My Teenage Dream

Image: Teri Case delivering Tiger Drive and In the Doghouse to a Street Library in Sydney, Australia.

Tiger Drive and In the Doghouse Make it to Australia!

Dear Friend,

I’m back from Australia and New Zealand. Kind of; the jet lag has been unlike any other trip. I loved everything about Australia and New Zealand. My teenage dream was well met!

Highlights of My Trip

I left Tiger Drive and In the Doghouse in a Street Library (known as a Little Free Library in the states) in Sydney, Australia.

Ted and I walked 210 miles.

Wild cockatoos live in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, and a group is called a crackle of cockatoos.

A cashier at a convenience store slid me a bag of peanut butter M&Ms after we checked out because he saw me eyeing the candy. This unexpected gesture really touched me (and the candy was good).

My family’s support on this trip was beautiful. In some ways, it felt like we were sharing my teenage dream.

On my Emirates flight, the attendants encouraged me to step behind the bar (yes, there was a bar on my plane) and pour champagne. They put one of their hats on me and took my picture–not my idea! But they were so excited about it, and I couldn’t say no. And no, I won’t share the photo. When I returned to the seat and showed Ted, he laughed for the next hour.

On my return, I received a letter from a friend, David. He had clipped an article and mailed it to me. The headline: New Zealand worker feared he might be fired, so he brought a support clown

“By the time the meeting was over, Jack didn’t have a job. But he did have two balloon animals: a unicorn and a poodle.”

Jennifer Hassan and Siobhan O’Grady, The Washington Post

What I Learned

I’m still not a travel writer. I was good about posting short updates on Facebook, but I think, in the future, I should reserve the quick updates for brief newsletters instead. I’ll test this on a future trip (not currently planned).

It’s the people I meet, and their gestures, that stick with me for days after a trip has ended.

As the world population increases, one large city can seem much like any other large city. The architecture may look unique, but the food, the people, languages, and more start to blend (and yes, I left the tourist areas). I am enamored with Sydney, but I tend to love all the cities. I want to go back to Australia and explore more of the country, and for that, I will need much more time.

In Book News

Readers, judges, and organizations continue to support the characters of Tiger Drive, and they humble me regularly. When I sat down and wrote Tiger Drive, I was so afraid. As WJ’s story unfolded and he’d say something vulgar, I’d stop and think, “I can’t write that!” As Janice planned to leave her children behind, I was sick to my stomach, “A mother can’t do that.” And as Harry planned his future, I wondered, “Will Carrie be okay?” But I kept writing because each of these characters had something to say about life, relationships, vulnerability, shame, and dreams. Even now, I am tearing up, grateful to each of you for telling friends and peers about this book.

Right now, Tiger Drive is a finalist in the Kindle Book Reviews (they announce the winner on November 1st), and it’s a finalist for the TopShelf Indie Book Awards (they will announce the winners in December). There are other awards that Tiger Drive and In the Doghouse are being considered for, but finalists have not been announced yet. I will be sure to keep you posted.

What’s going on in your world?

As always, thanks for being you.


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