It’s been a hectic week in the Brennan household as I prepare (ha! It’s 7:20 Saturday night and I’m not even packed–in fact, my suitcase is not down from the high shelf in the garage) for my trip to Washington DC where I get to tour FBI Headquarters and the FBI Training Academy at Quantico. (Eat your heart out Stephen. And Toni. And Alex–but I know Alex just wants to go because Quantico is also a Marine base, not for research. Or writing-type research, anyway.)
Thinking about the trip reminded me about what I love–and hate–about travel.
I try to live my life by the 11th commandment. You know the one . . . love your neighbor as yourself. Basically, be nice to people. Cut them some slack. Don’t blare your horn because someone is going too slow or ticks you off. (To me, the car horn is reserved for three things. 1- a gentle tap-tap when the car in front of you doesn’t notice the light has turned green. 2- a firm hoooonnnnnkkkkk to avoid a collison, such as when an idiot is backing up and doesn’t see you. And 3- a constant honk-honk-honk-honk until your teen-age daughter–who said she was ready but is not in the car–runs out of the house to avoid being embarrassed by the neighbors. Amazing, it really works to get their ass in gear!)
Everyone has to go through security. Yeah, it’s not always fun, but it’s not like we are giving up major liberties to secure a bit of safety here (though I can’t help but think up all the ways I could get around security at airports–I think it’s an occupational hazard.) I don’t dramatically sigh because the nervous little old lady in front of me is having a difficult time removing her shoes, for example.
On the plane, we’re all cramped. It’s often hot. There’s sometimes a crying baby. (Get earbuds and an iPod–loud rock-n-roll pretty much drowns out anything.) Be patient getting off the plane–we’re all going to get off. If someone has a tight connection, let them go first–no skin off your nose if you don’t have a tight connection, right?
I’m a nice traveler 🙂 . . .
except . . .
(Yes, you knew there was an exception.)
If you’re traveling during the day, why do you need to recline your seat? For your comfort? For your enjoyment of the flight? What about the person behind you? What if the person behind you is an author with a really tight deadline and they really, really, really need the five hour flight to write the next chapter of their book? Do you realize that there is no way in hell that said author can write if you recline your seat?
Believe me, I have tried. And had major shoulder and neck pain to accomplish a small number of words.
The seat in front of you tilts back. That puts the tray closer to you. It’s already cramped trying to type on the tray anyway, but when it’s three-four inches closer? Try typing with your elbows pressed against the back of your seat, your screen tilted at a 80-degree angle toward you so you can’t even really see what you’re writing, so you hunch over a bit and your shoulders are now touching the bottom of your ears. Because sometimes, if you aren’t watching you can find yourself typing a whole page that looks something like this:
Bretvsuid dp,eyo,rd upi vsm gomf upitdr;g yupomv s ejp;r [shr yjsy ;ppld ;olr yjod/
Just because your fingers shifted over one letter.
So consider the writer behind you when you travel. You’ll make all of us–well, at least me–a lot happier. And our editors, who really want the book in their inbox when you tell them it’ll be there.
Aside from the inconsiderate book haters who recline their seats, I generally like traveling. Especially alone. I can write for hours, thanks to my newish MacBook Pro with a 7+ hour battery life (it rocks. I LOVE my new laptop.) I have flash drives, a me.com account to archive daily (in case some low-life criminal steals my laptop) and for this trip, I used my frequent flyer miles to upgrade free to First Class on the leg out east, and got a really cheap Economy Plus seat coming back west. Yeah! No more seat recliners! (In Economy Plus, it’s annoying, but not hugely cramped to write when the person in front of you wants to relax at your expense.)
I hope to have lots of stories for you when I return from Quantico!
Oh, by the way, it’s really not nice to confuse tired moms on deadline. I had to go from soccer game to football game to a birthday party to a volleyball tournament an hour away . . . and when I finally got home I log in to Murderati and . . . saw Cornelia’s blog. I became extremely confused. Because I ALWAYS follow Alex. But I KNOW it’s my day, so I’m posting anyway. If there’s any complaints, go talk to Alex and Cornelia.
Great blog, BTW, C. My two cents? You have to write what you’re passionate writing, whether genre or something else. You have to love it, with all the pain that comes in penning the damn thing. But the one thing you shouldn’t do is not attempt it because you’re scared. If you don’t do it, it should be because you don’t have the passion for it, not because you don’t think you could do it. If that makes any sense.
So gang, I’m traveling all day. I’ll try to log-in at the airport to check in, but I’ll be on a plane from 11 am Pacific to 9:30 pm Eastern. Have fun while I’m gone!