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When It Gets Too Much
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Sometimes, I want to get on a plane and fly to Europe.  I don't care what city it is in my fantasy, but when I truly cogitate on this matter, it's Paris.  But let's go back to my fantasy:  I fly to a European city.  I disembark from the plane, grab a cab, and find a hotel.  It's day time, and after I check in, I find a place to have coffee and to watch people.  I do this and then stroll, trying to stay awake until it would be normal to fall asleep because I took the red eye to get here.  I find something absolutely delicious to eat, something I cannot find at home.  In Paris, it's a raspberry tart.  In England, well, it's something edible!  But I'm not sure about Italy or Spain.  I'm waiting to find out.

But the next day, I start in with the life of the place, try to find the rhythm of the city.  I rent a car, and then I forge into the surrounding area, learning new things.  I'm alone throughout this, and I bet I'm lonely.  I'm crying a lot, and that's part of the romance of this fantasy.  But I'm not sure that I'm ever going back to the US.  I've traveled all the way here, and I think I need to stay.  I find a house to rent, and manage to change my work plans to accommodate this sudden and ridiculous and marvelous move.  I merge into the culture and then live.  I start to meet people.  I find work, or even better, I write an amazing novel.  My agent calls with a movie deal, and the money issues disappears like that.  Poof!  I'm happy. 

This fantasy doesn't work for me in Africa or China or the Middle East because I have a lack of imagination.  But I'm sure it would work for you.  Any city will do. 

Okay, there you have it.  My little five minute survival guide for trying times.  Yes, I know the saying "no matter where you go, there you are."  Yes, I know all the wisdom about confronting your issues.  But still. We all need our little bit of fantasy.  Give it a go.  Works for hives, arrested sons, fights with boyfriends.

Jessica

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What a great fantasy!

Mine is similar only in the 'escape' part -- currently it doesn't involve cities -- more like forests or mountains or jungles, a little hut, learning to live in rhythm with the trees, gathering food, swimming alone in chilly pools beneath gushing waterfalls, chanting by moonlight...

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Sounds beautiful . . .

But I need a shower and a washer.  You see, I'm so compromised.  I tell you, no radical in my bones!

J

Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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They have coffee in Thailand too.

Dear Susan:

    I've never been to Europe, which is something I suppose I'm obligated to do as a writer.  However, I've been to Thailand five times, mainly on the Thailand/Burma border.  For the  most part, rural Thailand is much like you expect of Southeast Asia; very "jungly," lots of traditional, rural folk, rustic street markets everywhere, lots of curious stares from the locals, etc.   Within a few hours' drive of the border is the northern capital of Thailand, Chiang Mai. In the middle of Chiang Mai, right across from the ancient Tha Phae Gate is the Montri Hotel.  The lobby coffeeshop of the Montri spills out onto the sidewalk, which is as European feeling as anything you'll find in France.  The Montri is known as a "backpacker" hotel, a magnet for European college students looking for a little adventure...and perhaps some unintentional education.

     One can see the world pass by from the sidewalk cafe.  It's a wonderful experience.  I can't imagine Paris having a thing on it.   But that's just me.

Eric

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Hey, whatever city works for you!

That's why it's your city of choice in this fantasy.

J

Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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A photographer I know and

A photographer I know and friend to Steve Hauk (redroom.com member) retired early from her job in educational testing, moved to Ile de la Cite, rented a place to live and work. Now she is a photographer and displays her art in the downstairs window of her digs.

She didn't know a soul. Just pulled up stakes and followed her fantasy, now reality.

Cool, huh?!!

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MAN!

Okay, I am officially jealous.

But today, I'm okay with Oakland.  I only need my fantasy in small doses.

I love the fact that people actually act on feelings like mine, doing what I only think about.   What a great story!

J

Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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Eric

You don't have to go to Europe or anywhere else for that matter.

Incredibly venerable, ancient Chinese saying: If you are an ass and you tour the world eight times, you are still a ass. (This is not to say you are a donkey.)

Jessica, I feel my family-we have our "fantasy" in reaching America. I am a citizen but still feel like a tourist in this culture after 41 years ;)

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The Tao

Also says you don't have to go anywhere and basically should just stay home.

I am not filled with ancient wisdom but deep seated neurosis, I am sure.

But Paris DOES sound good about now.

J

Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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I have a feeling we will

I have a feeling we will hear from you in or after Paris one of these months! That WOULD be nice.

There is nothing like landing in a "foreign" country--ahh, the strange smells. I prefer not to understand a single word.

I'd like to be in Paris, too. Meet you there.

It's obvious the ancient and venerable Chinese had not been to Paris. But Deng Xiaoping had in his youth. In the 1980's, I'd find the most delicious croissants in the oddest little ramshakle places--because Paramount Leader decreed that there be coissants!

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I'm in

Paris, it is.

We can eat croissant and not understand much.

J

Jessica Barksdale Inclan www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com

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True....but

Hi Belle:

       I was born and raised in Silicon Valley "right down the barrel of the Stanford Linear Accelerator."  I never thought I'd want to be anywhere else. However, later on in college down in L.A., my best friend was a guy from Brazil, Sam DeMattos, who'd hitchhiked to America a couple of years earlier.  He told me all these stories (some of which were true!) about camping out with the Sandanistas in Central America, hacking his way through the jungle, running guns and other contraband, and just being a regular Indiana Jones sorta guy.  It sounded a lot more fun than being the nerd I was.  In any case, it was my first taste of wanderlust, which, as fate would have it, took me to Alaska instead of Brazil.  However, I share those sentiments of George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life"...."the most beautiful sound on Earth is train whistles, ships horns, and airplanes"...or words to that effect. 

      Sam did give me a great piece of advice.  He handed me a book called, The Ugly American.  He said, "Read it; don't be it."  I've done my very best to follow that advice.

       As far as being a donkey is concerned....my Athabaskan name is "Chutla", bestowed upon me a few months after I arrived in Alaska, by a Fort Yukon lady who worked with me at a radio station.  She told me it meant "joker."  I had to take her word for it.  For all I knew, it could have meant "East end of a westbound caribou."

       To my great relief, twenty-years later, after a great deal of linguistic research, I was indeed able to confirm that Chutla meant Joker....so I proudly kept the name.

       Incidentally, Athabaskan is closely related to Navajo.  If you saw the movie "Wind Talkers" you know that during WWII, we used Navajo "code talkers" because the language was totally unrelated to any European or Asian language.  There were also Athabaskan code talkers up here, not so much involved in the war effort, but for sometimes questionable activities such as coordinating moonshine deliveries into "dry" villages and such.  My Athabaskan friend who named me Chutla was one such "dispatcher" curing the 1950s.  I am actually going to use a short clip of her speaking Athabaskan on a radio in my film version of Plasma Dreams.  It was like pulling teeth to get her to agree to this, because some Athabaskan dialects are closely guarded secrets.

Ahh...such fun!

Eric (Chutla)

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Why, oh, Joker-amidst-the-caribou

did you choose Alaska? Did it choose you

 

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It definitely chose me :)

With a little help from Jack London and Robert Service, of course. :)