Book tour. The very words now strike a dizzy fear into my heart. Seattle to Portland to San Francisco to Denver to Boulder to St. Louis to Chicago. I no longer know what side of the bed to get up on, what city I am in, what time zone, where the @#$% is the light switch and why are there coat hangers in the bathroom, what did they do with the toilet?
But it has been a blast. I'm grateful to my publishers at Plume for giving me the chance to go out and spread the Slow Love word. And I've met so many Slow Love Life readers in person--actual face time! That's become a very old-fashioned concept. Thank you for turning out, and for being so supportive. I've been touched by the small gestures you have offered to make this journey more comfortable too.
I have been glued to my phone with Moms Clean Air Force conversations--as the political rhetoric against clean air heats up to alarming new temperatures, way past boiling. We have until FRIDAY morning to sign petitions to send to the House to stop the TRAIN Act, whose sole purpose is to delay any new environmental regulation. Please sign--and pass it around.
I've also tried to get a little fresh air every day, roaming the streets of whatever city I'm in. I don't use a map, I just let myself wander.
I was especially struck by how much Seattle has changed in the twenty years since I was last there; so many tall new buildings and glassy condos downtown. But the Pike's Place fish market was the same.
Crammed with tourists, and shoppers, and cases of fish so fresh that they simply seemed stunned, and ready to come back to life momentarily. Partly because of everything I've been reading about mercury contamination, I've gone off eating fish over the last year. And I may be drifting towards vegetarian...There are days I feel I have mermaid blood, and it makes me sad to see all my brethren iced. Yes, I am becoming what a dear friend of mine calls...a nutter.
I left the pandemonium of the fish market behind to head out into scorching sun--the temperatures were in the nineties with not a drop of that famous Seattle moisture in the air--to see what else I could find.
As I wheeled around the corner from the fish market, I had one of those 1940s movie moments--you know, the lens gets all Vaseline-y as the rather scruffy, footsore heroine is stopped in her tracks by....a hat.
And she gazes in the window with longing, knowing she will never buy a hat like that for herself, feeling like a child in the face of forbidden treasure. I could almost hear the violins.
So I wandered into Byrnie Utz Hats, one of the best shops I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. You can't even find shops like this in Manhattan--the last one I loved, on Lexington in the fifties, shut down a few years ago.
Every manner of hat accessory too, pins with feathers and hat bands and braids and boxes. It was overwhelming. Once inside my head was turned by yet another confection done up with big stitching around an Hermes orange felt flower applique.
I thought of my friend Laura Jacobs' wonderful first novel, Women About Town, about a woman who makes artful, whimsical lampshades, because after all there are times when the difference between a hat and a lampshade should be negligible.
Sartorialist moments. And that of course brought to mind the completely delightful getup of one reader who came to the Elliott Bay Book Company; she was in Edwardian silk pajamas, and looked so chic that I could hardly decide what she was wearing, nightwear or Etro.