I’m in the middle of four days of reading The New Christians aloud for Audible.com. (Yes, I’m just as surprised as you are that they’re interested in my book.) And, I’ve got to say, it’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. I’m not kidding.
I sit in a small closet with a book in my lap and an exorbitantly expensive microphone hanging over my head. And I read. And Ameen (owner of Mothlab) stops me.
He stops me if I go too fast or too slow, if I read too loudly or too quietly. He stops me if my stomach growls or my pants swish together. Or — and this is the main reason — if I get a word wrong or if there’s a hitch in my voice or anything like that.
I was there for six hours yesterday, and we got to page 51. We’re averaging about 10 pages per hour.
It’s not a short flight from San Francisco to Sydney – about 14 hours. But I did get to watch Lawrence of Arabia, one of my all-time favorite films. Then I watched And When Did You Last See Your Father?. I wept at the end of that one, which is my wont on flights. In fact, I’ve cried more on airplanes than anywhere else.
It wasn’t that big of a deal on the Qantas flight to Sydney, since it was dark and no one was seated next to me. The flight from MSP to SFO was a different story. Bright as day and seated between two guys about my age reading business magazines, I read the last two chapters of Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul and wept like a baby. That is a beautiful book of faith found, lost, and refound, written by Tony Hendra (who played Ian Faith in This Is Spinal Tap). I highly recommend it.
I arrived in Sydney at 6am and was retrieved at the airport by a long-time friend, Fuzz Kitto. I’m staying with Fuzz and Carolyn in Sydney, and their house is a bustle of activity with several young women living there now. The vibe there reminds me of Tom and Christine Sine’s Mustard Seed House in Seattle. The Kittos, of course, know the Sines and just about everyone else I know around the globe.
Since I refuse to use neck pillows, I didn’t sleep much on the plane and got pretty tired as the day wore on. I spoke at a “book launch” for The New Christians at noon, then had a great time on a radio show for the Australian Broadcasting Network that will be aired on Sunday night. In between, Carolyn took me to Coogee Beach for a Chardonnay. That evening, we met with a dozen emergent church types for an incredible meal cooked by Fuzz that included the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever tasted.
I fell asleep in Carolyn’s car on the way back to the Kittos, and crashed hard when I saw the bed.
All in all, a great first day with many good connections. And Sydney is a breathtaking city.