2 pm | SATURDAY, JUNE 8
Join us for a reading, discussion, and booksigning with two great Flagstaff authors. Jesse will read from his book, Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway and Nicole will read from her forthcoming book, The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet.
About Jesse's Book
Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway chronicles a lifetime spent as a tow truck driver on the lonely highways of the American Southwest. Jesse Sensibar explores reinvention and resurrection through his photographs and his linked collection of short stories, mourning and celebrating loss, gratefulness, and forgiveness. A shrine to the Virgin Mary and a crude cross honoring a dog are portrayed with equal brevity in the photographs, while narrations skip through time and recall hitchhikers, old friends, drunks, car accident victims, junkies, and fitness trainers. Winding through Arizona, California, and Mexico, Jesse Sensibar contemplates his need to record roadside shrines, grieve the numerous former lives one person can live, and succumb to the pull of a highway that gives and a highway that takes away. In this disappearing American West, the ghosts and saints of the highway keep watch over the weary travelers compelled to document and remember. This book won Flagstaff's 2019 Viola Award for Excellence in Storytelling.
About the Author
Jesse Sensibar is unafraid to die but terrified of dying alone. The product of the mean streets of the greatest Midwestern industrial cities of a time now gone, he loves big bore handguns, the uncluttered lines of old outlaw choppers, pawn shop jewelry, quiet bars, and fuzzy creatures with equal abandon. He has a soft spot in his heart for The Virgin of Guadalupe, tide pools, house cats, quiet bars, innocent strippers, and jaded children. He came west to the high desert of Arizona in the late 1980s and quickly disappeared down the rabbit hole of Southwestern drug culture. He reemerged in 2008, close to death and with a solid quarter of a century of hard drug abuse under his belt. He has, needless to say, a great many regrets. Along the way, he’s worked as a mechanic, heavy equipment operator, strip club bouncer, repossession agent, tattoo shop owner, private investigator, tow truck driver, snow plow operator, wildland firefighter, and college English professor. You can usually find him in the dying Ponderosa Pine forests surrounding Flagstaff, the old barrios of Tucson, or out on the highway documenting the passing of his beloved and disappearing American west.
About Nicole's Book
“A” is for Australia and “A” is for Arizona, over 9,000 miles apart but sharing the same Earth. In this eccentric, intimate compendium of short environmental and personal essays, David Carlin (in Melbourne) and Nicole Walker (in Flagstaff) engage in a long-distance dialogue between two writers, creating an improvisational subversion of the encyclopedia, a witty-yet-serious send-up of the concept of a survival guide. In this era of interconnected ecological, political, and human rights catastrophes, these two whimsical, elegiac, and intellectually questing voices contemplate the role of the individual in the midst of increasingly inescapable collective action crises that call the very concept of survival into question. Refusing equally to find solace in false hopes and to give in to murky despair, Carlin and Walker deftly use the flash nonfiction form to wonder and worry their way through the alphabet in search of a path forward. With meditations on topics ranging from bitumen to plasmodia, elephants to xeric, The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet collects an A to Z of people, places, and phenomena to marvel at, to kick against, to let go, and to fight for.
About the Author
Nicole Walker is the author of Sustainability: A Love Story from Ohio State University Press and The After-Normal: 26 Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet from Rose Metal Press. Her previous books include Where the Tiny Things Are, Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. She is edited for Bloomsbury the essay collections Science of Story with Sean Prentiss and Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, with Margot Singer. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She curated, with Rebecca Campbell, 7 Artists, 7 Rings—an Artist’s Game of Telephone for the Huffington Post. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a notable essayist in Best American 2008, 2014, 2015, and 2016 and nonfiction winner of Best of the Net in 2013 and 2014, she’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Nicole is also a Flag Live contributor. Her book, Sustainability: A Love Story, was a 2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Storytelling.