December 12, 2016
It was fiesta time again when I got back to Hanoi yesterday on a gorgeous fall Sunday morning. Something to do with lanterns. I took the sleeper train from the city of Vinh and it arrived late, which was perfect because by the time I walked over to the Hanoi Home Hotel, although Mr. Che was not expecting me, my room had just come available and they were cleaning it. Yay! So nice to be home. For the record, the room has been renumbered from 502 to 403. But it is still the same groovy crash pad way up above an alleyway near Saint Joseph’s.
Then I went over to Hoan Kiem Lake for a run, where I joined the crowd and the party. The perimeter street was closed off to traffic which made it fantastic for running, and I dodged lots of children driving around in electric toy cars. Paper lanterns hung everywhere.
Happy belated Thanksgiving week y’all. I hope you had a great one. Mine was spent in Saigon, careening the avenues and alleyways on the back of a motorbike and eating, eating, singing karaoke, and eating. We also hit a wedding and a funeral. FYI karaoke is a different than in the States, there are all these emporiums where you go into private plush rooms with your group and sit on couches and sing, and they bring in crates of beer and buckets of ice. Beer is drunk over ice. We never ate turkey, but one night at 1 AM after a karaoke fest we went for Peking duck. It was the whole nine yards, first the crispy skin carved up into strips for rolling into little rice burritos with pepper and cucumber, and then the rest of the bird brought in various noodle and rice dishes along with a pile of bone-in.
To get north I came up through Cambodia and Laos. Wow. That’s what I need to say about Laos. WOW. That was a quick scouting trip. I will be back. Then I dropped down from the mountains to the northern Vietnam city of Vinh where my American friend Cher was working.
I finally heard my first Christmas carol on Saturday, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” played from a shop as I rode on the back of Cher’s moto through the streets of Vinh. I am feeling a little disoriented because I’ve been on the road since October 3rd (I was in Africa for six weeks before coming to SE Asia). I have not much of a concept of what time of year it is. But I’ll get with it soon, I’ll be onstage next week in “Scrooge” at the Jesters in Longmont, singing Bob Cratchit. My dates there are Dec. 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, and 29.
This journey has been very much about working on new fiction and I am happy to report it has come off okay. I basically did back-to-back nanowrimos (National Novel Writing Month), turning off the internal editor and generating word count every day. I recommend this method. What you get is crap, but if you do it every day you get a lot of crap which you can then begin to work with. I now have 97,700 new words of crap.
Aside from that I still have a new novel. The Rooster’s Hindquarters, which is still “finished” (I hope), which I still plan to kick out early in 2017. I also might start working with a publisher on a Colorado hiking book. I did a shitload of hiking and climbing this past summer. In May I decided I would drive nowhere far until I climbed everything I could see from my house…and then I proceeded to nearly do it.
Best to you! Happy holidays.
Kick it Out
November 11, 2016
Third novel is complete, edited, and road-tested! But I’ve decided to let it sit a bit longer before I release it. Look for The Rooster’s Hindquarters to come out in early 2017.
The title makes sense once you read the book, but in truth I owe it to my beloved sister-mama Ann Wilson of the rock group Heart. She wrote a song back in the 1970s which she didn’t think much of, and kept referring to it as “the rooster’s hindquarters.” But her band thought the song was great and wanted to record it. So they did, and now we have the song “Kick It Out.”
I used Ann’s earlier song title as my working title all through the writing. It really helped, especially in the early stages when I was just trying to “kick it out” and the new writing often felt like a complete piece of shit and was. But now that I’ve love-labored over this manuscript for nearly two years, I like it! I look forward to kicking out what I hope will be a very fun story in just a few months.
In other news, I’m writing a new novel (that’s not news). Also, I will reprise my role as Bob Cratchit in the musical “Scrooge” at the Jesters Dinner Theater in Longmont, Colorado in December. If you’re in the area, don’t miss watching Scott Moore give his iconic annual performance as Ebeneezer! He’s really great and the whole show is lovely, a Longmont Christmas institution for nearly three decades.