I'm back....

…and happy to be home. This past week while flying thousands of miles, driving hundreds of miles, and racing down countless high school corridors these thoughts occasionally sped through my brain: What was I thinking? Where did I think I would find the time for any personal writing or reflection? Or checking in on my writing buddies?

I didn’t find the time. And I’ve missed it (and you).

Usually on one of these work/travel benders I try to reward myself a little on the way home with a good book. I can’t use my laptop on a plane unless I’ve gotten bumped up to first class, which rarely happens and most definitely did NOT on this trip. And I had three (three!) different flights on Friday so I was looking forward to some good reading time and space. Remember the book windfall I scored about a month ago?

I picked up Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants from my pile of goodies. I remember standing in the nice little bookstore in the Charlotte airport about three years ago trying to decide whether to buy it then and finally, putting it aside for something that would weigh less. But I’m really glad I took it this past week.

How good was this book? I was almost to the end of the book when my final flight was landing on Friday night. I was so engrossed in reading that my seatmate had to nudge me back to reality to get off the plane.

Gruen did an amazing job telling a story of circus life in the Depression-era 1930’s. But she combined that story with a very believable account of what it’s like to be old (not very nice 🙁 ) in contemporary America.

The prologue plants a powerful hook on page one, followed by a gripping story, fascinating history, interesting characters, bad guys who get what they deserve, good guys who don’t, good guys who do, a love story, and a happy ending. Really, what more could you want?

This — an interview with the author that includes these comments:

I hate outlining. I hate outlines, hate them, hate them.

I usually know what the crisis of the book is going to be, though I don’t know how I’m going to get there.  I try to make it bad enough that I don’t know how I’m going to get out of it.  And when I get there, I have to get out of it.  I just get myself geared up, and I write every day and see what happens.

On Saturday we stopped in the center of my funky little beach community to watch them set up the carnival rides that will be going along the beach boardwalk all summer long, beginning this week-end. I found myself looking for Marlena, for Uncle Al, for Rosie the elephant, for the rubes who might fit right in with the Benzini Bros. Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It could be an interesting summer.

(I’m uber-busy today and tomorrow, so it might be Wednesday until I catch up with blogging and the Creativity Workshop.  By ‘catching up’ I mean getting up to where I should have been about a week ago.  I may have to adjust my CW goals to fit in with reality.)

14 comments to I’m back….

  • I get carsick when I read, so the only mode of transportation that allows me to haul my books along is flight. I don’t fly all that often, but when I do I gobble up books as fast as the complimentary peanuts!

  • Natasha

    I hear you on that. But I pass on the USAirways pretzels…

  • Welcome home! I’ve missed your charming/witty post and comments.

    I could never read while flying – it was to hard to hold on to my drink and turn the pages at the same time. 😉

    Because I’ve focused on poetry for a short time I’m not reading as much as I normally would. I still have the Rand novel to get through and I’m ashamed to say it is taking far too long.

    • Natasha

      Well, if you are on a roll with your poetry writing, I think it’s important for you to stay with that roll. Ayn Rand will still be there next week or next month or next year…

    I just read that they’re making Water for Elephants into a movie.
    I’ve been crazy busy too but I can’t tout any good reading (or traveling). Probably because I’m trying to read everything at once, and therefore, they’re all being neglected. I’m editing though. Maybe too much editing…:( I think I may be shredding my story some…oh well, live and learn.
    Good luck catching up on your CW goals.

  • Glad you are back too! Sounds like you may have not had a lot of time for yourself on this trip. Did you get to connect with your old chum? Hope so. I’m still trying to settle in too. Sure is lots of catching up to do after a week away.
    I’ll be putting that book on my “to read list”

  • I must now find and read that book. Thank you.

  • Yeah, you’re back! I always say I’m going to read a book on vacation, and I bring one…but I almost never get around to doing it. Too much to do and see! I figure I can read a book anywhere…oh well!

    But I love that she hates outlines as much as I do!!

  • I read Water For Elephants quite some time ago. Or did I listen to the audiobook while walking around the neighborhood? Either way, I’ve experienced the story. My memory isn’t great but I do remember it was an excellent story. I’m glad you had the time to read it and I’m glad you’re back.

  • Natasha

    Thanks, Shaddy! I’m glad you remembered it as a good read. Especially since it’s now on a bunch of folks’ reading pile.

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