Last night I had another melt-down, and in the middle of it, my mother called. She isn't used to hearing me upset -- she told me to "not let myself get so stressed" not two breaths after she gave me twenty different phone numbers of relatives and friends in Sri Lanka, in almost every city we're travelling to, just in case something happens. I have been instructed to buy a cell phone when I get there, so they can reach me, and so I can check in regularly with them. I have been warned, repeatedly, to go nowhere alone, to always be with Karina who is so obviously a white tourist (with blonde hair and blue eyes, no less), or with a driver from the hotel. To never just hire a car on the street. To not walk around the city. She worries that people will hate me because of the books I write, and I cannot seem to convince her that even if they would hate me, they will have absolutely no way of telling by looking at me that I am a writer of naughty books. She says Sri Lanka isn't the same as it was the last time we went, nine years ago. I know this, but I don't know what it is going to be like. I try to reassure her, but I have very few specifics to reassure her with. Yes, I will be a good little, safe little tourist. I will not wander around on my own (very much). I will not wear a t-shirt that says "pornographer." I will not wear short shorts, or sleeveless tops. I will be as careful as I know how.
Somehow, by the end of the call, I was in a much better mood. Maybe hearing how extreme her fears were made my own anxieties seem smaller, and equally unreasonable. Later, Karina called, and we settled some logistics and chatted a bit about what we were looking forward to. Elephants. Shopping. Striped squirrels. Ruins. Monkeys. Beaches and swimming pools.
This morning, I'm working on my student materials until 10, then running a few errands downtown. Early afternoon, look at houses. Late afternoon, more student stuff. Evening, more student stuff. Intermittently, read travel books, practice with new camera (which is, by the way, gorgeous and marvellous and so far, exactly what a digital camera should be). Try to look forward to this trip. Remember to breathe.
Hey, one request -- if you can recommend a good epic fantasy series, let me know. I need plane reading. Among newer series, I like Michelle West, Kate Elliott, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin. I've also enjoyed Raymond Feist, Janny Wurts, Terry Goodkind, Jacqueline Carey, Jennifer Roberson, and even Terry Brooks, along with a bunch of others I'm forgetting. I'm not that picky on this subject -- solid prose, strong plotting, sense of wonder, and ideally dragons, kingdoms colliding, good vs. evil. That's what I want. And if we can't come up with big fat epic fantasies, any strong fantasy will do. I've loved Guy Gavriel Kay, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Pratchett, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Ursula K. LeGuin. Maybe even sf, but if so, more space opera than techno-geekery. I've read all of Bujold a dozen times.