What's on my nightstand...
Well, not really on my nightstand. It's on my dining room table so that every time someone stops by, I can pick it up and shriek, "Look! look!"
I didn't expect to be this excited about the book's release. After all, I'm only the co-author and you have to turn a few pages before you even see my name. You might even have to put on your reading glasses to see it. Maybe my subconscious was being hypervigilant, guarding my ego against the slings and arrows of non-attention. But what the heck, my ego seems to be saying. It's still really exciting.
The book is so pretty! Of course, I saw the cover image months ago and have been observing it daily at Amazon. Then the editor at Random House sent me a copy last week, well in advance of the book's arrival in bookstores April 10. There's something very different about holding it in my hand. It's pleasing in a satiny, tactile way. And that color that the designer used around the border and in the Kabul Beauty School font--fresh and vivid, like the new leaves about to unfurl in the next couple of weeks. I like it very much.
The Kabul Beauty School is more than a book for me, too. When I was asked to help write it, my second or third question was, "Will I have to go to Afghanistan?" I was so pleased that the answer was yes. It didn't occur to me to be nervous until the night before I left, when I actually went to the globe and saw how far away Kabul was-- really, on the other side of the earth. I had to remind myself to breathe deeply for about an hour on the plane. After that, I was fine.
I've always wondered about people who wind up living atypical lives far from home, either people who live by travel and only touch down now and then or who actually sink into another culture entirely. I've wondered how they wound up living in Saumur or Rome or Kabul and I've wound up living in Cleveland-- not a bad choice, I hasten to add, but it's not Saumur or Rome or Kabul. I've wondered if this was a conscious decision that they made at some point in their lives or if they were sort of blown there by the winds of serendipity. In either case, I've wondered if that meant that they were deeply, truly not at all like me. I generally embrace the fallacy that everyone is basically just like me.
So I spent six weeks in Kabul and met all sorts of expats there-- Debbie and many others. I don't really have an answer as to what snaps that thread that ties you to the familiar, but it fascinates me. I'm going back in May for a month to write some articles. Snapping my own thread briefly, then knotting it back to my ordinary life again at the end of June.