Oh Lord, stuck in Lisboa again…(or, still.)

Week seventeen of our Twenty Weeks of Buzz finds me in Lisbon, for rather longer than I had intended.

You see, there’s this volcano in Iceland that decided to erupt and cover northern Europe with the kind of ash that makes airplanes cough and fall out of the sky like flies hit with bug spray, and since passengers are not entertained by that kind of thrill ride, the airlines are leaving their planes on the ground and spending the days polishing the runways and letting people ride bikes up and down on the tarmac and fly kites on them in the sunshine. (Every news program felt compelled to make a clever remark about those being the only things flying.  Every one.)

Except Lisbon’s airport, which is south of the cloud of ash and flying merrily along, its planes staggering under the weight of passengers who have taken trains and buses and hitchhiked and stolen cars for all I know to get clear of the flight ban and GET OUT OF EUROPE as if the plague was nipping at their heels.

My original intent was to go to Paris last Friday, do three days’ preliminary research for the 2012 book, and then join friends in the south of France for good food and writing and company and maybe a little rest before heading through the UK  to New York for my East Coast book tour.  Instead, I am in rainy Lisbon, listening to the planes take off and land, take off and land.

However, the rest of the world continues to move rapidly forward, including my own Twenty Weeks of Buzz.  Last week we had the wildly successful Fantasy Library contest, and I thank everyone who sent in their vision.  We also had voting on the “Beekeeper’s Gallery” submissions, the winner of which we shall announce later this week.

This week’s voting is for the Illuminated MyStory.  We’ve had three absolutely gorgeous versions of Russell’s story from last year, please take a look at them here—and if you print them out and follow the directions for making them into a booklet, you can ask me to sign them when you see me on tour—NEXT WEEK!  (Insh’Allah, as they say in Morocco: if it is the will of God.  Or maybe the hive god…)  I’m not sure when the voting will be active for the page, but if not today, certainly tomorrow.

Abbey Pen Baker has been kind enough to join us over at the Virtual Book Club, for a discussion of her dashing novel In the Dead of Winter. I loved the book when it came out a few years ago, and was very glad to hear of its reissue as an introduction to several more in the series.  You can follow the VBC discussion here.  Next month the VBC will be comparing last year’s The Language of Bees (out in paperback next week!) with Arthur Conan Doyle’s story about  The Woman, “A Scandal in Bohemia.”

Next Monday, the start of Week Eighteen, I will either be in New York signing stock and preparing to take a train to Boston, or I will be in Lisbon, listening to the planes land and take off, land and take off…


  1. rebecca on April 19, 2010 at 3:29 am

    I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for those stranded in Europe, but I still can’t help but think that “volcano eruption” is a pretty cool reason to have your flight canceled…

  2. Mary L on April 19, 2010 at 4:46 am

    I always wondered what happened to those “lucky” souls who got on the evening plane out of Casablanca to Lisbon. Now we know.

  3. Merrily on April 19, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Godspeed, Laurie, I hope you can get back to these shores in time (gulp) to set out on your whirlwind tour. I suppose there are worse places to be stuck than Lisbon but there is little worse than being grounded when one is Ready to Be Home!
    Stop, Volcano, stop!

  4. Patricia on April 19, 2010 at 8:44 am

    My daughter is stuck the other way around. She needs to get to the U.K. to get back to university. Up side is she is stranded here at home. I agree with Merrily, stop volcano and may the jet stream change.

  5. Jessara on April 19, 2010 at 10:29 am

    CNN and the Herald-Trib agree that tomorrow Planes Will Fly in Europe. I hope they’re right, and that the volcano doesn’t belch again. CNN had a dizzying air current map showing why some of the ash came into the US east coast last week, as if to show that we didn’t miss ALL the excitement.

  6. Nikki on April 19, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I hate that you’re stuck, but I have to say I’m loving the CCR reference. hee hee Had Lodi playing in my head all day and had to dig out the greatest hits CD to hear it for real.

  7. strawberry curls on April 19, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I’m laughing, Nikki, as I’ve had that song in my head since early this morning when I read the heading to this blog. It is good to know I’m not the only one who loves them some CCR. Ah, back in the day that would have played and played on the old 8-track. If you have ever been through Lodi, you really know why being stuck there is a bummer. Loved that song!


  8. Nikki on April 19, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I read the blog early this morning, too. And, ditto, though I don’t think I made that clear in my first comment.

    Something else this made me think about:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else remember the odd smell of an 8-track that had been playing for a while? Not sure if it was just my sisters’ stereo (the three of them went together in the late 60s/early 70s and bought a top of the line unit, complete with turntable, 8-track, and AM tuner), or if all of them did that. The stereo was on a long table next to the typewriter. I can remember typing papers for school while listening to old 8-tracks of Carol King, Neil Sedaka, CCR, Neil Diamond and so on. After so long, every 8-track I put in began to have a certain scent I can only refer to as Heated 8-Track. It wasn’t a bad smell, just peculiarly its own. To this day, when I hear songs from any of those artists I can smell a faint wisp of Heated 8-Track in the back of my nostrils.

  9. strawberry curls on April 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Hummmm, honestly I don’t remember a smell and my boyfriend (now DH) had an 8-track player in his car and I had one in the stereo unit in the living room and I can’t remember either having a particular odor. Sorry.


  10. Megan on April 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I wish for you to make it back to the US safely, Laurie, of course. It always sort of darkly amuses me, however, when tectonic plates manage to mess up humanity’s assumptions that the various bits of the Earth will continue to stay quite where they were last seen. And then we have to run around diverting airplanes. I think our Western civilization has yet to embrace the idea that “life exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice” as Will Durant said.

  11. Chris on April 19, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    It is not good, is it, just now… In my line of work, I have clients stranded in the US trying to get back to the UK, and clients who can’t leave the UK to commence travel (although they’re less concerned – they are, at least, at home.) Here in Scotland, some of the tiny island-hopper planes are taking off this morning – it’s not exactly a mass return to normal, or what the media told us last night…

    Laurie, I do hope you are not ‘stuck’ too long and get home OK – all good wishes to you, meanwhile.


  12. Maggie on April 25, 2010 at 7:50 am

    My memory of that song is the Emmylou Harris version. It’s not a distant memory, either, as I still play her old tunes pretty often.

    Hope you manage to have a good time in Lisbon and a safe journey home…eventually.

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