But I had this encounter. And I don’t mean the one where the street musician – a two-chord banjo player – with the burn-disfigured face asked if the Checkered Demon on my “Buy Bob’s Books!” sign was “The Devil.”
A grey-haired woman in white face mask and designer sweats asked if the Times beside me was anyone’s. I said she could read it, but I wanted it back. “That’s nice of you,” she said. “Are these your books?”
We recognized each other from the health club. I knew she was a painter. She knew about my heart. She picked up each book and looked at the covers, front and back. I didn’t pull the trigger of telling her the prices.
She admired Wilson’s line. She had studied with Crumb. She knew Spain from art projects in the Mission. She and Jay DeFeo had been neighbors. She had worked in Nicaragua with Sandanistas who had known Diego and Frida.
She kept looking at my books. The conversation kept going. She had been one of five members to return to the club the day it re-opened. (Adele and I have not returned yet.) She told me about the wonderful new manager. “He is one of us.” She said I should give a reading there. She photographed me, my books and sign. She said it was “a gift” to meet me. She wanted to hug but we elbow-bumped instead.
And I kept wondering, like any shop-keeper, if she would buy a book. For one thing, I wanted an “Adventure” to write.
In other news…
1.) The Warhol Foundation rejected my application for an Arts Writers Grant. (I didn’t even make it past the first cut.) This is too bad because I would have liked the recognition. But now I won’t be expected to write 10 pieces (1500 words or less) on “art” in the next 12 months. So that’s good.
2.) Two days later, an aspiring film maker asked if I would write a recommendation for a grant for which he is applying to fund a documentary on a cartoonist about whom my magazine article has been the “definitive” study to date. I said I would be happy too – but he might want to tie up the rights to my article first. So we are feeling out negotiating positions.
3.) A writer about/publisher of the comic-related, who has only recently discovered ECs, has learned I was a fan when they first stalked the land. He has asked to interview me about what it was like, I guess, to experience their character-destroying mind-rot as a kid. That should be great fun, though it makes me feel a bit like one of those last surviving witnesses to a global outrage.