Contrary to what the name Marblehead Traveller might suggest, it is not a travel book. No travel stories here. Instead, “each story had some kind of point set in a travel setting,” according to author Bob Newman. The stories originated in a story swap he had with his Russian students, each writing a story based on their life and swapping it. He mentioned how, during this time in the Soviet Union, they were not allowed to travel abroad. In sharing these stories with his students, he enabled them to travel in their minds to places they would never be able to see.
Newman discussed how some of the stories in his book are about growing up in Marblehead, a few set in Australia, a few in India.
“The East Down Under,” the first story he shared with us, is about how he was an immigrant living in Australia for 16 years. “Saying ‘hello’ to your neighbor was a major event,” he said to give the audience an idea of how he felt living in a foreign country.
“Life doesn’t always have to be serious,” he says regarding the humor in his book. For example, in “Night in the Woods,” he writes about a camping trip during which he woke up in the middle of the night to pee, and thinking he wouldn’t need his glasses, kept moving further and further from his sleeping bag to find an area where he wouldn’t… disturb anyone, and when he was done, it was a whole adventure to find his sleeping bag again.
At one point, Newman mentioned his love of haiku and photography. “Both enable you to capture a moment,” he said, “preserving it forever.” Something leads up to that moment, he discussed; the moment and the background are what make a story.
Whether he will continue to write, well: “I have stories,” he told us, “but whether another book comes out of it, we’ll see.”