Wednesday at WTF o clock in the morning, I get up after an hour of sleep. 2 am, to get to the airport for 3 am for the requisite 3hours to allot for check in and TSA as per the airlines. The thing is, if you leave less time, and things go pear-shaped, you can wind up afforded no leeway, so…erring on caution, one hauls themself to the airport.
Except we’ve all done online check in and the TSA section is closed for another 45 min. So we wait, us groggy travellers. TSA opens and theres some oddities and chaos as one leaves her phone at the scanner station and I’ve been tagged with the dreaded “SSSS” special security screening service” and I’m ordered into the pornoscanner, and I shuffle along sleepily, sans belt and shoes and the agent barks at me to hitch up my jeans. Uh, maybe don’t take my belt?
Its all very barky and odd while we’re herded to a holding room under strict watch and order, because the immigration section isn’t open yet either. I long for the lost hours of sleep given to my role in this this “security theatre.”
I mean I have no overall issue with us being safe. I get that. But the shoes off, pants off, dance is…all show. I grumble my way through and to the gate for a long wait. I’m in the section of Pearson that sucks, that is, all of Pearson has some less than charming charms. * hold on to this thought*
I have the most stressful and elegant and short layover at Reagan International, that has ever existed in the history of air travel. I get off my plane, get my bag, which is fairly hucked off the jet, misses the conveyor, and flies to the ground. A Darth Vader bag. Everyone’s staring. I grab said bag, get on the shuttle to the terminal, and it proceeds to crawl slower than I can walk, to the terminal. I’m watching time tick down and i’m trapped. I race IN to the terminal and I see my flight, boarding at gate 1. But it’s empty. I try to get a gate agent but they’re indifferently staring at me as I’m trying to get attention, and one finally hangs up ( airline gate stuff is like the SLOWEST of all things ever), and says “oh we moved it to gate 5, over there. The rapidly dwindling line going OUT the very door I just came in. indeed, my layover clocked in at about 3 minutes within the terminal itself. I am on a shuttle and carted to the plane next to the one I just got off of.
American has a love of switching gates but never telling you. I mean, they’re my preferred airline but they’re also the reason I’ve lost years off my life I’m sure.
I get in to Chattanooga and soon settled in at the Hotel with KC and crew and beyond that I don’t really recall much. I was exhausted. Ah. Went for a walk downtown with KC’s awesome kiddo C, had an espresso, recharged brain and back to the hotel where the travel zombie head kicked in hard.
Thursday am there was mutterings of fitness, as there was most mornings but I went off in search of coffee, and settling in. We had a lazy day as things go, and went for lunch with KC, and a writer friend of hers, and C, and got utterly marooned by some flash-flood rains that had us in the cafe for a while. As a place to get stranded, you could hardly have done better. KC and writer worked and then off to the hotel for me and C, who nodded off on the way back, and then the rest of the attendees in our small tribe reported that travel plans were being beset by the never ending cluster of storms across most of the US. This travel gremlinry was to be the theme of the weekend.
Friday, badge pickup, and I had a reading at 3. It was quite anticlimactic for all my nerves since all of three people were in the audience and so that was done and on. I didn’t have a terribly busy schedule and limitations to my meatself and energy, i retreated to the hotel room to rest often. We got together with people but my schedule left me adrift of my colleagues, or rather theirs..either way I was sort of scheduled out of sync and so I went to dinner solo, but met up with friends at the waiting area so it was good, by chance not plan.
Saturday I had a panel in the am, and that was moderately interesting but it wasn’t well moderated IMO? I left feeling odd and unsettled, compounded by thinking I’d lost my passport, resulting in a near full on panic attack. ( it was hastily, tiredly stowed somewhere I do not ordinarily check).
I was already feeling off kilter irked by a litany of small things and couldn’t fully shake it, that I was so far removed from friends and at a panel I could not get a word in edgewise. So, there was that. I went to a mentoring session that was for all intents, terribly mood crashing and demoralizing and whether he intended it as such or not, or was harsh or not it came off as one more slice across my mood. I stowed that irk, and soldiered on, as it were, but after I left the really long opening ceremony panel, I was encountered by a friend who well intendedly suggested I write for the main book publishers there.
Now, I don’t really write what they sell and I’m pretty ok with that. I go there not to schmooze up buyers, more or less, but just fun and networking on a casual basis. I don’t have a huge desire to get pulled into turning books for this expansive world, but I get the appeal, and it is a fast track so to speak but it just isn’t “ME”.
But my mood and everything hit a downslide as I was being told, albeit helpfully, to write for Company X and I just….sat down and seethed, and then tears. I’d worked so goddamn hard. I have four novels, 3 novellas? A raft of shorts and…all this mentor uttered was “you need to learn to write more.”
Me: Ok…I list off the genres. He tells me one’s passe, and the other, erotica, well its ok if I write that. Well I wasn’t asking permission, and basically…yeah I left feeling scorched and unprepared for the hits to come.
I went to my room. I retreated. I just wanted to leave. But I had a panel to do, and I put on the game face and that one, after a quiet dinner alone, went well enough. Cathe came by and we had a good chat.
And that was the clarity I hinted at in my fb. I have given extensive thought to not writing after this year, because I can’t really get any traction, and I do love writing but its not “fun” for me if no one reads it. I haven’t fully decided on a course of action beyond being extremely judicious in writing in another world, because I don’t want to get pulled in to a point I can’t step back and do my work. I love co writing, but it has to be the right thing, the right time, the right person. Im greedy as fuck, I want MY work done first. I probably need to be more aggressive-assertive.
Whether its short stories or novellas and short novels and start pumping them out, i don’t know. I write what I want. I SHOULD edit the books and pitch the whole flapping mess to an agent but there’s no consensus on what they want. I am not making major career decisions yet. I’m..waiting to see how things roll out for a bit.
Sunday I sagely skipped the kaffeklatch, i wasn’t up for the game face to be on, and I went for food with KC and Marissa, and I really had no other plans so I did my vendor and art room shopping, and signed books and just hung out.
Monday, checked out at 11, off to the airport where my charms to get on an earlier flight failed due to byzantine and bizarre “rules” of airlines and security so I settled in for a very. Long. 8 hour wait. It went by fast enough I guess. Off to Charlotte, and then on to Toronto for a really long trek from our jet to the customs hall and then on to the doors and ON and I missed my last train home thanks to a very late start in Charlotte.
The cabbie on the way home tried to cheekily take US dollars at par, which I promptly fuck-no’d, because no way are you getting 76 bucks for that fare.
Will I be back? I don’t know. It really depends on a host of variables, and we’ll see. I want to make my writing stand on its own, and not chain myself to another and while I see the benefits of doing so and don’t hold it against anyone for choosing that path, I’m just not sure its in my longer term best interest and it’s not what I want to do. Both paths are valid, and both have challenges so I suppose its a matter of which path to take. I feel mostly annoyed at the well intended but ill timed and phrased implications that I should fall into line, and the presumption I wanted to write for company X’s roster. ( to be fair, a short story was well recieved but it was mostly a lark, and not more. I did it for a personal challenge.)
( there was a long brisk walk across downtown Chattanooga with our charming tour guide John Ringo but I honestly have no flapping clue what day that was.)
So, back in Toronto, 7 weeks out from moving to Amsterdam Netherlands, and still writing.