Where Should I Go?

Sharon May 28th, 2008

So have I mentioned I have a book coming out soon ;-) ?  A lot of people have asked me where they can buy it.  I will be putting up information about ordering autographed copies (while supplies last) directly from me shortly.  Otherwise, New Society is offering a discount coupon that will allow you to pre-order it at a lower price.  I’ll post a link for that as well, and no, I won’t be offended if you need to husband your resources and order it more cheaply than I can offer it ;-) .  In fact, I’m also all for people getting books from their libraries – although I suppose I shouldn’t say so.

One of the things I’m supposed to do is help promote said book.  And I’m getting a ton of requests by email to do talks and various things – very exciting.  That means going places and giving talks, teaching classes and doing readings from _Depletion and Abundance_.  This is a double-edged sword for me – I love teaching, I love meeting people, I love talking to them.  That part is absolutely a blast.  The hard part is finding the time to be away from home, and finding the balance I need between the environmental consequences of this and the potential benefits of raising awareness and, well, making a living.

We are getting to the time at which I have to start figuring out where I’m going, and when, so that we can plan our lives for the coming year.  This gets complicated for a host of reasons.  #1 is that while I don’t rule out flying, I won’t fly if I can get there by some more environmentally friendly method, like a big carpool or a train.  That means, no matter how cool it would have been to actually go to the big Peak Oil Conference in Michigan this weekend, there was no way I could, because I would have had to fly (and because the book was due this weekend) since I can’t be away from my garden in early June for more than a day or to.  That’s why I’m sending video and calling in, which is almost but not quite as much fun.

On the other hand, when I was invited to Pakistan to talk about biofuels and their ties to food systems this spring, had it been possible for me to go, I would have flown, since the trains from Albany to Pakistan are extremely poor and no one seemed to want to pay for the Queen Mary to take me ;-) .  I’m told that luxury cruise liners aren’t carbon negative anyway – pity.  Again, if you want me to fly somewhere, I’d have to really believe that there’s a good reason for it, and that it will help more people than the carbon hinders.  So far, I haven’t quite found the justification, no matter how badly I really did want to see Islamabad.  You can try and persuade me, though ;-) .  Note, I don’t claim perfect moral purity here, either.  You will have better luck getting me to spend a lot of energy going somewhere I really want to go (say, Hokkaido) than somewhere I’m not at all interested in, like, say, Disneyworld.

There are other complexities.  If I am going to spend three days crammed into a train bunk the size of a coffin, crossing the country, I am going to do all of my visits to a given area while I’m there.  My husband and children probably would prefer that I didn’t disappear for a week or more than once or twice a year.   So planning a trip involves trying to coordinate a host of other bookstore stops and other visits.  It also involves me planning the economics of the issue – doing a reading somewhere I’m going to be anyway is no big deal, but filthy lucre does come into the issue if there’s a long trip, and an extended period not doing other things that keep the family fed.  I get requests to volunteer my time, and I try as often as I can to say yes – but I can’t only do volunteer work, much as I’d like to ;-) – again, I’m trying for some balance.  So generally, if you’d like me to read and I’m going to be there anyway or nearby, no worries, if you want an extended chunk of my time for something big, we’d have to talk.

 I’m getting a lot of emails right now from various people inviting me to various thingies, and my impulse is to say yes to everyone, but realistically, that’s not going to be totally feasible.  So even though I know I’m presuming a lot to assume y’all want to meet me,  I thought I would post a broad sense of my itinerary here, and if you want to put in dibs for me to come by during one of those trips, send me an email (I can’t swear I’ll respond before the book is done).  I’ll also put the information on my appearances page once I have my life back in a few days.  I’ll also be updating the information about classes, and taking registrations for the ones I plan to do in July and August.  Look for it in a week or so.

Anyway, broad outlines of where I’m thinking of going when in the Fall:

Boston, probably in late September, working around the Jewish holidays.  Since I’ve got family there and it isn’t very far, this is one is pretty flexible.  Southern ME and NH would be easy from there too, since my Mom is up on the North Shore.

New York City: I’m going to be there very briefly for a panel in July, but am planning a more extended book promotion visit around Halloween.  Again, I’ve got family here, and the train ride is only 2 1/2 hours, so I can do this one more than once if necessary.  But figure Halloween.

Washington DC and possibly points in the Southeast - Either the week between Christmas and New Year or right after the New Year.  We’ve got family there, and assuming that the economy doesn’t tank, we might take the train down en famille, and then if there was a desire for my presence, I could go further into the Southeast by train.  I’ve already got one invite, but the date is a bit up for grabs.

Then There’s the Really Long Train Trip – I’m still mulling over when to take it, but I’ve got a tentative invite to go to Edmonton in January (isn’t that where everyone wants to go in January? ;-) ).  Mid-January is good because of childcare issues – DH is still off university then.  So what I would probably do is go across the US, stop somewhere in the middleish if time allows, cross to CA or Seattle, visit my Dad in Bellingham, WA, go north to Vancouver, and then to Edmonton.  I could, perhaps go back across the Canadian Prairies to Toronto, I’m told.  So if you live somewhere on this route, it is possible (not at all definite) that I might be coming to a whistle stop near you.

 Cheers,

 Sharon

40 Responses to “Where Should I Go?”

  1. Sarah says:

    Hey, cool, that’s about when our Train Trip of Doom is planned for! Maybe we’ll be on the same train for part of it. I don’t suppose you play Settlers?

  2. Joel Sanda says:

    Why not go online, too? I usually have no problem going to author signings where I live in Denver – the mass transit here is quite nice and I enjoy riding my bike as well. If I do drive it’s ferrying two or three other people as well, so we carpool.

    But you could do some author talks online, couldn’t you? I’ve never done a talk online, but I’ve participated in several as an audience member and they were a nice change to going to a bookstore.

  3. Rosa says:

    If you’re taking the train to Seattle, you’ll probably get routed through Minneapolis. We have several indy book stores (one each of feminist, socialist, and anarchist, for a start) and I have a spare room on mass transit, if you don’t mind cats.

  4. Megan says:

    ‘Hamsterdance!

    We’ll have to start pestering Village Books for an event while you’re in town. :)

  5. Sharon says:

    Joel, the problem is that I live in the super-boonies, and have dial-up, so I can’t do most online stuff. Most cell phone services won’t work where I live, and the one that supposedly does costs an arm and a leg $80 a month, a cost I just can’t justify right now. So probably not, unless I could do them at the University or something. Not a bad thought, though.

    Sharon

  6. Sharon says:

    I don’t know what settlers is, Sarah. But if we’re on the train together, I hope you’ll teach me!

    Sharon

  7. AnnaMarie says:

    IRRC your husband is a professor? Maybe there’s some way to do video feed from his place of employment. You could get students to run it and have a feed to a particular bookstore/theatre and do a two way discussion.

    Just a thought from a total techno-dweeb and I have *no* idea of this sort of thing is even feasible.

  8. Ailsa Ek says:

    Boston, probably in late September, working around the Jewish holidays.

    W000000000t! So long as it’s not a Shabbos appearance, I’m there! Hey, maybe you could do a reading/signing in Brookline? Has the Barnes & Noble there asked you? (Hope, hope)

  9. Deb G says:

    It’s pretty crazy that you have family in Bellingham. It really is a small world….

  10. Joe P says:

    Washington DC area has lots of venues, and I’d be eager to make it to any of them. Probably the most prestigious is Politics & Prose; C-SPAN records a number of the author talks they host for BookTV, and the store is a local institution. They have a staffed children’s section in the level below where the speakers present, and I’ve seen a few authors who leave their kids down their for the hour or so of their talks. The owners, Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade were listed among the 100 most influential Washingtonaians, as well. There’s also Olsson’s, a local independent with a few locations. All of the above are transit accessible, though P&P is less convenient than O’s. That said, the walk to one of the Metro stations from P&P passes by a high school straight out of Charles Dickens.

    Depending on how much you want to play up the fact you use jewishfarmer as a handle, the historic synagogue at 6th & I St is another possibility. They’ve hosted a number of authors, including Jhumpa Lahiri, soon will host Salmon Rushdie, and the woman who wrote “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles” (the one I went to). The Washington Ethical Society is hosting Paul Roberts, the author of “The End of Oil,” for his new book, “The End of Food,” next month, you could try them. PETA and pro-vegetarian groups might help you find a venue. The National Botanic Garden hosts gardening speakers and educational events, and the Smithsonian American History museum has or had an exhibit on Victory Gardens right outside their cafeteria. The Smithsonian also has the advantage of only closing for Christmas Day. There’s also the National Arboretum, but it is quite inconvenient to transit. The Philosphoical Society also hosts lectures, but they tend to be more scientific and you might not be credentialed enough to interest them. The National Building Museum is a fantastic site, and they host evening and midday lectures; you’d probably have to play up the tear-out-your lawn or let’s reconfigure suburbia to interest them, but it’s worth visiting regardless. The USDA headquarters building might have an auditorium, but their farmer’s market is closed in the winter. I’d suggest you try finding whoever coordinates it and asking them for additional suggestions. Lastly, there’s the chance the Library of Congress might be willing to host, as I think they run an oral history project of WW2 that has included home front narratives.

    In addition to your own congressman and senators, you might also try the office of Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (the House Peak Oil Caucus founder). Since you’re not a constituent of his (his district is western Maryland), but he is a farmer, be sure to speak to a staff member of his who covers energy issues, and give a good summary of your book, if you do. The only other Representatives I’d suggest would be Dennis Cardoza and Kirsten Gillibrand, based on the subcommitte assignments in the House commitee on Agriculture. Mostly, if you get their offices, I suggest you ask their staff for some local names in the food justice/food access lobby. IIRC, Charlie Rangel and Rahm Emmanuel have also mentioned food access in sound bites I’ve seen, so you could ask their staff for names that might be able to help. For a similar reason, I’d also suggest you contact the majority staff on the House Select Comittee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. On the Senate side, all I can remember is that Amy Kobuchar, of Minnesota, was at the hearing on bees and CCD. Based on comittee memberships, I’d also guess that your Schumer’s office will be more helpful than Clinton’s, but you could try both, since you live in NY.

  11. Sarah says:

    Settlers of Catan is a marvelous German board game about controlling territory on an island. You get to build villages entirely out of sheep. :-)

    I will definitely watch out for upcoming appearances by you places near Boston!

  12. What you need is a spare pair!

    I’ll keep the bed warmer toasty for you. Plus, I work right next door to King Street Center, so you have no excuses.

  13. I meant, King Street Station. Yeesh.

  14. Cam says:

    Huh! How is it that so many of us have ties to Bellingham? My word.

  15. Edmonton!!! NO way!! How cool! That means I get to see you live and in person! Wow I’m excited. :)

    If you need long johns, warm boots, directions, place to stay, let me know – I’m here! :)

    Send details when you have ‘em!

  16. Kerr says:

    If you end up coming out to the San Franciscoey region I’d love the chance to meet you. There’s a lot of permaculture resources here, of course, but I think most of the people who live in the city still think they can live an Ikea lifestyle indefinitely.

    If you’d like to speak to some Renewal Jews here in Berkeley (and people who aren’t Jews but will hear about it and come anyway) I’m your connection; I can probably arrange a good venue and receptive crowd, and probably even a place to stay if you’re flexible.

  17. Lisa Z says:

    Joe P, you make me miss D.C.! I’ve visited so many times, and lived there for one semester of Seminary, studying through the Theological Consortium. But there’s so much there! So much going on…

    I side with Rosa in trying to get you to come to Mpls. I know you’d find a lot of people interested in your topic here in Minnesota. Heck, Garrison Keillor owns an independent bookstore in St. Paul and he writes/speaks so nostalgically about small farms and big backyard gardens that I bet he’d be interested in having you come to his store. The Twin Cities are very progressive and open-minded. I know I’d make the hour drive to come, and I’d promote it like crazy to others! (I’m good at that.)

    I also know someone in Edmonton, so I’ll be sure and tell him you’re coming. Can’t wait to see the final schedule, and I do hope you include us in the very most “middleish” section of the country.

    Lisa in MN

  18. Sharon says:

    Lisa, forgive me for joking about the middle ;-) . I’m also sort of hoping that Community Solutions will a. do its conference and b. invite me back again and that I’ll have an excuse this fall to do a wholly “middle” part ;-) .

    Sharon

  19. Gretchen says:

    A bit OT, but, after I booked train tickets for all of us to come to the cape this summer, a friend told me that she’d done a study in grad school and found that a fully loaded car is actually slightly less carbon-spewing than taking the train; i.e. if I were going by myself the train would definitely be the better option, but since there are 5 of us it comes out pretty much even. My brief googling turned up nothing to support or refute–most everything seems to be focused on the single traveler. Anyway, thought I’d throw it out there re: your family trip and see if you have any insight–I’m now a bit conflicted (and scared) about our grand train adventure (in coach, since the sleepers were way too expensive). And if you make it down this far, we’d love to see you!

  20. Sharon says:

    Gretchen, Pat Murphy has done the same research, and essentially came to the same conclusion they are very similar. So we might drive down too – although I think the kids would enjoy the train more, and I’m on something of a quest to force Amtrak to be more family friendly ;-) .

    Sharon

  21. Shira says:

    Sharon,

    We ‘hamsters can get you a wider audience than the normal couple of dozen people for a book talk at Village Books, the usual venue for visiting authors. There is good energy in Bellingham for local food, business, etc. We could certainly use some conciousness raising in the food not lawns department, as the worship of grass clipping cultivation is still rampant. My, uh, formal economy connections are excellent. We can get you a good audience, publicity, whatnot.

    Shira

  22. Laurie says:

    Sharon,
    Your always welcome to crash with us whenever you might be passing through and we’re on a train line.
    Laurie

  23. Shira says:

    Megan, Ooops, not trying to sound like a jerk here, you are absolutely correct, Village Books is the place to start. I’m thinking that there is considerable potential to cross-connect and get Sharon a wider audience. Elliot Coleman was standing room only at the Radio Museum.

    Shira

  24. Megan says:

    Shira, no worries! I absolutely agree that she could pack whatever venue she wants here and have people aplenty to help do it! Mt Baker Theater, lets get the party started. hehe. I was just thinking that she might also want to sell some books. :)

  25. Sharon says:

    Wow, folks, this is starting to sound like a lot of fun!!! Ok, I’m officially excited.

    Sharon

  26. Theresa says:

    Oh my goodness Sharon, are you really coming to Edmonton! Wow Wow! I had to blink and clear my eyes and re-read your itinerary, but it does seem to say Edmonton in January! I will so be there, wherever in Edmonton you will be speaking. And you can stay with me and my husband if you need a place – we’re just north of Edmonton by about a half hour. No obligation though of course, just offering!! I know you will be super busy!

  27. Carlin says:

    Ooh! I’m in Edmonton too! January’s not so bad here most of the time. It’s cold, but it’s a dry cold ;-)

  28. tasterspoon says:

    I think you ought to try to get on the Daily Show or Colbert while in New York. Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson has mentioned that his book sales go through the roof every time he appears on either of those shows. Maybe No Impact Man would have an in with them – that’s the first place I ever learned of his effort.

    I also bet you’d be very popular on David Krasne’s Forum show here in the SF Bay Area. You could definitely call in to that. Starting at 9 am each weekday he does one hour on a public issue, then one hour on a book, author or piece of literature. You’d fit in to either.

    If you come to Cali, I have a guest room here in Mountain View…we’re not all that green, relatively speaking, but send me an e-mail if you need it.

    I also wish you could/would go to Islamabad. There’s always the argument that it’s just an incremental cost to add you to a flight that’s already going. I know it’s not a great argument, but I just feel you could do a lot of good, acquire and share a lot of practical information that communicates to another part of the world that not all of America has its head in the sand. The ‘incremental cost’ argument is more likely to favor you, I guess, if you were to get a last-minute cheapo ticket, but then it’s hard to plan.

  29. Boston sounds good I can even take public transport :) . A busy farmer Beth

  30. Segwyne says:

    Maybe you could swing by Keene, NH on your way to or from Boston. I will talk to my local bookstore tomorrow about inviting you. It is called the Toadstool Bookshop. I would love to meet you.

  31. Cathy says:

    Sharon, I’m so sorry to learn that you will not be “in person” at the “Local Future Sustainability Conference”/ “Big Peak Oil Conference” in Grand Rapids this Sunday. I was really looking forward to meeting you in person — but I will be there for the call-in. Maybe next year?

  32. annette says:

    Unfortunately, I will be back in Mexico by mid-January (where we live on our sailboat at least half of the year), but I know you will be very popular in Seattle. Elliott Bay Book Co. comes immediately to mind, and if you were to come to Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, I know you would get an enthusiastic audience from my former cohousing community there, Winslow Cohousing, and other folks (besides my immediate neighbors) who work at YES! magazine (they are 2 blocks from Winslow Cohousing). Wish I could be there – if you should decide to come in December or earlier, I definitely would!

  33. Joanna says:

    Pleeeeeeeeeeeease come to Bellingham!!!

    There are a lot of aware people here and many just waking up to what the near future holds. I work for the university library and know quite a few people that would definitely come see you, buy books, and hopefully integrate some of your work into their classes.

  34. Sharon says:

    Trust me, if I can make it to Bellingham, I will. I’ve never been, and my Dad has been there 5 years. He comes out to visit us 1-2 times a year, but I’m worried I won’t get to see him much anymore, as air travel starts to decline. So “getting to Bellingham” is quite high on my agenda!

    Tasterspoon, I would have loved to go to Islamabad, but it wasn’t even an option, unfortunately, because of the timing. I’ve been a lot of places, but Pakistan is not one of them, and it is a place I long to visit – lots of friends from there.

    You folks are really wonderful and helpful – as my plans start sorting out, I’m hoping to do a lot of this.

    Sharon

  35. Chuck says:

    We’d welcome you in Bellingham. In off-site venues we’ve had 1500 folks for David Suzuki & well more than 1000 for Barbara Kingsolver. Chuck @ Village Books

  36. Correne says:

    EDMONTON??? I almost fell off the couch! I live in Edmonton! Reading the other replies, I can’t believe how many others live in Edmonton, too. What a small world.

    Anyway, I will definitely come and see you, and probably bring a small army of fellow homeschoolers along with me. Hurray!

    By the way, of course you’d want to come in January. At any other time of the year, it’s quite ordinary here. To experience the most spectacularly cold weather, you have to come in January, usually the end of January, in my experience.

  37. Sharon says:

    I’m glad I’m going to be there at just the right time of year then! How perfect!

    Seriously, I live in upstate NY – Cold’s no big deal ;-) .

    Sharon

  38. Lori says:

    So, Anchorage Alaska is *only* 1940 miles away from Edmonton, and I hear the Alcan is driveable even in the winter, unless its actively blizzarding. Want to take a short detour? LOL. Seriously, this sounds like it will be great fun, and I hope you enjoy the travelling.

    Lori

  39. Shasha says:

    Sharon, we are “somewhere in the middle.” Let me know where the middle might be. :)

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