By Sarah Soards
On Thursday, May 2, the Jack London Bar was abuzz with conversation. Candy cigarettes dangled from people’s mouths and rested between fingers; matchbooks adorned with the Up Nights cover and balloons stuffed with jellybeans graced the tables as attendees sipped on cocktails and chatted in the dimness.
Daniel Kine’s reading of his most recent novel was fantastic. He brought characters and locations to life with his strong voice, easy smile, and charming self-deprecation. He kept telling the audience that he wasn’t good at reading, but quickly proved himself wrong. Daniel sucked me into the story—I was right there at the bar with his characters, tossing back rounds of tequila, talking crap, and trying not to get myself killed. It was quite an experience to have within ten minutes. I was transported to another time and place. It was easy to feel proud of him and the work he had created.
The evening wrapped up in a relaxed fashion, with only a handful of us left. Candy cigarette boxes lay open and discarded. The real smokers lingered outside in the brisk night air. Everyone seemed content and calm. Brimming with success and sugar, I made my way through the bar and out into the beckoning evening.