|The Polish edition of A SUMMER IN EUROPE.|
“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” -- Freya Stark
A couple of weeks ago, I found out that the Polish language version of A Summer in Europe finally had a cover and was listed on the Prószyński i S-ka (publisher) website! For those writers who may already have multiple translated editions of their stories in print, maybe the thrill slowly starts to dim a little after a while...but for me? I'm not even close to being blasé, LOL. I was beyond excited to see it (embarrassingly so, in a dancing-around-the-living-room kind of way), and even more pleased to know that Polish speakers would soon have the option of reading it. It'll be released on June 18th, and I have my fingers and toes crossed that new readers will enjoy the novel.
So, even though this book originally came out from Kensington a year and a half ago, I've been thinking a lot about the story and the characters lately, wondering how they'll be received by a brand new audience. Also, since the timeline of the characters' actual journey takes place during June and July, I find myself imagining the European tour I'd created for my heroine Gwen and her fictional companions, and mentally traveling with them...especially to Venice, one of my favorite cities in the world.
There's something about summertime that always brings out my wanderlust anyway -- too many years as a student and then a teacher, I think. I equate summer vacations with backpacking and dusty road trips, sweating through t-shirts and wearing out the soles on my sneakers. I remember being a kid and riding in the car with my parents to see relatives out of state -- the windows rolled down, classic '70s or '80s songs on the radio (before they were considered "classic"), my mom's homemade sandwiches packed in the cooler and stashed in the backseat, along with chilled 7-Up and washed apples. I'm in the mood for a road trip like that right about now.
But what I remember most about those excursions were intangible things -- especially the intense longing to be further along on the journey than we were and that insatiable desire to see more and see it faster. To be able to gulp down the world around me so I'd understand it better, not feel so marginal to it. In many ways, it reminds me of the writing life. It feels like a similar kind of long and winding adventure. Lines from Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" flow back to me whenever I think about those car rides: "Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels, looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields..." Memories of driving trips from decades' past meld together into a montage as my husband, my son and I zip down the open road in June. I don't even need to close my eyes to daydream -- my internal photo album flips ceaselessly from page to page as the landscape changes.
And, every once in a while, I remind myself that I need to slow down and savor these moments. Not to gulp. To let the experience seep in. Remembering that this day, too, will soon be a memory.
Do you have any favorite travel adventures from summers' past? Did you drive? Fly? Sail to get there? Any particular place you're longing to return to? I'd love to hear about it!
|Now available: THE SWEET|
Marilyn Brant is a national bestselling author of contemporary fiction. A Summer in Europe (Amazon, B&N and more) was featured by the Literary Guild, the BOMC and the Rhapsody Book Club, where it was a Top 20 bestselling title in Fiction & Lit. Her latest release -- just out last week! -- is The Sweet Temptations Collection (Amazon and B&N), which is a digital three-book boxed set of light romantic comedies. Her love of travel shows up in these stories, too, as does her ice cream addiction ;).