in canada with an empty calendar and an extra-foamy cappuccino

I am in Toronto, last night’s Read for the Cure event with me and Vincent Lam and Audrey Niffenegger was absolutely lovely and raised $38,000 for cancer research and I cannot imagine a better way to finish with book events for 2012.

Partially because I got to reach the mythic nothing-on-the-calendar stage in this city which I have visited so many times in the last year or so that it feels familiar and friendly, even though there are little banners on the street that say “Welcome to Toronto, We’ve Been Expecting You” which is kind of creepy.

So I’m sitting in my hotel room with an extra-foamy cappuccino facing an empty calendar and I’d forgotten what this feels like, as it’s been a year and a half or more since the calendar was properly empty, but so far I like it.

I am going to drink my cappuccino and also eat as much food as I can while I’m here because this city has fantastic food (went to the new momofuku Toronto on Monday night which was so, so delicious, particularly the pumpkin soup and the halibut) and then back to Boston where the main things on the to-do list are moving related (the logistics of the actual moving are, as of this writing, still up in the air) and then hopefully there will be moving and holidays and then it shall be 2013 and I think it will be a good year because 13 is my favorite number.

I’m sure there will be appearances and signing things and such in 2013 but nothing is scheduled and the first half of the year, at least, will be very much about writing, which I am excited about. I’ve spent a lot of time in other places and it will be nice to retreat back into my head and spend some quality time with my imagination and the new-not-yet-novel characters that have been waiting (in some cases rather impatiently) for me to pay proper attention to them.

I realized I haven’t done that capture-the-moment-in-song thing lately (had that for the end of tour 2011) and while I’ve had more moment-appropriate songs, this is the one that’s been on my iPod and in my head as I type this in a Toronto hotel room, so I suppose that makes this the song for the end of the tour, 2012 edition.

happy hallowe’en!

So tonight I was actually supposed to be in London but instead this afternoon I was virtually in London thanks to the wonderment that is Skype. It went fairly well even though it was very odd from my end because I couldn’t see the audience and Audrey was a lovely disembodied voice, though I suppose it would have been weirder if I could have seen myself all giant and looming over everything.

Not to give too much of a peek behind the curtain, but I was sitting here and y’all were pretty much on my stove:

And I really did meant to carve my pumpkin but I got all distracted with the lovely conversation and I forgot. Which was good because when I did carve it afterwards it shook the whole table rather loudly and also it took me ages to carve even a fairly simple design so it was likely for the best.

Now it is all proper All Hallow’s Evening here and I have wine which I will raise later in a toast to Herr Thiessen which I have done this evening for a few years now and I find it lovely that more people will know what it means this time around. Also there is chocolate and a properly carved pumpkin.

The cloak I am wearing is my favorite Hallowe’en costume which I am glad I got to wear since it wouldn’t have fit in my suitcase as it is floor-length and rather heavy. (It was made, I believe, by a friend of my mother’s sometime in 70’s when such things were acceptable for everyday wear.)

I wish you all a very Happy Hallowe’en, a Blessed Samhain & a Merry NaNoWriMo Eve!

not in london

A little story about weather and travel:

Last year on October 29th I was supposed to be flying from Toronto to New York and then there was a blizzard. I actually got on the plane which was supposed to land at 1pm, but instead circled and circled and was then diverted to Connecticut and then delayed and then moved to the next day, so then I took a cab in which I thought I was going to die because the roads were so snow-terrible in order to get elsewhere in Connecticut in order to get on a train which then stopped (still in Connecticut) for hours and this is already too long for the little version of this story but it involved tears and kindly Amtrak guys and strangely empty trains crawling toward the city in the dark and getting to my hotel in NYC just before midnight. It was a long, horrible day.

This year on October 29th I was supposed to be flying to London and then there was a hurricane.

I am not in London. I am still in rainy windy Boston. I am now extremely wary of the 29th day of October.

I am sending well-wishes to everyone as the storm continues and cleanup efforts begin and I hope everyone reading this is safe & sound. Especially big well-wishes and hugs to my lovelies in New York and New Jersey. I’m fine and the sun is even peeking out from behind the clouds at the moment.

But, again, I am not in London and I will not be able to get to London before tomorrow’s scheduled event. My flight yesterday was cancelled, of course, and any flights today that actually might depart are booked and truthfully I’d rather those seats go to people who are trying to get home and were previously stranded.

I am truly sorry to not be there for Hallowe’en stories and book signing and chatting with the lovely Audrey Niffenegger. The plan right now is to try to embrace the whole living-in-the-future thing and have me virtually there via Skype though that’s a hopefully and not a definite yet. As far as I know Audrey will be there live and in person though she could be a hologram or other such apparition, I suppose one cannot be certain of such things, especially on Hallowe’en.

I will hopefully get to have a proper London visit without inclement weather at some point in the not-too-far future. And I think I might make some sort of rule about not travelling on October 29th ever again.

pumpkin and also places i will be soon

This is the aforementioned fantastic pumpkin that I did not yet have a photograph of when it was mentioned afore, and now I do and you can see what a fantastic pumpkin it is. Also pictured are some pumpkiny friends and a very melty beeswax candle.

The fantastic pumpkin may possibly become a jack-o-lantern but might stay intact and pumpkiny instead.

Partially because the pumpkin will be alone (well, alone with pumpkin friends) for Hallowe’en because I shall be in London. And an unlit jack-o-lantern on Hallowe’en is sad. But my October 31st shall be spent far away from this particular pumpkin reading/conversing/looking fabulous with Audrey Niffenegger at The Prince Charles Cinema. If you are in the London area you should come and wear something dark and decadent and we shall endeavor to be moodily entertaining. I still need to figure out what to wear.

After I get back on this side of the pond I will be heading to Minnesota for Talking Volumes in St Paul on November 9th. You can get tickets on Ticketmaster and I find the fact that you can get tickets for anything involving me on Ticketmaster is strange, though it should be unlike most of my own personal Ticketmaster experiences of refreshing like mad in order to procure tickets to Tori Amos or Florence + the Machine. Perhaps it only works like that for redheads. (Edited to add: I am told you can avoid Ticketmaster entirely and get tickets directly from the Fitzgerald Theater by phone or in person. Remember phones?)

And post-Minnesota I am heading to Toronto for a Read for the Cure event with Vincent Lam and Audrey Niffenegger on November 13th. (I think this season shall live in my memory as the autumn I spent with Audrey Niffenegger.)

And after that I think I am done with airplanes for 2012 which will make me very happy. Also I should be able to hibernate this winter and write a novel, which will be splendid, because the not-yet-novel-shaped thing in my brain badly wants attention. There’s a zombie analogy here I’m not finding, but you probably know what I mean.

here, there, everywhere (but not really in Chicago)

I keep unintentionally neglecting the blog because I have been a whirlwind of travel lately and spent most of last week not knowing what time it was.

I went to Naperville, Illinois for a fantastic bookstore event, and then spent a day running around various nearby Illinois locations for Fox Valley Reads which was a wonderful community reading event and I had a lot of fun babbling about all things circusy.

So I was near Chicago but not actually in Chicago. I don’t think I can fairly say I’ve been to Chicago, and I very much want to go back to visit properly. I wanted to see that giant shiny coffee bean-looking thing.

But while I was not in Chicago there was a Miraculous Event!

If you have been reading the blog for a long while or a little while or at all, you have probably noticed that I write teeny stories called flax-golden tales and that I write them based on fantastical photographs by Carey Farrell.

Carey and I have known each other through the wonderment that is the internet for over a decade, but we had never ever met in person before last week outside Chicago.

Proof! We are both real people! With glasses!

Of course, she could have been a book-induced hallucination that manifested in photographic form, but I think she’s probably a real person and a lovely one at that and I am delighted that she is both real and my friend.

From not-Chicago I headed to actual Portland, Oregon, a city I had long thought mythical and I’m still convinced it might be, since during my two days there I sat in at least three different shiny red vinyl armchairs and also had dinner with Katherine Dunn. Not at the same time. I was in the mythical Land of Port for the Wordstock festival which was very fun and somewhere they now have quite a few photos of me draped across one of the aforementioned shiny red chairs.

Then I was back in Boston for a little over 24 hours including a field trip to New Hampshire to procure a rather fantastic pumpkin (I will take a picture of it when I get home) because it is October, after all, though now the pumpkin is patiently waiting to become a jack-o-lantern while I am in New York for a few days for reasons various and sundry.

This weekend I will be back in Boston for a bit and then off to London for a dark and decadent Hallowe’en evening with Audrey Niffenegger at The Prince Charles Cinema.

And then it will be November. Strange how that happens.

For now I am going to have a cappuccino and run off to enjoy the beautiful fall weather in Manhattan while it’s still here.