“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Helen Keller

I’ve never jumped out of an airplane, climbed a mountain peak or dived into the ocean’s mysterious depths. But I feel adventurous, all the same. My tattered Webster’s defines “adventurous” as “disposed to seek adventure or to cope with the new and the unknown.” Doesn’t the latter half of that phrase capture the writer’s life perfectly?

After miserable struggles with the DSN (Dreaded Second Novel), a miracle happened. I glued my derriere to the chair seat and I finished! The manuscript is in my agent’s Sony Reader as I type.
My research notebook for the as-yet untitled but completed (hooray) manuscript

Of course, now I’m certain she is now seriously questioning why she took me on as a client and that Mr. Random House is ruing the day he signed me up, but that’s part of the adventure, too. (Or so I’m trying to convince myself). Completing that novel was Adventure #1.

Adventure #2 actually involves my getting up out of my office chair. It involves this official document,

a long airplane trip and trying to master phrases like, A salam a linkum (forgive the spelling).

About a year ago, Anita Reilly, who teaches 4th grade at the American School in Doha and who is a member of the Qatar Reading Association, invited me to visit her school. After finding a map to figure out exactly where Qatar is located, I said yes. Then I happened to mention the trip to an email pen pal of mine, a young woman who contacted me after reading Hattie Big Sky. This young woman — an incredible writer in her own right — lives in Beirut with her family and before I knew it, they had arranged for me to visit a school there!

So, a week from Thursday, Neil and I fly east for what I know will be a life-changing experience in Doha, Beirut and Egypt. I’ll have my adorable and portable Sweet Pea-green eee so I plan to post photos and to blog, not only to share my trip with you but to keep it fresh for me. I’ve stocked up on suncreen, have a great sunhat and good walking shoes. I can’t wait!

Ma salama.

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