If you've been keeping up, you've caught on that this is not your usual book tour at this point. No hotels, no media escorts, or Lincoln Town Cars waiting in the Lobby. This, I have to say, is a good thing. The book business is different than it used to be and it's silly to spend that kind of dough on tours any more.
It's much smarter to learn the ropes of the virtual world and take the reins of the social media and try to reach out to as many people as I can from one pleasant location without burning a hole in anyone's pocket and the ozone layer. So...here I sit in the desert with a group of people I love and type away and try to learn the ropes.
I'm excited to see new reviews come in: one from Saint Louis yesterday, with comments about how "if you think it's chilly here, you should check out Cold Storage, Alaska," which almost made me feel guilty for walking around the desert in 86 degree weather...but not quite.
I do have to say something in favor of physical proximity. On Thursday night, Jan and I taught our University Humanities 120 class from here. We went to the local middle school and we connected up to their phone system and we connected with our students who we usually talk to on the phone from Sitka. This week we were talking about John Haines and the first chapter of his book: Living Off The Country. Haines was Alaska's preeminent poet, in his book he was concerned that "Alaska" itself was in danger of being replaced by the "cliche of Alaska." This can happen when we lose familiarity with the actual, and become lazy with our ideas of what we want to believe about a place. We discussed this in our class. We had students in Wasilla and Juneau, and in the village of Buckland, and in Oregon and Washington. As Jan and I walked out into the dark, desert night there was a Great Horned Owl in a palm tree guarding her nest with at least four fledglings.
Laziness. This scares me...because I am lazy by nature. Being on vacation reminds of this. I have to be pushed...often by myself, often by the people who love me...to be attentive to this world. Anyway...I have always been skeptical of the "virtual world." I've even been known to say, rather haughtily: "There is no virtual world, there is one world with different sets of tools used by different sets of people." But that was one of my fathead opinions.
So this virtual tour is new ground for me. Here are my thanks for going there: Juliet Grames, Rudy Martinez, Madison Kozma who keeps the likes coming. Thanks too for all the reviewers who choose my book over the hundreds of others that pile their office floors.
A profound thanks to Curtis Alan Edwards, my oldest and dearest friend who has always embraced technology and by doing so, has kept me in the world. He designed this web site and I think it is just the bee's knees.
So keep tuning in. Each post will not sound like an awards show but I need to show my appreciation for fear that Toto will pull back the curtain.
Song birds in the Palm
singing to the desert night.
I reach out to you.
jhs Borrego Springs CA