Up to this week, the pace of my tour has been relatively sedate, with more downtime than appearances. But as of Saturday that changed; Chicago will be a whirlwind, and the number of quiet days from here to at least Charleston will be in the minority. So even though last week in Memphis and Nashville was rather quiet, I wasn’t all that concerned; it gave me time to catch up on some writing so I won’t be caught flatfooted before the end of August.
Since my book is self-published, most large bookstores won’t carry it on their shelves; however, independent stores can do as they like so a few have agreed to stock Ladies of the Night. Before leaving Memphis last Monday I stopped in at The Booksellers at Laurelwood to sign their copies, and was pleased to hear that one had already sold over the weekend. If you’re in Memphis, call them to see if they have any left! That night I had dinner with one of my “Angel” sponsors in Nashville, and this morning I’m having breakfast with another in Chicago. I also had dinner and visited with activist Cathryn Berarovich in Chicago on Saturday night; the picture is us in a grassy lot where the Everleigh Club, Chicago’s busiest and most elegant brothel, used to stand. And on Friday night in Indianapolis, I had dinner and a long discussion with a criminologist who is preparing a study of violence against sex workers in criminalized and legalized systems.
My one public event in Nashville was a presentation at Liberty On the Rocks; since the space was rather noisy and the group relatively small we opted for a discussion-group style event rather than a lecture followed by questions. Though I felt as though the format was a bit more chaotic than I prefer, the attendees seemed pleased with the outcome and one even wrote about it. There’s a small footnote to that event which emphasizes the reason I’m out here and gives me hope for the future: when I left, I felt like getting some ice cream so I stopped at a small parlor on the next block which was still open. As I walked out and was eating my cone on the sidewalk, a young woman (university age) asked which flavor I’d bought, and she and her boyfriend and I struck up a conversation. When I told them who I was and why I was travelling, they expressed enthusiastic support for the cause, wished me luck and asked for a card to read the blog. I think their attitude is more common than the prohibitionists want to admit; in twenty years, young people will view repression of sex work in the same way young people now view attempts to suppress gay rights: as a weird, incomprehensible thing people used to do which has no valid place in a civilized society.
Here’s my tour schedule, which is still in flux; check back when I’m getting close to you for details of local appearances. If your city isn’t on the list, but it’s within about four hours’ drive of another city which is on the list, just send an email asking me to visit. Your request will have even more impact if you can suggest a specific place I could do a book reading or give a talk, and it’s virtually assured if you can actually make the arrangements yourself (in other words if it’s your store, club or whatever).