I got back from my super-secret writing retreat late Saturday night, and now it’s back to work in the regular office in the back of the house, with no company except for the dogs. For an introvert, I sure like being around my friends.
A few related bullet points:
- The Bose noise-cancelling earbuds are completely fantastic, and I’ll never step onto a plane again without those little technological wonders in my carry-on bag. The flights I took last week were the most relaxing I’ve ever taken, despite mostly being crammed into regional commuter jet coach seats. You hit that noise-cancelling switch, and there’s an instant acoustic privacy bubble around you. They’re really good at killing loud droning like that from jet engines–it won’t be totally quiet, but it cuts the noise from a roar to a distant whisper that goes away completely when you put on some quiet music. Six thumbs up, AAAAAA+++++, would splurge again.
- Lake Lure, NC and the surrounding area are super-pretty, and the climb up to the top of Chimney Rock is a super bitch if you’re not used to climbing 1,000+ vertical feet via wooden staircases. It also helps to not forget one’s water bottle in the car when one makes that climb with one’s friends on a sunny 75-degree day. Lovely view, though.
- I rented a KIA Optima and had a good time with it all week. Having driven a minivan since 2005, I almost forgot that driving can be a lot of fun. The Doge Grand Caravan is starting to have enough little annoying issues that this may be the year to shop for a replacement, and another minivan would be the sensible choice, but man, does that Optima make me want to get something smaller and more nimble. (Side note: the Koreans are making some pretty nice cars these days.)
- I will now and henceforth call Detroit’s airport “Carl Sagan International (an Albert Speer design)”. it seems like a deliberate, cruel architecture exercise to remind us of the insignificance and inadequacy of the single human form in an inconceivably vast and hostile galaxy, with futuristic trams and lightshows thrown in. It took me TWENTY MINUTES of fast walking to get from my arrival gate to the departure gate in another terminal, and I think I may have passed through three time zones and five separate weather fronts.
- Establishing traditions with good friends is fun. Making new friends who make you feel like you’ve known them for years is fun. Committing high crimes and misdemeanors with those old and new friends is fun. Fun is good, and we can’t ever have enough of it. Friends are good, and we can’t ever have enough of those either. A week goes by very quickly when you hang out with said friends for work and play.
- When seven writers share a lodge for a week, one fridge is not enough, and beer consumption will be enough to necessitate a grocery run pretty much every day.
- Using one’s iPad mini as a communal WiFi hotspot because there’s no Internet at said lodge may mean you have to bump your data plan up to the next tier twice in one week.
Anyway, the trip was a ton of fun (you may have gathered that), and we’re thinking about making it an annual event. On Friday, our last full day, we took a field trip into Asheville to see the new Godzilla movie (I’ll share some thoughts on that one later), and then go to the Wicked Weed for some beer and burgers. The weather obliged all week–it was beautiful in the western NC mountains every day except for Thursday, when we spent all day inside to get more work done anyway.
I didn’t finish the first draft of ANGLES OF ATTACK in North Carolina as planned, but I made a good dent, and I still have some time until the deadline, so it’s back to work for me this week. But the trip was good and necessary. I got a lot of work done, met up with old friends and made new ones, and got to spend some time in a lovely spot. Next up on my social/writing calendar is Readercon in July, but for now I have to get back to work and finish this novel so you all can buy it and read it. I can say that it’s shaping up pretty well, and that I feel it’s at least as good as TERMS and LINES, if not better.
All right. Back to work I go. More later.