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Entries in Norway (2)

Monday
Nov142011

Midnight special

In Skudenes. Photo courtesy of Jose Luis Zaragoza.It’s late. I’m triple-espresso awake do to some strange residual jetlag, mixed with insomnia. Not to mention tomorrow—heck this entire week, will be nothing but an indulgent, two-fisted writing binge (much needed), hence I’m afflicted with work-fever, feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve.

So what better time to catch up on recent doings, of which there have been many.

Did I mention Norway?

Yes, this trip to Northern Europe finally came to fruition and was absolutely worth the wait (and 23 hour journey each way, via Amsterdam).

Oslo was splendid and it was a pleasure meeting folks from my Norwegian publisher, Pantagruel. (Thanks Alex!)

And yes, Norway made my heart quiver with envy as I stared on the outside looking in, to a culture with universal healthcare, free college, and government-paid maternity and paternity leave (1 year for moms and 3 months for dads). All for a tax rate equivalent to what I’m paying now. Ah, America…land of the free, home of the reactionary, polarized, hyper-political obstructionist. Ah, but I digress…

Politics aside, the lucid dream of the week was the SILK Festival in Skudenes, a seaside village with a population lower than the student body of a typical Texas high school—small, but in a gorgeous location—pristine, persevered, and magical.

And the lovely people we hung out with (from the UK, Norway, Iraq, Spain, Nigeria, Vietnam) were among the most literate, interesting, and fantastically unpretentious folks we’d ever met.

It’s no coincidence that we’re planning on sending a daughter (or two) back to Norway as exchange students.

The view from the podium at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. What, no mosh pit? And before I’d even unpacked, I was off again, this time to California for the 5th Annual Thousand Oaks Reads. Previous authors included David Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer—heady company, to say the least.

The venue was enormous and the production first-class. I felt like a rock star, minus the contract clauses about no brown M&M’s in the dressing room. (There was a bottle of peach schnapps, leftover from a previous headliner, perhaps?)

So many cameras. Note to self: fix zipper and check teeth of spinach.And last, but not least, I had yet another film meeting. It’s still a long-shot, but in the search to find a proper home for my literary child, we’re getting closer and closer.

Monday
Oct312011

A Road Warrior, in repose

In the dressing room of infinity (San Ramon)In the last two years, book-related travel has taken me to 135 events in 32 states, and as of next week, three foreign countries, (not counting a few layovers in Amsterdam).

It’s been an incredible journey, and more of life change, than a book tour. But alas, I’ve had to learn a new word: No. Actually it’s usually more like, “Gee, I’d love to—honestly LOVE to, but I gotta say ‘no’ in order to get more writing done.”

Something like that, and it’s always tinged with regret.

To quote a line from one of my favorite movies, Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous: “This is the circus, everybody’s trying not to go home.”

I know how that feels. But I’m finally packing up the tent and dismantling the Big Top so I can get back to writing, in earnest.

This week takes me to the SILK Festival in Skudeneshavn, Norway, then Thousand Oaks, then Indiana, then…a story about a little Chinese boy, searching for his mother in 1931 will take precedent, for a while at least.

I hope we both find what we’re looking for.