I know I haven't posted here for a while now but I have to tell you the pace has been hectic over these past few days. My book is now released and on sale in the United States and the publicity has been fun so far (except for coping with some unfortunate time shifts -- being on the radio at 6 AM -- if my mother were around to know I'd been involved in such a scheme she'd laugh and laugh). I spent a few hours with a really fun group of NPR people last week wandering the suburbs and parks of Washington DC. And this week I fielded some extraordinary questions and stories about getting lost on Neil Conan's Talk of the Nation. I noticed an interesting difference between the callers in the US and callers on a similar show I'd done in Canada. Canadian callers, almost without exception, told me about their very good sense of direction. American callers were almost the opposite -- eager to share stories of difficult wayfinding times. I think the most likely explanation for the difference has to do with the way that the call-in challenge question was worded, but I also wondered whether we Canadians might have something of a rugged outdoorsy reputation that we feel we have to defend. I think my favourite story on TOTN, or at least the one I remember most vividly, came from a man who reported having been lost in Japan and having had a difficult time eliciting directions from anyone except for those who were intoxicated. He thought the reason might have something to do with people not wanting to embarrass him by sharing publicly with him the fact that he was lost. The story has made me reflect more deeply on cultural differences in our understanding and uses of space. These differences affect everything from how we organize our domestic spaces to how we navigate through a city or design a park. I need to write about some of this soon. In fact, as much as I'm now acquiring a taste for talking about my writing, I'm beginning to miss writing. This is a good sign. I had a discussion some time ago with someone in publishing where we talked about the strange rhythm of life for a full-time writer. We bury ourselves away for two or three years while we work on a manuscript, and then the book is released to (if you're lucky and you have good people helping you) a lot of attention and requests for interviews. Suddenly you have to manage this mad transition from the seclusion of the writing place to the exposure of the market place. Even for someone like me who has a day job that involves lots of contact with people, this has been jarring and disorienting at times. But also very addictive. Much like Amazon rankings.