NETWORK author Joel Chasnoff (The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah) will be blogging for the JBC over the next month about his travels around the country for Jewish Book Month. Be sure to check out his website to see if he’ll be visiting a city near you…maybe you’ll even end up in one of his posts! And, if you haven’t read his posts for the JBC/MJL Author Blog, you can find them all here.
Just landed in Miami for tonight’s event at the Alper JCC, and already it’s been a harrowing day.
The chaos began at 7:30 this morning. I was in the cab on the way to La Guardia when my wife called to thank me for leaving her the Macbook. In our house, we have two computers – an 8‑year-old Dell desktop that couldn’t detect a virus to save its life, and a glorious new Macbook Air that detects WiFi like a dream, weighs less than a glass of milk, and that I purchased specifically to take on business trips like this one.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The Macbook,” she continued. “It’s sitting right here on the kitchen table. You didn’t leave it on purpose?”
So instead of blogging from the confines of my luxury hotel room, I’m sitting in the hotel Business Center three feet away from a 50-ish woman in faux pearls and a pants suit, whistling “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land” while Xeroxing flow charts on the public copier.
It’s just as well. Because to really get a sense of what it’s like to go on book tour, you need to understand the ins and outs of life on the road: the early morning taxi rides, the missed flights and random security checks, the hotel rooms that could be in any city in America, and the scrounging through airport garbage cans for the receipts for your bagel and tea because you just remembered that you actually get reimbursed for food as long as it’s less than twelve dollars.
Not that I’m in any way complaining. In fact, what makes all of this bearable – no, enjoyable – is the chance to talk about my book to an audience who actually cares. We authors spend years crafting our books. (In my case, my contract with Simon and Schuster specified that I write the book in nine months; in the end, it took three years.) We fret over commas, spend hours debating whether or not to split one sentence into two, and watch in horror as editors cut entire chapters from our work…
Then, finally, the book comes out. And we wonder, paranoid, if anyone will even bother to read it.
Which is why every author, deep down and no matter how much he or she complains, is thrilled to go on book tour: it’s the only way to know for sure that somebody gives a damn about our precious baby.
More thoughts later after tonight’s reading in Miami…
Joel Chasnoff is the author of The 188th Crybaby Brigade, a comedic memoir about his year as a combat soldier in the Israeli Army, published by Simon and Schuster. This fall, he’ll blog his book tour across America for the Jewish Book Council. Visit Joel and read excerpts from his book at www.joelchasnoff.com