Libertarian Spirit: ATL Post #2

30 May

I was lying on my little mattress yesterday watching anime, unwinding from the emotional circus of Write Bloody’s announcement, thinking about writing, and one of the final episodes featured Kenpachi Zaraki, a captain of the Soul Society whose ferocity and pure lust for battle terrifies his enemies, and even his comrades.

In the episode I watched, where Zaraki takes command of his unit for the first time, he walks into the dojo and tells his squad, essentially, “I won’t censor any of your opinions, nor will I endorse any of your opinions. Do what you want.” That statement made me absolutely love that character.

At the best of times I feel that way on the road, free of censure and constraints, embracing all possibility. I’m a person who loves freedom, who can handle responsibility but works to transcend expectations, and being a traveling artist suits this side of myself nicely.

Ven and I set out from Richmond fairly late, and traveled into the thick of the Southeast. When you become accustomed to traveling through small states, or the edges of big ones, the vaster regions can kinda blindside you. So yeah, we were in Virginia for a long time, and the Carolinas were pretty serious, too. But we finally made it to Raleigh in time for an impromtu lunch – Ven and I literally called our Raleigh friends when we were an hour away to get them to meet us.

We walked into downtown Raleigh and I had that stranger-in-a-strange-land feeling in a good way, where I was owning my otherness. We got to the Raleigh Times, which has very cool decor: it’s wallpapered with huge, blown-up photos of old-school Raleigh and the original newspaper crew (read: dead white guys with cool hats who don’t smile).

Inside the Raleigh Times.

Very neat. Jesucristo that food was good. I had a sandwich of pulled pork from a local, sustainable farm, and we dug into fried pickles (WHO KNEW?)

Fried pickles are not a game.

with Ven’s friend Matt and my old friend Diana.

Diana.

We hung out and got Ven some super-potent coffee, an unusual break from his accustomed Starbucks fix.

On the road, the early evening air smelled wonderfully rich and sweet.

Ven and I didn’t get into Atlanta until 2 or 3 AM. Karen was sweet enough to stay up and wait for us until we got to her and Malika’s surprisingly luxurious place. It had been a long day, so we crashed immediately.

The next day, before the show, was mellow. Ven roamed around with his camera and I hung around the house with Karen and Malika. Chad and Nicole stopped in, in the middle of a long journey up the coast, and hung out with us for a while, then crashed for a few hours. That’s exactly the kind of random shit I love, running into other friends in unexpected places, everyone doing her/his own thing, pursuing different adventures. There’s such pleasure in that. The duct tape messenger bag Nicole surprised Karen with,

Karen was ecstatic.

the meltingly delicious split pea soup with homemade croutons Karen and I ate the next day,

Um, YES.

Ven and Karen and I walking around through a park after the show.

Ven took pictures too, I'll show you later.

Even the abrupt, haphazard way that Ven and I arrived in and departed from each city on our journey pleased me, because getting up and leaving in an instant feels very liberating to me. Knowing all you need is in the car, you’re gassed up and good to go whenever, wherever you want.

Though to be real, in this aspect I’m mostly talking about traveling, not touring. When you’re touring, there are always obligations – places to be at particular times, money to be made, and other folks’ expectations to negotiate…

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