Thursday, July 11, 2013

We didn't choose the Folklife, the Folklife chose us--and other updates

So I'll start with the sad news, because the past two weeks have been tough: I got to visit Las Vegas for the first time, but under some of the worst possible circumstances. My uncle living there passed away and I went to attend the funeral and visit with my cousins (and also some immediate family members--we welcomed the chance to offer face-to-face support after certain recent events, which I might add are completely unrelated to this funeral. Troubles never come one at a time).

Sad as the reason for our visit might be, it was amusing to drive down the Strip with my mom and aunt, who tried to remember the place as it had been decades ago when they visited their sister--I only know the place from TV and felt like I recognized more than they did!

A forest fire is currently raging in the mountains, so we got treated (if that's the word) to the most appalling skies gone yellow with smoke. In the Midwest that would be the sign for a tornado. I'm not sure forest fires are much better--there can't be many trees to burn out there. Plus my last semester of college taught me just enough to know that trees are carbon storage devices and thus burning them is bad for multiple reasons. Although compared to the city of Las Vegas, the carbon released by burning forests can't be that impressive.

Las Vegas reminded me half of Hollywood (there's a certain sort of atmosphere, 'touristy' doesn't even come close to describing it--I live in DC, I get touristy, but this is aggressively, loudly, capitalistically touristy) and a surprising bit of Ghana, with the tropical architecture and the heat. If anything Vegas felt hotter, and also drier than any atmosphere I've ever stood in. I'm used to humidity, so that the lack of it felt unsettling.

Speaking of heat, I enjoyed (again, if that's the word) the experience of nearly blacking out this past weekend while waiting in line for water at the DC Folklife Festival. Scary and embarrassing. Despite that, I'm very glad I went and got to hear Kalmyk music and see the Hungarian fashion show. It reminds me though, to keep hydrated in urban environments as much as in the desert.

Blogging will hopefully be less interrupted in the future, as I have plans for, if nothing else, some more book reviews. I've had the chance to work on my reading list while waiting in airports. I got to gamble a bit in the Las Vegas airport but neither won nor lost any impressive amount. Although I did have my Swiss Army Knife confiscated when I forgot to put it in my checked luggage, and now I have to wait for it to be mailed to me. Nor was the TSA through with me--when I opened my suitcase I found their calling card. Well, I hope they took a peek at the copy of Aqua Vitae lying among my undies and consider buying a copy ;D.

Speaking of books, the Kickstarter for my Starter Guide for Professional Writers has met its funding goal, although the campaign continues to run until the end of July. I'm on track to have the revisions of the book complete by then, although if I've learned anything these past weeks it's that nothing is actually predictable. It will certainly get done, though. And even when editing my own manuscript becomes a drag, I'm looking forward to the chance to read and offer feedback on the manuscripts I'll be reviewing as a reward for my funders! They'll provide some escapism from my own preoccupations, plus I'll have the chance to live vicariously through talented new writers. So double escapism. Better than a weekend in Vegas.