Watts (chipotle) wrote,

  • Music:
I'm on the plane back from Further Confusion--the second plane back, the one from Albuquerque to Tampa. The flight back has gone more smoothly than the flight out, except for the last few minutes. I have three seats to myself and I'm sitting in the window seat; a woman named Julie is sitting in the seat on the other side of the aisle. Julie is heading to Palm Harbor. She is moving there from Las Vegas. She doesn't think I look like a "computer whiz," and she finds me fascinating. I know these things because Julie has had a lot of expensive in-flight beer. She has introduced herself to me twice and would no doubt be introducing herself to me a third or fourth time if I had not said that I really needed to get work done on the laptop and put on my earphones. This seemed to somewhat hurt her, although she is aware that she is drunk and probably not as fascinating for me as I seem to be for her. I think I've handled this politely--probably too politely. I need to work on showing cold disinterest; I suspect she has mistaken "I am flummoxed by the drunk woman but trying to be nice" for "I am being cutely shy."

As the plane lands, Julie looks out the windows and says, "I'm home!" She cheers loudly, and says it again.

Julie has never been here before. She grew up in California and Nevada and has decided she hates both places, and is moving out here to find a job and a new life. As I get off the plane I think: am I missing something? If there are new lives to be found in Tampa, I spent the last two years looking in the wrong places.

Granted, when I come back from a trip--nearly any trip--I think about what it'd be like to live in the place I've visited. The thoughts don't usually last too long, but for a few places the thought never goes away: yeah, I could live here. The Southwest has it--but maybe not quite as much as Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. In the balance game between my desire to live somewhere other than Florida and my desire for the stability of nearby friends and family, the stability keeps edging out the wanderlust. The gap's been slowly narrowing, but at the same time the chance of finding an employer interested in a candidate on the other side of the country drops with the economy.

I'm wondering if my interest in novel-writing has rekindled partially from a subconscious suspicion that I'm not going to find any other work I'm genuinely interested in.

In case anyone wonders: no, I do not give Julie my phone number.

I don't know that I'll do a "con report," but I'll mention that I'm moving ahead with plans to do a short story collection with Sofawolf. The next couple of weeks may be spent trying to track down older "lost" stories and deciding which unpublished ones are worth grabbing--and if I want to try to get anything completely new done. (The tentative title story, "Why Coyotes Howl," will be new to anyone who hasn't seen a draft manuscript of it, at least. I may also put in "Travelling Music," but not without some waffling: it's well-written and it's undoubtedly the most popular story I've done that nobody can get a copy of currently, but its plot shows both its age and, worse, its furry-daydream heritage.)

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