I am staying at a small hotel which is a one hour walk or a half hour train ride from the book fair. The first two days the meetings are at the Grand hotel– the Hessicher Hof which is directly across from the book fair. Anybody who is anybody stays there so all the meetings are in the lobby. Needless to stay it costs 15 times more than my hotel, but it has a sauna, hot baths a wonderful bar and a restaurant and is a completely civilized way to attend the book fair. My hotel lacks all of these amenities, but it has a bed and coffee in the morning. Even a hard boiled egg which I ate in the morning room while the maids watched a show about makeovers and the receptionist came in and apologized and told me that I could ask them to change the channel, but I didn’t. I was interested in the idea of a makeover. I want one.
My first day of meetings went easily enough because I knew who I was meeting but the second day, I didn’t. I kept walking up to bother people until someone said, I’m not her but I know her and took me over to make an introduction. The German publisher I was meeting was talking with another American publisher who I know, the editor of The Other Press, Judith. It’s odd that now I’ve been coming here enough that I run into people I know. I’ve seen agents and editors who I know although it isn’t quite like AWP where I feel like I’m related to everyone.
It’s fall here and the October apples are very good. I love the German fall apples, so crisp and tasting like Beethoven’s Ninth. Last night I got takeout Thai food for dinner which was not as good as real Thai food but a great deal better than nothing. I very much wish that I were in Frankfurt with Mark. It’s weird not to be able to email, text or phone. It feels lonely.
Frankfurt Book Fair has always been in October but it used to overlap with the Jewish holidays. Since many of the people who work in publishing are Jewish, they protested this years ago, and the date of the book fair was changed. The book fair brings millions of dollars to the city in food and drink revenues alone. It’s weird how you can identify Americans immediately. American men have American haircuts. Germans have German haircuts and German clothing. Women from here and there have black boots as do I. They are exhausting to walk in all day but one does one’s best.
I’m already so tired but hopefully in a day or two I will recover, right now I am still upside down so that I still feel like the edges of sleep are trying to push at me every minute and last night I was up at 2 am wide awake watching Al Jazeera and reading manuscripts. The glow of the television told me about Ebola in Spain, cricket in South America, Syrian rebels, Sudanese refugees and problems in Kosovo while I lay sprawled in piles of German cotton reading a novel about sunken villages and exploding dams.