A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...
Posts tagged "travel"
Feb 20, 2014
Here’s what went down: in his PEN Ten interview, @AlexanderChee was asked where he best liked to write:
I still like a train best for this kind of thing. I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers.
That’s it. Two sentences. And then this happened:
And here’s Jessica Gross on writing on the Amtrak during her test residency:
[There is] a sense of safety, borne of boundaries. I’ve always been a claustrophile, and I think that explains some of the appeal—the train is bounded, compartmentalized, and cozily small, like a carrel in a college library. Everything has its place. The towel goes on the ledge beneath the mirror; the sink goes into its hole in the wall; during the day, the bed, which slides down from overhead, slides up into a high pocket of space. There is comfort in the certainty of these arrangements. The journey is bounded, too: I know when it will end. Train time is found time. My main job is to be transported; any reading or writing is extracurricular. The looming pressure of expectation dissolves. And the movement of a train conjures the ultimate sense of protection—being a baby, rocked in a bassinet.
As John Cleese put it, the artist needs “boundaries of time and boundaries of space.”
What a great story. And PR dream for Amtrak. Well done, y’all.
Feb 15, 2013
Not to be facile, but if I don’t write, I don’t get to do the things I later write about. An editor once asked me whether I was one of those writers who liked writing or who hated writing. The implication—that there are journalists who struggle with writing and that that’s completely normal—was a huge relief. I actually don’t hate writing, but it is my least favorite part of the process, far behind thinking, planning, experiencing, interacting, pondering, wandering. Now that I think about it, I should have known not all writers loved writing best. Imagine a food writer who liked writing more than eating. That would be pathetic.
Aug 11, 2012
A lot of people leave Arkansas and most of them come back sooner or later. They can’t quite achieve escape velocity. I expect it’s much the same everywhere.
May 06, 2012
» Advice on moving to Los Angeles
Derek Sivers has some great advice on moving to LA that I think applies to almost any city. Simplified:
- It’s not really a city.
- Learn to lovingly listen.
- Avoid the highways and take the backroads.
- Get into nature often.
- Every culture values different things.
Go read for explanation.
Apr 24, 2012
God damn it if this place isn’t exploding with wonderful people.
Apr 17, 2012
Book tours are excellent things, and one is lucky to get to go on one, but they have a way of leeching away one’s will to live. The point of a book tour, basically, is to travel around telling everybody about how great you are, but you’re constantly underslept and hungover, and after awhile you start to have creeping doubts as to your own greatness.
Mar 16, 2012
Alain de Botton’s book tour tweets
Getting the jitters about going on such a long book tour, so my agent suggested reading @alaindebotton’s tweets to prepare myself.
Oh, and I just watched Contagion. Not recommended if you’d like to ever leave the house again.
Also, we have the #humblebrag, I think we also need the #worrybrag
Dec 20, 2011
» How To Not Get Sick On An Airplane
I get sick every time I go home for Christmas, and while it isn’t helped by lack of sleep and alcohol abuse, I’m pretty sure 75% of it is the 3-5 hours I spend on what is, essentially, a flying petri dish.
So thanks to The Wall Street Journal for these tips (which I’ve summarized):
- Hydrate (drink water, use saline spray).
- Clean your hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Use disinfecting wipes to clean off tray tables before using
- Avoid seat-back pockets.
- Open your air vent, and aim it so it passes just in front of your face. Filtered airplane air can help direct airborne contagions away from you.
- Stay the hell away from people who look sick
The air vent thing was new to me! Now I’m off to get disinfecting wipes and some saline spray.
Update: thanks to @aweissman for this suggestion: “i do this and it almost always works: basically OD on Vitamin C before you get on the plane - right before. Use EmergenC or a similar product, drink it all up while waiting.”
Oct 15, 2011
If the house would only burn down, we would pack up the cubs and fly to the isles of the blest, and shut ourselves up in the healing solitudes of the crater of Haleakala and get a good rest; for the mails do not intrude there, nor yet the telephone and the telegraph… What I have always longed for was the privilege of living forever away up on one of those mountains in the Sandwich Islands overlooking the sea.
Oct 04, 2011
“I went to Maui to stay a week and remained five.”
—Mark Twain, 1866
Friends: I am off with my wife to the island of Maui for a week. I am completely unplugging from the internet, which I haven’t done in probably half a decade. I might post some Instagram photos (@austinkleon), but I doubt it.
"How pleasant to sit on the beach,
On the beach, on the sand, in the sun,
With ocean galore within reach,
And nothing at all to be done!
No letters to answer,
No bills to be burned,
No work to be shirked,
No cash to be earned.
It is pleasant to sit on the beach
With nothing at all to be done.”
—Odgen Nash, “Pretty Halcyon Days"
As my dad used to say, “If you need me, I’ll call you.”
Note to would-be robbers: my in-laws are staying with our ferocious beast of a dog and my shotgun.
Photo by cboykin717
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