The Ugly American

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a story that will be in Walking to the End of the World. Linda, my developmental editor who was generally right about everything, expressed some concern about keeping this anecdote in the final book. She worried that it would make me seem too critical and would turn readers … More The Ugly American

Cows of the Camino

When our thousand-mile Camino trek ended, Eric and I took a train east, from Santiago to Irun. The hills of Galicia and then the plains of the Meseta sped by in a blur of landscapes without details. This was the only way I’d seen the world for years, I realized, from moving metal boxes that … More Cows of the Camino

“No Problem!” On the Generosity of Camino Strangers (and a Wild Ride to Logroño)

One of the best parts about planning this summer’s mini-Camino is that it gives me the chance to go back and walk the 40 kilometers of “missing link” in my last Camino, between Viana and Najera. There are lots of reasons why a Camino pilgrim might decide to skip ahead on the trail via bus, … More “No Problem!” On the Generosity of Camino Strangers (and a Wild Ride to Logroño)

The Sagging Middle

  In my day job back in Seattle, I help writers revise and develop their work, which are often works of fiction. One of the things I’ve learned to look for is what we call the “sagging middle.” A good story starts off with a lot of drama and tension. Things happen.  Everything is new. … More The Sagging Middle

Saint Roch: The Burlesque Saint of Bad Knees and (Maybe) Pilgrims

If you venture into the churches and cathedrals of the Camino, you’ll notice a lot of saints. One is dressed as a pilgrim, with a cloak and a floppy hat and often even the scallop shell of Saint James. But he’s not Saint James. You can tell because this particular saint is always standing a certain way. … More Saint Roch: The Burlesque Saint of Bad Knees and (Maybe) Pilgrims