Actually, that may deserve more than one exclamation point.
I think the last time I went somewhere in December was 1996, and then it was Cambridge from Lancaster. It’s a time of year when everything gets darker and colder as winter closes in and I put on heat and lights and people come to me. Of course, that is happening too, a tree-decorating gathering on the 24th, Christmas, a New Year houseparty. But first, I’m going to Italy!
I’m going to Rome, Venice and Florence, and I’m just going for fun, because I want to, because Ada and Lauren are going and asked me and it seemed like such a lovely idea. Indeed, it seemed as if the only reason not to go was that it wasn’t sensible, and who wants to be sensible when they could go to Italy instead? I am leaving the cold (-17, -20 with windchill right now) and the northern dark for ten days of light and art and civilization and friendship and food. It’s the kind of thing a character in a novel might do, and not really the kind of thing I do. It’s just so great. The thought of it has been making me happy for weeks. I got out my winter boots, but I didn’t put my sandals away — I’m going to Italy! And yes, this is my third time crossing the Atlantic this year.
So, as I may have mentioned already, I’m going to Italy! And I’m not taking the netbook — I’ll get over the paranoid fear that it’ll just be stolen if I take it anywhere, but for now it can stay safely here. I’m not going to do any work in Italy anyway, and it’s the week before Christmas, nobody’s going to need me for anything. After tomorrow and until I get home on the 23rd, don’t count on me seeing anything online. I expect to check my email on Ada’s laptop for five minutes a day in case of emergencies, and that’s all.
(Special thanks to everyone who bought Among Others and helped it earn out and pay me royalties twice this year — I couldn’t have afforded this trip without that.)