Cold In The Desert

Somehow, I’ve caught a cold. Not an easy task in the 40-degree heat of the Rajastan desert.

Fortunately I’m in Udaipur, which is a nice little town to kick back in a cafe with a book and let snotty tissues accumulate around me.

This morning, I read Steve-Os autobiography and I highly recommend it. His absurd and single-minded commitment to a career as a… well, whatever the hell Steve-O was… is inspiring and hilarious.

I’ve been in India for almost a month now, and my impressions of the country have been all over the place. I won’t say any more than that until I’ve got an exit stamp in my passport, and I still have a week in Bombay before I fly into Rome on the 14th.

Consulting my bank account and doing some back-of-the-envelope math, not only am I going to be one broke motherfucker by the end of the summer, I’ll only make it that far if I travel through Europe for the next four months on a ridiculously tight budget. This felt unpleasant at first, but then I thought: What would I have done with that money anyways? What needs of mine will go unfulfilled as a result of not having it?

I actually kind of  like the idea of being broke, in a nothing-to-lose, Henry-Miller-esque, make-it-or-die-tryin’ kind of way.

(Then again, I don’t like the idea enough to get rid of the chunk of my savings I’ve put in illiquid, long-term investments. I just like the idea of feeling broker.)

Six months ago, I would have expected to be a moderately famous author by now. My first book has certainly done OK, for a self-published book by an incredibly obscure first-time author. But I expected break-out success. I expected interviews, exploding traffic, name recognition, strippers in cages. So far none of the above have materialized.

I’m not bothered by this though. I’ve received a ton of positive feedback on the book, both in reviews from other bloggers and emails from readers. I’ve sold enough copies for this blog to be a legitimate, though modest, stream of secondary income. I’ve learned enough about the creative and publishing process that writing and marketing books is no longer some big scary thing to me – it’s a part of my reality.

I haven’t received any feedback yet on the draft edition of my second book, an account of my adventures in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos, but I think it’s great. I think it’s hilarious, thoughtful, occasionally deep, and always entertaining. I think it’s going to blow up. But, as we’ve seen, my track record at predicting my own success has been… mixed.

But again, I don’t think I’d be that bothered if the next book flops. I’ve found my path. I’m going to write. Hopefully, I’ll figure out a way to get paid for my writing, but if not, that’s fine too. Maybe the reality of the publishing industry in the 21st century and beyond is that writing for money just isn’t feasible. Or, maybe it is possible to earn a living as a writer, and I’m just not one of the few who are smart, interesting and creative enough to do it.

I don’t believe either of these for a second, but if I’m wrong – that’s OK by me. I’ll still have a blog, and there are other ways to make a living.

Anyways, there’s my soul-dump for the day. Clearly I’ve been posting a lot less lately, partially due to the time and technical constraints of backpacking through India, and partially because I’ve been devoting my time to experiences, books and meditation. I’ll likely continue with sporadic updates until the June 1st launch of the new book.

Taker easy, as we say where I’m from, and if she’s easy taker twice.