NASA Media Consultant Takes a Wee Break in Scotland

In a delightful detour from the usual Daily Mail fare, the paper has published a long, lilting excerpt from Three Things You Need To Know  About Rockets, a memoir by former LA NASA media consultant Jessica Fox. The book is out now in the UK and will be available in the U.S. July 9.

The chapter is all about her wacky one-month sojourn in a remote part of Scotland. It started with a Google search (“used bookshop Scotland”) and quick email reply from Euan, owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, who asked for more details about this strange west coast lady offering to work for free in return for room and board.

Fox moved to LA from Boston after a bad break-up and for a brief time, everything was hunky freeway dory:

I embraced the LA lifestyle. I joined a meditation group, I drank my weight in wheatgrass shots and had my chakras realigned.

Sometimes I was invited to parties thrown by big shots in the movie industry, but they often left me feeling awkward. At the last one I’d attended, actresses with watermelon breasts were parading around in tiny bikinis and I was the only woman wearing a dress. I was not only missing a sense of belonging but starting to feel dissatisfied with my work-centric life. When, I asked myself, was the last time I’d done anything without calculating how it benefited my career? At the very least, I needed a holiday.

The excerpted chapter is charming, a worthy journalistic equivalent to Bill Forsyth’s classic 1983 film Local Hero. As Euan notes shortly after picking up Fox at the Glasgow airport, “It’s not every day we get someone so determined to come to Wigtown.” This despite the fact that the burgh is an anachronistic home to nearly two dozen book-related businesses.

Bookmark/read Fox’s essay here. There was also, yesterday, a shorter SPOILER item by Fox in The Guardian.

[Jacket cover courtesy: Atria Books/Marble Arch Press]