This one’s going to be a bit long since it’s been waaaayyyyyy too long since we’ve been able to write one of these. Finally have a bit of downtime with internet!
Our departure from the campground near Philadelphia took a little longer than we expected to, so we were forced to stop for the night at a Walmart in Alexandria, right outside the nation’s capital. We went inside to ask if they allowed overnight stays by RV’s and they informed us they didn’t and had already sent security to our camper to inform us. I was stressed out since it was dark and the right camper tail light doesn’t usually work because of trailer plug issues. I soothed my nerves with a large Coke (as I often do, unhealthy soda is a rare comfort food for me lol) and then we checked our maps for another Walmart nearby. We called them and they didn’t pick up. We drove over since we had no other choice, and, to my undying relief, we saw a cluster of RV’s on the far side of the parking lot. Without even informing Walmart, we parked near the other RV’s. I decided getting kicked out at 3 AM would be better than being kicked out now. I slept extremely lightly with a hatchet in my hands. After a fitful few hours of sleep that were punctuated by shouting drunks and traffic starting at 4 AM (people in the capital have outlandish work schedules it seems) we woke up and left Walmart at 6:30 AM, even though Blache was enjoying their dreaming. I really enjoyed the drive, since the lush, dense forests of the North gave way to the brown grasslands and smaller trees of the South, something that reminded me a lot of California. Also the dense and small northern highways got a lot larger (something more familiar to me), which is quite nice for camper towing.
Due to our early departure date, we arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina very early. And, due to our quick passage through Virginia (we were planning on spending a whole day there, perhaps visiting plantations like Monticello or Mount Vernon for experiential research but they had entrance fees and we didn’t have money to spare and black people should be able to enter plantations for free) we arrived an entire day early. Our host was caught unawares at work so we spent an entire day outside of the house we were supposed to be leaving the camper at (the driveway was blocked by a car that a neighbor who was also at work was supposed to move). When the neighbor got around to moving the car, it was dark and there wasn’t enough light to back up so we had to pull straight in. The driveway had a steep incline before it flattened out which was worrying since the camper has two iron triangles that serve as the camper base for jacking which hang down too low (giving the camper about a measly foot of clearance). We scraped but we made it. We scraped some more on the way out next morning and found it impossible to back in due to these annoying triangles. I was mortified about the scrapes and tried washing them off but our host told us the homeowners wouldn’t mind since they were also new to RVing and had similar problems. He recommended us another place with a flat driveway, we found it and backed in, and unpacked.
Our host in Greensboro was Crckt Leggett, owner of the Boomerang Bookshop: Nomad Chapter (hence the name of the blog post, I’m clever aren’t I?) mobile bookstore. He booked us for two events, a performance and vending for Blache at Grove Street Market, and a workshop at a historically black library in Winston-Salem.
The Grove Street Market event was amazing. I opened for Blache in my first poetry performance outside of school ever, which itself was cool, but Blache deeply engaged with a lot of the audience as they wove their transformations into spoken word. This deep engagement resulted in the most amount of sales we’ve made all trip and possibly finding the location for the next chapter of For Brown Bleeders! Blache deeply appreciated the Greensboro’s bbs and their attentive listening. Many of the poems they read were written the day of the performance, which is also a scary and vulnerable experience the first time sharing. It was affirming and healing to be received with such open arms, hearts and generosity. Shout out to Amira for rounding up the black queers for the event. If you can, be sure to support The Sunflower Center, which is black-owned land that Amira volunteers to tend to. https://www.facebook.com/SunflowerCenterFahiym/
Our workshop titled Plants Remember Our Stories was also a beautiful event. This workshop was unique in that it was the first time our audience was entirely composed of elders, who have experienced many of the phenomena that we’re researching firsthand. For Blache it was an opportunity to slow down to define terms such as intergenerational trauma, while they were gaining confidence in sharing their herb knowledge with those who have a life’s experience of inhabiting a body. Although originally being nervous about this age difference, the elders were attentive listeners and stayed very engaged throughout the workshop. This was exciting for Blache as well, because each chapter of FBB requires youth and elders working together.
They also bought a few FBB products, and everyone left the event satisfied. Thank you so much Crckt for hosting us in Greensboro! We had a fantastic time. Also your mobile bookstore is a treasure of carefully curated radical books. Thank you for all the labor and love you put into your work!
Our next stop was Charlotte. We camped at Andrew Jackson State Park (we spent Indigenous People’s Day there too…) for a few days, which was a little restful. Our event in Charlotte was a performance and pop up shop at Comic Girl Coffee & Books. Unfortunately, due to weather and other factors, there wasn’t a large enough audience for Blache to perform, but we made great connections there and Comic Girl is selling some FBB products on consignment! If you’re in the Charlotte area, stop by and heal over some coffee while browsing comics! ❤
We truly appreciated all the love from North Carolina, and the love from you readers. Your donations and kind words make our hearts swell.
– Edgar and Blache ❤
To donate to the tour: