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What’s Keeping Me Up at Night

Both girls were up at 4:30AM this morning. First Vera woke with a nightmare (something about me being on a stage with her best friend Zoe) and only wanted me, not Greg, to lay down with her. I was sleeping with the baby, who of course woke up the moment I departed our bed for Vera’s. I snuggled with V and sang to her, all the while listening to the sounds of Greg trying to soothe a chirping J. Finally Vera fell back asleep and I made my way into the living room where Greg was bouncing Juliette while watching the early morning news on television.

By 5:45 we were all back in bed, but of course I couldn’t sleep. We leave for Australia in 5 days — FIVE DAYS — and it seems like there are eight thousand things to plan and fret over. There are so many components to this trip. First and foremost I have a ton of author engagements. I have workshops to prepare for and books to read, panels to mull over and radio interviews to get ready for. Then there is the fact that we’re taking a ten week old baby and a three year old toddler with us. I’m not even going to bother outlining everything there is to worry about in regards to this situation. On top of that I’m working hard to plan out all the things we want to see and do in a country I’ve never visited, and also making sure that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law are included and taken care of every step of the way. Greg is in charge of downloading movies for Vera to watch on the eight million flights we’re taking and he’s also getting the house ready for our two batches of house guests while we’re gone. Throw in our regular life of work/preschool/writing/4:30AM wake-ups and my brain is officially fried.

However, all that said, I’m sooooo excited about this trip. Greg and I keep punching each other in the arm (lightly and sometimes just figuratively) and saying, Holy sh*t, we’re going to AUSTRALIA next week. We both know it’s going to be one of those trips we think about for the rest of our lives.

Anyway, for any of you following along on our adventure you’ll be able to keep up with us on Twitter and Instagram (I’m hoping to blog a bit too). And for those of you in Australia, here’s the itinerary again, with a couple of additions, including a meeting spot in Sydney. Also, for those of you in Brisbane, I would love for you to come to the Meet the Author Night on September 5 (see poster below)! Everyone else just wish us luck on this crazy trip!

Claire & Family Australia Events & Meet-Ups

Wednesday, August 29 — Arrive Melbourne

Friday, August 31 at 10AM — Reading & Signing (Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Federation Square)

Saturday, September 1 at 1pm — Memoir: Fact or Fiction (Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Federation Square)

Sunday, September 2 at 10AM — Seminar: The Art of Memoir (Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Federation Square)

Monday, September 3 at 11AM  — Sydney Meet-Up (Botanic Gardens Cafe, Botanic Gardens) Come meet and my family for coffee. I’m happy to sign books and just chat!

Wednesday, September 5 — “Meet the Author Night” Brisbane Writers Festival (rsvp to  if you’d like to attend this) (see poster below for full details)

Saturday, September 8 at 10AM — Seminar: Dark Themes (Brisbane Writers Festival, Cultural Precinct)

Saturday, September 8 at 2:30PM — Seminar: Mothers and Their Families (Brisbane Writers Festival, Cultural Precinct)

Sunday, September 9 at 12pm — Workshop: The Craft of Memoir (Brisbane Writers Festival, Cultural Precinct)

(9/9 – 9/14) Sunday evening through Friday morning — Port Douglas, Great Barrier Reef (if you’re in this area and would like to meet up, please email me!)

September 14 — Return to Los Angeles


  1. You all will be in my heart’s prayers – sometime i note the more anxiety i have about a trip, the better it is! total best wishes and success!

    Comment by Esther Bradley-DeTally on August 22, 2012 at 10:12 am

  2. I hope it’s a marvelous trip – look forward to hearing about it here. I wish you were coming to Boston!

    Comment by Lindsey on August 22, 2012 at 10:33 am

  3. It’s going to be brilliant for the whole family – Australia always is :)

    Look forward to your tweets and photos, especially from my beloved Sydney. Cheers and enjoy!

    Comment by CarolynB on August 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

  4. Oh Claire, I’ve been knocked out with the flu, can’t believe us Aussies get you in 5 days! Will email you on the weekend. See you soon! :)

    Comment by Sara M on August 23, 2012 at 5:08 am

  5. I felt very anxious going from Australia to Denmark for my brother’s wedding when my son was 3 mths old but it was fine in the end. Once you get through the first flight you will realise it will be ok and you can relax. Heading to Europe with the 2 year old in Oct so it didn’t put me off! See you in Melbourne.

    Comment by eloise connelly on August 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

  6. I am envious of your trip. I spent 3 weeks in Australia in 1988 when I was 26 years old. I was there with a few girlfriends to visit my sister who had moved to Melbourne the year prior. We spent a week or so each in Melbourne, Sydney, and Port Douglas. At the time I thought Melbourne and Sydney were similar in many respects to San Fran and LA, or at least had that north-south tension going. Port Douglas was fun and relaxing…a remote, undiscovered beach town with a bohemian vibe. I’ll be curious to hear your impressions. I hope you have a fabulous trip!

    Comment by Jeanne on August 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm

  7. Claire – so looking forward to catching up and meeting you in person in Melbourne The front of the cafe at Beer de luxe which is in Federation Square would be a great please for a Melbourne catch up . I can’t do the Friday because I work but either before of after your Saturday or Sunday sessions would be great. There is an open area of the cafe which is under the cover of the atrium in Fed Square…which is good because Melbourne is known as four seasons in a day. In fact there is a great Crowded House song with that name. If you can do any of those times on the weekend please post and let us know. If not I’ll be enjoying your Saturday session anyway. Jude

    Comment by Jude on August 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm

  8. I just booked my ticket to Memoir – Fact or Fiction in Melbourne, looking forward to it. Bring warm clothes it is cold here!

    Comment by Eloise Connelly on August 25, 2012 at 11:42 pm

  9. Yay, glad you’re coming Eloise!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on August 26, 2012 at 12:38 pm

  10. Dear Claire
    This is my first ever comment on the blogosphere.
    I attended the Brisbane Writers’ Festival specifically to hear you, after listening to you on Radio National a week or so before. You see I lost my darling mum only a couple of weeks before that so I was inspired by your comments. I’ve also just finished (this afternoon!) reading your book. My Mum was 88 years of age and she had a peaceful death in my arms, but we were the closest friends and I miss her so much. Like you I am her only daughter.
    Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for coming all the way to Australia. It is a big feat. You are touching people’s lives in ways you could not even begin to imagine. And I thank you sincerely for that.

    Comment by Annee Bee on September 13, 2012 at 12:44 am

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