Jeez, I finally made it…

Jeez, I finally made it into the cafe, after 2. I slow today. But I got the edited galleys and the photos in the mail, and I contacted a travel agent and got them started on trying to find a flight to Sri Lanka for less than $1800, and I checked with the Sri Lankan embassy about what I needed to do when I got there (my dad said I needed to go to a police station and get an identity card, but the embassy said that my hotel could take care of everything, if I let them know in advance). And I ate a turkey and cranberry sandwich for lunch (which I will be eating for lunch for at least another week, given how much turkey we have left, and only me here to eat it), which was very yummy on buttered toast. And I wrote an awkward e-mail I wanted to put off, but didn't. And I got through some of the rest of the backlogged e-mail. Oh, and scheduled one more interview, at University of South Carolina. All the warm places are getting back to me first. Just coincidence? I think not.

Jed and I spent an hour or so last night talking about a piece he wrote recently, and whether it would work better as fiction or creative nonfiction. I was agitating for the latter, but I don't think I convinced him. It'll be good fiction too, I'm sure. But the conversation started me thinking about nonfiction again. At this point, right now, I think "Silence and the Word" is the piece that I get the most comments on, the most praise of. It was also, of everything I've done, the scariest piece to write. I think I need to push myself in those ways again.

So I had an idea while walking in to the cafe. Which is that rather than just planning on writing one article while I'm in Sri Lanka (to try to sell to The Atlantic or some such), what I could try would be to write the beginnings of a different article every day, based on the experiences of the day and the photos I took that day and my childhood memories of summers in Sri Lanka.

I could imagine that turning into a cool creative nonfiction book -- part travelogue, part memoir, part cultural analysis from the perspective of an emigrant, part celebration of the food and the people and the beauty of the countryside. I think it would be of interest to people who might travel to Sri Lanka, to people who read fiction set in Sri Lanka, maybe even to people interested in the political situation in Sri Lanka. I don't think I could actually write thirty different substantial essays in thirty days, but if I started a different one each day, they could serve as seeds to develop further once I got back home. What do you think? Is that a book you might want to read?

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