Saturday, September 24, 2011
Books To Read: Briefcase Encounters by Alexander Hammond
When was the last time you were chased by a wild animal? Have you ever tried to avoid sleeping with a famous porn star? What would you do when an earthquake hits and you’re on the thirty-second floor of your hotel? How do you react when your dinner tries to walk off your plate whilst you’re trying to eat it?
Welcome to my ‘day job’–the world of the business traveller. Note that I say business traveller, not simply traveller. When I’m not writing fantasy literature, you’ll find me with ever-present jet lag, a bulging briefcase and buttocks like a dartboard as a result of perpetual inoculations. To make ends meet I spend my life swanning around the globe at my clients’ expense, often, to their horror, at their very considerable expense.
It was Emerson who once said No man would find anything in travel that he did not bring with him on the journey. I can only assume this was meant philosophically. Deep emotional scars, romantic nightmares, monumental confusion and highly disturbing dining experiences are unusual things to consciously burden oneself with when packing for an extended trip. I endeavour to leave such things at home and generally pick them up en route.
I’m always filled with feelings of profound envy when standing, suited, at an airport, surrounded by excited holidaymakers, eagerly awaiting their flight for two weeks of rampant sex, good food and relentless sunshine. Would that I were there for the same reason. Relentless sunshine is something I generally only see from the window of my meeting room, good food can be a relative thing and as for rampant sex, well I suppose the ten-second adult movie previews in my hotel room occasionally serve their purpose.
Business travellers are compelled to get under the skin of a country immediately, mix in with local people and experience real situations. Admittedly, whilst this can be thoroughly wretched (especially for a xenophobic Brit), it’s also a fertile breeding ground for unique and unforgettable moments.
It was concerning such moments that my publisher made the blunt suggestion that I should stop moaning about them and keep a journal.
“Not a chance. I’m a fantasy novelist,” I told him
“I’m thinking around 50,000 words,” he murmured.
“Look, I’m really not a journal writer,” I insisted.
“It’s settled, then … we’ll publish in the summer,” he continued.
My blustered protestations concerning a lack of time, combined with an unhealthy surfeit of false modesty, did little to deflect encouragement.
He dryly observed that Marcus Aurelius, whilst Emperor of the Roman Empire, had found time every day to write a few lines. Surely I, with perhaps less-demanding constraints on my time, could do the same?
**My review of this wonderfully hilarious title will probably post tomorrow. In the meantime, I implore you to order it and start reading. Its one of those "devoured in a night," type of things.
Paperback on Amazon
Kindle on Amazon
To learn more about the author