Cell at Eastern State

Cell at Eastern State

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day Seven, 2000 Miles

Got to Austin, Texas yesterday and put on my Crime Fiction Workshop at BookPeople with Scott Montgomery today. Scott's been a great friend to me and my books and is an experienced writer himself. Last night he bought me a drink at the beautiful Driskill Hotel bar and told me stories of the screenwriting trade in Hollywood, which always sounds like a heartbreaking way to try to make a living. The workshop was great, with a nice turnout of aspiring writers who (as usual) produced some really interesting fiction.

I spent about 36 hours in New Orleans, a town I'd love to visit again. The Garden District was beautiful, and I stopped in to visit the folks at Garden District Books before walking through the Lafayette Cemetery #1. I think what I loved most was that unlike the frequently anonymous cities of the northeast and midwest, every inch of the town seems particularly and specifically New Orleans.

The French Quarter was full of cool little surprises. I took the obligatory walk down Bourbon Street, past the packed clubs and assaultive music, picked my way through the staggering drunks and overdressed college girls, and crossed Esplanade to find some really great little places on Frenchman, including DBA, a modest little place with twelve Irish Whiskeys on the menu and a mostly local crowd.

I even enjoyed the long drive from Mobile west on 10 to Texas. Yeah, there are cops every five miles, but there are also rice paddies, swamps and bayous, threadbare casino/truck stops and adult superstores with biblical names.

Tomorrow it's on to Joplin, Missouri, a stop to break up the trip to the last event, a Noir at the Bar with Scott Phillips, Jed Ayres, Derek Nikitas and Matthew McBride at the Delmar Lounge in St. Louis on Monday night, the 28th.

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