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2003

March

  • Bikes and going home

    That’s that. Ordered the bike, from the ever-helpful Airborne guys. A Carpe Diem with Ultegra up front, XT at the back, an Co-motion Americano chunky funky front fork, and a Chris King headset, for the indestrutability. Got some Mavic Open Pro hoops with Dura-Ace hubs as the wheels, and will use those for unloaded spinning. Will probably order some chunkier loaded touring wheels when I’m back here in May.

    About which: after nearly three months here in Santa Fe, I’m back home to Dublin on Sunday. So much has happened since I arrived: I’ve got engaged, got a book contract, got to know the town, got to go snowboarding, cross-country ski-ing, ice-skating. Went to LA, Carlsbad, Cloudcroft and other unlikely NM spots. It’s been great, and seems like I’m going back to Dublin much changed, and greatly for the better.

    Current plans on my return: rent-paying work, publisher’s meeting, book editing, wedding planning, Temple Bar Italia eating, trip planning and good TV watching.

    Just hope the flights are empty-ish on the way home, with people staying at home and watching the war.

  • Second thoughts

    So now I’m not so sure about this Canada thing. I realised that while I was interested in the topic, I wasn’t that excited about it. And it doesn’t have the obvious hook of the first book. Without huge enthusiasm and a simple elevator pitch (in terms of route or history), I’m not convinced.

    Plan B is forming in my mind: down the west coast of north America. From Vancouver to Tijuana, or some such. The angle would be ‘travels in your future’. The folks there are ahead of the rest of us in many things (good and bad), from environmental awareness to plastic surgery, from leisure pursuits to cultural imperialistic movies. Questions to ask would include:
    - why does this place think it’s the future?
    - what does that feel like on the ground?
    - why do people move there, and do they get what they expected?
    - if everyone’s so bent on self-improvement (physical, economic or spiritual), are they really any happier or better than the rest of us?

    It’s a start, perhaps. I feel better about that ride, about the book of the ride (more Pico Iyer than Pete McCarthy), and about selling the idea.

    Other news has seen me celebrating a birthday, being good at bowling, feeling ill and playing a part in the creation of a great engagement ring.

  • Bibliophilia

    It’s pretty obvious, but sometimes you forget the obvious, so it stands repeating. Libraries over the years have been my offices - from the UL in Cambridge, the ugly overcrowding of the Lecky in Trinity, the elegant vaulting of the National Library in Kildare St and sundry other places from High Wycombe to Manhattan, Kansas - and I feel comfortable there.

    So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that when I walked into the Santa Fe public library this afternoon, it felt like I was coming home. Into the reading room, and out with the books. Great stuff. So now I have a place to work.

    In other news, I’ve had an offer on my first book. Fantastic. So that means rewrites and fussing over contracts and the like, but it also means input from the publishers on how the next trip should work out. More news as and when.