ANNOUNCING YESTERDAY'S WINNER: Nancy! Please email me (hallie "at" hallieephron dot com) and Christina Katz will send you a copy of "The Writers' Workout"!
HALLIE EPHRON: Salli Slaughter and George Mason are writers with itchy feet.
When I was in Portland Oregon last year, they invited me to dinner, and their home was a gracious old Spanish colonial loaded with wonderful masks and pieces of pottery and art from their travels.
What they were in the process of doing was GETTING RID OF EVERYTHING. Downsizing doesn't begin to describe it, because they and their dog Ella were about to become nomads, embarking on a very long journey across the country in a camper trailer.
Their journey would be to learn from writers, and discover why writers write. Their plan: to start in the Pacific Northwest and move down the rich writing fields of the West Coast and then head east through the Southwest. Along the way, they're interviewing authors, and some of their interviews are already up on their web site The Authors Road.
They sold their possessions like snakes shedding their skins. On Craig's list and in a garage sale, to friends and charities. A few important things, like their skull collection, Chinese footbinding shoes, African masks, and a box of kitchen stuff, got put into storage, and they parked some furniture and artwork with friends and family. Made endless trip to the dump until, by early October, they were ready to roll.
"We took possession of the RV just before our big sale so we'd have a place to sleep in case someone bought the beds."
They are not new to this kind of Quixotic adventure. In 1996 (photo on left), with their two young daughters, left their home in Alaska and spent a year circumnavigating the globe. The World Wide Web History Project credits them with being one of the first bloggers – two full years before blogging became a rage
When they departed on that trip, Salli listed her reasons for doing it. #1 was: "Because I don't want to get to the end of my life and say that I never did anything that I truly wanted to because I WAS TOO AFRAID."
I try to imagine myself making a journey like this and I cannot. Maybe I'm too attached to my "things." But if I did, what better journey to take than writer hopping.
Could you downsize to a camper trailer? What would motivate you to take a journey like this, where would you go, and who would you want to meet along the way.
And Salli and George: If you're out there, give a holler. See you in Boston, guys!