Pilgrimage to Portland

Last weekend I went to visit my publisher in Portland, Oregon. I’m pretty much always happy to be an author in the Eraserhead Press stable, but this was especially exciting. I got to visit with other bizarro authors without convention duties getting in the way. I got to have fun, learn stuff, and see a truly beautiful city. I got to drink a ton of fucking beer.


The plane ride was okay. I got to watch some episodes of Hannibal, which is an awesome show. Karl Fischer picked me up from the airport and introduced me to the first of the many food trucks that would provide most of my sustenance. Then we hung out with Jeff Burk, who is the coolest because he let me stay at his place over the trip. Huge thanks to him and his roommates. I slept in the living room with a dog wearing a cone of shame. His snoring actually helped me sleep. So we all hung out at Jeff’s talking about geeky stuff and using foul language. I also met Squishy, Jeff’s gigantically obese cat. Meeting Squishy is like touching the fingertip of God. She’s like a big fuzzy Buddha and we all have no choice but to worship and adore her. And pictures don’t do her justice. She’s twice as big as this image suggests:


Afterwards, we went to Lucky Lab to visit Carlton Mellick III and Rose O’Keefe, which was awesome. We talked about the direction I should be heading as an author, and I’m very excited about it. I’m working on polishing off the three novellas coming up next as well as writing the novel after that, but the pitches I’m working on now are going to be very badass. If you liked A Town Called Suckhole, you’re going to get more stories similar to that. So we drank beers and ate pizza and shut Lucky Lab down, then we went to the Eraserhead Press office so I could see where it all happens. They had a lot of books, some Lovecraftian stuffed animals, and some disgusting food. It was great! I even got to wear Kevin Donihe’s signature wig.


Then things went crazy. The next day Jeff and I decided to go outside and conquer the fucking world. We went to a comic book swap, where I bought seventeen issues of Spider-Man 2099 and Jeff got some Amalgam Comics. We went to a bunch of comic book shops and video game stores because Portland has a ton of each. Outside one of the video game shops was a guy with a keyboard singing a jazzy song called “I’m Gonna Hurt You, Girl.” I think he was making it up as he went, and he may have also been crazy, but he was giving that song his all. Speaking of that, while walking the streets I saw a ton of homeless people, a bunch of crazy folks, and a fucking armada of hipsters.


That’s a picture of the bathroom in Ground Kontrol, an arcade/bar that quickly became my favorite thing in the universe. Jeff also showed me around Powell’s, where I signed a copy of The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade. We visited Upper Playground to see Alex Pardee’s Bunnywith gallery. We drank beers down the street from Mary’s, an awesome strip club. Jeff told me where the term “Shanghaied” comes from. We went inside the Lovecraft Bar for only a few moments because that place was WAY too cool for a dork like me. We visited the infamous Voodoo Donuts, and finally we met back with Rose and Carlton for more beers and a visit with Vince Kramer, who’s a really good hugger. Jeff and I finally went back to his place and worshipped Squishy some more until it was time for sleep.


The next morning I met with Rose for breakfast. We had a really nice talk about books and being an author and it was exactly what I wanted out of the whole trip. I’m very fortunate to work with such amazing people, with each of us sharing a passion for putting weird stories out into the world. Rose took me to the airport just as the hipster brunch crowd was starting to arrive. Thank you, Rose. Thank you, Jeff. And thank you to everyone else I saw last weekend. You’re all awesome and I had an amazing time. I would say “drink a beer for me!” but let’s be honest, you had a beer started before you even read this.


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