Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Q&A with Tom Miller


Photo by Jay Rochlin



Tom Miller is the author of the new book Where Was I?: A Travel Writer's Memoir. A longtime travel writer, his many other books include The Panama Hat Trail. He lives in Arizona.


Q: What inspired you to write Where Was I?


A: One thing led to another. I was entrapped by health and could no longer travel. At the same time my age suggested a comprehensive look at my output. Did my work over the years indicate continuity? The answer to both was a resounding yes.


Q: The writer Adam Hochschild called the book “A superb display of sharp observations from a man who's been everywhere you'd ever want to go, known everyone you'd ever want to meet, and brought it all alive in a voice you wish you had.” What do you think of that description?


A: Are you kidding? I’m flattered!


Q: How did you first get into travel writing?


A: I got into travel writing through the side door. I was part of the anti (Vietnam) war movement, and much of the antiwar propaganda reached the public through the underground press. I was able to confabulate the antiwar literature with more lefty cultural coverage.


I became a travel writer not by my own effort but by being called one. (“Oh, really? I’m a travel writer? Fine by me.”)


Q: What do you hope readers take away from this book?


A: If you accept that travel writing describes what goes on when nobody’s looking, you’ve got it made.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m exploring different ideas. Ask me again in six months.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Yes, from the Tennessee Ernie Ford song, “Sixteen Tons”: “If the right one don’t a-get you, then the left one will.”


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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