I'm staying in an ancient farmhouse in New York State, several miles from Bard College, 90 miles North of New York.

It's astonishingly peaceful here.

It's the first time Amanda and I have actually lived somewhere, without any other people in the house, somewhere that wasn't a hotel, in about 18 months. It's really good. This morning we went for a five mile walk, and we talked the whole way. So much to catch up on.

It's the calm before the storm of course, as she's going to spend the best part of the next 14 months on the road with her band, and we'll catch each other as we can. I'm trying to figure out where I'm going to live for most of that time (current front runners are London, New York and San Francisco, for the curious).

Amanda is working with the Bard theatrical/performing arts department and her band, all under the direction of Michael McQuilken, to build make and sculpt the tour they're going to be doing. Somewhere in there she got MIT involved and so now has a lot of very strange high tech stuff that has never been let out of the lab, including the ability to play people as instruments. She's doing a couple of test shows for the public before the tour, on Sept 5th and 6th.

I finished a quite long, and very late, short story the other day, rather to my surprise. I nearly gave up on it a few times along the way, but didn't want to disappoint the people who were waiting for it. I sent it to the editors nervously. They loved it, and so (to my relief) have the few other people I've shown it to.


The story has a title that keeps changing, but is more or less something to do with the image above.

I want to read it aloud to an audience to find out what really works and what doesn't, as I do the second draft, and to see what I need to fix. I think it's going to be somewhere between 50 and 60 minutes long to read aloud. Depending on how long it is I may read a few other things to make up the time to about 70/80 minutes. (Any requests?)

I talked to Bard, hoping for an empty classroom and a few students with time on their hands.

They gave me their biggest theatre, the Sosnoff, on Wednesday the 5th of September at 6 pm. (Details here.) It's in the amazing Richard B Fisher Centre for the Performing Arts building.



It's completely free to get in. You are, after all, guinea pigs.

Bard will be seating on a first come first served basis, but 900 seats is a lot of seats to fill, so you should be able to get a seat, if you come. (If you're coming from far away, get there earlier.) (Also, if you are hesitating, please come.)

If anyone's already going to see Amanda and the Grand Theft Orchestra that night (doors open at 7:30) wants to come and see me first, I will definitely finish in time for that. (They'll be in a different theatre about 100 feet away.) (You can reserve tickets for the Amanda show here. And if you don't want to see me, or can't make it, she'll also be performing the following night.)

Edited to add a picture from our walk this morning.


Authors. You can't give them away.[image error]

Labels:  Bard College, spindles, short stories

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Published on August 28, 2012 16:07 • 1,939 views
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message 1: by Despair (new)

Despair Speaking Love the last picture.


message 2: by Shaylee (last edited Aug 29, 2012 08:08AM) (new)

Shaylee Ford I do too its so cool.


message 3: by Nathalie (new)

Nathalie Boisard-Beudin It didn't say "to a good home".


message 4: by Alanna (new)

Alanna Oh the trials and tribulations of living in Northern Ontario ... I would love to hear Neil read - something, anything ... even the dictionary!!


message 5: by Shannon (new)

Shannon I wish I was somewhere near there. I made it to one of the readings of American Gods in LA last year and loved every second of it.


message 6: by Emma (new)

Emma I live an hour away, but that's in the middle of my first class this semester!!!! :(


message 7: by Joris (new)

Joris Brakkee Maybe you should come and live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for a while... or maybe come read for us Dutch people once?


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik I don't suppose you'd consider an internet test audience of guinea pigs? I volunteer. *raises guinea paw*


message 9: by Anaclara (new)

Anaclara why does nothing like that happens in Brazil. Correction: why don't you (Amanda and/or you) happen here? <;(


message 10: by Serena (new)

Serena omg i might actually be able to go... of course its on my first day of school, but i can work with this


message 11: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey Two hours away by driving, maybe I will try to come. It would definitely be a super amazing opportunity.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Google hangout would be a nice place for a reading :) I'd definitely tune in.


message 13: by Ager (new)

Ager I'm too damn far away... in Mexico =(


message 14: by Stephen (new)

Stephen +1 for the Google Hangout!


message 15: by Kerri (last edited Sep 01, 2012 08:34AM) (new)

Kerri That is really a high-quality FREE sign.
Can't make it, in N. CA.
My vote for where you live next is based upon which I would choose. Love all three, and all offer differing varieties of solace, each location inspires with its gifts. (For food: 1. London 2. NY)


message 16: by Ruthie (new)

Ruthie i would love to be your guinea pig just to hear you read.. but i am, unfortunately, a couple of continents away.. :'(


message 17: by Natalie (new)

Natalie I think this sounds very cool! I am trying to convince a friend to come with me. It's a 3 hour drive but when do you get a chance to do something this neat?! I do hope the seats don't fill; I hope 30 minutes early is early enough. ^_^


message 18: by Sherry (new)

Sherry Wish I was closer to Bard College to hear you read your story. That will be a treat for those lucky enough to attend.


message 19: by Jacob (new)

Jacob I could promise you CHP protection and maybe even a ride along if you came to San Francisco. Nothing would make me happier than if you did a few readings like this next one in the Bay Area. Plus, it's San Francisco. Home of "Vertigo" and Ghiradelli chocolate and perfect, noir fog banks!


message 20: by Mary (new)

Mary I'm in Chicago, otherwise I'd go. I'm so jealous of everyone else who can make it! I hope it goes very well for you.


message 21: by Kay (new)

Kay I can't believe this so close to me! I can walk to bard in about 5 minutes! Can't wait to see you there!!


message 22: by Scott (new)

Scott Alexander Man, unlucky, as it goes for me. If only I was promoting my work in NY now instead of languishing in the Southern Heat of the Carolinas.
Good Luck though. Seems likely to be a really entertaining couple of nights.


message 23: by Kay (new)

Kay also, i think ny would make a lovely home for the next 14 months :]


message 24: by Karen (new)

Karen I've watched online readings, and I've really love to attend, but I'm tooooo far away. I would be ecstatic to attend a reading in Ankara, Turkey.


message 25: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thanks for sharing! I loved the story. In the beginning, I thought I knew where it was going, and I loved it. then I realized I was wrong and loved it more. And after that, I realized I was really wrong and loved every second of it! I am so glad you wrote another fairytale <3
how interesting it would be to know you.


message 26: by Kay (new)

Kay Yeah that was really great! And your wife is very creative too! I enjoyed both of you very much :]


message 27: by Scott (new)

Scott Alexander Sounds like it was an amazing reading. Of course I had to miss it>


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

I love the last photo. Very funny and creative.


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