Flotsam and Jetsam from a Book Tour…

(Some of the flotsam brought back–things people gave me, places I went, hotels I stayed in, traffic tickets I got, and more. Not including the cookies Emily Jiang baked for me or the fig bread Caren Gussoff made. Or the freebie books all the great indie bookstores gifted me with. For a larger version of the photo, click here.)

I thought I’d be getting away from book tour stuff soon, but the fact is that when you’re away from home for 44 days, things pile up and even the things you bring back with you must be dealt with in some way. So you’re going to have to put up with some posts dealing with the detritus of a book tour, in part because this blog also serves as a kind of record or journal of my writing life.

It’s exceedingly surreal to be on the road that long, to move so quickly from place to place, to experience so many different types of environments, both natural and human-made, to experience so many different types of people. It seems to last forever and it seems to be over in a split-second, and then you’re back in the comfort of home and it appears to have been a daydream of some kind, except for all of this physical evidence of what happened, of what you did, of where you went. There are parts of it I’ll never forget as long as I’m alive, and parts of it that ghost through and tunnel into the fiction for years to come.

Anyway, I also brought back a lot of books, which I’ll address in a separate post, but for now, something I brought back in physical form–Scott Eagle’s art for Secret Life–and stained glass based on Eric Schaller’s art from the title page of my City of Saints & Madmen, which got sent to me via email while on tour…

And, then, of course, there are the people you come back to, from my amazing wife Ann to a surprise visit by my dad, along with my stepdaughter Erin and grandson Riley (all three pictured here.)


  1. says

    Sweet! My postcard from the Blue Ridge parkway circa 1970 ish made it! Is it flotsam or jetsam? And again: do not eat.

  2. says

    Beautiful painting.

    And your dad rocks. Just saying. It was an absolute pleasure to get to talk to him in Chapel Hill. Thank you for signing the books. They will be great prizes!