Off to the Toronto Pearson airport at an ungodly hour I can’t even remember, where I ate some gruesome food item and also a naughty Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (for the energy, that’s my excuse). Once in Boston, I staggered off the plane and gobbled a whole pack of Terra chips (for the potassium, that’s my next excuse). Then I was scooped up by long-time escort pal, Lynn Cannici, and after grabbing some organic coffee (for the caffeine, that’s my third excuse, and you only get three a day), and a lunch substitute (no excuses and never mind what I ate, but it was vegetarian), we were off to Arlington to sign 600 books for the Independent Booksellers Association, to be distributed to their stores. Helping out were Random rep Leslie Vasilio, and (http://www.bostonbibliophile.com.) blogger (Marie Cloutier) – whom I “knew” through Twitter – and (http://www.booksonthenightstand.com.) blogger Ann Kingman
Then Ron Mann and his film crew of one – Allie Humenik — picked us up, and we all went to Walden Pond to do some walking and talking about Henry David Thoreau and his thoughts on Nature, self-sufficiency, and civil disobedience. I first visited Walden Pond in the early 60’s – no huge parking lots, re-created Thoreau house, or crowds of people then. It was a beautiful fall day, and I was happy to be getting at least a little of the Fall Foliage Experience… you miss it on these book tours.
After a pit stop at the hotel – Elliot Suite, which has an excellent sushi bar, though I had no time to eat anything at it – we were off to Cambridge, where I spent four years being a graduate student in the 60s. The event, at the venerable First Parish Church — right around the corner from were I used to live — was run by the Harvard Book Store, an old favourite. I began the evening by signing another 200 books for the Harvard Book Store’s First Edition Club, then continued with a solo performance during which I played three of the Gardener Hymns from the CD, and “sang” a fourth. Always a risk, that – there’s a high note I have to reach for, and the Queen of the Night I’m not.
Many a Q&A and personalized book later, I was on my way with Courtney Bowman from the Harvard Lampoon for the thrilling surprise culmination to the evening. I was to be inducted as an Honourary Lampooner – the females are called “Vixens” –joining such notables as Winston Churchill, Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, John Irving, David Foster Wallace, and Paris Hilton. The ceremony takes place at the eccentric Lampoon Castle – into which few may enter. (Those few did not include Ron and his camera crew, as it turned out. This is top-secret stuff!) I can’t describe everything that went on in there except to say that no beer was thrown on me, but it was much fun and very interesting – the place is an amazing museum! – and I got to eat a cupcake, swear a solemn oath, and receive a fetching medal, which I will always cherish. It has an Ibis on one side, in honour of the Egyptian Scribe God, Thoth. On the other side is a Jester on horseback. Which is the evil twin?
Tired but happy, the traveler returned, to pack for a 6.15 departure for New York the next morning. I’m thinking of getting “6.15” tattooed on me. It’s becoming a constant…