trip report

May 2, 2011

I had a really fun time at the Festival of Books, even if I only got to spend a few hours there.  The place — it was total book and reader nirvana.  Imagine hundreds and hundreds of booths spread over the USC campus, all of them filled with publishers, authors, booksellers, comic book publishers, dealers of every kind.  And a half dozen stages, hosting everything from poetry readings, panels of YA authors, and Barbara Eden talking about her new memoir.  I missed Barbara Eden because my signing was at the same time, but I did catch Rick Springfield, who was awesome.  (During the Q&A, some kid asked, “Did you ever get to date Jesse’s girl?”  Rick looked at him, smirked, and said, “There’s one in every crowd, isn’t there?”)  My favorite gift-book publisher was having a 30% off sale, and I’m afraid I committed some shopping.  Not so much that I couldn’t carry it all back on the plane with me, thank goodness.

Speaking of which, the trip home got a little surreal.  As soon the plane landed in Denver and people switched on their phones, the murmuring started.  Variations of “They got him.”  and “Bin Laden.”  All the people with smart phones were getting texts, tweets, e-blasts from CNN, what have you.  I’ve never been out and about in a public space when a big news story hit — I’ve always been at home, and gotten a phone call or a knock on the bedroom door to let me know that something was happening.  This was a strange explosion of consciousness — everyone on the plane suddenly knew immediately that something had happened.  In the airport, I called my mom to let her know I’d landed, and she said, “Did you hear?”  Well, I’d heard something.  No details.  As I said, surreal — I was plugged into this cloud of common knowledge, but only part way.  She filled me in.  BBC World Service on the radio did the rest on my drive home.

I have to get this off my chest:  I’m a little appalled at the celebrations as shown on the news.  This isn’t a hockey game.  Satisfaction at getting the job done is one thing.  But a party?  I don’t get it.  This is war, and this strike — by all accounts textbook and professional and highly successful — had a high cumulative cost, in nearly a decade of battles waged (literal and figurative) and lives lost.  And it isn’t over yet.  Of course this is a significant event.  Of course it needed to be done.  But I don’t feel like throwing a party.  Mostly, what I’m feeling is a huge amount of respect for US Special Forces.  Those guys are pros, and if I celebrate anything, it’s them, in recognition of all the training and hardship they go through so they can do jobs like this.  Thanks, guys.

13 Responses to “trip report”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Well put regarding Bin Ladin, Carrie.

  2. Miss Bliss Says:

    Glad you had a good trip and a good time at the Book Festival.

    Also…totally agree with you about the whole Bin Laden thing. We can only hope with every fiber of our being that this will move us forward in bringing more of our service people home.

  3. Kristian Says:

    Re: Celebration

    We celebrate victories, and even respect the defeated at the same time. It’s not like we put his head on a pike in the White House lawn or paraded his dead body in the media like the media has consistently fought to do with America’s dead @ Dover (though, fortunately with the democrats in charge, that obnoxiousness has declined).

    He was simply unapologetic enemies of ours, who continued to wage war, and whose actions (and our reactions) have greatly affected our lives. Since you were traveling through airports, you have just endured some of the evil he planted. Our lives are poorer that his life happened.

  4. carriev Says:

    If I had any hope that some of the evil re: airports would go away because of this, I might be happier.

    I understand the catharsis. But this isn’t over.

  5. Amanda Says:

    I think the majority of Americans know it isn’t over, that there will be retaliations coming, but for now everyone is just filled with relief that the man is dead. Dead, gone, and no more hateful words will be spewed from his mouth. That we’ve kept our promise to our dead and fallen.

    Our President made a tough call in Pakistan, and our Special Forces should be appauled for what they’ve accomplished. But the truth is, if the US doesn’t act now, while Osama’s people are a bit scattered from his death, we’ll be where we were before his death.

  6. Amanda Says:

    That should be APPLAUDED!!!!!!!!! NOT appauled!

  7. Benjamin Says:

    They had to make a big deal out of it since the public has been following along with all the times they almost got him. That and he has been in the media too much for the newsgroups to let him die and just go on.

  8. Re WIlliams Says:

    Thank you. I hope you don’t mind me sharing part of your blog post with my English classes. Up to now the news stations only seem to interview people who believe it’s finished now. Hopefully tomorrow it’ll get better and coverage will be more balanced.

  9. Jacqie Says:

    I’m with you, Carrie. We hated seeing the appalling celebrations in parts of the Muslim world after 9/11. I don’t think these celebrations look too much different. Yes, he needed to die. But there sure is a lot of vindictive glee about it. Justice is great- this shouldn’t be about petty in-your-face-ness.

  10. Jakk Says:

    I only wish to state that i agree about the celebrations. When the anti-US celebrations in the middle east happened after 9/11, the cheering over the innocent victims who died, was a disturbing sight. Bin Laden deserved to pay for his crimes, and his victims have some sense of justice, but to celebrate it as it was some holiday is obscene. It needed to be done, praise our troops, honor the victims living and dead somberly, but this is NOT a party.

  11. Tracey P. Says:

    May the Forth be with you, Carrie. And can you use it to continue putting 4 books a year even without a backlog?

  12. carriev Says:

    Fraid not. The backlog stops here…

  13. Bob Says:

    I ‘celebrated’ by ordering a Bin Laden burger @ my local fast food joint: Cooked any way, as long as it’s dead, topped with bacon and American cheese. The #11 looks about right and yes, I would like fries with that…As I munched my burger, I relived my Feb ’02 trip to Ground Zero. As an assistant Scoutmaster/ Sunday school teacher, I thought I hadn’t a hateful bone in my body- I learned then the correct count was 206. I ordered seconds, sans fries,
    I’m trying to watch my weight…


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