So it goes

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A literary giant, disguised as a bushy-haired man with big eyes, has moved on to other worlds. Kurt Vonnegut is dead. If you haven’t read his books, then do yourself a favor and get one today. The man could write, really, really write. He is one of my favorites. (photo credit Jill Krementz)

The weather is suitably funereal – slashing ice pellets against the windows, the wind howling off the lake. Good weather for being somewhat blue and restless, which is certainly where I am today.

It is Packing Day because tomorrow I fly to Poland, via Chicago and London. The kind people at the American School of Warsaw invited me to come and talk to their students about books and writing.

The last time I headed on my own, to a country where I didn’t speak the language, I was a 16-year-old exchange student boarding a plane for Denmark. That experience worked out well. I know this one will, too. In fact, I am totally stoked. I can’t wait to see the country, hear Polish, meet the people, and see what kinds of kids are at the school. I imagine they have a million bazillion stories of their own.

I’ve been reading up on Poland’s history (which is astounding) and trying to get my mouth around some of the sounds of the language. I am sure I will ask the taxi driver about the color of his underwear instead of the cost of a trip to the airport. Oh, well. To travel, one must be willing to make mistakes. Przepraszam means “I’m sorry.”

I’ll arrive there, probably jet-lagged, around lunchtime on Saturday. I plan to spent the weekend wandering Warsaw and embarrassing myself to taxi drivers. Monday – Friday I’ll be speaking at the school. The kids have Wednesday afternoons off and one of the administrators has kindly offered to show me some of the sights of the city.

I wish I could take some extra days after my time at the school to bum around and visit the countryside or Krakow, but this spring is jam-packed with work for me and I have to get home.

Because of British restrictions (a reaction to terrorists), I can only take one, one, carry-on bag with me on the plane. Obviously, I have to take my laptop, because it holds my computer which I need for my presentations. Today I have to figure out exactly how much stuff my laptop bag will hold. I have to bring Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw, too, because that’s what I’ll be reading on the plane.

I hope I will be able to blog from Warsaw, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to navigate the Internet. I promise I will take loads of pictures and share them when I get home. If I don’t get a chance to talk to you, have a great week, read some Vonnegut, and above all: be kind.

14 Replies to “So it goes”

  1. The only Polish I know came from my Nana. She used to threaten us with a “plotski” on the “dupa”–a spanking. (Literally: pancake on the bum). Not sure that’s gonna be much help to you! Unless you want pancakes.

    Have a fantastic trip. If you get stranded at OHare, give me a jingle.

  2. Kurt Vonnegut was one of the best minds of our generation. Tom Wolfe said he was the closest thing we had to Voltaire. I believe he has changed the world with his works.

    Safe journey. Have fun in Warsaw. I’ve always wanted to go.

  3. How sad. A brilliant writer.

    Kurt Vonnegut was my next-door neighbor for the first year and a half I lived in NYC. Our air-conditioner dripped onto his sunporch and he never complained (though he never sat out there either). We used to see him all the time sitting on his front steps wearing a green cardigan sweater, smoking, with a small white dog with which he seemed to have a love-hate relationship.

  4. Hehe, I’m in the back of that picture!! =]
    Hi, Laurie, my name’s Ashlee and I met you at the St. Louis book signing at Buder. (PS – I was there with fellow students, but not for extra credit. ;] ) I was towards the very end of the line and I was the one who said, “I saw a boy in my band class reading Speak so I figured it had to be good!”
    I wrote about it in my LJ that very night!

    http://ashleeradcliffe.livejournal.com/tag/book+signing

    And there is a pic too, of course!

    I loved your speech and it was such a pleasure meeting you. I went home that night and reread Speak in four hours and then that following weekend went out and bought Twisted and finished it in two days. I loved it. I feel like Tyler is my next door neighbor. Shoot, I WISH he was my next door neighbor. Him and I have so much in common.

  5. hmm, this is rather odd…

    hi. my name is Georgia and im a big fan of, well, you. more like everything you’ve written, of course. i would tell you what an amazing writer you are or how awesome your style is, but im sure you already know all that. 😉

    anyway, to cut to the chase, i have to do a reseach paper on a comtemporary author for my AP English class, and i chose you. only problem is, since you’re not terribly famous yet, nor are you dead (thankfully), its not like there are tons of books out there that were written about you. SOOO…if there’s anything interesting you would like to have said about you in my currently non-existant paper, feel free to let me in on them.

    if you are too busy doing writer-ish things, i completely understand. once again, rock on, writer chick. you are my hero.

  6. wow sad about the writer but hey cool about the whole Poland a thing. hey at my school right now we have a foreign exchange student well actually we have 5 but one is from denmark one is from thailand and the other 3 are form japan!!!

    thats is it

    Emily

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