Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time. Travel. (PHL>SFO)

Today, I'm on my way to San Francisco.

Or, more precisely, I'm sitting waiting to be further on my way to San Francisco.

When the announcement was made that we would not all be able to board our flight because of issues involving weight, balance and an unidentified "weather issue" between this City of Brotherly Love and the City by the Bay, some were quick to, how do you say, freak the hell out.

I, on the other hand, as a person who views airline travel as something to be feared and endured, thought only of the movie of the week to be made, where scenes of people filing to their seats are interspersed with that of a gruff ground crew manager insisting to a worried luggage handler, "It'll be fine. Just get the bags on and get this bird out of here (1)." And so, now I wait.

I'm not a traveler. I don't particularly enjoy it, preferring instead my house and my schedule and my own bed at the end of the day. I already miss my attic hideout.

It's not to say that there aren't some stops that I'm looking forward to during my brief time in San Francisco. I love the labyrinth at Grace Episcopal Church, especially the outdoor space early in the morning. I'll be doing some event promotion (3) in some great sections of the city and brilliant food landmarks.

I'll be making a point of going to this place, Isotope - The Comic Book Lounge, which makes me a little weak in the knees. I'm setting up time to write, with an actual, honest-to-goodness person who I am NOT related to waiting to read the fiction piece I'm working on. There's even research that I'm doing for a non-fiction project to be done.

And, thanks to the fact that a red eye flight is required to get me back home to our rural city (4), additional stops are sure to be inserted into the itinerary.

What I won't be doing, or, am not currently scheduled to do, is see some of the folks who were once part of my every day life. I have mixed feelings about this, coming as it does on the heels of other news that brought me a bit back into the past, because I find myself in that place where you wonder where the line is between bitter and "for the best".

What is it that makes some parts of your life so difficult to walk away from? Those times that, no matter what you do or how logical you try to be, keep you looking back, wondering about the choices you made. Even when you know, without question, that you would do it all the same way all over again.

Fortunately or not, it's looking like I'll have a fair amount of time to be thinking about this.

1. What can I say. That's how he talks. It's the kind of role that Ed Asner would have totally ruled back in the day (2).
2. Or Bea Arthur.
3. Not that glamorous. What? You might have thought it was glamorous.
4. Time, time, time...see what's become of me...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Walking on sunshine.

Lately, I've developed a strange mental tic.

Artboy: I keep saying Walkman when I'm referring to my iPod.

Leopold: Really?

Artboy: Yeah. I'll be heading out the door to take Finkelstein for a walk and I'll stop and say that I have to grab my Walkman. Apparently, I plan to take our walk in 1985.

Later we will address the fact that I feel the need to explain to the dog why I have to go back in the house.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What would you suggest?

Patricia Marx's new book, Starting from Happy, is made up of 618 "mini-chapters", which makes me ridiculously happy.

This summer it's been demonstrated to me, over and over again, that the boundaries we place on what a book should be, what a story should be, how a novel should be constructed, are actually only suggestions.

I find this incredibly heartening, because these quirks and inventions are about transforming the substance of the novel, not simply the delivery method.


Monday, September 12, 2011

52 Pickup

If you are not a comic reader, or if you have managed to be away from your radio and television, receive no newspapers or magazines at your house and do not live within 10 miles of a comic book shop, it might be that you are unfamiliar with DC Comic's New 52.

Allow me to shorthand it for you. Starting back on August 31, DC Comics - home to Superman and Wonder Woman and the dark knight detective Batman - reset the comic-o-meter. Fifty-two of the publisher's titles will start over again at issue #1 as a way of capturing new readers, exciting old readers and generating much publicity for the cause of sequential illustration.

It's also, I have to believe, no accident that this massive reboot is all taking place as a new school year is beginning because, really, that's how our lives work, right? No matter how long it's been since you headed off to the bus stop with a lunchbox tucked safely in your backpack, there's something about the end of summer that always feels like the start of a new year.

Which is why the blog has a new look and I'm dusting off the keyboard once again. There are deadlines - outside and self-imposed - ahead for me and, with any luck, some actual time to meet them.

Increasingly, I also find myself hoping for my own reboot of sorts. But hoping only gets you so far...then it's about making changes on your own. Or, sometimes, retracing your steps a bit.

See, in the New 52's Action Comics, Superman doesn't fly. He jumps. He leaps tall buildings in a single bound...which is just what he did back when he and his outside-the-pants red briefs first appeared on the scene. Flying came later.

Which makes perfect sense. Flying always comes later.