THIS IS LIT: BEST OF 2006
Now that all (or most) 2006 best-of lists are filed or close to being filed by newspaper reporters and critics and soothsayers the world over, I'm thinking over the last year and contemplating one of my own, here. Or, perhaps more accurately, I've already contemplated and am at this very second winging one for you. By the seat of my leather pants, which are still in the trunk of my car, put there (perhaps permanently) when we moved in October? Probably.
With all dismissals and uncertain equivocations delivered, let me say it was a momentous year for me and THE2NDHAND, full of joy and love, pain and sorrow and (yes, Universal Water; yes, AT&T, Bellsouth; yes, writers of solicitous and/or caustically antagonistic e-mails) hate, and its highlights deserve their own...
BEST OF 2006 or 'superlatives' of the same year caught between regions and love and marriage and death and book tours and the skinny yellow and white-dashed lines of highways the nation, continent, and world over, a rather aggrandized project, surely...
Most Beautifully Low-Key New Years' Eve Celebration Though only half situated in the year 2006, our celebration of '05/'06 began in our apartment with the great Rob Funderburk and Gretchen Kalwinski, who brought the glasses. We supplied the champagne. Our former downstairs neighbors supplied the pop-its, which we took down the street to Stella's at Western and Walton. It's a splendid little place, but cops hang out at Stella's, too. We knew the night was over when one of them started throwing our own pop-its at our own feet.
Most Anticlimactic Sixth-Anniversary Celebration 2NDHANDers gathered on February 26 at my favorite bar the world over, Skylark in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood, for our 19th installment release party, featuring the issue's author, Al Burian, Brian Costello, Jeb Gleason-Allured, and a trio of myself, Susannah Felts, and C.T. Ballentine. Though this was in fact the magazine's sixth anniversary (almost to the date of our 2000 launch party at what was occasionally unofficially referred to as the Angels' compound on the fourth floor of 1278 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, and which later became a party and event space known as the Munki Haus -- we'd painted and left behind a rendition of THE2NDHAND's howling chimpanzee logo on the wall space on the top-floor landing), the very fact of the anniversary was never in fact mentioned, which didn't bother anyone at all, really.
Best Monologue Delivered
Longest Distance Traversed to Participate in a THE2NDHAND Event
Best Bike Wreck
Earliest Advance Book Sales Drive
Longest Drive (or Two or Three)
Then of course there was the epic struggle that was my route with Todd Taylor and Joe Meno from Davis, CA, to Seattle, WA, on tour in October. After our Davis show, we left (11 PM) and drove through the night, rotating shifts, no one sleeping more than a couple hours in the back of the microsized Chevy Aveo. I woke along the route after nodding off near Portland to find the car submerged in fog. "What is with this...smoke?" I said, incredulously, before realizing my error and giggling like the madman I'd become. The one back from Portland to the Bay Area was rather rough, too.
And who could forget the eight hours from Chicago to Nashville on Thursday, October 26, with the lovely Susannah Felts under the grayest sky imaginable, a persistent driving rain, and with in tow our two angry cats and a little Corrolla-load of stuff from our now-empty apartment?... Maybe you. Not me, or Not I, rather, if that's right.
Most Enticing View of Trains
Best Online Serialized Novella Begun in November 2006
Most Mythic Highway
Best Best of 2006 List Other Than the Aforementioned Top Five Chicago Books in New City Which Happened to Feature My Own Novel
And since we're on 2007 categories, here's perhaps the best two ways to open a 2007 publishing schedule in a slightly less-than-obscure Chicago & Birmingham-based online lit mag: