|Mrs. Siler is not so hapless …
Photo from Curly Wurly
In the spirit of “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday,” the French cinematic parfait from 1954, I’ve decided to take a vacation.
Because this school year is in full swing, my holiday won’t involve jumping on a plane and heading to a seaside resort in the south of France, where director Jacques Tati’s character M. Hulot underwent a delightful series of mishaps.
Instead, I’m taking a reading holiday – a break from writing for a week or two to whittle down the mounting pile of books that is stacking up on my bedside table. Over the next few days, I hope to finish reading Sandy Tolan’s The Lemon Tree, Lou Ureneck’s Backcast, and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.
I figure I earned this time off. I’ve spent a good part of the past nine months working on a proposal for a new book. To my great relief, and after sixteen drafts, my agent just sent it to my publisher at Penguin’s Gotham Books.
It was only after writing a detailing proposal that I realized how lucky I was to have avoided it the first time around. In a stroke of Cinderella-like luck, Gotham’s publisher, Bill Shinker, read a front-page article I wrote in The Wall Street Journal and emailed me about turning it into a book, which meant: I never wrote a proposal.
But writing is thinking. As my wise friend Allison Hoover Bartlett put it, all that painstaking work I’ve done over the past nine months is certain to lead somewhere.
I can only hope. Meanwhile, I plan to sprawl out on our battered couch over the next couple of days, transported by other people’s writing to an old stone house in Ramallah, to a two-man tent buffeted wind and rains in western Alaska, and to the great nation of India at the birth of its independence.
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