Kiawah Island, the plane did steep circles around LaGuardia Airport for an hour to deal with a traffic jam, leaving me swearing off that mode of travel for good (clearly, I reneged). After my trip through security -- removing shoes, belt, and dignity -- I boarded my plane in Manchester for the relatively short flight to Newark. En route, I dreamed of my upcoming Space:1999 novel project for August and September (my Big #1,000, which I hope to complete during the five-day writing retreat to Starr Island off the coast of New Hampshire). For the first of my layovers, I nestled down in Newark and wrote some seven pages of a very old novella idea, "Golden Skull," starring the Martins -- Jonathan and Grace, a well-to-do couple of supernatural sleuths whose antics and adventures I first began writing while in high school. This final installment in their series divides its time between Upstate New York, Seattle, and fictional Brackenridge, New Mexico. I wasn't visiting New Mexico on my vast itinerary, but it seemed a fitting project to work on. I had a blast reuniting with them as I waited for my next leg of the trip.
The flight to Chicago was one step short of apocalyptic, akin to the pilot episode of the TV series Lost. We hit turbulence somewhere east of Chicago unlike anything I have ever experienced -- so bad, in fact, that the young woman three rows up from me vomited across the back of the seat in front of her. People screamed. Though belted into my seat, my lower back suffered several jarring jolts that left me sore for days after. Eventually, we made it to Terra Firma (Fox's late science fiction show Terra Nova played on the overhead screens during the flight). Chicago to Lincoln. I walked off the third plane of the day and met Peter Giglio, who had a copy of Muse waiting for me. Long last, I held my beautiful offspring; the rest of that Tuesday was considerably more enjoyable.
Peter and I dined at an upscale chain called Noodles, where I enjoyed incredible Japanese noodles with seared steak, sprouts, broccoli, and cilantro (not an herb I was familiar with before) and took in the five p.m. showing of The Hunger Games, which I loved. After a solid night's sleep, we spent our Wednesday writing (I worked on my new novel The Zoo and more of "Golden Skull") and forayed out and about, gathering supplies for the long drive west. That night, we watched Eric Shapiro's brilliant feature film Rule of Three before lights out. At four in the morning, we departed for Salt Lake City, crossing Nebraska through long miles of mist; Wyoming through equally long spells of stark yellow sunlight. I saw antelope, tumbleweeds, buttes, and hundreds of miles of barren prairie broken up only by sagebrush and cattle fences. It was a part of the world I'd only visited via photographs and I felt richer for the experience as a writer and human being.
|(me and, clockwise, Peter Giglio, Rick Hautala, Holly Hautala|
Hollie Snider, Marie Green. Photo credit: Henry Snider)