band provided the entertainment, and they were really cool and a lot of fun. People were actually dancing!

So yep, it was a great weekend. Networking, talking reading and writing, getting wasted...what more in life does one need?

Just one thing: Jeff Landon, baby, YOU SNORE. You snore so loud you make plaster crack. You make light bulbs break. You make ceiling tiles fall. I heard you snoring through a thick oak door with a TV on!

But you are great writer, dude, so we all forgive you.