This evening Ian and I went to Landmark Bookstore. Paul Theroux was in town, in country actually, as a guest of the American Embassy and he was giving talks and seminars about his travels becoming a writer. His thoughts were rambling, I assume a function of being a traveler and writer for 40 years and having way too many bits of information in his head, or perhaps that's a result of such an open-ended topic... his road to becoming a writer. Was it the fact that books have always been part of his life and a love of reading leads to a vivid imagination and a knack for storytelling? Was it more to do with his leaving home, joining the Peace Corps, getting kicked out of the Peace Corps for getting involved with a plot to overthrow the Malawian president, then staying in Africa to teach in Kenya and more adventures beyond that? Or perhaps it was a result of luck finding a mentor, a publisher, a supporter who encouraged him and pushed him on?
Well, obviously, all three. It was interesting to hear him talk and drop names of a number of famous authors, some friends, some not. It was also nice to hear him talk about his family (Louis Theroux, "Weird Weekends," Call of the Weird, and Marcel Theroux, A Stranger in the Earth). But mostly it was fun to hear the tales of his travels and his encouragement to get out of the house and go see something. The world outside our norm. The architecture of humanity.
We have a few of Paul Theroux's books, most notably Dark Star Safari about his trip from Egypt overland to South Africa. Ian says we have Elephanta Suite set right here in India. I really need to check on the bookshelves because I don't recall. And of course I left both of those at home, so I just had to buy The Kingdom by the Sea so I'd have something for him to autograph. Me and my fangirldom. At least I didn't giggle. At least, I don't think I did.