I donated a number of books to Loretta at the local bookstore, Laughing Dog Books. I like bookstores, especially those that are small and quirky, and Laughing Dog Books is certainly that. A few days later I looked in the window and almost fell on my arse with shock. Ashes to Boonville was on display, nestled between books by JK Rowling and Will Self. Me, sitting between two amazingly famous writers? I was certainly flattered. Loretta told me that the book was ’selling well’, though in Boonville terms, I’m not entirely sure what that means. Actually, I’m not even sure if I want it to be ‘selling well’ , at least not in a bookstore, even in a bookstore as nice as Loretta’s. I know I’m being selfish, but sales in bookstores might be good for a writer's ego, but they’re fatal for the bank balance. Of course, I didn’t write the book to make money, I’m not that stupid, but I’d at least hoped to cover my costs. Anyway, I hope that the local’s here aren’t too disappointed when they read Ashes to Boonville, because it isn’t really about Boonville, it’s just about the overland journey to get here. Perhaps they’ll prefer the 2nd book, Homeward Bound, because that is about Boonville? Well, at least the first three chapters are.
I’m not sure if I’m getting old, or if I’m just getting lazy. Everyday I’ve been writing, sometimes way into the early hours of the morning, but you couldn’t really call that ‘work’. I’ve written a few articles for UK magazines and most of the chapters for the 2nd book, but that’s probably not a lot to show for my 150 days of opportunity. If I had a normal job then I'd probably be a lot more productive, and I'd appreciate my writing time more, but I don't, so the hours, days and weeks just seem to blend into one another. I’m not sure what I’ve achieved, or where the time’s gone, but Autumn’s already here and the lazy day’s of summer have simply vanished into an ocean of idleness. Sure, earlier in the summer I was a little help to the family here in Boonville, helping with the house-build and caring for their growing herd of livestock, but it really wasn’t a great deal. The truth is, they’re working on an ever tightening budget and when materials aren’t available, it’s difficult to build anything. But you know what, that doesn’t seem to phase them. It would totally freak me out, because I really don’t handle responsibility well, but they just seem to smile and get on with it. This summer they’ve managed to build the decks on the upper levels of the house, and some internal plastering and wiring, but there’s still an awful lot more to be done. Their home will get finished, finished in a Boonville way, but I'm not sure if anybody would be brave or foolish enough to suggest an actual completion date.
I’m probably telling you things that you honestly don’t need to know, but I’m telling you anyway. You see, I’m becoming very forgetful and if I don’t write these things down, then I just seem to lose them. I can remember the shirt that I wore for my first day at Corporation Road Junior School, and even how many buttons it had and why I hated it so much, but I’d struggle to tell you what I ate for dinner last night. I used to keep a diary, religiously updating it every evening, but I don’t do that now. I really don’t like paper anymore. It’s not about how paper looks or feels, it’s more about how much it weighs and how much space it takes up in my luggage. Luggage is baggage and I’m bored with it. I should blame my growing forgetfulness on old age, but I don’t. I’m blaming gluten, because it’s an easier target to aim at. In SE Asia I don’t really eat gluten, I only drink it in beer. But since I arrived here in America, everything I've eaten has been wrapped in either pastry or bread, and usually washed down with beer. Gluten overload, not old age, that’s the culprit. I’ve been gluten-free for three weeks now, and I actually feel better for it. I've discovered the Boont Berry Farm Market & Deli here in downtown Boonville, and it's great for gluten free food. It's actually great for a lot of things, even if it's just chatting with the amazingly eccentric members of staff, but I particularly enjoy the organic gluten free meals that they serve. That’s probably something else that you didn’t need to know, but I’ve told you anyway.
I’ve bought my air-ticket out of here. EVA Airlines, San Francisco to Bangkok via Taipei. I had to buy the ticket at a travel agent, on account of not having a credit card, but I really don’t like travel agents. In England, travel agents are quite large and glossy, but here in America they’re a little bit different. Cold stark offices with a computer screen that they never let you see and a lot of out-of-date brochures for places that you’re never likely to visit. They don’t give me confidence and I’m always worried that they’ll somehow rip me-off. It’s silly really, but it’s just the way I am. Anyway, I found such a travel agent in Ukiah, and the ticket was almost $150 less than I would have paid if I’d bought the same ticket on-line. That made me happy, so I gave the young travel agent a copy of my book. I doubt that she’ll read it, she didn’t strike me as the reading type, but I gave it to her and it seemed to make her smile. I’ll arrive in Bangkok for the last week in October, and I’ll have to knuckle down to some serious work. I need to write more articles and do something about promoting book sales in England. I might be gluten-free, but a man’s still got to eat.