It may not be Hollywood but….!

This is completely remarkable, but a group in Australia is going to make a film based on the Iceland seawomen research! I have just returned from a brief visit to help set things up and we shall see where this goes next! Here are a photo of Iceland from our travels, taken by my seawomen friend Inga.

4 Grun eve 2

And of course it was mid-summer so it never got really dark. This sunset just slide to daylight instead of dark. As this proceeds I will write about this experience of making the film….

On past news, the official launch at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle was wonderful. About sixty people came, and my talk was followed by a whole series of very interesting questions and comments. And then, while I sat signing books, people kept coming up with varied stories, of their Icelandic heritage, visits to Iceland and of their times at sea.

Now I am in the warmth of a Seattle summer, trying to get out as much as possible. This is when the Pacific Northwest is glorious. Hope you are all also enjoying a great summer.

Continue Reading

Tulips, Events, and the Joys of Survival

Spring, glorious spring!

The garden is exuberant. Our cat Mister stalks through it pretending he is some kind of spotted panther.

Mister amid the tulips
Mister skulking among the tulips.

Some exciting news is that University of Washington Press has found a European publisher for the Seawomen book — Museum Tusculanum Press in Copenhagen, Denmark. The UW Press says the book should be out here in the U.S. mid-to-late May and in Europe about a month later…..and, most unfortunately, not available in Iceland until a few weeks after that; the European publisher has to send the books from Copenhagen to Iceland.

Events relating to the Seawomen book are starting to take shape. Few are finalized yet, but they will be soon. For starters, the Icelandic National League of North America is having their annual convention at the end of April just south of Vancouver, Canada, and they have invited me to speak! (The Events page will have the latest details.) That should be very interesting; I will be intrigued to hear the questions people ask.

It is very soon after the transplant for me to be in public and among crowds, however, since I will still be on immune suppressant medicines. I told the organizers I could do it if we are just open and let the audience know that I cannot be around anyone with a cold or flu, and that I will be cautious about shaking hands—and sadly will not be able to share lunch with them (a big room full of people is too dangerous yet, boo hoo). The Seawomen book won’t even be out yet, but I will at least have flyers for it.

But it is wonderful to be planning future events at all—with an emphasis on future. There is a certain camaraderie I see now among people who have had, or are going through, treatment (chemo, radiation, etc.) for cancer or other medical conditions such as mine. We have all had to face death as an immediate possibility. We can talk together—and find interest in—details of our often horrific treatments (even macabre bragging rights … “You think your chemo was bad? Wait ‘till you hear what I had to go through…..”).

I ran into a friend on the street this morning with whom I have worked at the university. We had not seen each other for some time. When I told him I had been ill, he responded by telling me that he had recently had surgery for colon cancer. He was doing fine, he said. We gave each other a hug, looked at the flowering plum tree above our heads, and smiled–smiles that reflect our shared knowledge of the joy of each spring dawn.

Continue Reading

A Journey of a Different Kind

The final writing of my book on Icelandic seawomen took a strange turn almost a year and a half ago, when I noticed I was uncharacteristically getting short of breath while riding my bike uphill on my daily commute home. On New Year’s Eve, 2014, at the insistence of friends, I went to the emergency room to get it checked out. The next thing I knew, I was being whisked to another hospital in an ambulance, and being given blood transfusions. 

Continue Reading