Four years ago, maybe less, I was at an after party for a self-publishing event. I had just come back from the 7-11 with another person. Walking in the door, I was recognized by a stranger for the first and probably only time in my life.
He came in from out of town to attend the readings and things. "Do you write Let It Sink?" he said. Yes, I told him, bewildered. "I really like your zine," he told me, even touching my shoulder, "but that zine writer over there changed my life!" And in saying this, he pointed across the room toward a person who had been sexually harassing me for months and months. "Changed your life like in a good way," I asked, "Yeah!" he said. Then I reached into my bag for a 7-11 beer, and I drank it.
Last summer I took a pile of money I'd saved and turned it into plane tickets. Soon I was in Barcelona. Mostly I remember that there were Australians everywhere and none of them listened to Royal Headache. I saw palm trees and signs in Catalan, English, then Spanish, in that order. I went for walks and listened to London Calling and read Homage to Catalonia.
At the hostel where I stayed, the two night staff workers, young people from Mexico City, were the only ones awake while I was trying to adjust to the new timezone. Talking, It came out that we all liked rock music and that I was in a band.
The next night, one of the staff, a guitarist who was about my age said that he searched online and heard my music. He liked my band, but had I heard of his favorite group of all time, also from Chicago, the great punk rock group, the best of them all, Mest?