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Thisbe Nissen: Tour Diary

Preliminaries - Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3 - Day 4 - Day 5 - Day 6 -
Day 7 - Day 8 - Day 9 - Day 10 - Day 11 -Day 12 - Day 13 - Day 14 - Day 15 -
Day 16 - Day 17 - Day 18 - Day 19 - Day 20 - Day 21 - Day 22 -
Day 23 - Day 24 - Day 25 - Day 26 - Day 27 - Day 28 - Day 29 - Home Diary - July 25 - July 26

Day 15: Iowa City

Chris drops Matt at the airport on his way to the herb farm for his last day of work before our "vacation," ie, the western leg of the book tour. Emma (I hope) catches a shuttle a few hours later. I can't remember what plans we've made the night before. Have we agreed that I'm driving her to the airport, or is she being picked up by a shuttle? I go by her hotel just to make sure. No Emma. I go inside and they tell me she's already left on a shuttle. Good. So I zip myself off to the airport to return the rental car and poke around to see if I can find her. It's noon and her flight doesn't leave till 1:40, but she's not in the coffee ship of the newsstand, and if you've ever been to the Cedar Rapids airport you'll know that that's all there is. Maybe she's gone to the gate? But what if no one has picked her up! I check the shuttle place; have they picked up and Emma Richler from the Sheraton today? They sure haven't. No such name on the schedule. I call in and check my phone messages at home. Nothing. I have moments of panic. Has she been kidnapped? Fallen in a ditch on her way to the co-op for some good bread and snacks for the flight back to London? I try to remain calm. I figure she's had a privately arranged car get her at the hotel and bring her here. Maybe she's at the gate? She was very nervous about making her connection inn Chicago and getting back to England on schedule. Could someone please just let me know that she did in fact get home ok. Thanks.

I shuttle back into Iowa City, chatting with a retired archeology professor who's been in Greece for a month. We discuss flooded basements and weedy gardens and I feel almost human again after my breakdown last night. It;s a beautiful day and I spend the rest of it in my garden with is in fact very weedy, but also plentiful. I cut chard and kale and pull a few baby beets and cook them all up. I do a phone interview for beatrice.com with Ron who is so nice. Then Sarah drops by just as my mood is starting to turn despairing again and she takes me out for ice cream and we sit on her wonderful porch licking our cones, talking for a couple hours until it gets to buggy and cool to stay. She says every right thing there is and reminds me of what it is I care about in the world, and what matters, and we talk about how to get through the rest of this, how to make it until I have my life back again, how to deal with the barrage of judgement which I'm so absurdly sensitive to, how to try and not feel so beaten down by it. How to think about the garden and Iowa and music and friends and the good parts of writing that have to do with communicating and aren't about sales numbers and reviewers opinions and constant comparison to everyone else around me. I tell her that all this is making me feel like the teenager in New York who couldn't cope with anything, who was so bombarded with pressure and competition and everything else that made up that world that I had to withdraw completely. I talk to her about how scared I feel to be in this kind of mindset again, a place I haven't been in a few years, a place I never ever wanted to go back to. And she says all all all the right things. She reminds me of who I am am, of what I believe in. I love her. What an amazing woman. May everyone have someone as wonderful as Sarah Townsend in their life.