Monday, March 26, 2012

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Although I am not "on the road" very often, it always seems that I receive my best and worst news when I am away from home. This is particularly true when it comes to writing.

For example, out of my first three agents (I'm on my fourth--thank you Cynthia!) two of them dumped me via phone call as I was in the car.  It's difficult having these types of conversations behind the wheel, but it always seems that when I'm the most vulnerable, that's when these calls arrive.  I've never been good at break-ups . . . but come to think of it, I've never broken up with anyone so I wouldn't know what this feels like anyway.  Still . . . .

Years ago, when our family was vacationing in Colorado, I was expecting an email from an agent who was going to inform me about a publisher's decision regarding one of my books.  I had been waiting for this word for weeks. A word which, I had hoped, would be affirmative, all-systems-go.  One afternoon our family (then with two small children) took the narrow-gauge train from Durango to Silverton and, as soon as we de-boarded in Silverton I had a premoniton (is that the word?).  "I've got to find an internet cafe," I told Becky.

"Here?" she said.  "In Silverton?  There's nothing here!"

She was wrong.  I actually located a small coffee shop (this was long before Starbucks, baby!) that had two computers.  For $5 I was able to log onto the net for 15 minutes.  I checked my emails and there it was, just as I expected:  total rejection.  These publishers don't want your book, my agent wrote.  And, by the way, we're through, too.  Find yourself another agent and have a nice life.

I did find myself another agent.  And I've had a nice life.  Thank you very much.

Which brings me to the airport.

Had some fascinating phone conversations sitting in those places (and I don't sit in them often).  Laguardia (NY) comes to mind, and Denver, and once in Indianapolis pre-flight.  Conversations with editors in far off lands that arrived as I was on my way to some other place, usually offering bad news. 

One of the reasons I don't travel often by planes, trains or automobiles is because of the karma.  I don't seem to fare well when I'm away from home.  Bad news always arrives in these far off places when I have a full bladder, can't find a restroom, and haven't slept well for days.  That's usually when my wife picks a fight, too.  We are not good travel companions. 

For our next vacation, I'm going unplugged.  And I plan to meet Becky at the destination.  We'll travel separately.  And I'm not answering my phone.

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