Slow reading and knowing questions
12/34. 12 hours by train in 34 hours – some sleep, first gluntwine this year and lots of talking in between :)
Somewhere between Frankfurt am Main and Köln I detach myself from the book I’m reading and look around. Upper shelves are packed with black cabin-size suitcases; seats under then are packed with dark suited businessman. They look strange – not reading, not sleeping, not clicking around through emails – just sitting and staring into nowhere. I wonder if they are jetlagged or just spend the day negotiating big deals…
I go back to my book. It’s a collection of interviews with travel writers, A sense of place, by Michael Chapiro. I picked it up in January, when we traded beaches of Waikiki for coolness and coffee of Barnes&Noble. It was patiently waiting for me – till last week. Since then I was steeling a bit of time here and there to dive into it. Fortunately this trip is long enough to let me do all of that – watching people, reviewing reports, sending kusjes and being able to savour the book slowly as food in a good restaurant.
I enjoy this book – the themes – home and being far away, crossing borders and cultures, writing, being insider and outsider, facts and fiction. And the style – close and somewhat intimate conversations, asking very knowing questions coming from reading travel narratives that may be reveal more about their authors than about destinations.
As usual I start seeing parallels with my own work. Thinking of absorbing details of others’ lives from their weblogs, sense of connectedness and somewhat intimate knowledge about them – and interviews that could touch themes and go to the depths not possible otherwise.