Okay, so I’m back in Montreal. It’s colder than I expected it would be and I start working again on Monday, and most of our things are unpacked and I guess it’s true, I’ve officially returned. The good thing is that in addition to being back in the same country as my friends and family, and being less than a five minute walk away from Fairmount bagels and many, many brunch places, I am also really, really excited about my book, which is coming out really, really soon. And that picture above? It’s the cover of the book.
I love the cover, and one of the things I was looking forward to about working with Invisible is that they make beautiful books with striking cover designs (my favourites include Stacey May Fowles “Fear of Fighting” and Jeff Miller’s Ghost Pine anthology). There were a few different versions of the book cover kicking around, and if you’ve seen the book listed anywhere online (like here on Amazon), you’ll see the original draft cover, which I thought was also great (especially since I love the aesthetic of woodcuts), but I think this cover fits best with the overall mood of the book, and I’m glad it was chosen as the final version. Megan Fildes, the art director, came up with all of the ideas; I think she’s brilliant. I like the cover it for its simplicity, the bright but watery colours and the hand drawn letters. And my name is spelled correctly. (I have a hunch that my name will be spelled wrong 50% of the time my book is mentioned. Not only is my first name sneakily tricky, but 12-letter Greek last names also have a high frequency of misspells. I’m pretty much used to it by now.)
We’re sorting out details for book launches, but there a few things to tell you about:
- Here’s the official page for the book on the Invisible site.
- I will be reading at Canzine in Toronto on Sunday October 24, 2010.
- The other fall 2010 release by Invisible is called Rememberer, and it’s this fun planner/art book. I have a new short story in that as well (one that I wrote this summer in Greece). Details are here (and hello awesome cover design!).
- We’re discussing early Novemberish for a launch in Toronto and probably around the same kind of timing in Montreal. I’ll get back to you on that. And I will definitely be reading at other cities over the next few months, but I’ll keep you posted on everything.
- Invisible will have a table at Word on the Street in Toronto this week, and rumor has it that copies of the new books arrived on Wednesday, so there might actually be a few kicking around Toronto?
- I’m on Goodreads! Add me as a friend or add my book to your bookshelf. (I feel weirdly OCD about Goodreads – do I add every single book I’ve ever read? What if I leave out something really important? I’m also kind of icked out about rating books, which I know is weird of me. Right now I’m just adding books I’ve read since this summer.) (I’m overthinking this, aren’t I?)
That’s it for now, but expect more soon. Thanks, friends.
This past summer I received a few emails from people looking for recommendations for things to do in Athens and I thought I’d put everything together in one list before my time in Greece settles into a hazy, pleasant memory.
(A photo of a hazy, pleasant memory)
If you’re visiting Greece, I doubt you’re going to spend as much time in Athens as I have – you’ll probably be in the city for 3 or 4 days bookending your island hopping excursions. You could easily spend more days in the city, but I understand if you’re eager to hang out by the beach and swim in the sea.
Here’s the thing about Athens: as far as European cities go, it’s a hard one. If you want simple, stick to the Plaka/Acropolis bubble, but if you want to see something beyond that (and trust me, you do), you’ll have to keep in mind that it’s easy to get lost, the streets might be dirtier than you expect, you won’t see as much grand architecture as you would roaming around say, Paris or Rome. But it’s worth it, and if your plans get derailed, shrug it off, stop for a drink or a frappe to regroup. It will be an adventure either way.
So, here’s my list of things you should do, tips, tangents, etc.
In this case, Thomas Wolfe is wrong: you can go home again. You have to go home again according to the plane ticket in your name that departs Athens at an ungodly hour on Monday September 13, 2010. I can barely believe that we landed here back in May.
So, 4 and a half months. Athens, Agistri, Aegina, Nafplio, Monemvasia, Epidavros, Larissa, Pelion, Meteora, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Reims, Spetses, Hydra. 15 and change blog entries. Many ferry rides. Probably too many gyros. A suitcase of books, some downloaded television and movies. I finished editing Bats or Swallows and I wrote a very first drafty version of a novel (I did it, I did it!).
Whenever Athens became a little too much (too hot, too crowded, too empty, too noisy, too whatever), we would take the metro down to the port in Piraeus and buy a ferry ticket to Agistri. You can take a hydrofoil to the island and you’ll get there in a little less than an hour, but here’s a secret: those big, hulking ferries are better. You might lose another hour of your life to travel, but there’s something magic in that ferry ride from Athens to Agistri. Skip the air conditioned interior and head straight for the outside deck. Watch Athens blur into a smoggy spot in the distance and then, for two hours, clear your mind and look out into the water.
(Approaching Scala on the big ferry.)
Agistri is a small island covered in pine trees. From far away it looks uninhabited, but once you get closer you see the edges of the villages built along the coast, barely creeping up the sides. Once you’re closer you’ll see houses, pensions, boats, a church. It’s a humble island – you won’t find billionaire yachts docked at its harbour like in Spetses, it doesn’t have the donkeys and white washed buildings of Santorini and it definitely doesn’t have the party zone atmosphere of Mykonos – but it’s simple and beautiful. The air smells piney, salty. It can get busy in town, especially on a weekend in August, but for the most part it’s quiet and peaceful. In the summer you’ll hear cicadas as soon as the sun rises – they’re everywhere – and then they quiet down at night.