Monday, March 23, 2009

CO-BLOGGER ALERT!: M writes Asheville

On the road to Asheville.
At Malaprop's.
M, Achy, Stella Jo, Seth, Lauren

North Carolina is one of the pleasantest places to road trip.  My plan was to arrive and taskmaster this tour -- no more car troubles, no more running late, no more greasy burgers.  So far, there have been no more car troubles.  

If we had three days to spend, there are about a thousand places along the highways of North Carolina that I’d stop: thrift stores galore, the “As Seen on TV!” outlet, scenic outlooks, etc. As it was, our bodies rejected the alarm clock and got a late-ish start to Asheville.  We also got sidetracked en route by my need for Dairy Queen soft serve.  

We stayed in Asheville with Lauren and Seth, friends from Minneapolis who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.  Since we last saw one another, they’d moved south, gotten hitched, and procreated.  Stella Jo is about the cutest, serious-est, most expressive 3-month-old I’ve ever seen (eyebrows to die for!).  She sleeps 10-12 hours a night, meaning that her parents had to rouse her so we could go to breakfast on Saturday (imagine! Lauren is sure they’ll be punished later).  Lauren also, coincidentally, works part-time at Malaprops, yet another THRIVING independent bookstore, where Achy read Friday evening.  They were lovely hosts, and we had a great time with them.  

Malaprops is really cozy, with a tiny cafe corner for coffee and nice warm colors and lights.  It’s a surprisingly large store, and they’re apparently also doing just fine, in spite of all the rumors about this “recession” I heard about.  There was a really nice turnout for the reading -- over two dozen literary fans on a Friday night as spring is breaking!  We were much impressed.  Achy read a few poems, cracked a couple of jokes about phallus-related microphone anxiety, and a selection from Ruins.  People had a surprising number of political questions about Cuba (or, I guess, surprising to me), and were really pumped on the book.

I have long-standing fantasies about moving to Asheville (a fantasy, it turns out, shared by a lot of people like me who have spent little to no time there but hear it is the stuff of legends).  We had a sweet, but too brief visit.  Lauren and Seth strongly encouraged us to move to Asheville, and we left feeling pretty receptive to the possibility.

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