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The Philodoxer
Thoughts on writing and publishing, and the various sources of entertainment...
A weekly column by Abel G. Peña, best known for his Star Wars work.

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THE PHILODOXER for 11/05/2006
Livin' La Dolce Vita

"I can tell you right now, this is the most beautiful thing you will ever write."

And I thought I was the master of the backhanded compliment.

Never have I been so insulted by a flattering remark. When one of my respected writing peers paid me the above compliment, it took everything in my power not to strangle her. It's at once the highest praise and the most devastating prophecy a writer can receive. But I took the statement at face value, and grinned the wryest grin I've ever grinned, replying, "I can't believe you just said that." I figured that covered my gratitude and the possibility of having been jinxed.

Italy from a Backpack

The compliment was for my story "Between Naples and Memphis," published in the new anthology Italy from a Backpack. Edited by Mark Pearson and Martin Westerman, it is the new travel anthology in a series that also includes Spain from a Backpack and Europe from a Backpack. The books collect the real-life stories of dozens of young travelers, like yours truly, recounting their misadventures abroad, including shutting down the Vatican, getting robbed, and falling in love. My story is an instance of the latter, transpiring in a fashion worthy of the Bizzaro world.

Unlike my Star Wars work, this story is firmly rooted in reality, for what that's worth. Because, when you're in a foreign country, you might as well be on Mars. "Between Naples and Memphis" takes place in a strange land where strange folks speak in strange tongues, eat and drink exotic things, and smoke peculiar stuff. So if you're interested in travel, Europe, weirdness, or reading "the most beautiful thing" I'll ever write, check out Italy From A Backpack.

Ci vediamo, folks! See you next week!

- Abel

<< 10/29/2006 | 11/05/2006 | 12/03/2006 >>

Discuss this column with me in World Famous Comics' General Forum and at Pop Culture Bored.
Also, visit my website at www.abelgpena.com.


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