A few months ago, my friend Alexa let me know that Roxane Gay was going to be in her town of Ann Arbor for an author event. This was pretty much my reaction:
OMG I love Roxane Gay. I’ve read Bad Feminist and Difficult Women but I’ve been really looking forward to her new book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body. It was a book that was supposed to come out last year but was pushed back — during the Q&A portion, someone asked her about that and she said that it was because it was a very difficult subject to write which I can appreciate since it was a very difficult subject to read and I can’t fathom opening myself up like she did on certain topics.
In her writing she’s very open about the rape she suffered when she was younger and I can’t relate to that, but the chapters about moving through the world today as a fat person? Yes. Yes that really is what it’s like.
So, last Friday night I drove up to Ann Arbor, Michigan (much to the dismay of my Ohio State graduate fiance). This was my first real road trip since Clotapocalypse so I gave myself extra time in order to make stops every hour or so. It actually worked out really well: there was a Turnpike rest stop about an hour into my drive and then an hour after that was the Michigan Welcome Center. So I would just get out, use the restroom, walk around a little. While in my car driving I’d be doing foot exercises, making little circles or flexing my foot. Basically the same foot exercises I do on airplanes and of course I was wearing compression socks on both legs all weekend.
I got in at 5pm, met Alexa at her apartment. We dropped my stuff off then headed downtown Ann Arbor for dinner at this really good Indian restaurant near campus. I’d been to Ann Arbor before but that was in December several years ago and we didn’t really walk around that much. This weekend we had an opportunity to really walk around and Ann Arbor is super cute omg.
Roxane’s event started at 7pm and this amazing auditorium on campus. She read a few passages from the book then opened it up to the audience for a Q&A. I was one of the last to get my question in and I had asked about memoir writing when you just can’t remember. When I wrote Running With a Police Escort I had the benefit of this blog and journal entries and such to help. With my potential Book #2, I really want to write it but I can’t remember everything. Her answer, that nobody’s memory is perfect and it’s okay to rely on some creative nonfiction when necessary, was a bigger help than I realized because this has been me since getting home:
After, she signed books! According to her Twitter, 1000 people were at the event, 800 stuck around for the book signing and she was there for two hours. She signed everything. Talk about major hand cramps.
Saturday morning, A and I went out for brunch and visited two bookstores (because of course). Then I got back in my car and headed back to Cleveland!
I did make a small but necessary detour on the way home, though:
Campus Polleyes is a restaurant in Bowling Green, Ohio, where is where I went to college. They legit have the most magical stuffed breadsticks and I haven’t had one in probably close to 10 years so when I was on the phone with my sister and she made a comment about stopping, I called ahead, explained I’d be driving through town about 1:30 and could the order be ready?
They were and they taste exactly the same. I don’t know how they do it, other than using the same recipe for the past 40 years.
If you haven’t yet read any of Roxane’s work, I highly recommend you go get her books now.
Love from the ashes,