Hello Readers & Fellow Believers in the Power of Magic,
I am approaching two weeks of being back home again following my two weeks of touring on the road from Washington State to Massachusetts. Sounds impressive travel-wise until you learn that I never made it south of Baltimore on the east and Oregon on the west. Sort of just made a straight line out and back. But the thing that matters to me is that I made it from start to finish and lived to tell the tale. It was important to me to accomplish at least this much because it is my first real tour of any length at all in three years. Gosh, that counts for something, doesn’t it?
So, I did this without getting COVID or otherwise sick. I did it working all the way save two days in which I was allowed to rest. Judine and I accomplished this through trains, planes and automobiles and the kindness of numerous strangers who offered a helping hand along the way. This was an eye opener – the part where I accepted help. Normally, I don’t rely on it. I only rely on myself. Pride goes before the fall, I know, I know. But here in the U.S.,I have always managed on my own. Not this time. Not in at least half-a-dozen critical moments. Thank goodness the help I would have once ignored was there.
The tour was a three part test.
First test. Could I actually make a tour of two weeks while traveling constantly after not doing anything with travel save one short trip, since early 2019? I am approaching the end of eight decades of life. I am not who or what I once was. I had to admit it the first time I was rushed to make a train. (Shouldn’t have taken that long, really). Weariness comes more quickly, sleep lasts longer, and attention spans are subject to whim and focus.
But then testing yourself is a part of what makes up your life, so I was pretty satisfied with passing at a C level. I am already planning for another tour next year. Nothing like getting carried away with an abundance of overconfidence, is there?
Second test. Could I present myself at speaking events, interviews, signings and just overall general schmoozing events to make a reasonable representation of abilities. Yes, I could! Almost. One area presented some problems. An unfortunate medical encounter from last year has done some damage to my memory. It doesn’t affect my work ethic or my ability to construct stories, create characters and keep the whole of it straight. What it does do is cause me to forget names I have known forever. Names I have used all my life. I just go blank on them now and then. I would say it was due to age, but it didn’t happen until the incident of last year, and I doubt that this is a coincidence. So, I have to work harder on some things than I used to – back when I was a silver-tongued lawyer.
Third test. How well can I adjust to new places each day and night – new beds, bedrooms, hotels, food, crowds and events? Pretty well, I am happy to report, although pillows and beds continue to be a problem. My incredibly helpful Publicity Caregiver arranged for most of this with the best of intentions and foresight. Overall, he was the best. Just don’t ask him about the trains.
Finally, what can I take away from all this? A whole lot, as it turns out. Where to start? The reader fans were a real Godsend. It was so good to meet and talk with them once again. It made me feel like the three years really didn’t matter all that much, that the love that I have been fortunate enough to receive from those who really do care about my work has not diminished. There were stories to share everywhere we went. There were helpful comments, reassurances of satisfaction with my new direction, and an overwhelming feeling of being back where I should be. All the hard work and agonizing have always been a challenge I love. Nothing beats overcoming the difficulties of making a story come to life the way it should. I am confident I know how to do this. Was more so until three years ago. But the tour reinstated my certainty that I was headed in the right way.
I have always claimed that I would write until I dropped over at the computer. Or when those other writers who I most admire suggested in the kindest way possible that it was time to hit the showers. I still feel that way, and for now at least I intend to stick to it. More books are on the way, and more are planned. I am planning for an exciting decade ahead. Thank all of you for your endless support and your unending love.
I cannot imagine having a better life.
Terry Brooks on October 29, 2022