I went to Texas. Seeing that in print makes my eyes squint and my head tilt. It's weird. Innocuous, Out of place. Me. In Texas, which always sounds in my head in William Shatner's voice from Miss Congeniality: TEX-ASS!!
Vicky Dreiling who had pushed me to enter the Emily in the first place, myself, my conference wife Anne Baker, (who brought me this great push me button that says things like "Go for the gold! But not in a mean way! Go for it in a character-building way!" and the magnet to the right, which I think we all can agree is deliciously apropos), and Harlequin writer Kristi Gold, whose North Texas accent had a blast with my Jersey ears. We laughed, we talked, we ate and drank and talked about the publishing business and writing and then laughed some more. Good friends are the things that get you through the hard times - but it's a blazing joy to have good times to celebrate with them too.
I love to fly. I love being above everything, as though the whole world has stopped, all the dramas that fill my life pausing while I'm in the air. I love having the unknown ahead. When I drove through Ireland in '99, I didn't even have hotel reservations anywhere.Wherever I landed was where I stayed (made for some interesting nights, I'll tell you). There was a freedom in that, fear sometimes, utter and total panic once or twice, but excitement and liberty above all.
|The trip out|
I haven't flown anywhere for a few years now, but this short trip to Houston was enough to spark my wanderlust. I'll be in California this summer and Arizona after that and I can't wait to get going.
Sure, I dread those evils of flying we all live with these days: the boarding and the squishing and the bag fees and the dark thrill of being crammed into a tiny metal tube and propelled into the air 30,000 feet above the earth. I actually love take offs and landing, the thrust of power, the success of wheels touching down again. Once I'm settled in my seat and the window shade is up and the air is clear to the horizon - ah. There's a whole 'nother world up there.
Still, I could never be an astronaut. My rampant imagination would work overtime on all the ways I could die before ever breaching the atmosphere and I'd hyperventilate at the first glimpse of a space suit. But when I'm on a plane, I fully understand the passion astronauts have for space travel, the driving need to return to space almost from the moment they land. It must be an extraordinary thing to look through one of these tiny windows and see the entire world laid out before you in celestial banquet.
|There's an oil platform...somewhere|
I went to Texas. And I won the contest. And I saw the Gulf. And it's not even March yet. Who knows what else 2012 has in store for me?