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Nomads Redux

Cover Design by Chloe Annetts
I met Mykel, a writer friend, for a long, leisurely lunch with our actor friend, Josephine. We all taught English at a Japanese language school—Mykel still does—and we stay in touch. Mykel had been to my reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe in January, but had not paid for his book. He owed me lunch, he had said, and when we made a date for lunch, we half-jokingly reminded each other of the IOU.

It’s customary for writers to support one another’s work by turning up at readings and buying a copy of the book. It may seem quaint, but writers still sign books and personalize the signature at readings. I suppose this is more out of validation and vanity than anything else, one small way to launch a book. The reading is fun, all the rest of the publicity is annoying, time-consuming hard work. Nonetheless, we still do all of it—the reading and what follows.

Alas, on the day we met, I was not feeling well and ordered a glass of ginger ale, a cheap date. Mykel had not mentioned “Nomads,” whether he’d read it, or not read it, or what he thought about it. In truth, it doesn’t matter to me all that much. I know when my work is good or not and carry on regardless, but I do pay a bit more attention to what a writer has to say. I won’t solicit a comment, not after the book has been critiqued, edited and published. But I do listen. And what Mykel said confirmed—in a quirky way—the appeal of the book and my joy in writing it. “I hate to say this,” he began, “and don’t take this the wrong way, but ‘Nomads’ makes really good bathroom reading.”

Mykel is quirky himself—in mid-summer he wears big black work books, he’s traveled to over 60 countries and has friends in every one of them, he’s lived in Mongolia, Japan and Germany, he is a linguist and a musician as well as a writer, and he is very funny. So I laughed. Whatever he said, it wasn’t to shock me, it was a kind of compliment. Kind of, sort of. Because what he meant was—these are fast, short, self-contained, distilled stories. All of a piece, satisfying. And so I thanked him and suggested that he might want to try them at bed-time also. And to buy the second volume—“Nomads 2”—when it is published later this year.
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