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Readings: Tour Diary

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Below are the only five issues of "Roadog: the Movie", an executive summary of my Spring 2003 reading tour. The document is filthy & nearly pointless. Enjoy!

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Volume IV

Volume V (most recent)

Volume V, May 2002

Roadog: The Dog Howls Again

(A brief compendium of the Dog's travels on his somewhat-pathetic-but-still-technically-a-tour paperback tour)

1. Number of times the Dog was offered a "full-body massage" by a lovely female member of the audience: 3
1a. Number of times he received said massage: 0

2. Number of times the Dog said "anal sex" to an audience: 37

3. Consecutive number of karaoke performers encountered in Portland, Oregon unable to hit a single note: 6

4. Number of hot lesbians the Dog hung out with in Chicago: 17
4a. Number of hot lesbians who did not sleep with the Dog in Chicago: 17

5. Email received by the Dog following a recent reading: "…So here is the real reason I am writing to you. It is kind of a manipulative reason, kind of ridiculous, but I don't know you terribly well and I figure that the worst that can happen is you post the entire body of this email on your Web page. I want to have sex with (Name Deleted). Steve, I am not an ugly woman. I look good naked; my skin is very soft; (Name Deleted) and I are friends and I love sex. I am not sure how much more it takes. Other than maybe a bookplate. A book plate from you that says," Jesus, [Name Deleted] fuck me already!" or something to that end. Please say yes."
5a. I did.
5b. The woman who wrote this email was HOT.

6. Number of times the Dog used the term "Dirty Dirty South" in Atlanta: 13
6a. Number of times this term elicited a dirty dirty look: 11

7. Number of times the Dog performed after a naked woman performer: 1
7a. What she smelled like: cinnamon and camphor

Found dialogue (recovered from the Printer's Row Book Fair): "So then they had a bidding war for my book, which lasted, like three days. It was crazy! They kept faxing in these offers to my agent's office. That's how they do it - by fax. And in the end, by the way, I didn't choose the highest bidder. I chose the second highest bidder, St. Martin's. When they told me they saw my book as the next 'Nanny Diaries' that was all I needed to hear."

8. Department of Learn to Drink:
Dog's alcohol consumption on evening of June 8/morning of June 9, 2003: (Bong hits not included)
Gin & Tonic 8:57 pm
Corona 9:29
Wild Turkey & soda 9:51
Wild Turkey & soda 10:34
Wild Turkey & soda 11:09
Wild Turkey & soda 11:47
Tequila shot 12:33 am
Tequila shot 12:49
Corona 1:02

8a. Number of times the Dog did not choke on his vomit: 1
8b. Number of times the Dog saw an actual dog vomit on his tour: 1

9. Number of people who dozed off during the Dog's reading in Brookline: 2

10. Roadog: "This next excerpt is from a story is called 'How to Love a Republican.' If any of you have any ideas on this, please let me know." Audience member: "Anal sex!"

Shoutouts to those who made bed for the Dog

& To all those who came out to play, who read, write

& give a shit about their internal lives.

Pimp what u luv, rd

Volume IV, May, 2002
(In which the Dog returns, dumb with reluctance, to his cage)

"You always were the king of bullshit."
El Paso Times reporter Ramon Renteria, showing the form that has made him a renowned celebrity interviewer.

1. # of empty beer bottles the author found in his kitchen, upon his return: 167

2. # of times the author said fuck on his tour: 791

3. Pounds gained on the road: 11

4. Largest # of rock stars to attend a reading: 5 (Austin, TX)

4a. Largest # of psychoanalysts to attend a reading: 12 (Palo Alto)

4b. Largest # of rock star/psychoanalysts to attend a reading: 0

Kritics Korner: "And here is where some of Almond's stories run into real trouble. In what are otherwise well-crafted stories stories bathed in nostalgia, a modern day version of, say, Fitzgerald's early 'Saturday Evening Post' pieces, Almond includes passages of sloppy erotica that may strike readers as vulgar and out of place. It's as if you were reading 'The Great Gatsby' and Nick Carraway suddenly launched into a lengthy aside on anal sex.
-- Keith Pandolfi gets all hot and bothered in the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

5. # of babies who urinated on the author during his tour: 3

5a. # of babies the author urinated on: N/A

6. # of readings the Roadog gave stoned: 1.5

"You look different. Fatter."
-- The author's old pal Goeff welcomes him to Phoenix

7. # of pretty much crazy guys who showed up at a reading and asked long, incoherent questions that scared the rest of the crowd and who then presented the author with a "tone poem" scrawled in red ink (blood?) on a napkin: 1

8. Ratio of bills-to-fan-letters the author received upon opening his mail: 23/1

9. Number of people who asked the author if he got laid on tour: 47

9a. Number of these people who had penises: 46

"Oh, were you gone?"
The author's neighbor Jenna

10. Howlouts to the following badasses for putting me up and putting up with me: Nathan "Chickenbutt" Morris, Seanie Rowe, Lucy Corin, Stevie Kistulentz, Margo "Money Shot" Rabb, Ana Jamolca Fudge, Jena Hair Salon, Timbo Huggybear, John Evans, David and Shani Goldstein, Jamie Kornegay, Kirk Nielson, Pingey Tetavicho, Paddy O'Flood, Mary & John Fournier, Steve Amick, Matt & Jenae Batt, Tom & Teddy Finkel, Matt Miller, Clay Martini, Peaches Pappas, Rock Olsen & Karen Hirsch, Ma & Pa Almond, Jonna Tamases, Markie Mark Sutz, Emily & Adam Sweet Chiles, Lo Lo Almond & Fam, Mark Mainwaering & Robin Russell, Johnny & Traci Goudie.

10a. Howlouts to the rest of you bookselling mofos out there doing the work of angels and fools. You need anything from the Dog, you just holler.

10b. Bless you all for reading, for rising, through art, to the occasion of your own hearts.

"Wait a second, dude. Didn't Nick Carraway launch into a lengthy aside on anal sex in The Great Gatsby? Isn't that what that whole book is about?"

out, Rdog

Volume III (Oh, will you just shut up already...)

May Day! May Day! 2002 Special South Florida Crime Edition

"Robert Blake is an object lesson in what happens to guys who fetishize their cockatoos."
-- Received wisdom from Pingey Tetavicho

1) Number of times the author has been pulled over by City of Miami police officers & told to "step out of the vehicle & place your hands on the car," while transporting two very spongy buds of Mary J. Wanna in the pocket of his khakis: 1

1a) Number of times the author complied: 1

2) Number of times the author has been patted down for explosives thus far: 7

3) Number of times the author has been patted down by a comely young security lass who lingers pointedly on his most sensitive parts before winking meaningfully & ushering the author into a tiny, hidden room used exclusively for the full-body-hot-grease-cavity probe: 0

4) Percentage of license plate tags expired in Dade County: 47

4a) Percentage of Victor Cruz's license plate tags expired: 100

4b) Year they expired: 1999

"I've been with guys like you -- little swizzle sticks."
-- Ashley Faintz, after handling the author's extremely-ripped bod

5) Number of audience members who have left a reading in order to go strip: 1

6) Number of times the author has said fuck on his tour so far: 561

7) Number of times he's said fuck to an audience: 109

8) Number of times women have speculated as to the size of author's manmeat: 6

8a) Consensus: Small to average

9) Number of lady babies the author has kissed on tour: 1

9a) Number of actual babies he has kissed: 9

Kritic's Corner: "In the title story of Steve Almond's debut collection of short fiction, My Life in Heavy Metal, the narrator attends a Metallica concert, where the bassist introduces himself by farting into his microphone. It was, Almond writes, 'the heavy metal equivalent of a bon mot.' It is also an apt epigraph for this volume, which begins with a story that manages to be simultaneously weird, offensive, and banal... Never mind Almond's woefully inaccurate rendering of the female anatomy and its capabilities -- call it literary license ... worse is that Almond wraps up this story, as he does many others, with a preachy little summary of the preceding tale that leaves the reader with Something to Think About. 'I was doing something even noble in the eyes of youth,' David says. 'Radical, kickass, seeking love on all fronts, transporting myself beyond the reach of loneliness and failure, into the blessed province of poontang.' In a word: Yuck."
-- The extremely insightful Ann M. Bauer captures eau de Steve for the Minneapolis City Pages Department of Poor Planning II:

10) Number of cold weather garments the author sent back to Boston while laying down a base tan in Miami: 4

10a) Average temperature of subsequent mid-western readings: 41F

All love to the peeps whose bodies rock the party.

Out, r-dog

Volume II, Mid-April, 2002
Roadog: the Movie (A-soon-to-be-no-longer-so-cute compendium of things Steve said or heard on his ridiculous book tour, distributed free of charge & without any need to respond)

1. "Naw, it don't hurt at all. It's beautiful, man. Just silence. Silence all over the place." -- Tony "The KO King" Gardner, former USBA Welterweight Champ, describing what it's like to get knocked out, over B-52 shooters, on Beale Street in Memphis.

2. Number of pornography factories toured: 1

3. Highest turnout thus far: 137 people the Oxford Conference for the Book, Oxford, MS.

4. Lowest turnout: 1 person (Eric). Memphis, TN.

5. Fast Food Tally: Domino's Pizza: 1 Whopper: 1 Supersize Fries: 2

6. Current reading weight: 152 pounds

Kritics Korner: "Almond's first-person narrators are always saying embarrassingly arty things ... Though they're not the same people, they talk as if they are, one character after another indulging in the same effete verbal tics ("taking" lunch or "supper" rather than eating it, the implicit entitlement in the phrase not fitting the people talking). Almond can't write dialogue by instinct, and he doesn't think his language through."
-- Professor of Creative Writing Griel Marcus spanking me the right way on

7. "Coherence is vastly overrated as an index of sociability." -- Peter O. Almond dispenses some avuncular advice to the Roadog

8. On Sunday, April 28, the New York Times will be running a full-page review of the book. Complaints about the review -- sure to fault my incessant emotionalism & tendency toward the use of bodily fluids as leit motifs -- can be directed to Barbara Almond, the Roadog's manager.

Colloquy between the author & Red Bull Promotional Girls Julie & April, transcribed Tuesday, April 16, at Beaucoup Books in Nawlins:

Julie: Hey! That was really fun. This is, like, the first reading we've ever been to. We saw a thing about it in the paper.
April: Yeah, mostly we go to clubs.
Julie: It's our job. They send us out to check out cultural stuff -- you know, just to hang and check out the scene.

Steve: You get paid for this?
April: Yeah! Isn't that cool?
Julie: It beats the hell out of handing out fliers.
April: Do you want a Red Bull? It's a delicious energy drink.
Steve: What does it have, caffeine?
April: No, it's just an energy drink.
Julie: Like, for energy.
Steve: Do a lot of authors drink Red Bull?
April: Oh yeah. Stephen King drinks this stuff by the gallon.
Julie: And Bellow. Bellow's on an IV drip.
April: Toni Morrison.
Julie: All the big guns. For real.

9. From the department of poor planning: A) Pairs of long underwear packed by Steve: 2 B) Average temperature of the cities visited by Steve: 77 degrees.

10. For God's sake: want something.

Rock and roll will save your life, Rdog

Volume I, Early April, 2002
Roadog: the Movie (An exceptionally odd compendium of things Steve said or did on his increasingly annoying book tour, distributed free of charge & without any need to respond)

1. Colloquy between Steve and Nathan Morris (age 4) of Clemson, S.C.:

S: Hey Nathan, you know what?
N: What?
S: Chickenbutt.
N: You're a chickenbutt.
S: You're a monkeybrain.
N: You're a toilethead.
S: You're a redneck.
N: You're a tootface.
S: What's a toot?
N: You're a poopbreath.
N's father Keith: Please stop calling Steve a poopbreath.
N: Poopbreath.

2. # of times Steve has been asked whether he's ever slept with a woman who ejaculates: 1.

3. # of times Steve has been asked why he writes about his penis so much: 1.

Critics Corner (This week's episode: Oh God, you like me. You really like me) "Every couple of years, a writer comes along who tries so desperately to show that he's got his finger on the pulse of his times that it makes you wish the times would just die already. Bret Easton Ellis, Amy Tan, Jay McInerney -- they keep on appearing, up-and-comers who wear zeitgeist like Armani and whose sole mission in life seems to be to fill us in on the difficulties of being young, affluent, pampered, and (horrors!) oversexed. Steve Almond, whose new short story collection is called My Life in Heavy Metal, wants to join the list ... Almond writes nice sentences ... unfortunately, his frequent recourse to shallow epiphanies is just plain annoying. Almond complains at 7 pm, Monday at Olsson's Books & Records."
Washington City Pages, March 28

4. # of times Steve has said fuck so far on this tour: 213.

5. # of times Steve has said fuck so far on this tour in front of an audience: 73.

6. "You can't do a keg stand in a prom dress, cuz your dress will fall up over the keg and no one will know how much you drank."
-- Received wisdom from Angel Lynette Johnson (age 20), resident of Harlin County, KY, during the Greyhound bus ride from Harrisonburg, VA to Washington, D.C.

7. # of tattoos Angel Lynette Johnson showed Steve: 2.

8. Steve's chief calorie source on the road: Skittles.

9. "If my son had a vagina, he'd write about that."

All love to the peeps, sdog

© 2003, Steven Almond