I didn't bring a book with me last week on my vacation. I always bring books on the road, but I'd finally learned my lesson: I never get any reading done while on tour. There's just too much else going on, what with driving, soundchecking, sightseeing, and visiting with friends. So finally, I decided to leave my novels at home. That was a dumb idea because I had oodles of free time once the shows were over, and all those booksellers on the Seine sell novels in French -- definitely not relaxing.
Anyway, I often wished that I'd had some Hemingway with me. I never really read any Hemingway. Every time I tried, I would find myself five pages in having no idea what I'd read. The simple language caused me to zone out, read words, and not digest any of them. It wasn't fun.
But supposedly the cafe where I ate breakfast every morning was a favorite of Ernest and Stein and F. Scott and Pablo and the gang (but don't they all claim to be...), and that got me thinking. I almost bought The Sun Also Rises on audiobook, so I could wander around the Latin Quarter and read (multi-tasking). That seemed wrong, however, so I just sat at the cafe and enjoyed my croissant, wondering if that crew of 20th Century masters knew just how significant we would think them while they were munching on their own croissants in that same (give me this one) cafe. And how crazy is it that they all knew each other? Were they all truly geniuses, or did that all just share the same brilliant publicist/marketing strategy?
I've often thought about my own amazing, passionate, and talented friends, and I am consistently amazed by how much creativity and work ethic lies among them. Monday's newspaper brought all kinds of worlds together when my wonderful friend Erin Keane wrote a fantastic feature article about a great friend from high school, Jessica Wortham.* Then I was thinking that maybe if Erin, and Jessica, and I could just all get away for a week and eat croissants and drink absinthe in Paris while discussing art and the future, perhaps we'd eventually be considered 21st Century Greats.
I know it's not the same as Hemingway and Stein, but it does amaze me how I'm actually a FAN of my friends and their art. And how we all really do know each other, and hang out over bourbon, and sometimes get together and write, and talk about the world. Maybe it's not so different after all ... maybe we just need that ol' publicist.
* http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20101108/SCENE05/311080056/Louisville-native-Jessica-Wortham-is-home-for-Christmas- Great article about my high-school-friend, written by my post-high-school friend, about how said high-school-friend is starring in A Christmas Story at Actors' Theatre this season.
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