I was once told that I shouldn’t read so many books or watch so many movies; I should get out there and live! Interact with real people! Go biking or hiking or horseback riding, experience the world first hand! More recently I read one of those “That’s SO true” quotes that spin around Facebook; it said, “I read because I want to live MORE than just one life.” I can appreciate both perspectives, but one certainly comes more naturally to me than the other.
This week I am on a river cruise through Eastern Europe with my hubby for our ten-year wedding anniversary. For the flight over or any precious moments of downtime, I brought the incomparable Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY. A couple months ago, I devoured THE GOLDFINCH, and I am equally enjoying her first novel.
I am an introvert. I’ve known that for a few decades; that might be one reason why I’ve always been a reader and why I now love writing. (I not only love “having written,” I love sitting in a quiet room so I can listen to my characters whine and cry and beg me to save them from their nasty neighbors and inner demons.) Seriously, though, I’m at a crossroads, and I need to pick up the fork, er, whatever … Did you know these river cruises serve wine all day?
We spent yesterday in Vienna: a morning walk through the city center, an afternoon excursion to Schönbrunn Palace, and an evening concert of Mozart at … another palace … Anyway, I didn’t have a minute to read even one page of The Secret History, and as I crawled into bed, I was sad about that. What’s wrong with me? Even I know that was insane. Yes, Donna Tartt is THAT good, but it was VIENNA.
We’ve had a better balance today of tours and free time, which has given me time to reflect. I am having the time of my life on this trip, and I don’t want to miss a single minute of what this world has to offer, but … There’s no place like home. Next week I’ll be back home where I don’t have to choose between the gripping pages of a novel and the sound of Salzburg. There’s a time and place for everything … And when I’m in Austria, I need to listen to Mozart and eat Wiener schnitzel!
I hope that one day all those people I should be interacting with right now will struggle between getting out in the real world or reading my latest novel. So for now, auf Wiedersehen!