Wednesday, April 8, 2015

If This Isn't Nice...!

Dear Diary,

Yeah, I know.  You're not really a diary.  You're a blog, and that means that I shouldn't post anything super-personal here, and should aim for subjects that are at least nominally interesting to people who aren't me.

But you're also a great place to put things that I don't want getting lost in the social ether, and I just have to tell you about the day I had.

It started with making the trek from London to Oxford to visit my publisher at their HQ.  It was IMMENSE.  There was beer and ribs by the Thames, and a video interview I didn't totally bomb, and more free books and swag than I can carry.  Diary, I have done things I can't even tell you about. I have seen things that men were not meant to see. 

Then my wonderful new friend Helen Marshall took time out of her postdoctoring to show me around Oxford.  We went to the Pitt Rivers Museum, which was resplendent with arcane weaponry and shrunken heads, and also I got to pet a taxidermied Shetland pony named Mandy.  We had drinks in a 16th-century pub (like you do), and talked about all things writing (like I do), and next time we are totally going punting (like Oxford people do).  And there will be a next time!

Then I sailed the train, and drove the underground, and pole-vaulted the DLR - I got REALLY good at public transit today - back to the east side of London, and met even MORE fantastic new friends (codenames: TK & BB), who took me out for a catastrophic plenitude of crispy duck pancakes and linguistic banter.  It was SO great.  They are so great.  You would be physically angry if you knew how much greatness you'd missed out on.

Anyway, like I said, I know you're a blog and not a diary, and blog posts are supposed to be more than just summary ramblings. So here is a thesis statement, just to keep this legit.  Today, I have done nothing but soak up hospitality from people I've only just begun to get to know.  And none of them were of my own finding - they were each introduced to me by someone else.  It's so amazing to follow these little friendly fractal patterns outward, from one connection to the next, and such a thrill to feel yourself crowd-surfing on the generosity and enthusiasm of people who are still almost totally new to you.  And I think the best part of it is something I'm only just learning how to do: to know that it's better to give than receive, yes, but also to kick back and enjoy the receiving all by itself, without instantly worrying about how you'll pay it all back, because you're finally mature enough to realize that it's not an either/or proposition: when you're in good company, receiving IS giving - and if you keep that company long enough, everything will balance nicely.

Okay, navelgazing over.  Thanks for listening, Internet diary - you are an excellent abstracted representation of a real pal, and goodness knows I'm not short on those.

So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”


  1. Yeah! Mission successful! Also, VIDEO INTERVIEW? When are we going to see that, huh?

    1. Haha, well, it's like other wonderful Solaris products in that respect: I don't know exactly when it'll come out, but I know you're gonna love it when it gets here!

      (And big thanks for playing matchmaker, man - I will issue you a crispy duck IOU, stat!)