I know I’ve been a bit silent with my blogs lately, but I’ve got a few good reasons.
A Facetious Guide to Prague
Firstly, I had to focus on writing my latest book, A Facetious Guide to Prague. I wanted to get it done before I left Prague, so I could double up my last party to work alongside a book release. A lot goes into writing a book by yourself, especially when you compound it with the tons of pictures and managing the layout. I was up day and night writing and writing, and up even longer trying to edit everything and put in the pictures, enlisting a team of my close family to help out.
Done in a rush like that, it’s impossible to get the editing done properly. I had to accept a margin of error. When the end product came, I saw that it was a larger than acceptable margin of error, but I had to run with it anyway. I’d sell the books for cost, so it wasn’t like it was a big cost anyway.
stacked up at the book release party
Don’t worry, on my latest editions, I’ve cleaned up all that editing. The pictures and layout look great now on the print edition, and on the Kindle edition, I’ve got it packed full of really useful (links to) maps.
I also learned two things about CreateSpace. When you’re in America, it might be good to go through CreateSpace to get your additional copies for sale. But if you’re in Europe, and if you’re a member of Amazon Prime, then it might just be better to order through Amazon and take advantage of the free shipping. Depending on what you’re planning on reselling it for, you could get a huge cost advantage.
The books looked good. The cover was great, and the pictures all came out well. So we were ready for the party.
It went well, I’d have to say, though also a bit bittersweet.
We held the party at Brix Hostel and Bar in Zizkov. It was a bit of a strategic decision, both since being a hostel bar, it tends to be emptier than regular places and thus more easily fit my guests, but also being a hostel meant that it would have access to a lot of tourists. The idea definitely worked on the tourist part, and I sold most of the books I had ordered in advance. The part that failed was that a lot of the people who I was hoping to come, to see one last time, didn’t.
talking about the book
I used my typical format for a book release. I’d start doing a solo set, then do some reading (though not really this time, as I didn’t want it too over-the-top being a book release, as it was also a going away party and I’m sure the Prague residents couldn’t give a damn about a Prague guide book), then full band with Prague's best Irish band, Cupla Focal, then talk more about the book, then full band, then close. Naturally, I’d break in between the sets and sell and sign books. Ideally if you had a willing volunteer, you’d have someone manning the sales desk, and then you’d just have to sign and not worry about cash, but I’m always short that willing volunteer, so I just do it myself. Not a big deal when dealing with the measly quantities of books that I can ever hope to sell.
Prague's best Irish band, Cupla Focal
But whatever. I enjoy being asked for a book to purchase, then to sign it. It makes me feel like a real writer, and not the hack that I actually am. And even more, it was great playing one last time with my friends. I'll miss those lads!
The Going Away
No more beautiful Prague. It was time to move back to Tbilisi.
a view of Ryke Park and Avlabari
Though I’m American, I have a long history with Tbilisi and Georgia, one that started almost ten years ago with Peace Corps, and then I fell into the trap of loving the country and traveling and having a weird Bohemian lifestyle and not really wanting to go back to the quaint and boring American life (don’t get me wrong, that life isn’t necessarily bad, and the more I suffer 100 degrees without air conditioning I’ve got to wonder about my life choices, but really, it’s not a life for me, at least not yet). I met my wife in a smokey little “art bar” in Tbilisi, where I used to play accordion, and as she’s Georgian as well, we’re kind of eternally connected to the place, for better or worse. I hope for the better, but the city seems to have a giant case of entropy, and no matter what improves, one wonders if it can keep up with the forces of chaos that seem to be tearing the city apart at its seams. A fun place, and definitely an interesting place. It is what it is and here we are.
it's not a bad place to end up
All that moving took some effort though. As we bought the place, it meant that we had to sort out the furniture, the random repairs, the unexpected surprises (no hot water in the kitchen?! And why is the balcony all glassed in? and the last owner made some weird color themes, red walls with red light fixtures, green walls with green light fixture, and so on, weird stuff). We painted the walls, figured out how to paint the walls (plaster isn’t quite as easy to roll as drywall, folks), found that we had to mix the colors and that mixing them again for a new bucket after running out of paint in one room was harder than it seemed. It’s all a bit slapdash, but it looks cool, and definitely better, cleaner, and fresher than before.
Finally, I had to wonder what to do with my blog. Did I want to continue it? Was it really serving as a conduit to selling my books? I guess now that I have an actual travel book, and not some psychological horrors like Hunger and How It Ends, then maybe it will generate some leads to that. Or maybe if I unfocus this blog, write again more about personal things and observations (while still having travel), then it will do better. It will certainly be more entertaining to write.
I don’t know. What do you, possibly the only person reading this post, think?