I haven’t done much writing in the few weeks I’ve been back from India, but I have been busy. Following the advice of my enthusiastic agent, I’ve reworked the proposal for the ‘walls’ book a few times. As I write this, the proposal sits on the desks of publishers in Canada and the US while I sit at my desk with my fingers crossed. I’ve also been trying to turn some of my notes from my travels in India into magazine pieces and am waiting to see if the editors I work with find any of my story ideas interesting.
Mostly, though, I’ve been spending my days planning my upcoming trip. In the second week of February I will travel to the West Bank and Israel to investigate the Israeli-built security barrier. From Israel, I will travel to the island of Cyprus and write about life along the Green Line that seperates the Turkish north from the Greek south, and where Canada employs a peacekeeping force of a single soldier. Afterwards, I will likely travel south to Johannesburg to visit the gated communities that define the urban landscape there in a new kind of apartheid. I might also make a trip to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, but I am waiting to see if the security fencing the Egyptian government promised in 2005 after a terrorist attack has ever been built. I should be gone for about two months.
I am especially excited about my return to Jerusalem. I will be doing a reading at a fabulous café-bookstore-restaurant called Tmol Shilshom. Each time I visit Jerusalem, Tmol Shilshom becomes a daily haunt. There is no better espresso in the New City and no better place to write. I am thrilled that this time I will be on the lectern reading from my work instead of just scribbling madly in my journal at a corner table. I am unsure what to read,however. I don’t know what will go over worse with an Israeli audience: reading from a book that declares my love for Iranians, or excerpts from a work in progress that says building walls is bad.
A couple years ago I wrote a sort of ‘biography’ of Tmol Shilshom. The story was never published anywhere. I was thinking of putting the story on this blog, but I found out a couple of weeks ago that a Montreal-based magazine, Maisonneuve, is interested in publishing it. I am happy it will see the ‘light of print’ after all.
In the off chance that any of you in my humble blogosphere might be in the Jerusalem area next month, you can see me read at Tmol Shilshom on Monday February 23rd at 7pm. Details can be found on the Tmol Shilshom website: http://www.tmol-shilshom.co.il/.