So. Next month my new book comes out and if you read here often enough you’re already familiar with Rory, the gloriously ecstatic and somewhat terrifying taxidermied road-kill raccoon who graces the cover.
When you read the book you’ll learn all about Rory, and also more about how my anxiety disorder makes it hard to leave the house at times. These things seem unrelated but when my publisher first started making cardboard standees to send to book sellers I mentioned how nice it was that all of these cardboard raccoons were traveling so bravely around the world as my stand-in.
Next month I’ll start traveling for months (off and on) during my book tour but I already know from my first tour that I’m not really strong enough to see anything of the cities that I’ll travel to, except for the blanket fort I’ll make in my hotel room and the wonderful people who’ll come to bookstores to listen to me read. It probably seems like a waste of travel to the average person but I know that I don’t have the physical or mental stamina to see the sites or landmarks. And that’s a little sad, but it’s also sort of wonderful to finally acknowledge my limits and recognize them and to not push myself past them…to know that taking care of myself is more important than seeing the world.
But when I first saw the cardboard Rory raccoons being made I thought of the traveling gnome prank (the practice of stealing a garden gnome and sending postcards and pictures of the gnome traveling the world to the owner) and thought how lovely it would be if some of these Rorys could travel around the world and see all of the amazing things that so many of us never see. And my publisher (who is strange enough to agree to put a dead raccoon on the cover of a book) agreed completely and sent me a lovely cardboard Rory. I photographed him all around the house.
With my pets:
With James Garfield:
And even with the original Rory:
Then my friend Laura took Rory with her on a few weeks of travel. He was with her at Blogher, and she texted me pictures of old friends with Rory as I sat at home and suddenly felt so much less lonely than I had before.
Then came pictures of him in New York.
And then he was jetted off to the beach.
And he joined in on a family vacation.
And each time a picture would come in I’d feel like I was there. And I’d share the picture with Hailey and Victor and we’d all laugh at the ridiculous wonder of a small raccoon seeing the world. And Laura would tell me hysterical stories of people she’d met because they were so intrigued with this bizarre, ecstatic cardboard raccoon who was lounging on beach chairs, or riding on ferris wheels, or watching a Broadway play.
And it was lovely.
We haven’t even started and already I’m thrilled. But let’s keep going. Do you have someplace you think Rory needs to see? Do you want to take him with you to see a landmark, share a photo of him and then pass him on to someone else who can photograph him in another new place? The Eiffel Tower? The world’s largest ball of twine? Horseback riding? Being hugged by sloths? Balancing on the head of your great-grandmother? Just leave me a comment (with your email so I can contact you) and I’ll send dozens of Rorys into the world so we can see what happens.
I’ll be updating this post with new pictures as they come in, and sharing them online using the #WheresRory hashtag. I hope you’ll enjoy vicariously seeing the world through the eyes of a tiny, couch-surfing, furiously happy raccoon as much as I do.
PS. If you simply can’t wait for someone to mail you a Rory you can make one yourself. Just click here, print the pdf, glue it on something stiff and cut it out. BOOM. You’re in business. Or you can buy a hard-plastic photo-sculpture here. You can share links and pictures in the comment section and I’ll update it as Rory travels.
PPS. Thank you. This is ridiculous and I know that but I also know that you people are magic with ridiculousness, and that instead of judging me you’re more likely to take this someplace I’d never imagine. You are made of stardust. Thank you.
UPDATED: GO LOOK AT THESE PICTURES, Y’ALL.