Not a whole lot happened yesterday, which is why I didn't blog about it. Let me run it down real fast: Woke up, Bernard and I went to this cool restaurant in a strip mall area that sold sandwiches and fresh food, then to the theatre and watched the Watchmen. I really liked it and he thought it was so-so. He drove back home and from there I drove back to Northern Kentucky and dropped Frank's car off, and Regan drove me to a liquor store to cash my check. Day over.
Today, is a whole different story. I left at 9 toward Berea, a 2 hour drive in my own car, which was both comforting and enervating at the same time. I stopped at Cracker Barrel almost the exact same time as Hendrick and Bianca, and we went in and got some seats, next to a giant photo of a raccoon and a set of traps hanging from chains on the wall. You be the judge. Ricardo, Michaele, Frank, Hendrick, Bianca all ordered our food and talked. I got French toast and country ham, and got clowned for eating ham again. Well, it was more like a look from my big-sis Bianca, but you shoulda seen the look. hahaha. Turns out that Bernard got almost there and realized he had forgotten the money he had been the treasurer for, and had to turn around, and it wouldn't be for another couple of hours that we would see him.
We all met at the Kentucky Artisan Center, a giant (and awesome as hell) store, of sorts. It is filled with Kentucky art for sale, but with found art, statues, wood carvings, and other big pieces of art, it looks very much like a museum. There is jewelry, DVDs, music, candles, all kinds of things, and little cards describing the artists. They sold some Affrilachian work there too. Oh, and a girl with great giddiness asked Frank to sign her book. She recognized him. haha.
We sat at a table near the cafeteria, and work shopped, Hendrick taping us and Michaele reading, while the rest of us discussed our works. We finished up and I drove Frank, and we all met at the Appalachian Center in Berea. My parents arrived soon after and were introduced, or otherwise met, Frank, Michaele, Bernard, Bianca, Norman, Mitch, and Ricardo. It's weird to think they have never met Frank, but it's good that they finally were able to. Regan was with them too, which was great. Today, we were to read the poetry we had written on the road. I ran out to my car and got what I could, and then read it, along with a poem in honor of Danny, who had attended Berea. It was really great to be able to do that. We each went through a round of our poetry from on the road, and Norman read his works, and showed a full page newspaper page with our photos on it. It was awesome.
Then, upon second go, we read some of our other works, I read 6:30 P.M., one of my mom's favorite works, and my poem with the best general reception I've gotten throughout the tour, a poem about levels of racism that exist in America. There were many kind words said by Frank about me and us as a group, and all in all, the location, the audience, my family being there, the words, were all perfect in ending this tour. It was amazing. Hendrick said Frank has the energy or general vibe of Langston Hughes. Hendrick is a good, and honest man. We took group photos and spoke with the audience. One very memorable moment was speaking to a woman who knew Danny, and who cried hearing my poem about him. I gave her my copy, and the whole experience really completed a loop that started the moment I met Danny. Or I should say ended, but came full circle, ready to spin again.
We handled business, figuring out what we'd make back from mileage and discussing the plans for our money (including making is a non-profit organization and hiring a tour manager and getting a bus next tour. Plus we are working on that video. My family left and Regan and I walked around a bit before running back into Frank, his wife, Bernard, and Ricardo. We went to a pizza place down the street, ate some damn good pizza, and then Regan and I drove down to the Kentucky Artisan Center where we looked around more, and I got my mom a birthday present and a copy of Coal Black Voices for myself.
We drove the two hours back talking about the tour, and how awesome certain people from the tour were and are, and listening a CD of black Appalachian (Affrilachian) musicians. And here I sit now. Spent, like Bianca's afro after it ate Kentucky, Tomorrow will be a much calmer day, but one with new colors of lights and new shades of shadow; a whole world digitally restored, or in high-def for the first time.
And now it is time to write.