Newly back in Seattle after an amazing couple of weeks, I’m jet-lagged, news-lagged, and above all, TED-lagged.
Eleven days ago, I was onstage at TEDGlobal in Edinburgh. The talk — on Muhammad, doubt, and the travesty of fundamentalism — may be released on TED.com as early as this coming week, but meanwhile, in the tease category, here’s a still shot:
I hereby declare a new addition to the DSM-IV manual of psychiatric disorders: post-TED syndrome, which poses the patient with the problem of how to get her feet (let alone her head) firmly back to earth after a week of non-stop talk and ideas and excitement and superb company? (Plus some great music and dancing too).
Seven days ago, I took the back-to-earth idea literally. If you had been in possession of a pair of good binoculars, you would have found me roaming the wilds of Romney Marsh in Sussex, totally wind- and rain-blown, along with thousands of sheep and the most bullish lambs I’ve ever seen — sturdy little bruisers, each with a very distinctive vocal point to make about my presence. (On the menu that evening in nearby Rye: “Romney Marsh lamb.” My response: “Noooooo….!”)
Forward a bit, and four days ago I was doing my roaming in London, meeting my brilliant UK publishers over grappa in a club so private it has no name (British release of The First Muslim is set for November 7), doing tai-chi early mornings by the lavender field in Vauxhall Park (triple espresso at the ready), communing with the Rothkos at the Tate Modern, zipping along the Thames in water taxis, and downing elderberry lemonade and tahini-drizzled eggplant at Ottolenghi’s in Islington (his cookbook Plenty has the best recipe I’ve ever found for socca).
So today, back in my houseboat in pacific Seattle, my head is reeling from it all, and I have a new way of posing the post-TED problem: how do you get your feet back to earth when you live on a raft that floats on forty feet of water?