I Love Fairbanks. I love it, love it, love it!!!!!
Let's color this email happy, baby!
(No color fonts in SquareSpace, unfortunately, hence the colors in the photo.)
Just when it seemed as if I was burrowed in the vat of discouragement, eating bitterness for breakfast, I came to Fairbanks. Never mind the drive up with the fall colors lighting up the tundra - that was beautiful! - but at Fairbanks, I arrived.
Granted my trip was not just sneers, you're-weird-looks, and other unpleasant run-ins - I have met so many wonderful, supportive, and amazing people at every stop...but in Fairbanks - at least from the college side of town to Ester, it wasn't just random individuals here and there, but packs of people in general. We all know that there's safety...and strength in numbers.
And coming here on the tail end of the Alaska Fair was just what my spirit needed to keep going.
I could feel from the first that Fairbanks would be different. At Gulliver's - awesome bookstore! - I ran into an acquaintance I met in Juneau - several of those up here - and was bellyaching about the trip and the difficulties of selling my own work, and myself, etc. when a friend of his sat down and after hearing what I was doing, offered to buy a book.
That night, I was at a dinner party in Ester when Jen, an artist I'd met in Girdwood, suggested that I go by this coffeehouse and if they didn't have anything scheduled, ask to do a storytelling there. Sure enough, one night was open, so I managed to set something up at the last minute. She also challenged me to "creatively visualize" a hundred people waiting in line to buy my book.
"If you do that every day for a month, I promise you, things will happen."
On the same day, I was at Gulliver's again, waiting for my turn for free computer usage when the manager came by and said they'd take five books to start out.
I also sold three more to acquaintances that I ran into and a stranger I'd just met.
The next night, I had a couple of groups, Jen's friends and people that I met at the hostel show up for the storytelling - one man bought five books, a Japanese lady bought two, and yet another bought one. Better yet, Ethan, a high school English teacher bought one and asked permission to photocopy it, so he could teach it.
"I love your book!" said Kliff, a drummer who is a friend of a friend. And apparently, he has raved about it to everybody he knows, because the Ethan the teacher was a friend of his.
At the Pub that night, I sold two more. I also met a radio dj who wants to interview me when I come back to town - because of course I will!!! - and one of the women who bought a book and was at Jen's dinner party - is a natural at marketing and is already cooking up ideas for a dinner party with a story segment in between courses. I had been wanting a venue to do "Ella Bandita" as a combo dinner theatre/tableside storytelling, and here Sarah was just handing it to me.
"Fairbanks is a place where a lot of people are trying to create something," said Jay, a musician who lived in Juneau briefly a few years ago. "So people really try to support each other here."
Jen said her art has just taken off since she moved here. Her friend Heather, who makes hats does quite well at the Farmer's Market.
I don't know what it is about this town, but after weeks of people's walls, boundaries, suspicion, and all other forms of attitude, the feeling of openness, generosity, and support was like the nectar of the gods. I sold twenty books in a few days without even trying and I have a posse in less than a week.
Hope everybody has patience with my bragging rights, but hell, this was long overdue.
Did I mention that I love Fairbanks?
This is from the DIY booktour/roadtrip I took in 2005-2006. This stop was one of my most joyful, and I still have cherished memories from that time. The DJ ended up being a total dud in the long run, fyi.
If you’d like to read the previous On the Road post that strongly contributed to the relief of this journal entry, click here.