I may dislike Washington, but you can't dislike the buildings. Union Station is a great introduction to the traveling chunk of a book tour.
October 12, 2010 – Washington, D.C. I've decided to write from inside a commercial book tour, to talk about my new book "Rose In A Storm," but also to try and give a sense of what it is really like inside a month-long, very intense book tour. Maria is coming along for some of the tour, to help me, see different cities, and watch out for Izzy. He is not in D.C. We got up early, went to Ft. Edward, N.Y., caught the train to Penn Station, nearly missed the Acela to Washington.We just got into the hotel. We were picked up by a car and driven from Union Station to the hotel.
You feel Washington the second you get onto the Acela. Lobbyists, aides, all buff, well-dressed, focused grimly on laptops and scrawling constantly through cell screens. People seem extremely disconnected from one another, shrouded in a cocoon of electronic devices. Washington, as always, appears totally insulated from the real world, booming, bustling, in a sense recession proof. And then you look down the side streets and see blocks of homeless people lying outside shelters waiting for food and place to sleep. On every level, I have always hated Washington, a parasitic city that lives off of the work and money and values people far removed from a place like this have earned.
Although things have changed, publishers treat authors well if they tour them and they draw crowds and sell some books. If they don't, they don't tour them anymore. Food and rooms are paid for, and transportation is provided. We are changing that on the next leg of the tour, leaving Saturday for the midwest, starting with Ohio and Kentucky (looks like we are appearing at the Bainbridge Library outside of Cleveland a week from Thursday). I am driving my truck out there, and the publisher will pay for motels and food.
Maria is paying her own way. She wants to help, and we want to spend this time together. We have a good and conscientious friend staying at the farm, and others helping out with the dogs and watching the place round the clock. Hate to leave the dogs, but it's good for them, and for me. Izzy is coming to the midwest.
Tomorrow night, for the first time I am appearing at a signing with another author Rita Mae Brown, and that is a smart and good move. I suspect we will get a good turnout at Borders's, Bailey's Crossroads (7 p.m.), Va. Wednesday is chock full of interviews, radio appearances on NPR and taping for an hour for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Tonight, dinner with an old friend I haven't seen in many years. He loves Washington as much as I hate it. Book tours are grueling and draining, a real challenge to the body and the psyche. I eat carefully, meditate, take walks, suck on cough drops and try and preserve energy. I want every appearance to be as good a one as possible. More later.
Here we go. I think.
Heading for NYC. I love the train and the best thing about the book tour is that I'm not flying anywhere. Maria and I are thinking about taking a train to Seattle and Portland next year.
The Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, tells me they do permit dogs, but at the place they hold large
Events. They invited me there next year. but I love how it turned out, the little Facebook rebellion and ending up at a great Indy bookstore Sunday, the Book Loft. Still figuring out photos and th Ipad.
Tap here to begin writing.
From beautiful Ft. Edward, heading to D.C. Maria sketching, the artist always. I hate Washington in every possible way.