The Writing Trip

Orlando Florida visiting Mandy

As many of you know, I have planned and planned a writing trip to Florida- first, to spend a day with my best friend that I have not seen in almost a year- and then- TOTAL seclusion in order to get a jump start on my next YA novel.  It was interesting, to say the least…..

First step- The train. I have taken the train before- with family. This is obviously a entirely different experience when traveling solo. As I made my way to my seat, I find that I get the window seat (yay). I also see the person that I will be traveling beside. (not so much yay). Long lovely dreads, large breasts, and hairy legs. I have no idea if I am to say sir or ma’am as I excuse myself past them. I strike up conversation. “Hello.” I say with a nod. “Hey there.” they say in a deep Barry White voice.  Ahhh. Man. Got it… Then, I make some random joke just to break the ice. This person then giggles like a school girl. Oh my. Confusion. Luckily, my train seat buddy falls asleep as soon as I settle in. No need for conversation. A snorer. (Sigh)… But that is why I brought my MP3.  Nothing that the Vitamin String Quartet can’t fix. But, what amazing music can not fix is the smell of gas. (Gag.) I get a bit of writing done before they wake up and speak to me. It is at that moment that I realize this person does not have gas….This is their breath.  I offer a piece of my Eclipse gum…They turn it down. This is where I pretend to sleep, facing the window.

Finally this person exits the train. (Praise Jesus.) Because anything has to be better than that… Hahahahaha. Wrong. The next person to sit next to me is this Jason Mraz wanna be. Lame but acceptable. Until my worst fear of the train comes true. An obsessive head scratcher. Oh my, Lord. I have handled snakes, spiders; I have been attacked by an ostrich. But the thought of lice… Less than every three minutes, this guy pulled off his hip little hat and attacked his head…scratching scratching scratching…. I ended up with my head pressed against the window glass and my hands covering the other side of my head. White flakes floated in the air. No writing was accomplished at this time.

Finally, I arrived in Orlando where Mandy, my dear friend, was waiting for me. My first words, “You are so checking my head.” lol.

We had a wonderful day in Not-Magic -Kingdom. (Can not go to Magic Kingdom with out the kids…anywhere else is fair game.) And we followed it up by a massively hysterical evening out to eat and then to Downtown Disney with her husband. We made fools of ourselves, as usual- and enjoyed every moment of it. (Pictures on Facebook)….

The next day, I was off to officially begin the writing venture. I had no train partner for the first bit. I rested. Finally, a small old lady that was fantastic input for my book- Life in Jacksonville during the 1950s. I picked her brain, and of course, she had no issues with telling me stories of her youth. It was fantastic.

The cutest old man drove the taxi to the hotel in Jacksonville. He also grew up in the area during the 1950’s- giving me an entirely different perspective of how things were back then. Wonderful input for my novel. Google can offer facts- but nothing tops real people with real stories, in my opinion. Before I even arrived to the hotel, my head started throbbing. After I checked in and made my way towards my pretty little room- I realized that I had so much fun in Orlando- that I had not eaten anything since the previous night- almost 21 hours before.

I settled in- set up the desk with my laptop, my music, and all of my writing must- haves- and ordered from Domino’s-hoping to feel better. Half way through the meal- I got dizzy, achy, and plain out sick.

Far away from home, privacy, no kids, no daily bothers, complete writing heaven- and I am sick as a dog. I undressed, crawled into the bed and decided to watch television- something I wouldn’t watch around the kids.  I scanned past Speed. I can not pass up Keanu Reeves….even if it is okay for the kids to watch- except for the part at the end where they discuss how relationships based on intense situations never last- so they have to base it on sex….Three times that night, Speed played…All three times, I missed that one part. HA!

The next day, I was still miserable. I was able to write a bit. Far less than I had anticipated- but I had to take advantage of this alone time. This was too much scheduling and money to not accomplish a thing. I was able to get the entire book plotted, chapter by chapter- and write what was going to be the hardest- okay- probably second hardest part of the book. (The end is always the worst for me- too bittersweet for my blood.)

Then, it was time to go home. I called the taxi- got the same adorable old man. I had a blast talking to him. $30 bucks for 15 minutes of talking and a ride- still better than therapy.  We discussed the old HBO show- Taxi Cab Confessions- my bust of a writing trip, and how no hotel should exist without a bar, and how nothing Dr. Seuss has written sounds as if he did so sober.

At the train station, I regret not eating. I regret this even more so when I realize that my 11 pm train is delayed. Hour by hour my train is delayed. Someone inside is munching on Taco Bell, and as well mannered as I tend to be- for a moment, I felt like I was stuck in The Hunger Games, and wished for a bow and arrow to take this person out and score a burrito.  Where’s a sponsor when you need one? (Hunger Games joke- read it.)

I did meet a fantastic person- which after all of my “train people” experiences, I was thrilled. Eventually, I asked if he was on Facebook- you know, it’s what I do. I searched for him- and there was a billion people with his name. I ask, “What are you wearing in your profile photo?”  He replies, with a chuckle, “This shirt.” pointing to what he is wearing. Still it is lots of people with his name to go through. I had an odd last name so he begins to search for me as well. “What are you wearing in your photo?” he asked.  I look down-get tickled. “This shirt.” I reply. Late night, exhausted humor is the best. We decided that all people should travel in the outfit that they wear in their facebook profile photo.  As Bill Mahr would say- new rule.

Finally, after many delays- we boarded the train a bit after 2 a.m. We were all off schedule, exhausted, and doing our best to not be pissy zombies- but a streak of luck- My new friend and I got to sit next to one another. After discussing our horrible train mates, we knew what one another hated. My poor friend sat in what appeared to be urine during his previous train ride- so he wins for train ride fail.

As we make our way towards our seats- Him happy that I will not talk him to death and me happy that he does not have lice- we place our luggage and I remove a pillow from his seat so that he can get to it- to find a bit of cash under the pillow. Karmatic justice for his urine seat before- I say. That’s some pretty awesome luck. Should I take the train again- I say he and I take it to Vegas.

Finally, I get to my stop. My new friend is asleep- and I dare not talk and wake him. BUT- he is my facebook friend so I can tell him anytime- thanks for a decent ride partner- except, I am still disturbed -sick feeling from him watching- or should I say, sleeping through- The Hills Have Eyes 2. Woah. haha.

I made it home to my family- a basic writing trip bust- but gosh, it felt good to do something new- by myself. And I have full intentions of trying it again someday- not too soon- but not too far away- and without Domino’s.

And that is pretty much it. Not the blog that I had anticipated writing upon my return of the grand writing trip, but that’s life- and it was pretty spiffy to go out and live it a bit.

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