I’m not even at the mid-point in my trip and I am officially losing touch with my normal reality. I’m focused on the Argentine Tango (Part One of my vacation is a week of dancing at El Corte in Nijmegen, The Netherlands) and my daily concerns at home are falling away. Am I worrying about my mother back in NYC? Yes. She’s 89 and had a stroke last month. The big concerns remain, but the little things—should I order more kitty litter, am I running out of coffee beans, should send a reminder to a freelance client that we should meet about a project, did I forget to wish a friend ‘Happy Birthday’—and the rest of the day-to-day questions that run on a constant loop in my brain are on hold.
While you were away, all sorts of things happened. And that’s OK! The world keeps spinning. Politics—local, national and international—continue to be crazy & nasty & infuriating & confounding. I start one short story, scribble an idea for another, contemplate rewriting the rules for the new Candy’s Monsters Contest (starts sometime later this summer), and I ponder the next novel, all while the focus of my time is on the present. Will that wonderful partner ask me to dance again?
And still, the story machine is humming on low simmer. Talking to people from all over Europe, listening to their stories—life in a community of 700 in the countryside outside of Frankfurt (complete with castle ruins and hiking trails), riding to work on a bicycle in Paris, Brexit politics in London & Edinburgh, where to find the best tapas in Madrid…. So many people with so many experiences and ideas—and yet some things are universal, so when I speak about my mother everyone shares their family stories.
And the writing machine in my head lights up!