The Loneliness of the Long-distance Blogger

May 30th, 2006 | Uncategorized


Here I am at some nameless airport motel on the outskirts of Atlanta. I’m supposed to be flying to Tucson right now. Tomorrow night I’m speaking at the public library there, a Pride kickoff event. But my flight leaving VT was two frickin’ hours late. Even so, when we got to Atlanta it looked like I might still possibly make my connecting flight. I did one of those decathlons through the airport, running full tilt as I dragged my suitcase, dodging in and out of the crowd, leaping small children, taking trains and escalators and moving walkways to a concourse about seventeen miles from the one we landed at. But alas. The Door was Closed.

So the airline’s putting me up at this joint, and tomorrow I take another flight to Tucson which will get me in right before I have to speak. I will have no chance to use the sunscreen or the sunglasses I thought to bring. The worst part is, I have to leave Tucson at, like, 4:30am on Thursday to catch my first of three flights home.
All I can say is, thank god I brought a burrito with me or I would have had to eat at Arby’s. Oh, and did you know that the screw for a lampshade is the same size as the tripod socket on a camera? I learned that handy hotel-room-posting tip from my favorite technology writer, David Pogue.

Anyhow, there was more exciting press for Fun Home today. A mention on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, in a summer reading list segment (I haven’t listened to it yet) and a short review in USA Today. I’m going to have to revise my opinion of USA Today if they keep this up. First they break the news on how AT&T and Verizon are turning over all our phone calls to the NSA, then they do a nice review of my book!

Anyhow. All this press is very exciting, but the fact remains that I’m stranded on the outskirts of Atlanta. This reminds me of another profound work by Edward Gorey, La Chauve-Souris Dorée, or, The Gilded Bat. (I cited his book The Unstrung Harp in an earlier post, when I was feeling “extreme and pointless embarrassment” upon holding my new book in my hands for the first time. The Gilded Bat is about the not-so-glamorous life of a prima ballerina who tours the world and performs to sold-out crowds, yet spends night after night alone in her hotel room, washing out her leotard.

34 Responses to “The Loneliness of the Long-distance Blogger”

  1. angela says:

    I feel your pain. I got stuck in Oakland once after an Alaskan Air fuck up. After hanging in the airport for five hours(!) They put us up in a knock off low rent Hilton. Got home a day late with a screaming head cold.
    Good Luck and I hope you stay healthy.

  2. Susan says:

    Having a very lonely night myself
    so I’m feeling for you and with you.
    I was wondering how you took that photo…
    cool…that’s a neat trick.
    Hope your leotard dries by morning.
    A damp leotard sucks worse than eating at Arby’s.

  3. Tone says:

    On Sunday I was on the airport on my way home from a long weekend of work and travelling. I was DYING to get home to my partner and my cats! The speaker on the airport suddenly announced that my flight was cancelled and all passengers were transferred to the next day. I almost cried! I went from information desk to information desk trying to find a solution, and considered making up a story of three kids waiting alone at home with no babysitter or something like that (I am a bad liar, so I didn’t). But of course they couldn’t care less if I had to spend an extra night in Oslo (Norway). I managed to get home as the last standby passengers on one of the latest flights. I was so happy – and so pissed at the airline. They would gladly have dumped me in a motel. I have come to realize that I mostly hate travelling for work. It sounds so fun in theory, but when the day actually gets there, I wish I could stay at home.

  4. Martha says:

    I would love to read the rest of your story but every time I click the link I am sent to the response page. This is frustraiting. Especialy the fact that I can no longer spell.

  5. Andi says:

    Ditto what Martha said.

  6. Renfield says:

    Ditto what Andi said.

  7. Jain says:

    This happens to me with the Entertainment Weekly story too.

  8. fireeyedgirl says:

    I’m also having trouble reading the rest of your entries..I just get sent to the comments page. Not that it’s not fun here.

  9. Susan says:

    for me the response page and the page with the full blog
    are the same page. I hate to be so simplistic and mundane
    but, have you tried scrolling up and down when you get
    to the response page? or are there any little links at the
    top of the page…once you get into that level of the blog,
    there should be lines highlighted at the top of the page
    that will take you from entry to entry and you should be
    able to see the whole darn thang.
    I hope it works for you gals.
    I hate to see women frusterated.

  10. David in Cambridge says:

    A tip for other frustratees:
    I can see the full text of Alison’s entry in the HTML for this page with
    [View] -> [Source]
    even though the main browser window still shows only the comments stuff.
    Who can ferret out the errant tag?

  11. cz says:

    I can’t see the full text even if I view by source (also tried scrolling through entire page). Any suggestions appreciated.

    Ah,glamorous business travel. My best story is:
    Plane 1 (that’s your first hint)
    Boards 1 hour late
    Sit in plane for 45 min at the gate
    Captain- we seem to have some mechanical difficulty, we’ll keep you updated
    1 hour passes
    Captain- This plane isn’t going to fly, there is a second flight going to SFO you can get rebooked
    Plane 2
    Boards on time
    Sit at gate for 45 min
    Captain- we seem to be having some mechanical difficulties, we’ll keep you updated
    30 min elapse
    Flight Attendant: We’re going to go ahead and put on a movie for you
    Watch movie for 45 min
    Captain- we seem to be having trouble fixing this plane, you can go back to the first plane you were on as that one was fixed, or you can wait here [I waited]
    45 min elapse
    Captain: Ok, we’re ready to go
    Only 5 hrs later than i should have, home sweet home.

  12. Jane R says:

    Alison, sorry to hear the plane problems, and that you won’t have time to explore Tucson. Please know that we’re really looking forward to your reading tonight!

    Tucson/Pima Public Libraries is a pioneer for LGBTQ content and advocacy — every branch’s young adult section has queer books, and they do special events and displays for Pride. (So, nothing like Mo’s recent interview.) So glad they invited you this year!

  13. boltgirl says:

    I am thoroughly bummed that I can’t make it tonight–lord knows when you’re giong to make it back to our dusty little burg–but I have commitments with my kid followed by a commitment to my mighty soccer team (can’t leave them without a keeper). So come back soon, uh, on a different airline.

  14. Beth says:

    I just get the response page, too, and the responses are indeed the only thing on the page (except for the header with the cartoon panel and links to Home/Archive/FAQ/Contact) – the full entry is missing.

  15. I’ve been a fan since as an undergrad I hung with the Girl Scout Counselor/Michigan Fest WWTMC crowd and even though my life has taken me to a more hopelessly mundane path in some ways (happily married with two boys) I’m still a fan. So it was with great delight that I read about your new graphic novel, which I will definitely pick up! And also what fun to see you are local! (I’m in Shelburne renting for as long as we can manage or until I finish grad school whichever comes first).

    Good luck!

  16. asrai says:

    i can’t see anything except for the comment either when i click “read the rest of this entry.” i thought maybe it was just me being stupid, so i scrolled around everywhere, tried clicking on the header instead etc – no luck. its been happening to me ever since the entertainment weekly entry (which i also really wanted to see!). ah, the dramas of blog renovation.

  17. Kyle Thoreau says:

    sorry to hear, just be thankful you weren’t stuck in the Jacksonville FL bus station. That is pure hell.

    and just finished Fun Home. Damn that was good, and seeing it in the biography section (as opposed to the comics section) damn near brought a tear to my eye.

    and on the book, the OCD stuff….. huh I thought I was the only one who did that.

  18. TOPS says:

    Despite being Xhausted from 9 hours at work,and putting my EX of 23 yrs back onna plane back to Calif,,,,,,I knew I had something;someONE; to look forward to,,,,,the wonderful writer of the DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR. The comic strip that I winced at more than once, and dug deeply into looking for hidden meanings, but for the most part, LOVED, especially in Lesbian Connection!

    Anyhow,,,I was happy to see Al. amazement at the large crowded room, and rather proud of the Tucsonans that braved the lousy downtown traffic to make it to the show ON TIME.

    They also were thrilled with the slide show, and questions.

    GADS======I surely hope you sold 10x the books you had thought you would! It appeared to be a BEST SELLER!!!

    Thanks for the autograph in Lesbian Connection, and I have pics of the two sides of the large group of watchers if you’d like to see them?


  19. Deb says:

    Ditto to all as well………..but I enjoyed the comments immensely as well as your picture. How did you do that??

  20. LC says:

    Great Presentation. It was nice to see the standing-room only crowd at the downtown library here in Tucson. It would have been cool to have some local “main-stream” coverage of the event… like maybe perhaps on the local PBS affilate’s nightly local public affairs program, Arizona Illustrated. (wink, wink) Oh, well… maybe next time you will not be so pressed for time. Let us know when you will be in the area again. –LC

  21. Duffi says:

    having the same trouble as many ….always sent directly to the comments page. No way round it. I want to read all yr blogging, young Alison!

  22. --MC says:

    Ah, you’re on the road.
    I found an Auden poem he wrote about being on book tour — I still plan to send it to you, but I lfet the book at home, and no amount of Googling seems to be able to summon it up, so the best I can do is a couple of lines from the great American poet Bob Seger:
    Now here I am, on the road again.
    There I am, up on the stage.
    Here I go, playing star again.
    There I go, turn the page.

    Make the Rock Face and hold your hand out like you’re holding the mike out to the audience, and you get the idea.

  23. BB says:

    I would love to read the rest of the story, any story, but the link brings me here. This is the second story on which this has happened. What is going on with the links?

  24. Andrew says:

    Well, I hope you have better luck en route to San Francisco next week! I can hardly wait to attend one or more of the events. I couldn’t wait for your arrival and snapped up a copy of Fun Home at A Different Light, and eagerly read it waiting for Muni, on Muni, and when I got home. A GREAT (though yes, somber) achievement.I especiallly liked the Dedalus/Icarus metaphors. The ending panels are beautiful and touching.
    By the way, the guy I spoke to at a Different LIght didn’t seem to know about your appearance there, just about the event down on Brannan St. Maybe they are as easily confused as I am.
    And although I often experience technical difficulties I’ve had no trouble with the blog or your site. Is this because I have a MAC?

  25. Sandra says:

    Hi Alison,

    I’m having the same trouble as all the others — when I try to read the entire posting I get sent to the ‘comments’ page. I hope to soon be able to read the entries in their entirety, as the combination of your wit and humor and plain humanity is something I’ve come to look forward to.

    Best wishes on your stressful travels.

  26. mobatdykes says:

    To all who can’t see the full story: I couldn’t see the full story when I was using Internet Explorer 6.0. However, I can see the full story (with pictures) using Netscape 7.2. Perhaps if you switch browsers, that would be better for you?

  27. Kelly says:

    Yep — that solves the problem for me, anyway. Netscape works; Explorer doesn’t.

  28. mike weber says:

    “Gilded Bat” — you know there was a ballet made of that? Years ago, i happened to flip into an interview with the choreographer on NPR — right into the middle, no idea of who the guy was, or why he was being interviewed.

    And then he said something like “…and there are three fictitious ballets mentioned in the story that I had to invent parts of…”, and i knew immediately what he must be talking about, and, indeed, it was so.

    Some quick googling found this (NYTimes, 10/91):

    “The program also included “The Gilded Bat,” a wonderfully silly but loving look at the classical ballet drawn from a story by Edward Gorey. The ballet satire, choreographed by Peter Anastos, has its thin spots, but Peter Golub’s score, a delectable bouillabaisse of familiar ballet themes, is not one of them. The large cast performed with inspired comic abandon, but the show was almost stolen by Mr. Hart as the kindly, urbane narrator.”

    Oookayyy — My life is now officially weirded out (like discovering that New Orleans native cowpunk guitarist Bill Davis not only loved the Roches but was a friend of theirs…) — apparently there was a performance TODAY (3 June 2006) in Stamford.

    (Paging Mr Serling…)

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