Seattle is so far north that in the summer it’s light until 10pm. I grew up here, so I know this, intellectually, but I guess I forgot. Last night I remembered, sitting on my dad’s back porch after my reading at Elliott Bay Book Company (hi, it was good), holding my six-month-old niece, exhausted in the late northern twilight. This morning I woke up to the full light of day, before six a.m.: also a factor of geography. I think of Tucson as being so much sunnier than this place where I was born; I think of it as being more affected by the seasons.
But actually, it’s just more walloped by the seasons, the blunt force trauma of summer sun. Here, the changes are still dramatic, they’re just less punishing. Summer can be a blessing. My dad’s strawberry plants are yielding fistfuls of sweet fruit.
I’ve been trying to describe to my family what it is to be on book tour, how your body digests emotional information that your brain is still too nervous to touch: the exhaustion, the expectation, the happiness, the nerves, which all come together and gives me the shivers, sometimes when I least expect it.
Last night was the last reading I have scheduled for the summer. In July, Invitation to a Bonfire comes out in the UK, and in the fall I’ll have a few more trips up my sleeve, and my poor dog will get mad at me again, though he is and will be well cared for in my absence. The idea that I might rest in the meantime—and working is a kind of rest, so hopefully I’ll also work—is making me giddy.
Thank you to everyone who has been on this journey with me. It means more to me than you can know. Our country is devastating, children are being torn from their parents, and lives changed in ways we cannot change back. It’s a lot of cognitive dissonance when your life still feels, in many ways, the same.
Please donate to RAICES and help reunify families at the border. Please interrogate your own sense of empathy, as I have also been trying to do. Please keep supporting the people you love, and also the people you don’t know.
Thank you for reading my book. Thank you for being human beings alive on this planet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
A few things to leave you with that I’m proud of this week:
- An essay I wrote about power, teeth, and Pnin in the Paris Review Daily
- A fantastic review of Invitation to a Bonfire in the Chicago Review of Books
- An interview with NYLON Magazine (and, um, me) which was really a joy to take part in
- An essay about getting married young, and about my favorite John Singer Sargent painting, in Catapult