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TOUR EUROPA/ßei/z Goldner IJUST WROTE MY FIRST novel, and finishing it felt like a violent storm had ended: tree branches strewn in the corners of my mind, wires downed, everything around me tired and gray. I decided to go somewhere else for a while, to run on new streets, so I chose Europe. I am what psychiatrists call an obligatory runner. Simply put, I have to run every day. I have to get my heart rate up to 160 and sustain that for at least an hour. I have to feel the beat of macadam under my feet, monitor the ebb and flow of my pace. I have to sweat. The need to run started fifteen years ago, with a throbbing panic in my chest that nothing could quell. I had to take the panic somewhere, so I went to the local track. I was seventeen years old, and even before I started circling the gravel ground, I couldn't catch my breath. I knew nothing then about why I was panicked, where it came from, how it would travel in and out of my life. I knew only one thing: that I had to run. I changed the silent e in Europe to an a, added the Tour, and suddenly my decision to run for two months on foreign soil seemed logical. It wasn't just a trip overseas, it was Tour Europa. Naming things makes them real. A person diagnosed with cancer doesn't really have cancer until they say aloud they have a tumor or a malignancy or adenocarcinoma or melanoma. The alcoholic is not really an alcoholic until he says, My name is Robert and I am an alcoholic. And the baby born or the puppy purchased or the trip taken is not really yours until you've named it. So I said it: Tour Europa. Tour Europa. Tour Europa. And then it was mine. I owned it. I learned from my neighbor that Europa is also a moon, the sixth known moon of Jupiter and slightly smaller in size than Earth's moon. It was discovered in 1610, simultaneously and independently, by the Italian astronomer Galileo and the German astronomer Marius. Two Europeans, their heads tilted to the sky, trying to find something new. Before I left for Tour Europa, I found a literary agent, a woman named Carson Van Volkenburg. She's one of those born-and-bred New York types: strident, ladder-climbing, a woman with great shoes and a barely detectable nose job who talks on a cellular phone incessantly. Carson knows how to sell things; she's a hawker. And if you want to accomplish anything these days—get a job, find a spouse, make a friend, publish a book—you've got to be a salesman. The Missouri Review · 9 "You know this experimental, stream-of-consciousness nonlinear thing is really making a comeback," Carson said, selling herself to me so she could sell me to someone else. And then the price tag: "If I can sell this thing, a publisher is probably going to want to cut it," she said. "It's too long, considering the market." I left Carson to hawk and booked my flights. I had a $4,000 inheritance from my Aunt Kit, who died last year, enough to fund Tour Europa in a low-budget style. I bought two new pairs of running sneakers and four new running bras. I listened to my sisters register their concerns about the trip. They think that running across Europe is not exactly the next best thing in this thing called my life; but then again they never thought much of the previous thing—writing the book—either. They mean well, but all three of them are married, and married life can be comfortable and insulating to the point that something like writing a book or taking an overseas trip is cause for worry. Cinque Terre, Italy Cinque Terre, which translates to "five lands," is a cluster of villages along the Riviera Levantina. These five towns—Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore—are built right into seaside cliffs. The towns are about a mile apart each, but...


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