After interminable edits, formatting marathons, and emails during breaks between class to lay down the marketing bricks of this project, it is done. Everything that is not writing is finished. Anything that is left to be, will be left to be. The novel, ladies and gentlemen, is out now. You will find a cover, sexy as can be, 5.5″ x 8.5″. A perfect binding, per Amazonian standards, designed to withstand the beating of a continuous packing and unpacking on your next backpacking adventure. Ads? Who needs them. For now, I want to see how the book does naked, passed from hand to hand, by word of mouth, traveler to lonely lover. So, no, the book runs ad-free this Christmas. Reviews, though, what a booster that would be to the energy. Shall you kindly look inside?
Peeky, peeky, what did you see? Lots of twisty sentences and languages trees. Sigh.
(Why, Ivan, why can’t you ask her to purchase the thing, straight-uply? Wouldn’t work. Blast! Perhaps if you explained why, used exciting words, made sure to rhyme, you would be fine. Enough promo talk. Deliver on the insides.)
To buy, or not to buy? And why, oh why invest ya time? It’s gotta rock, it’s gotta shine. It’s gotta make you feel divine. You’ll flip the pages, feel excited. Immerse yourself, notice cracks and chips. But dive, dive, and you’ll step out fresh in lols and aws, thoughts and nods, feel young again or mature anew. Yet what does the text of the novel have to do with you? It mixes languages, upsets readers, then indulges them, tickles dreamers, next bemoans them, gropes the imagination with a hand of fantasy, smothers reality in the breast of fiction. Mainly, it tells with thirsty lips one mortal’s timeless story.
The Summer Abroad in one sentence: A nimble bilingual American, cast in an old world drunk on disregard for any foreign or unpalatable thing, through bonds like language, drugs, music and sex, maneuvers inside the mythic shell of his twenties, to emerge a little more compassionate and little less young, perfectly at home, in heaven.
Language, love, youth, play and home, you can see, are the big ideas. And as you read, you will discover one small idea, no less a deep cut, comes from borrowed lyrics, embedded in the text not sporadically.
Music, ladies and gentlemen, music!
What follows, as a mini-guide, is a short soundtrack. (As if this were a movie, hah.) These are just some of the songs that give the text pulse, that while writing inspired and guided me, that for you are posted here to satisfy pleasure and curiosity.
Hello / is there anybody in there / just nod if you can hear me / is there anyone home?
I ponder of something great / my lungs will fill and then deflate
The lovin’ you givin’ I know / let me let me love you, so
I think it might not be the right time / I think I might not be the right one
Puedo equivocarme / tengo todo por delante / y nunca me sentí tan bien / viajo sin moverme de aquí
Baby went to Amsterdam / she put a little money into traveling / and now it’s so slow, so slow
I see skies of blue / red roses, too
I am a baby in my universe / I’ll live forever / ooh I am only twenty-two / I’ll live forever
What keeps the planets spinning / the force from the beginning
When it’s cold outside / I’ve got the month of may / I guess you’d say / what can make me feel this way?
Brillará tu alma / alejándose del mal / cuando te ocupas / de la humanidad
Make love to me/ one more time / before you go away / why can’t you stay?
You go for a walk in the park / but you don’t need / anything
Save me from this prison / Lord help me get away / cuz only you can save me now / from this misery
You took no time with the call / I took no time with the fall
If I told you a flower bloomed in a dark moon / would you trust it?
Yeah / I just took some ecstasy / ain’t no telling what the side effects could be
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientist / whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience
In every life we have some trouble / but when you worry you make it double
What say you? Take a look inside. And find.