Travels on the horizon

For my birthday I got a membership to WorldCon 76 in San Jose, CA, my old stomping grounds from my undergrad days at Santa Clara University!  I’m already excited, even though it’s a year away.  In the meantime, I’m gearing up for two other trips in the next couple of months, one for grad school and one for work.

First up is a two-week study abroad trip next month that will take me back to South America, but this time I won’t be visiting Ecuador or staying with relatives.  Instead I’ll be studying in Chile and Argentina for a week each.  I’m packing a journal featuring a quotation by Chilean author Isabel Allende on the cover.  I lucked into an opportunity to interview her while I was a student at SCU.  She was kind but intimidating, a fascinating person to spend an hour with.

Isabel Allende & Katherine Quevedo
Katherine Quevedo with Isabel Allende in April 2003.

In preparation for my trip, I also read some short fiction by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges.  I was so blown away by the richness of his speculative fiction, I couldn’t possibly do it justice in this blog post.  For now suffice it to say my favorite of his is “The Garden of Forking Paths.”

Nowadays I focus so much on reading my contemporaries, I find it fascinating to occasionally read classics and see what authors used to be able to get away with.  In this day and age, everything is expected to be tight, trimmed of adverbs and launching the reader right into the action, but Borges and so many others were free to explore a slow boil, slathering on the details and sometimes meandering toward an anticlimax.  (Wow, sorry for those mixed metaphors.)  What can one say?  Expectations of editors and readers evolve.

As my trip draws near, I’m very grateful for this opportunity to travel and learn.  (I will admit, though, the timing is unfortunate because I’ll be missing the total solar eclipse visible from Oregon.)