I decided not to go out for New Year’s tonight. My coat was on and I was halfway through pulling up my boot when the realization I didn’t need to go fell over me heavy, like the parka. I’ve seen pretty much everyone I needed to see these past couple of weeks to get that sense of why being home in the cold is the right place to be. At Xmas at least.
I think this is what China did to me most: made me think of rarity as normality. I mean, I just saw everyone I’d end up talking to at Sarah’s New Year’s party two nights ago at the Camby. Nothing has changed since then. I feel like months should go by between meetings for me to build up enough half-way interesting things to say to people. So I can think as soon as I’m out of my friend’s presence “Oh man, we never talked about this that and thus.” That’s how I always felt going home from Nanchong, and every time Kate or Aileen go back to wherever they’re being. All that wasted potential, all those things undiscussed. It almost feels overindulgent to see people more than one time at a time. Decadent.
So all my Xmas presents have been given out and I can make mention of them without spoiling surprises. What I gave this year were copies of Nowhere Near Barstow, my 02-03 travel journal from the Middle East and India. I used Lulu.com because I own a couple of Lulu printed RPG books that seemed to be good enough quality binding for my purposes. I only made a few copies for close friends (possibly not as few as some people might like) and it’s not like I’m going to sell them.
And just to be clear here, because I don’t think I wrote it in each person’s copy, I don’t count that as a real book. No editors saw it. It wasn’t chosen out of any sort of slush pile. The only people who made a cent off it were the printers. (And the shippers, boy did the shippers make money.) It was a Xmas present for the people who got it and that’s it. It can sit on a shelf and look like a book but if the rest of your books look askance at it and beg you to put it somewhere else where it won’t bring down the property values, that’s fine. The copy I kept for myself is at a shelf-break so it only needed to have one neighbour. The Tynes book was much more accommodating than the Updike.
Holly’s comment (on the contents of the book, not the quality of the binding): “wow, I’m impressed that he’s being this honest.” Which, of course, I am usually not, so it probably does deserve a bit of recognition (although being honest about things six years in the past is considerably easier). If I were a resolving kind of person I might try to make being honest less noteworthy in the future. Selah. I’ve also heard there are too many Dune references, but that prompted no thoughts of resolutions at all.
Anyway, New Year’s wise, I am sorry to miss the gingerbread legislature and old-school Louis Riel statue but I hope pictures will show themselves somewhere.aileen camby christmas dune holly john tynes john updike kate lulu nanchong new year nowhere near barstow sarah 中国