Last Wednesday, I drove to Wyoming. Wyoming, Michigan, that is. Just short of Grand Rapids. I was there to pick up my books. Marc met me there and we loaded twenty-five boxes into the rented SUV. I’d been corresponding with Marc for months about this thing, so it was strange how quickly it was all over. Marc was off to his next appointment and I drove around the corner, down the main drag, to find lunch before heading back to Chicago.

The family restaurant I chose was pretty forgettable. The green beans that came with my chopped steak were boiled so long there wasn’t a hint that they’d once been a living thing. I was a couple decades younger than most of the clientele. At the next table, a couple ladies bemoaned the unavailability of pumpkin pie on the dessert menu. They went over and over all the choices but kept returning to pumpkin. One asked the other if she’d chosen something and the other replied that they didn’t have what she really wanted.

Back in Chicago I lugged about fifteen boxes up the three flights before collapsing into the armchair. An hour later I hauled the rest of them up as well. It’s times like this that I really wish I had an intern. I’d set up a folding table in my mud room in preparation for the arrival of all these boxes and, after another breather, I ripped open the first box and started signing and numbering. 

I took a break to go hear Emmett Kelly and Rob Mazurek play a few blocks from my house. There are drawings of both of them in the book. Then I walked back home and quickly fell asleep.

I started signing and packing books at 7am the next morning. By the afternoon I had the rolling suitcase filled with fifty books and headed off to the post office across the street from where the stockyards used to be. I kept looking back down Halsted for the bus, but it never came so I walked the whole way. I dreaded the attitude I’d get from the postal worker tasked with serving me, but lucked out and got a lady who was pleasant. Not that she was thrilled to process fifty pieces of media mail, but she was cordial about voicing her displeasure. The woman waiting behind me loudly and repeatedly complained about hot flashes, so I must’ve been a joy in comparison.

The next day I hand-delivered copies to some stores and a couple people who had pre-ordered. Everyone seemed happy to receive them. I felt like Santa Claus.

There’s still a lot to do, but it feels like I’m finally over the hump on this thing. If you’d like a copy, you can still use this link, or just write me and I’ll send you one. They’ll stay $25 until we start to run out, then we’ll see what happens. I think they’ll all be gone fairly quickly.

—I wrote about a new movie set in Chicago for the Reader and about all the other movies I saw this week, as usual.  

—I’ve been a fan of Pete Prescott’s bands since the 80s, from Mission of Burma on. He’s featured in my book. It’s a sad commentary on this culture that someone who has done so much still has to come to fans hat in hand to fund his work, but that is where we’re at. Last week in news reports on the death of surf guitar legend Dick Dale it was noted that he had to keep touring just to pay his medical bills. We value all the wrong people around here.