When writing…

When writing you constantly doubt what you’re doing, you fear everything you produce is drivel, you despair, you want to throw the whole shebang out of the window and get an ordinary, decent paying job. Still, you plod on. And then something comes through the wires that picks up your spirits immensly, that sort of makes you REALLY want to go on, that makes you realize that someone out there, actually likes what you’re doing. Yesterday I received this e-mail:

Hello Jeroen,
I am in Gambia at the moment…I was lucky that the ferry was running promptly, and I’ve just traded in your book to the Timbuctoo bookstore for a third off the next book I picked up. I’m currently on my way to Cape Town from Malaga, Spain, and have so far been following a similar route but by public transport.
I can’t remember where I bought your book. Probably at a bookstore in a train station in the US, but maybe I ordered it from Amazon. I meant to read it for ages, and then when I was packing up for my trip around the world (tenth anniversary of the first time), I threw it in my bag as the only actual paper book. The rest are on my Kindle, which is a wonderful invention but a real pain for maps in the Lonely Planet. I read your book in the horrible back crunched-up corner of a Peugeot Sept-Place from Dakar to Banjul yesterday.
I enjoyed your book immensely! It was well-written and an absolute pleasure to read. The writing was smooth and paced well, and had just the right amount of humor. I liked the little breaks tracing the history of your Mercedes.
Anyway, I’m not only writing to say I enjoyed your book, but also because I thought you’d appreciate knowing that it’s found its way to a Gambian bookstore. Of course, nothing is ever thrown away in Africa, except for plastic bags (ugh), but I’m sure you appreciate that your book will be traveling much as your Mercedes did.
Marie Javins
“Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik” Seal Press, 2006.

Now, how cool is that? Reading My Mercedes is not for sale in the back of a Peugeot on the way to Banjul (where one of my previous Mercedeses could still be residing) and my book (temporarily, I hope) ending up in a Gambian bookstore!

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