Pleasant Encounters: A Great Book Club Session on What Survives

Pleasant Encounters: A Great Book Club Session on What Survives
Due to the persistence of a neighbor I had never really met, Ruth Ives (front left in purple), I was invited to a “meet the author” at the Placitas Library book club’s meetings. It was Ruth’s turn to select a book, and I had just met Geri Verble at the Hoot Gallery (see her fabulous jewelry there) where she purchased my novel, What Survives. Geri told Ruth that if she chose my book, I lived right in the neighborhood and probably would agree to come to answer questions.

What a smart and lovely group of women! I enjoyed this event immensely. And I did get to meet and speak with Ruth at my Bookworks’ reading for my newest book, Myopia, a memoir, in October. Book Clubs, like most other clubs, can be as stimulating as they can be dull. This one is stellar. Everyone had read the book and thought about it. They were as prepared with questions and comments as I imagine my own book club would be.

Of course, when it comes to folks asking me about the current situation in Turkey, which is where What Survives is set, I don’t have answers, only opinions. And my opinions are about as valid as anyone else’s who follows the news there. I have great sadness at not being able to travel there now, and the future for travel to Turkey is bleak. I am much too old to be a hostage anywhere. To even have to consider such a possible outcome is unthinkable because I have found the Turkish people to be the most hospitable people I have encountered. Yet, I doubt jail or hostage facilities would equal my liberated experiences there.

My fascination with Turkey

But it is the very tumult of Turkey that has kept me interested in its history, as well as the character of its people. (See “Why I Write About Turkey” and my photo gallery, as as other blog posts about my travels to Turkey.) I clearly admit to being no expert on Turkey or its people. I am a mere writer of fiction. And there is so much constant change there that it must be hard for even the Turks to keep pace.

During my first visit there in 1998, prior to the current president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the volatility of the economy on a daily basis took on the outline of a tall and jagged mountain range. Economics improved greatly after the first election of Erdogan, only to fall apart again as his policies imprisoned so many people and caused so many others to flee the country. Fearing for ones’ lives does not tend to produce a healthy economy. We need to think about that here in the United States as an abject lesson others are learning (or not) the hard way.

Every day I wake up and feel gratitude for the life I am able to live here in New Mexico. People here are friendly and kind, and although there are always exceptions to any rule, this is a good place to be. But just as any book club worth its salt takes work, so does our way of life and our democracy. Hopefully, we can keep it going at least as well as the Placitas Book Club I was fortunate enough to attend. Thank you, ladies, for having me, and thanks to Susan Harper for the photographs.

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