I’ve talked about the surreal aspect of being published after aspiring to it for so long. And I’ve talked about the sometimes crippling effects of imposter syndrome. Brilliant people I never would have imagined struggle with the same feelings. Thanks go to Nikki Moore for the Neil Gaiman story link. If Neil Armstrong and Neil Gaiman have to wonder how they got there, then of course I can question how I managed to scramble up to this waaay less exalted perch. I can’t say I envy narcissists but I do fantasize about having a shred of that unshakable self confidence.
While I’m waiting for my cloak of invincibility to descend upon me (haha) and dog paddling in my version of self-doubt chowder, I’m wending my way through the end of Book Two. This is where I have, in the past, questioned both my sanity and my ability to do the thing. This time is different for two big reasons: 1) I have proof I can indeed finish a book and, 2) I have a small cheering section pushing me on (y’all know who you are).
The ending has given me lots of avenues (and some rabbit holes) to run down. There’s been lots of research and double-checking where things are on maps to refresh my memory and, oh my god, does all of that make me miss Ljubljana so much.
I have friends who are traveling and posting beautiful pictures. The Slovenia and Ljubljana accounts I follow on social media are splashing out during the height of the tourist season with their own gorgeous photos. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in Ljubljana in the summer and there are so many things which only exist in the bright flash of the warm months. I’m checking in with Slovenian friends to say hi and pick their brains for tidbits I can’t find on the internet. I miss them, as much as, if not more than, the place.
No place is without flaws, whether they be political, social, environmental, or related to infrastructure. I know it’s a bad idea to idolize a real place to the point of glossing over those things. Doing so does a disservice to the people who actually live there. Having said all that, it’s not about escape to a fairytale, though given the news and the state of politics here it could easily be; it’s more about feeling homesick for a place that was so very briefly home.
Slovenia, and Ljubljana especially, have changed a great deal since the early 1990s when I was at university and walked and biked my way around town. Every time I go back, I find out about ten new things I want to do on my next trip. I guess because I don’t live there now, everything can feel new and exciting and not like the swirling hurricane of change it can sometimes feel like if you live in it or through it.
I can sit here and intellectualize this all day but I’ll still feel the same way. I’ll still be wildly in love.
If you’ve read the book, I hope you’ve fallen a little bit in love with Slovenia, too. I won’t be jealous.