About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ashfall

Things were so busy after London Book Fair, not just with work but with getting settled into a new apartment, that I never got around to sharing some pictures of Josh(ua) & Ed(die)'s Excellent Adventure getting there.

So Eddie and I are just kind of flying along to London, we're kind of on the Irish leg of the trip, and I do notice that we do a turn over Ireland at a point in time when I'm pretty much expecting a straight flight until maybe you go into holding getting into Heathrow. And then a little bit later the pilot comes on with some bad news from the cockpit.

So let me say, very clearly, that there are worse things when you hear about bad news from the cockpit to be told that you're getting to go to Paris. Which is what we're told. Maybe you've been hearing about this volcano in Iceland, and there's this ash cloud, and Heathrow is closed, and so we're not going there. The moment I heard this, I'm kind of excited. I've never been to Paris. Well, once, in 1980, a refueling stop in Orly. Doesn't count. So we're going to Paris, and I'm thinking very strongly that I don't care what Delta's plans are for getting us to London, but that I'm taking the Eurostar. Even if it means maybe booking the 3PM that day or something, but I'm going on the Eurostar. I'm really excited about this.

So we settle in at Charles DeGaulle to await our fate. Delta is going to try and get a bus. I tell Eddie to try and get us Eurostar tickets. We don't quite know just how much disruption this ash cloud is causing. Eddie keeps getting error messages as he tries to book tickets on his laptop, and then the one or two times he is able to get to the credit card stage we run into problems because one of my credit cards can get very picky if I'm shopping online if you do or don't have the "5th" or a "5" or if there's a comma and etc., and I'm a little too frazzled to focus that I do know the exact right way the address needs to look. And in the meantime, we can't go anyplace anyway because if we can't get Eurostar tickets then we sure better have our boarding pass for the bus which indeed Delta is able to arrange. Did we get the bus boarding pass before I was able to focus and get the address looking the right way for us to finally book Eurostar tickets? Well, whatever, we go through customs, claim our bags, have Eurostar tickets, and call our French sub-agents Anne and Pierre Lenclud to see what they're up to that afternoon.

Waiting to audition at the Moulin Rouge, right near our hotel.

This is quite the grand adventure. I know enough to help some tourists at the ATM machine who don't realize they're asking for too many Euros and probably over their withdrawal limit which is why they're not able to withdraw, but bottom line I'm in a strange airport where I don't know the language and I'm learning how signs start to not make any sense when you don't know the language and we're trying to figure out the subway or the train into downtown and who knows which ticket window or which vending machine or which what is the one we need, thank God Eddie's there to help with all this. Somehow we find our way to the right train to go downtown, I get to see French books in a Hudson News type thing at Gare du Nord, we find our way to the Metro, we find our way to the offices of our French agents in the 9th, I have no idea where we are but I can at least make sense of the map in the station as we exit.
Eddie at Sacre Coeur
If you like old-fashioned physical books, you'd love the offices of our French agents, Anne and Pierre Lenclud. There are books everywhere, on shelves and on tables and on floors and on any possible surface. I could have spent hours there, but we were also hungry. We went to a French/Hungarian restaurant a few blocks away. I don't like French cuisine much and figured the restaurant had this combination of cuisines because there are Hungarians involved somewhere, so I got a wonderful paprika chicken dish which did not go over well with the expectation that I was in Paris and should eat French. I did have wine, which isn't one of my favorite pastimes. We went into a small bookshop not well-endowed with JABberwocky clients. Anne and Pierre were kind enough to arrange rooms for us at a hotel nearby, and Pierre walked us over. I've always felt highly of the work Anne and Pierre do for the agency and our clients, we've been together for the entire 25 years I've been in the business as their good deeds date back to my tenure at the Scott Meredith Agency, this day they went above and beyond the call as people to help us out and be hospitable unexpectedly and on short notice.The view from Sacre Coeur
After we freshened up, Eddie and I went on a walk, with Eddie in charge of the map. We found out the Moulin Rouge was just down the street from our hotel. We walked past (but not in, as closing time was approaching) Montmartre cemetery and climbed higher and higher to the Basilique de Sacre Coeur, some nice glimpses of view along the way and spectacular views from Sacre Coeur itself. The interiors are as stunning as the views, and our arrival at the summit of Sacre Coeur was truly a capstone to a day that had become much more an adventure than ever anticipated 12 hours before. With Eddie guiding the way, we meandered back to the hotel. And I don't think I can begin to say where we meandered.

More to come...