I just had a nearly unprecedented experience. I went on vacation. An actual lock-up-the-house, head-out-of-town-for-more-than-a-weekend, leave-the-computer-behind vacation.
Did you notice the “leave the computer behind” part? I know!
When your family lives all the way across the country, you tend to spend your free time going to the exotic destination known as home. And though I grew up in a historical tourist destination, I lived there for the first twenty-one years of my life. It’s not like I get some kick out of visiting the Liberty Bell for the umpteenth time. Seriously. There’s a bell. It’s got a crack. Wheee! So previous "vacations" always turned into working vacations in what I fondly refer to as the East Coast Office.
For my first actual vacation in forever I started out in Seattle where I visited the birthplace of a true American institution: Starbucks. For some writers, going to the very first Starbucks is like visiting the motherland. Sad, I know. But oddly thrilling. I also checked out the coolest independent bookstore you ever did see. The Elliot Bay Book Company has more nooks and crannies to explore than a Thomas’ English Muffin (not that I go around exploring breakfast pastry, but you know what I mean). But the highlight of the trip was a tour of the Seattle underground. I’ve wanted to do that ever since I saw the episode of Scooby Doo where those meddling kids unmasked the scary red demon terrorizing the city. There were no demons in the underground, but the comic tour guides made up for the lack of costumed villainy.
From Seattle I went further north to Vancouver and Victoria. There were many touristy highlights in Canada, but my trip will be remembered mainly for one thing. As I’m sure the other writers here will attest, there’s nothing cooler than seeing your book in your local bookstore. You’ve been going there for years, dreaming of the day your own work would be on the shelves. Suddenly, it’s there! I assume it’s kind of like singers hearing their songs on their favorite radio station.
Do you know what’s almost as cool? Seeing your book on the shelf at a bookstore in a foreign country. (If it hasn't already been clear, Canada is about as foreign as I've traveled, but someday I hope to cross an ocean.) The Chapters bookstore in downtown Vancouver has a very nice representation of the Romantic Comedies. All of them front-faced! (Before I even got there! I had nothing to do with it … though I would have, had they not already been that way.)
But now that I’m back on my computer I should really get to work.
Have to make some money if I ever want to cross that ocean.