Dire and Ever-Circling Wolves
Apologies for the infrequent posting of late; book touring turns out to be exactly as exhausting as they tell you that it’s going to be, with one marked difference: It’s also just weirder. Every reading the ratio of friends-and-family/strangers in attendance has gone down, which has been thrilling to watch as people I have never met before have started coming up to me at bookstores and saying nice things to me. I mean, lots of people I know very well have also started coming up to me in bookstores and saying nice things, which is also very much appreciated.
I’ve talked before about my deep and profound love of William Gibson, who is one of our great chroniclers of travel. (His newest novel, Zero History, is in my hotel room at this very moment, which is sort of funny because the book is literally about 45% just descriptions of hotel rooms.) I don’t think I ever understood him so much as I do now, after a few weeks of book touring. Pattern Recognition — maybe my favorite of his novels — opens with this brilliant description of jet lag:
Five hours’ New York jet lag and Cayce Pollard wakes in Camden Town to the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm.
It is that flat and spectral non-hour, awash in limbic tides, brainstem stirring fitfully, flashing inappropriate reptilian demands for sex, food, sedation, all of the above, and none really an option now.
She knows, now, absolutely, hearing the white noise that is London, that Damien’s theory of jet lag is correct: that her mortal soul is leagues behind her, being reeled in on some ghostly umbilical down the vanished wake of the plane that brought her here, hundreds of thousands of feet above the Atlantic. Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage.
One day I would like to compose a phrase as amazing as “the dire and ever-circling wolves of disrupted circadian rhythm.”
And on that note, I’m off to sign some books at the Poisoned Pen, in Scottsdale, AZ. Feel free to come by if you’re in town.