London: Sitting in easyEverything, the freakishly ubiquitous UK internet cafe, I am struck again by how strange it is to be here. I lived in London when I was in college, as part of a by turns blissful, tormented and ecstatic study abroad program, and though I've been to the city in the decade since then I've never shaken the feeling of muted salaciousness damply lurking beneath all the black umbrellas. Today is London the way I like her--mistily raining, a Monday morning, traffic-ey but polite, foreign-feeling but written immaculately in the Queen's English.
I'm staying at the Gore Hotel, which is quirky and well-apportioned, but the main reason for all the nostalgia is my location--I'm a stone's throw from Hyde Park, a gardened city park much like Central Park and much unlike it, that figures large in my personal mythologies. I've been walking there all morning, seeing all the places I remember--a few changed, but most blissfully constant despite almost ten years having passed. I had a lot of good adventures in that park, mostly of illegal and illicit varieties that are too dirty and interesting to get spilled in this blog. That's what we have literature and theater for--the juicy bits.
I stopped by a Waterstone's and signed a bunch of copies of 21 DOG YEARS. Pro: they had a lot of copies. Con: it was in the business section. If this book keeps getting shelved that way I will have to keep dealing with the waves of resentful Future Business Leaders who buy it and then discover that I don't have Fascinating Effective Insights Into The Phenomenon That Is Amazon.com.
That is to say, I actually do have some insights into that, but I find them singularly dull and unengaging which is why A) I am not a member of the corporate world anymore, and B) I have not chosen to become a business writer. Nevertheless, the force of expectation is strong, and when people see AMAZON.COM they expect a TELL-ALL BOOK, which they expect will have to have some Life Plans and Business Bullshit. I am considering writing an appendix to the paperback that addresses these concerns, just to help people feel like they received value for their money.
In the meantime I must dash off and spelunk more of my old haunts in the few hours I have before the book tour people structure all my time--I'm working on a show set in part during my time in London (not this trip--when I lived here in college) and some reminders have been very effective in driving old thoughts back up from the murky depths, like bad fat carp that hug the pool bottoms in expensive Cantonese restaurants. There's a church, converted into a theater, that plays a prominent role--I'm going to see if I can make it there in the time I have left.
Wherever you are, enjoy your Monday--it's not like they happen every week. Oh, and if you are living in the UK please keep reading the next entry for details on my book reading tonight--it'd be lovely to see some faces, and having had more contact with the Hare Krishna than my UK publisher, I am not entirely certain if this is a well-publicized event or if I will be reading to a nice lady and her dog from Southampton.