Question of the Week: Travel

by Susan Henderson on November 5, 2007

Where did you go today? Tell me something that caught your attention there.

And for a bonus question: Where’s the best place you ever traveled?


Wednesday, one of my all-time favorite writers, Pia Z. Ehrhardt, will be here to discuss her collection, FAMOUS FATHERS. We’ll also talk about being on the go. See you then!


P.S. For Porochista Khakpour fans (and if you aren’t one already, you will be by the end of this month), I just want to announce a few readings she’s doing in New York: National Arts Club on Nov 9, Leonard Lopate’s NPR show on November 12, The Half King on Nov 19 (for Iranian women writers), and The Happy Ending Series on December 12.

P.P.S. Grant Bailie’s novel, MORTARVILLE is available for pre-order on Amazon. Click over and see if it interests you. I read an earlier draft of this book, and it is very, very good.

P.P.P.S. If you’re someone who normally subscribes to the rss feed, LitPark now runs comments through Disqus. What that means is that the comments will no longer feed to you from your old subscription. So, if you missed the the 60 or so comments on last Friday’s post, or if you want to subscribe to the new feed, just pay a visit today, click on Comments, and if it’s not self-explanatory, we’ll walk you through what to do. We’re all getting used to the new system together.

{ 142 comments… read them below or add one }

lance_reynald November 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm

ah, today was spent at my desk working on the next book… there was some ice.

I went to the Archives ice rink And the Hotel de Ville rink, with a stop in Brewster,MA to walk near the sea and visit an old house. I also managed to pull off dinner and some jazz at Bistro Francaise… I know; I am a bit jetlagged. 🙂

they had a lot of Reeses in all those places, otherwise I’d be beat.

my most favourite place of travel in all the world is Alcala de Henares… beautiful stuff in the hills there… good place to work on your dominoes and sangria skills.
lets see if this works:
I may have totally screwed that up… we need buttons.


jonathan evison November 5, 2007 at 12:47 am

. . . today i went to my in-laws (1.8 miles away) to help them locate the “lid” to their septic tank . . . i got chills . . . we all did . . .and as to your bonus question: same answer. i think my in-laws drainage field is right up their with the french riviera and galapagos . . .


jonathan evison November 5, 2007 at 12:51 am

. . . today i went to my in-laws to help them locate the “lid” to their septic tank . . . i got chills . . . we all did . . . as for your bonus question: same answer . . . my in-laws drainage field is right up there with the french riviera and the galapagos . . .


danielha November 5, 2007 at 1:27 am

Hi guys,

Just popping in from Disqus to say hi again. If you’d like to subscribe to comments from this entry, there is a link under the posting box that says “Comments RSS”

If you’d like to subscribe to all comments for the entire blog, it’s here:

Hope this helps.


Jill November 5, 2007 at 2:22 am

I was just reminiscing about traveling to Moscow yesterday. Here is the result.

Woman at the Public Baths

There on Neglinnaya
behind the carved doors
of Sandunovskie
on a slab of cold marble–

She splayed her mottled
brawn and tossed
a wood-handled brush
in my direction–

Harder, harder! she screeched,
while I tentatively explored
the massive vistas
of this assemblage of Woman.

She told me the stories of each of her war scars,
how once she’d screamed her way en route
from engine to caboose, knife in hand,
evading rape at the hands of her countrymen.

This was a dynamo. My jaw jammed open
and I followed my new luminary
to the dressing room, avoiding the sight of my
scrawny limbs in a 19th century mirror.

She eased her torpedoes into their silos,
brassieres and petticoats layer on layer,
topped off solidly with a belted brown dress,
an imposing bit of stalinist-era architecture.

Years later, looking back, I wondered if
her bravado was yet another of those layers,
designed to protect the memory of her younger self–
that slender, terrified girl concealed in the center.


Nathalie November 5, 2007 at 2:37 am

Well today is Monday so I am at work.
Not much of a travel (10 minutes up the hill by car from my house) but I go through vineyards of fine Frascati and olive orchards (the harvest is happening right now), up and down valleys with ribbons of mists caught in the tree branches and the bramble bush alongside the road. Sometimes it even seems like somebody has gone around and left ribbon poetry on the trees…

The best travel? I loved my desert trek through the dunes of southern Morocco, or Venezia in the winter time (more mist, like ghosts clinging to your skin) or the deep blue sea of Bonaire but the best trips I took must have been going home.
I’ve been living abroad for the past 16 years or so, and thus coming back every now and then to visit my family is always the most rewarding trip.


troutbum70 November 5, 2007 at 5:14 am

Yesterday fly fishing about two hours from home. I had a horrible breakfast but I caught a lot of fish. About a dozen each trout and bass. I was almost bit by a snake. He missed me by about three inches. That would have been worse than the breakfast. Today I go to Denver and will be there all week. I’ll have to get back to you on the best ever. It’s going to take some thought and I have to get ready………


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 7:27 am

Have a great time in Denver. When you get back, I want to hear what kind of snake it was. And what kind of breakfast.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 7:29 am

That’s incredible, going through olive orchards on the way to work. Morocco has always been number one on my list of where I want to travel. Lebanon is number two.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 7:30 am

That helps a lot, thank you.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 7:32 am

Jonathan, why do I always want to call you Rabbit? Maybe I just will. Sorry you had trouble with the comments coming through this morning. I’m going to leave both up so I don’t accidentally flag your name as someone whose posts have to be moderated. That must to work with a septic tank. We have one, and when guys come to service it, you have to leave the neighborhood for the day. (You guys enjoying your breakfast this morning?)


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 7:34 am

I’ve been peeking in on your NaNoWriMo progress, and that little blue line is getting longer and longer. I’ve never been to Spain. I need to put that on my list.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 7:36 am

I need to go to Moscow, too. Where are you going to send this incredible poem?


Nathalie November 5, 2007 at 7:42 am

Actually, there are also plenty of olive trees at work. So much so that our huge satellite dishes seem somewhat out of place sometimes…


Nathalie November 5, 2007 at 7:45 am

That reminded me of a visit to a hamam in Ouarzazate (expect that the stories were noweher so terrific).


Kimberly November 5, 2007 at 7:52 am

Like Lance, I too have been talking long walks down Memory Lane.

Except that while his takes him Ice Skating and to Paris, mine takes me down Lonely Avenue en route to Loserville.

As a tourist, however, it’s a charming place to visit.


Betsy November 5, 2007 at 8:10 am

Sundays I often try to avoid going anywhere, but my dog insists we take him to the park several times a day. What caught my attention was that I was somehow awake enough to have a nice conversation with another dog mom and dad about things other than just our dogs. I was also part of a reading for my friend Anne Elizabeth Moore’s new book, Unmarketable, in which she asked several writers to create an ‘ad’ for something seemingly unmarketable. I tried to pitch my dog’s hair from the floor. Lots of laughs but no takers! A girl named Fiona, about 11, gave the hands down funniest reading of the night, and I was just happy I didn’t have to follow her.


Betsy November 5, 2007 at 8:12 am

The best place I ever traveled… hm… well, I think my favorite place ever was my 48 hours in Paris, but the best trip I ever had was probably my honeymoon in Taos, cuz you know why. And in addition to being with Ben, it was both of our first, paid-for vacation in a hotel without some sort of family members and/or business travel!


Betsy November 5, 2007 at 8:16 am

Ok, sorry to clog up the comments, but as I just reached into my desk drawer, among the pens I spotted one that said ‘Destination Henderson’. Sue, do you know something about this? Or did the stars just line up all freaky like this morning?


billie November 5, 2007 at 8:25 am

This morning I went on the front porch to see what the horse-shrieking was all about. Pony and big horse were playing “nip the belly” – sure sign that autumn is here!

One of the best places I’ve traveled to is Bisti Badlands, a long-awaited journey based on a book I saw many years earlier that documented the hoodoos there.


RobinGrantham November 5, 2007 at 8:47 am

I’m in exotic Indiana. This morning the burning bushes caught my fancy. I don’t know why they get so embarrassed in the fall (maybe because they know they’ll soon be naked?), but I love when they turn red. We’ve also been bemused by the low honking flocks of geese. Fussy, loud, awkward . . . confused. My daughter runs out and tries to point them south, but they’re so busy complaining they don’t listen at all.

As far as travel goes, I’m all about catamarans and warm, clear, calm oceans. Nothing beats that for me, but I loved Alaska. It’s raw and gorgeous and wild. Once you get out of town (not hard to do), every waking moment there is an IMAX moment. I remember being constantly distraught that I was missing whatever was on the other three sides of my head. Where’s that Exorcist neck when I actually need it?


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 9:57 am

I went to a coffee shop to get some writing done, but they were filming a Nikon commercial in it, so I went to my second favorite coffee shop, and everyone’s dressed in black because there’s a big funeral today. On Halloween, there was this horrific accident involving 3 teens in one car (one, the son of Bach-Boy’s teacher for the gifted program). The kids were having lunch off-campus, spent too long eating and hanging out, and decided to hurry back – speeding, no seatbelts – all those stupid things the rest of us have done, except for they weren’t lucky. They hit a car with a 13-year-old in it, and she died, and so did the teacher’s kid and the other teen who goes to my friend’s church. The driver of that car has such severe brain damage now that they think he’ll be like a two year old for the rest of his life.

Anyway, as I was leaving, the funeral home that’s across the street from the coffee shop is jam packed with cars. I headed to the post office to mail a housewarming present to Tommy Kane and his wife (who I’d link but I can’t find her flickr site). It’s a totally beat up book from the remainders bin, but maybe they’ll like it and understand why I got it for them. So there’s this guy, Richard, who works at the post office. And about two and a half years ago, he started doing this goofy good luck hug to all my important packages – manuscripts I was submitting, stuff like that. And everytime he hugged a package, something good came of it. Anyway, I guess he thought the package was an important submission of some kind, so now good luck is going to Tommy and Yun. How can that not be a good thing?


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:06 am

I love those burning bushes this time of year. A few years ago, I decided I had to have some of those bushes planted on my property but I didn’t know what they were called. I did a Google image search for “red” “bush”. Did not find what I wanted with that method.

For most of my childhood, I was mistaken for the Exorcist girl. People used to follow me and ask for autographs.

My favorite part of Alaska begins with a K. Is there a town that sounds even remotely like Kilton?? Kittan??


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:06 am

Awww. This is a book I’ll want to read.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:24 am

Any place with the word “badlands” in it is a place that sounds too harsh and snake-y for me. Great story about the horses. I didn’t know they did things like that.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:25 am

I transmitted that pen into your drawer with my giant ego. I just wanted to freak you out. Wait till you see what’s in your glove compartment!


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:27 am

Wow, what a great time and a book I’m glad to know about. Here, I’ll link it:

It has a cool cover!


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:31 am

My favorite place I’ve been, by the way, was this really remote area of The Great Wall of China. We ate in someone’s kitchen. They called it a restaurant, and we had to go through a little girl’s room to use the bathroom. It was so beautiful and there were donkeys hauling stones up the wall to fill in the broken bits.

Kesey, what was that place called? I need to write it down.


RobinGrantham November 5, 2007 at 10:37 am

I bet you got some interesting hits googling “red” “bush”. I should have clarified more that the bushes weren’t actually on fire. Hard to guess how familiar people are with things sometimes, I reckon. They’re actually called Euonymus (I can’t say it, much less make it plural), according to Wikipedia if anyone is interested.

As for the city in Alaska, no idea. There’s a Kotlik and a Kipnuk and a Kobuk and a Ketchikan — the list reads like a nonsense poem for kids. Just one more reason to love Alaska.

That’s funny you were mistaken for Linda Blair. I’d have been tempted to carry pea soup.


RobinGrantham November 5, 2007 at 10:48 am

How horrible. Unfathomable. Stories like that make part of me wish we would run out of fuel. At least until my kids are twenty-five or so.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 11:04 am

Ketchikan, that’s it!

I wish I’d thought of the pea soup. Mr. H said, when I was giving birth, he did actually see my head spin.

Head spinning:

I do see the resemblance, though. Much as I don’t want to:

(Terry, when are you getting us html tools? When?)


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 5, 2007 at 11:22 am

The day is still young out here in the West and the highlight of my day will be going to the Bark Park, where no one knows I’m a writer and we obsess about our dogs like new parents with their toddlers.

But yesterday was sublime. BassMan and I took two of our dogs for a very long walk along the Santa Ana River, where Buck (who we rescued three weeks ago–story to come later today in my blog) and Tank had pissing contests at every bush and tree.

I’ve been to some amazing places, but foremost in my memory is last summer’s vacation in a beach home on Chesapeake Bay. We spent the first three days with BassMan’s parents and his sister and his family, a couple of days with my sister and her family, and a couple of days with just us. By just us, I mean the us we used to be–my husby, my daughter, my son, and me. With both of my kids now away in college, I drift back to those days beachcombing with my daughter, swimming (dodging jellyfish) with my son, and the four of us together in a magical place.

For anyone on Facebook, I just started a travel group: Places, Faces & Traces. This week’s discussion question is Your Most Embarrassing Travel Story. Drop by if you have the time.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 5, 2007 at 11:24 am

Now that you mention it, I can see the resemblance, too. But you’re prettier.


Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 5, 2007 at 11:31 am



Carolyn_Burns_Bass November 5, 2007 at 11:35 am

Nathalie said: “Sometimes it even seems like somebody has gone around and left ribbon poetry on the trees…”

A blissful image.


Kimberly November 5, 2007 at 12:02 pm

shucks, you guys…

Lemme tell you, I have a whole new appreciation for the novel. I’m looking at my stack of 20+ “to-be-read” pile and when I get back to it in December, I’m going to savor each and every word like the delicate and fragile flowers that they are.

Every book I read for evermore will be a rare and exotic garden.


Kimberly November 5, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Oh, and my favorite place?

Wherever I’m going next.


robinslick November 5, 2007 at 12:31 pm

I walked the mile from the Art Museum into Center City and really, Philadelphia in the fall is as good as it gets and I’ve been all over the world. The only funny story I have is that once again I got busted with my iPod this morning…there are certain songs I play that I get so caught up in I forget I’m outdoors and I start singing at the top of my lungs and don’t realize it until I meet the horrified stare of a stranger. This morning it was “Too Late the Hero” by the, err, late John Entwistle off of his live CD.

My favorite place in the entire universe is England. I cried the whole way home on the plane. And it wasn’t just London. I loved crazy Newcastle, quirky Lancaster where I walked down Penny Lane though of course it wasn’t “the” Penny Lane, Leeds because I met a close friend there and it will always have special connotations, and even Manchester, which I know is the joke of most who live in the UK if one is to believe Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett in Good Omens…but damn if Manchester isn’t England’s version of Philadelphia so maybe that’s why.

I want to live there and someday I will.


dan November 5, 2007 at 12:40 pm

Today I waited, again, to ride the bus to work, again, and stood at the same old corner to wait for my BX express bus. The regular bus went past, then the 4 Sutter, then the regular again. I was getting bored and antsy. I peered around a little.

The man standing immediately to my left was well known to me; he often waits near me the morning bus, but not in any sort of friendly way. He’s dour, humorless, and avoids eye contact; he wears drab, conservative two-piece suits every day with a very tidy necktie and a very clean shirt. I’d put him in his sixties, or his fifties if he has a bad heart, which wouldn’t surprise me.

Except, I noticed this morning, as I stood again beside him, waiting for the bus, nestled in the pinkness of his earlobe, a tiny diamond stud. In the weak morning light, it caught a stray sunbeam and lit a prism for me. For a fleeting instant it was the brightest and most colorful thing on the street. It was the last thing I’d have expected from that stodgy little man. This morning it was just the nudge I needed to start having a good day.

The best place I ever traveled, and there have not been too many of them, was the big island of hawaii. But maybe that’s because I already live in California and I don’t think I can count having been born here as the best place I’ve gone.


Nathalie November 5, 2007 at 12:49 pm

I think this plant is what we use in France to make higher quality charcoal for drawing (fusain)… In my area they are also called “bishop hats” because of the strange shape of the flower. We used to collect a lot of them in our walks through the woogs: a branch or two look great in a vase.


Nathalie November 5, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Yun’s flickr address is
this one.


Silvia November 5, 2007 at 1:00 pm

I agree with you on england. i’ve lived there for 3 years and i’ll go back as soon as i can. Actually, i went to uni in Lancaster. i’ve walked down Penny Lane thousands of times but I never related it to the Beatles. i certainly will when I go back there.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 1:04 pm

Nathalie, Thank you. I get so confused over at flickr. Somehow it doesn’t work with my head.

Anyway, you should all head over to see Yun’s flickr page, and not just to see what a babe she is, but also to see her many creative talents.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 1:06 pm

It’s too horrible to wrap my head around it. Tell you what, though, I was in a hurry the other day and I thought, you know, I could just be late and next time I’ll leave earlier.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Dan, it’s so great to have you here! Love your story.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 1:10 pm

My favorite place in England is this bomb crater in Mr. H’s old neighborhood. They called it The Deep. It’s full of giant trees and bracken, and the boys love to play in it. And if you walk through the commons, you get to a pub called (I think) The Three Pigeons and get your cider.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 1:11 pm

Hi Silvia!


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 1:12 pm

Most people don’t know I write either. It just doesn’t come up. Chesapeake’s gorgeous. Good pick.


David_Niall_Wilson November 5, 2007 at 1:36 pm

I’m going to cheat. I wrote a semi-autobiographical story last month to share my travel experiences on a stretch of road between NC and Virginia, out by The Great Dismal swamp. So folks would not question my mental state more than usual, I gave the story a title (lol).

“I have been making the same drive back and forth from Hertford, NC to Chesapeake, VA for over five years now. It’s a long, solitary stretch – and over time, things have added up in my mind until it’s like navigating some other dimension. On the drive home last Sunday, a final pin dropped in the silence, and I heard the echo. I wrote this specially for my extra Halloween Storytellers gift to you all…”…

As for the best place I ever traveled…I took a motorcycle trip into Portugal once with the club I road with in Rota, Spain. We camped by a stream under olive trees, ate hand-made bread backed in stone ovens, and drank ourselves silly. It was a wonderful trip…



Susanna Donato November 5, 2007 at 1:53 pm

I can’t see all the comments, sadly. I’ve only traveled in a couple of two-mile loops from my house – a little run this morning where I noticed, for the dozenth time this year, how gorgeous the oak trees are this year – I don’t know why I’ve never noticed them before.


terrybain November 5, 2007 at 4:12 pm

You don’t see all the comments? Can I ask what you do see? I want everybody to see all the comments, so if somebody isn’t seeing comments, please let me know:


terrybain November 5, 2007 at 4:14 pm

By the way, if y’all hadn’t noticed… if you type a url (like this: or an email address (like this:, the new comment system automatically links it for you.


Aimee November 5, 2007 at 4:23 pm

The only place I went today was to school to drop off and pick up my children. I didn’t notice much this morning because I was working on two hours of sleep. I am a beer slinger by night and I’m on my eighth day of a ten day work week (which included and extra hour because we fell back on Sat.) After some sleep during the day I noticed how good coffee tastes in cold November rain (wait is that a GNR song???) and how the leaves whip around like mini-tornados in the wind.
My favorite place on Earth is New Orleans. I love visiting cities and getting a feel for their flavor. I think New Orleans is a world of its own. Because my Grandparents lived there my whole childhood, I never had Disney. I had a woman’s legs popping out of the side of a building, jazz, big ass beers, voodoo, and the food. It is my dark, sexy 2nd home.


Aimee November 5, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Okay I’m reading the comments and even though this has nothing to do with the question of the week, I spent my early childhood being confused for the little girl in Poltergiest.. I was constantly being asked to say, “they’re here,” or, “they’re back,” by strangers. It finally ended when I cut off my hair and her face got puffy from illness. But 4-8 years-old, I could not go in public without being asked. My swim coach taught me how to say it like she did and when I would do it everyone would shiver and freak out. It was kind of fun.


Betsy November 5, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Sue, you’re the best.


Gail Siegel November 5, 2007 at 5:15 pm

This morning I flew home from Brooklyn, and a reunion of my 5 (surviving) college roommates. The 6th died a dozen years ago. So, first the drive to the airport, then the flight which I spent editing a story, reading Jean Thompson and listening to my ipod. Flying in over lake Michigan to Chicago I was, as ever, entranced with the lake, jotting down sappy phrases (the city a blue idea, resolving at the edge of the water’s stippled sheen, blah blah blah.) One of my favorite places is the Michigan side of Lake Michigan, its endless stretches of beach.

Also catching my eye was my actual house, during the plane’s descent. The trees, still leafy so late this year — but finally yellow and red.

Then the train ride to work. A different train ride is ahead of me in an hour, next a long walk with my bag, to meet my husband.

I’m a sucker for the north woods of north america: the adirondacks, northern wisconsin, michigan’s upper peninsula, the bounday waters. I dream birch trees and blue water, the crunch of pine underfoot, its clear scent. But hey, I also loved positano, and the outer banks, and negril. Water is the theme, I guess.


robinslick November 5, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Nano is killing me this year. I’m behind. 5,700 words on November 5 is not good. I just read part of your excerpt — I love it1
(Mine truly sucks but I am just concerned with stretching this out to 50,000 words and will worry about making it read more professionally later. And there is no way I’m posting erotic scenes for everyone to read…I always write the story first and fill in the erotica at the end after consuming vast amounts of alcohol, anyway, so that’ll be another 5,000 words at the end. At least in theory)

Oh well. I’m going to try and log another 2,000 tonight to play catch up but I’m not hopeful. The significant other wants to watch the hockey game and you can hear him curse/cheer/yell for two miles in each direction…he’s one of those…paints his face, too. It’s why I’ve stopped going to all sporting events unless it’s with a fellow introvert.


troutbum70 November 5, 2007 at 5:55 pm

Cottonmouth. Sausage and eggs with hashbrowns biscut and gravy. I should have got bacon.


ErikaRae November 5, 2007 at 6:28 pm

Where did I go today? Um…first I went to the bathroom, then the kitchen – although I might have stepped foot in the living room first.

Very boring today.

Although, I have to say that having Internet helps. Without leaving the comfort of my couch, I travelled to Rwanda to see the gorillas, made a trip to the dentist in Spain, and checked out custom license plates in New York’s upper East side. (I just love

My favorite place I’ve travelled (you mean besides my couch?) was to Sevilla, Spain. I had some soul searching to do, so I took the train alone. It was January and the oranges were piled high in the street – in *every* street. While I was walking under the shadow of the Cathedral, I was stopped by a gypsy who wanted to read my fortune. For my last 2 euros (this before I discovered that I’d lost my ATM card), I was told that my corazon es fuerte and was handed a sprig of herbs. I and my empty wallet were then left alone to attempt to prove what she had told me.


SusanHenderson November 5, 2007 at 10:13 pm

Hey guys, I’m so so sorry about the off-on (mostly off) service here today. There was a bug in the c-panel, whatever that means, and stuff that had to do with our host site and was out of Terry’s hands. Anyway, all is well. And if you’re watching Monday Night Football, you know that all is really extraordinarily well!

I’ll be around tomorrow to catch up on comments. Sorry again for the troubles. xo


Kimberly November 5, 2007 at 10:33 pm

tee hee! sometimes I got that too!! mostly, tho’ I got “Christina” from Mommie Dearest!

“No more wire hangers!”


Kaytie Lee November 5, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Today I flew from Monterey to San Diego after a weekend spent celebrating a friend’s wedding. Something that caught my attention? Um…the flight attendant’s lipstick, which was a very bright shade of fuchsia (a word I didn’t realize I didn’t know how to spell until just now.)

Best place I’ve ever traveled: Purnululu, in the Kimberley, Australia. An amazing land mass in the midst of the Outback.


Noria November 5, 2007 at 11:32 pm

I went to work today and held conferences with my students in my office. There are redwoods and oak trees outside my office window, and the oak branches are hung with pale green lichen that looks like the Spanish moss hanging from the trees in every movie set in the South; I’ve never been to the South (except for Atlanta), so I don’t know if that Spanish moss really exists or if it’s just set dressing. Moths flutter among the oaks. It’s a nice view.

Best place I’ve been: I camped in the crater of Haleakala, a volcano on Maui. Most amazing sunset and sunrise ever. The night sky was clotted with stars. I got the worst sunburn of my life, but it was worth it.


deb November 6, 2007 at 7:43 am

I am not sure how to do this? I hope this comment doesn’t vanish. I love everyone’s story. And can’t wait for you, Sue, because you have been to some amazing places.
Europe is great. I loved Scotland. Just loved it. I was there on business and was also training for the NY marathon, so every afternoon I ran six miles up in the hills (something I later found out was not wise.) While I loved Paris when I was there, I found the taxi drivers snobby and everyone kind of mopey and depressed. Maybe it was me. Still, the food blew me away.

But the place that stays with me is Iowa. I had never seen the midwest when I attended Iowa Writing Festival a long while ago, and when I left the airport and hit this flat road, that looked like tape holding two corn fields together, i was so amazed at it, I stopped my car. There was just this road, and flat fields of corn that rippled in the wind. Corn, sky, road, all touching each other. I went inside this mart and bought a bottle of water. “This is amazing, ” I said to this cashier who kind of looked at me. “I’ve never been to Iowa. This is amazing.” And unlike north easterners who would roll their eyes, the woman said, “Thank you. Where are you from?” And like, we talked! I loved it. I called my husband and all I talked about were the corn fields. “Is the class good?” he finally said. ” ARe you writing?”


Aurelio November 6, 2007 at 10:11 am

I went to Burbank to have my weekly lunch with a couple of writer friends. The Latina waitress is a regular too. She calls us “hon” and already knows what we’re going to order. She makes jokes. She’s round and has silver teeth that she doesn’t mind showing, because she always has a smile. I enjoy seeing her as much as my friends.

The best (okay, weirdest) place I ever traveled was the backside of Disney World. It’s a long story, but we got press passes, which meant we could go anywhere. We drove our car to the backside of Fantasyland, parked right there, then walked through what amounts to a plywood set door and entered a park full of people and color and rides. It was definitely surreal. I now know what’s on the other side of all those little doors that say employees only (hint: not much.).

There are places I love far more: Florence, Paris, Montana, the coastal redwoods, but the backside of Disney World was appealingly odd.


Aurelio November 6, 2007 at 10:18 am

Oh, go ahead and count CA, Dan. As much as I’ve traveled around, I’d still say CA is at the top.


robinslick November 6, 2007 at 10:19 am

Wow…this post just took my breath away.

Okay, first of all, congrats to Tommy and his wife (and I want the Flickr link, too!) on their new home. What did you send them? I mean, what do you send someone so incredibly creative? I agonize over stuff like this so this is why I’m asking. That, and I’m newsy as hell.

I cannot even comment on the other part of this post…as I told you and blogged myself, my kids just lost a close friend…damn it, she hung herself and no one can make any sense of it. 19, beautiful…arghh…why?

And now in a completely tasteless seque, speaking of blogs, mine has been voted a top ten finalist in the 2007 Web Blog Awards, Diarist. I am currently being clobbered by an advertising blog disguised as a mommy blog disguised as a diarist named Dooce (no comment) but even worse, throttled by ARMY WIFE TODDLER MOM.

Please vote for me so I can at least finish in the top five. Here is the link.

You don’t have to type your name, email address…nothing. You just click on the button that says Robin Slick and you can vote once a day until Thursday.

And now I will go hide my head under the covers for asking this favor. Ugh, so embarrassing. But getting beaten up by Army Wife/Toddler Mom? I just can’t have that.


robinslick November 6, 2007 at 10:20 am

Ohhh…there’s Yun’s flickr link…I’m such a dope.

Oh well. What’s another dose of embarrassment first thing in the morning. I thrive on that.

(Slinking back over to, where i can now humiliate myself further with my sorry excuse for a novel)


robinslick November 6, 2007 at 10:21 am

Okay, now I screwed up the voting link, too.

Apparently this new system makes links for you. Can we also post photos?


Shelley November 6, 2007 at 10:46 am

I just traveled to the year 1620 in my dream this morning! My wife there was in a circle of people meditating and vibrating. I had to walk through a door to get there.

Aurelio’s behind the scenes story reminds me of when I was in Verona with friends in 1999. We got to the opera in the old colluseum late, so we didn’t get in. So we walked inside some fences and found we were what was considered backstage, because the colluseum was round backstage was on the outside, with hundreds of muscled men in silver gladiator costumes, as part of the opera chorus. Italy is wonderful, even if there are lots of ghosts. hmm, best place is hard to say. I love Germantown, NY; Siberia; Versaille; St. Barths; and Death Valley Desert.


Kimberly November 6, 2007 at 10:49 am

Aurelio. Remind me sometime to tell you about my time spent working for the “Dis-nazis” in Orlando.

Yes, there was fur.

Yes, there was sweat.

No, those costumes are NOT air-conditioned. 🙂

(And yes, there are pictures…)


Daryl November 6, 2007 at 10:55 am

It’s not even 8am here yet, so I have not left the house. I will be going to San Francisco tonight to review a concert by Minus The Bear for

The best place I ever traveled to was the town of Dingle in County Kerry, Ireland. It was in 1980 and I was following my instincts, believing that God would lead me to the woman I would marry. She wasn’t there. I found her two weeks later in Dublin though. (It’s a longer and more interesting story than I am letting on to here and will probably be a subplot in one of the many books I am writing…).

(Oh, and everyone? I finally found someone to go to Eugene O’Neill’s grave to obtain that precious handful of grave dirt that I’ve been coveting! Story at my blog.)


Joe November 6, 2007 at 11:31 am

This morning’s adventure was to the pharmacy so I could stand and stare at the shelves of children’s cold remedies. I vaguely remembered hearing something about a massive recall on them but it wasn’t penetrating the semi-permeous germ bubble surrounding my own head. So, I headed over to the adult cold medicines section and opened up a bottle of sudafed and drank it right there. Then I went up front and paid for it, stopping briefly to grab a bunch of Halloween decorations and candies at 75% off of retail. Score!

I was halfway home before I remembered why I had gone there in the first place.

The best place I’ve traveled to… hmmm… tough choice between the cultured and the wild. It’s a toss up between Vienna and the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.


jasonboog November 6, 2007 at 12:18 pm

Susan, love love love the new comment layout. I could spend the rest of my day wandering around here.

To answer the question, today I went to an unmarked grade school in Brooklyn and voted in an off-year, mostly symbolic election. I was outnumbered ten to one by poll workers.

Hands down, the best place I ever traveled was Guatemala. That’s sort of cheating though, because I was living there for two years in Peace Corps so I got to see EVERYTHING.


Ronlyn November 6, 2007 at 12:19 pm

Before I left the house to run an errand, I visited with one of my cats. She’s been mine for almost four years–but I never noticed that her orange ears are flecked with white hairs. Hmmm. Zen moment.

Best place visited…A solid black rock in the middle of a drought-stricken river in North Carolina.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 1:03 pm

Ho man. I was not expecting so many comments. I’ll have to hit these tonight because I’m still working, and I know how I work – once I slow down, it’s hopeless. Thank you to everyone for stopping by. I’ll be back, and Aurelio, remind me to tell you about Coney Island. Also, Kimberly, are you going to Mr. H’s gig on Saturday?


Kimberly November 6, 2007 at 1:38 pm

Sadly, no can do. I’ve already asked him to consult with me before booking any more gigs, since I’ve been double-booked for the last two or three gigs, but he refuses to listen!

So this week’s musical adventures will have to lie solely with Debbie Harry on Thursday night… I. CAN’T. WAIT!

Next time… for sure!


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 2:52 pm

My brother used to bring cottonmouths home and stick them in the laundry room sink until he was ready to skin them.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 2:58 pm

I vote for you everyday, Robin. Thanks for posting the link. The little girl I babysat for for years and years and years, the one with cancer, tried to kill herself last year. Actually, I don’t want to talk about this, come to think of it. I just realized I don’t have space in me today to think of bad things happening to kids. Even when they’re all grown up. xo


lance_reynald November 6, 2007 at 3:00 pm

I’ve heard that he’s spoken of as “the rat” or “los ratos”… and there is this crazy rule book of what you can and can’t do “on stage”… and the tales I’ve heard from the dorms are out of control! No one can really hold up under those conditions… Of mice and men?


Aurelio November 6, 2007 at 3:00 pm

Ha! I can’t wait to hear all about it (with pictures.)


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:01 pm

The description after the storm is marvelous.

Obviously, I’m missing out on Spain. I think it’s the most-mentioned favorite place.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Thanks a whole lot, Aimee. Guess who has Guns N Roses in their head now?


Aurelio November 6, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Coney Island is odd from the front – I can’t imagine what it looks like from the back. Does it have a back? I wanted to go there when we lived in NY, but everyone kept talking me out of it.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:03 pm

P.S. You’ll like the LitPark guest tomorrow because she comes from your dark and sexy second home.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:04 pm

At least they didn’t think you looked like the mom, eh?


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:05 pm



SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Okay, that’s it. Spain is at the top of my list. And before the Question of the Week, I never even thought to go there.


Aurelio November 6, 2007 at 3:07 pm

Pssst… You didn’t hear this from me, but Mickey Mouse is a girl.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:08 pm

I am endlessly fascinated by flight attendants. When we flew to Tokyo, it was like the U.S. decades ago. All models in uniforms. It was the most animated crew I’d ever seen, like they were on a television show or something.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Sounds gorgeous!


lance_reynald November 6, 2007 at 3:12 pm

it is pretty awesome. rather varied considering the size of it. awesome history/ heritage and the Franco thing kept them sheltered from too much of our influence for a while… and really… Almadovar kinda hits it all right on.
beautiful people, great ideas about life.
My first words when arriving in Madrid “it’s Paris, but warmer”… it was snowing that morning.



SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:13 pm

I think I might talk about dogs on Friday.

You should write a brochure for Iowa. I want to go this minute.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:19 pm

We have a friend, Dino, whose family owns a portion of Coney Island, so we get to do all the rides for free. I can’t even tell you how much our family loves Coney Island. It’s just plain comical – a little stroll on the beach and, instead of sea shells, you find steak knives and condoms. I always call the apple car the Vomitron. But my favorite is Dino’s Wonder Wheel because it gives you a great view of the back of the haunted house. Mr. H used to paint sets for plays and movies, so I’m always fascinated by good and bad set painting. And behind the haunted house, they store all the unused horror scenes – skeletons and monsters that were so badly drawn, the artist quit halfway. I love all of it, and all the boards with nails sticking out. We didn’t go this year, and I don’t know what we were thinking. Next year, for sure.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:21 pm

Wow, backstage at an opera in Italy must be amazing.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:25 pm

I want to go to Ireland so bad. Everytime I see it in movies, I have some weird homing radar that goes off.

Here, let me link your blog so folks can find out what you’re going to do with this grave dirt:


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:27 pm

See, if I had run into you at the pharmacy, I would have written notes all over my hand, and then I’d go home and stick you in one of my stories.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Good for you for voting. And for doing the Peace Corps. I keep thinking I’ll run into you at a reading because I did all summer, but you’ve been hard to find lately.

I am not at the love stage with the new comments yet. I’m still feeling twitchy. Short twitchy story: I play soccer every Sunday with friends, and one of the guys (his name is Mike) had this jersey on with the most obnoxiously big tag sticking out by the back of his neck. And I just couldn’t play the game because it made me distracted and twitchy. So I’d stick the tag back in, or another player would do it for me. And then this other guy (his name is Ritchie) would go over and pull his tag back out, just because he loves being a pest that much.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Aww. I have both cats with me in my office right now. It was raining this morning, and wet cat fur is maybe my favorite smell in the world, so it was great. And now James is snoring, and squeaky cat snores are maybe my favorite sound in the world. So all is well.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Next time!


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:37 pm

I’m not seeing them all either. Now that there are so many, it’s like some have gone to some private, hidden page.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 3:40 pm

My new travel list: Morocco, Spain, Lebanon, Ireland, China (again because I have yet to crash with the Leary’s), and lotso Russia and Africa. I’ll go on my next book advance.


Kimberly November 6, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Totally funny (and short) teaser…

So, I’m kinda busty. The ‘girls’ are hard to conceal and I’m “chipmunk height” (already there are like three hilarious stories there, right?)

Anyway – so I’m sixteen years old, sweating like a boxer in a prize fight (do pigs actually have sweat glands?) and these punk-ass eleven-year-old boys would come up to me and say “Are you a boy or a (as they simultaneously smacked my ta-tas with two open palms) GIRL???

I don’t know if they had an instruction manual at the entrance gates, but every damn kid did the same thing.

THAT was the summer of ’89.


Kimberly November 6, 2007 at 3:54 pm

I still have the top-secret character description manual and that infamous rule book. 🙂

I don’t know what it’s like lately, but I was working during the days when men couldn’t have facial hair or sideburns more than 1/4″ past their ears – no one could have frosted or highlighted hair and women could have no bare legs WHATSOEVER.

And we’re talking Florida summers in 95+ degree heat.


David_Niall_Wilson November 6, 2007 at 4:51 pm

I enjoyed my time in Spain immensely. Of course, I like strong coffee and cheap wine, so….

Thanks on the storm comment. All of the bits of that story happened, just over time. It as sort of disconcerting to write…



Jason November 6, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Hi Terry,

There was a bug that prevented all posts from displaying if a per_page option was set but pagination was disabled. This has been fixed now.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 4:55 pm

Jason, you’re my hero!


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 4:56 pm

I’m for expensive wine and cheap coffee.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Just to Terry: This is an example of why I need an edit button. I wrote The Deep but I meant The Dip. I’ll make mistakes like this all day long.


Jason November 6, 2007 at 5:06 pm

Hi Susan,

If you click the “Go To Forum” link below the comment box, you may edit your comments from there. However, any posts with a direct reply are not editable because this breaks the context of replies. We’ll soon change this rule in the future so any of your posts may be editable, and we’ll also be adding the ability to edit your post from your blog instead of needing to go to your forum to edit your post.


ErikaRae November 6, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Mind if I come with? I might have to add Peru to the itinerary, though. I know this probably sounds a little strange, but I really want to see Lake Titicaca. Not only does it have a, well, hilarious name, but it has floating islands made completely of straw. You can take a boat over to the straw islands and then stay the night in a straw hut. It also just so happens to be the world’s highest lake (over 12,000 ft above sea level). Sigh. Also waiting on book advance.


lance_reynald November 6, 2007 at 5:46 pm

the comment grotto…
the water is nice and warm in here…
watch out for the bunnies though.


troutbum70 November 6, 2007 at 5:58 pm

I like your brother he sounds like a kindred spirit. I took a pcture of him after I beat him back with my fly rod. I’m still having a problem with the best place I’ve ever been. One time I was fishing with my nephew on the Lewis river in Washington and we caught ten steelhead from 5 to 15 pounds and the whole time if you looked over your shoulder you could see Mt. St. Helens venting steam. That was a good day and an awesome sight. On my honeymoon we stayed in a small farm house in southern France. Now that was cool. Falling in love on a picnic table at lake dillon in Colorado. That is up there. Hell I don’t know. If I decide I’ll let you know………..


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 8:50 pm

That’s why he lives in Montana and not New York. In New York, if you put a poisonous snake in the sink, it doesn’t really go over so well.

You are surely kindred spirits with the fly fishing.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 8:52 pm

I’ve never heard of floating straw islands. Dare you to write a story featuring them!


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 8:53 pm

Hey, you, have a wonderful time at Wordstock, and send us field reports if you can.


SusanHenderson November 6, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Thank you again, Jason!


Joe November 6, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Well I would be honored to be a character in one of your stories. But if you put me in there now I’d infect the other characters with my cold and the action would grind to a halt – unless it’s a Finnegan’s Wake type dealio.

Holy Hanna! Cursed by success! You’re going to have to hire an editorial assistant to answer all these comments!


Nathalie November 7, 2007 at 2:02 am

Everything in Italy is amazing (in a wonderful or atrocious way – sometimes both) .


terrybain November 7, 2007 at 2:13 am

Rats. I’m guessing this means I’m not your hero anymore. I’m also guessing that if VistaPages decides to go down, we don’t see anything on LlitPark.

However… good news! Just because VistaPages goes down (I hope it doesn’t do that anymore) doesn’t mean we can’t all come to Disqus and chatter like we don’t even care. In fact, Sue, this might be a place for just such an announcement, and I’d be happy to make just such an announcement in case it happens again. Which I hope it won’t.

Did I mention that I hope it won’t?


troutbum70 November 7, 2007 at 7:42 am

My crazy hotel caught fire. I was outside for about 45 min at 3:30 in the morning. Some fool caught his bed on fire…..


SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:22 am

What I meant to include in my reply yesterday is, wow, your picture is really handsome. Usually you look like a monkey.


SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:23 am

Are you serious? Michael, I’m glad you’re all right.


SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:24 am

I need to go to Italy. My dad goes there every year to take cooking classes. He just got back, and over Thanksgiving, I’ll get to try out all the new recipes he learned.


SusanHenderson November 7, 2007 at 10:25 am

You are so my hero. Are you kidding?


Joe November 7, 2007 at 11:23 am

Why thank you! I think I’m blushing. I’m only a monkey on MySpace because I don’t want those nuts to know what I look like. I feel much safer with the nuts around Lit Park who are far more charming. Now I’m headed over to todays discussion.


ErikaRae November 7, 2007 at 5:14 pm

I’ll do better than that – who doesn’t love a limerick?

There once lived a girl with her ma
They lived on an island of straw
One night she lit up to smoke
And after one toke
The girl had to live with her pa.

Er…stay in school.


troutbum70 November 7, 2007 at 6:40 pm

It was only the one room. But a Pain in the neck.


Gail Siegel November 7, 2007 at 9:06 pm

I was staying at my Lubavitcher friend’s house and wasn’t allowed to turn on the lights, let alone make phone calls!

Then, on Sunday — well, by then my phone was dead!!!


Gail Siegel November 7, 2007 at 9:08 pm

I was staying at my Lubavitcher friend’s in Crown Heights, and I wasn’t allowed to turn on a light, let alone make a phone call! Then, by Sunday, my phone was dead!!!! (Didn’t bring a charger.)

Missed you. Didn’t get to call you OR MY COUSIN AMY. Sigh.


Shelley November 8, 2007 at 2:36 am

My Italian friend Emilio was just in town. I always have strange past life, witchy dreams when we visit.
My favorite Roman dish is bacalla ravioli in chickpea sauce.
Ms. Henderson, will you give us an Italian recipe report after Thanksgiving?


Shelley November 8, 2007 at 2:49 am

Nathalie, I now realize you live in Roma. Do you have a favorite Roman/Italian dish?


Nathalie November 8, 2007 at 3:00 am

Difficult question.
I like all food and the dishes change so much from one region to the other…
I do love vegetables though and here we get plenty (even some I’d never seen before), my favourite being the tiny artichokes (nothing like the huge globe artichokes we get in the north of France).
In Roma there is actually something fabulous done with artichokes, which is an old Jewish recipe: Carciofo alla Giudea (an artichoke which is cleverly cut through, flattened a bit and fried in olive oil for a long time). Despite it being fried this starter is not fat (there is no batter on it to retain oil) but crispy and the flavours of the vegetable are enhanced.


SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:47 pm

Better a pain than tragic.


SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:49 pm

I would like to have a chef. And I want my chef to make these kinds of things for me and tell me to stay out of the kitchen.


SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Will do.


SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:51 pm

You should have stayed with me. We’d have had a fire and a bottle of wine. And Mr. H would play flamenco guitar.

Next time….


SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 1:52 pm



David_Niall_Wilson November 8, 2007 at 2:19 pm

But Susan dear, BOTH were cheap.


SusanHenderson November 8, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Just as long as my coffee TASTES cheap.


Nathalie November 8, 2007 at 2:34 pm

Knowing what I know of myself today, if I had to go back and start studies anew I would also choose cooking over law.


troutbum70 November 8, 2007 at 9:58 pm

You got that right. I’ve avoided snakebite and fire this week. What else could happen? Things come in threes so I’m watching over my shoulder………


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