Sunday, March 3, 2013

Always going somewhere...

A couple of years ago, my life changed pretty dramatically. I left the job I'd had for over a decade. I sold a novel. I sold a couple more. Finally, I sold my house. That last one was pretty traumatic. I'd lived in Venice Beach for 25 years, in a grand total of two places.

And I had a lot of books.

(a portion of the Great Wall of Books)

As much as I love to travel, I hate to move. I'm not sure why. We moved a lot when I was a kid, that might be part of it. The rest of it, I'm not sure. I like wandering around my neighborhood. Walking to shops. Saying "hi" to people who work in them, people I've gotten to know. Having "my" places. My regular dates with friends. 

Maybe a part of why I love to travel is the looking forward to returning home. 

But "home" was a luxury that I knew I'd have to give up for a while. Selling the house was a long, sort of awful process. It took three offers before one stuck. And then it was time to pack. 

And pack.

And pack.

(did I mention that I have a lot of books?)

In spite of all the preparation I'd done, I had very little time to actually pack up and move. I never would have made it without the help of some very good friends. The whole experience instilled in me a horror of having Too Much Stuff, ever again. 

The day before escrow closed, the movers came, loaded up all my belongings in preparation for a drive to Northern California, where a reasonable storage space just south of San Francisco awaited. I'd decided to delay getting a new place, to take a break from the responsibility of all that. Instead I'd take some time to get another book or two in the pipeline, save some money, look around, figure out where I really wanted to be, and what was practical with this writing life.

So, two days later, I loaded up the Mini Cooper

(you can fit a lot in a Mini Cooper)

And drove north to San Francisco.

From San Francisco I went to China.

From China, back to San Francisco for a couple of days, passed through Los Angeles and then on to San Diego for a month.

(Martin Luther King Day parade in San Diego)

And from San Diego, back up to San Francisco, via Los Angeles.

I'm in San Francisco now. In a couple of weeks, I'll head to Colorado for Left Coast Crime. After that, to Puerto Vallarta for a week, where the perfect writing studio awaits (and perhaps a few margaritas). 

Then to Los Angeles and San Francisco for some period of days, including the book launch for Dana Fredsti's PLAGUE NATION (!).

And then to San Diego for the greater part of two months.

After that? Not sure. I'll have some book events for the launch of my newest, HOUR OF THE RAT (details on those to come). Some research trips for the books I'm working on after those. I'll try to float till the end of the year, if I can stand it. If the people I'm staying with in some of these various places can stand me

Or, if the part of me that loves this floating life wins out over the part that misses my cats (happy in their foster homes, but still) and my furniture. The art that hung on my walls. And of course, my books. I may never want to have too much stuff again, but I'm not going to pretend I don't have attachments.

This kind of lifestyle feels pretty weird to me at my age. The closest I can come to it would be back when I was in college, and immediately after. When I had very few responsibilities. When I could choose to go anywhere, and I ended up in Switzerland, China, and then Los Angeles. Where I stayed, for 25 years.

But I'm not a college kid. That was *cough* a lot of years ago. I swing back and forth between feeling a little panicked, a lot unsettled. 

And sometimes, free.

Like, I could go anywhere. Anywhere at all. The possibilities stretch out in front of me. I just have to pick the next one. 

Istanbul. Patagonia. Asmara. Belize.

I only know that there's an expiration date, too. But right now, I don't know when that is. 

I guess none of us do, when it comes right down to it.

Lisa -- Sunday...


  1. I admire you more and more the more I learn of your adventuresome spirit. And I see you carry it over to your packing, putting Nazis together with Zen to share eternity in a storage box. Go Padres!

    1. GO PADRES!!! If the pitching holds up, they are going to have a solid team this year.

      And yeah, even if I do end up settling in San Francisco, sorry, Giants. Baseball loyalty is an atavistic, hometown kinda thing...

  2. Lisa, You've done what we have talked about for years: packing it up and being free-if-somewhat-older spirits. I'd just been thinking today would be a good 'discard' day and you've moved me to action. Enjoy your travels and freedom!

    1. Thank you! I hope you're feeling lighter and freer!

  3. In another life...I would like to do what you can do. Wonderful pictures, and enjoy where you are now.

  4. Wherever you go, you take your talent with you. This is a kind of muzzy way to say that Lisa's new one (June) HOUR OF THE RAT is maybe the best thriller I've read in more than a year. It just works on every level, and it's unreasonably entertaining, too.

    If I were an envious person . . .

    1. That means a lot, coming from you! Thank you!

  5. the good news for us fans... just maybe some of your unsettledness might perhaps wake up to find itself plopped down onto the pages of yet another great novel.

  6. I empathize with the packing/moving business, especially with so many bankers boxes labeled "books." I still have 80 boxes of paperback crime fiction in the garage for which I don't yet have bookshelves, and 40-50 in the new house, unpacked for the same reason. I promise myself I'm going to cull - and I do - but they multiply. Today, I'm going to Sophie Littlefield's launch for GARDEN OF STONES. One more on the pile...

    1. oh, shoot! Where's the launch? How did I miss this?

  7. You've changed my fantasy of being free to ones of running away from home! BTW, I took your advice about the red cord around my wrist. I hope it helps.