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Incognito Street: How Travel Made Me a Writer Paperback – October 12, 2006

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sjoholm (The Pirate Queen, and Blue Windows as pen name Barbara Wilson) shares the story of how she became a writer. Barely 20 in 1970, with a small inheritance and a dream of becoming a writer, Sjoholm left boyfriend and America behind for a two-month ramble in Europe. As she wandered London, and then Paris and Barcelona, she was torn between living what she pictured was the writer's life—partying and bar-hopping—and actually writing. Suspecting that she hadn't lived enough to have anything to write about, she distracted herself with friends and lovers and marvelous adventures. When her travelmate Laura arrived, they attempted lesbian sex, but couldn't quite figure out what to do—"there was no lesbian Kama Sutra to refer to"—so they stayed friends instead. Sjoholm continued traveling, discovering other regions of Spain as well as Norway and Morocco. In the end, feeling more comfortable about herself as a writer, she returned to a more sexually liberated America than she'd left behind. She soon cofounded Seal Press, which has published most of her work ever since. Aspiring writers will be encouraged by Sjoholm's modest beginnings and honest writing style. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

Twenty in 1970, Sjoholm flew from L.A. to London to begin two months in Europe. To friends and family, she always seemed to be going away. In this entertaining if somewhat overlong memoir, she says that was the way she liked it. She took every opportunity to experience someplace new and different. She believed travel would help her grow as a writer, but the pleasure of traveling most appealed to her. Restless, insatiably curious, she wanted to do anything and everything. She reached London in winter; it was "thrillingly foggy and damp." Then it was off to Paris, which offered too much of a good thing: "In Paris it was almost impossible not to desire more." Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Madrid, and Rome followed. She wound up in Norway, working as a maid and then a "ship girl" (a glorified title for a dishwasher) on a cargo and passenger ship, Kong Olav. She learned about other cultures, about what it means to be a writer, and most of all, about herself. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (October 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580051723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580051729
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,992,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This author intrigues me. I was enthralled by her memoir "Blue Windows" about her mother and Christian science - published under another name.
This book is fascinating because she is describing journeys she took years ago, while still a young woman. It is more an exercise in travel memory than in travel writing as we usually experience it.
I liked it - it was well-paced, and as a novice travel-writer myself it inspired me and gave me ideas while I was on the road.
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