I was in Kansas City on Thursday, Lawrence yesterday–where I got to see one of my brothers and his wife–and then on to Houston in a tiny spinewrecker airplane. Last night in Lawrence two teen-aged boys came to the event and Ii was thinking, boy am I cool–I even speak to sixteen-year-old boys. Turns out they’d been sent by their English teacher to sit through an author appearance, and afterwards, one asked me who I was. I said my name and he asked if I was a writer, or just reading someone else’s book. So–a good corrective for the over-active vanity!
I fly early tomorrow to Chicago, where I’ll race to the western suburbs for an event and hope to be home in time for Kol NIdre. I feel melancholy much of the time on the road–one is lonely, cut off, and then I get to events and am happy to see everyone and perk up again.
I also feel melancholy about observing Yom Kippur in such a distracted way. It’s a funny thing–I’m at the atheist end of the agnostic spectrum, but Yom Kippur is such a sacred day. After many years of walking away from Judaism, I started observing it out of respect for a grandmother who was murdered in the Vilna ghetto on Yom Kippur. I was named for her, and as a child, I hated being named for a murder victim–I thought it doomed me to follow after her. Now, though, it is a day where I can get centered, where fasting brings a kind of peace and introspection, and I wish I didn’t have to spend part of the day doing laundry, filling prescriptions and repacking for the next week on the road–but I hope my grandmother will understand and forgive me.
P.S. I’m posting in a Houston hotel; Genny has pictures from Bethesda which I’ll add when I’m back home at my own machine.