As you might remember, Geoff got me a great gift for my 40th birthday back in April. He got me tickets to go see Stephen King to a speaking engagement in Hartford, Connecticut, to support the Mark Twain House and Museum.
A couple of weeks ago, we went on our road trip to see him. It was about a 7 hour drive down, with us taking our time and stopping whenever we felt like it. It was a beautiful day, perfect for driving. We drove with the windows down, even on the highway. I am that type of girl. Unless I am going somewhere special, I really don't mind the wind in my hair. In fact, I prefer it. Turn the radio up loud so I can hear over the wind, stick my feet out the window and let's hit the fucking road.
There is something that happens to me, when I go on vacation. I make decisions. Sometimes little ones, sometimes monumental ones. I think it is maybe the distance, both physical and emotional, from my day to day life that makes me see clearly. I can sometimes see opportunities where there were none before. Sometimes, I see my failures. Sometimes, I just finally get the balls to say yes, or no, to whatever it is that has been waiting patiently for me to make up my mind.
This trip was no different.
Geoff found a hotel within walking distance of the theatre. It was just a regular Holiday Inn, clean but nothing special. So, basically- perfect for us. The first night, we walked down the road to a restaurant and bar called Black-Eyed Sally's. They specialized in southern style food and had live blues music. It was right up our alley. We ate jambalaya, and corn bread, red beans and rice and fried catfish. I drank Bud light, Geoff had sweet tea. It was here that we decided that someday soon, we need to go to Memphis. Geoff really wants to see Graceland. I really want to get drunk slowly, listening to real blues men play real music. So, someday, fingers crossed, we are going. If this sounds good to you, let me know. Maybe you can come along.
The next day was Stephen's talk. We had all day though, and nothing planned. We perused some of the brochures we had found, but nothing really jumped out at us. Geoff thought of touring the actual Mark Twain house, and I was all on board with that. We are both glad we did. The tour was great, the house was phenomenal. Here, I decided that I needed to read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I haven't read either. They seem important to the world. So, I am going to read them. I started Tom Sawyer a couple of days ago. So far, I like it.
There is something special about touring old houses. Geoff and I both love it. That voyeuristic glimpse into someone else's life is something that I can't resist. Hearing the inside story of the normal life of someone famous is fantastic. We did Hemmingway's house in Key West, Mark Twain's in Connecticut. Maybe I will try and collect famous author tours. :) That sounds like a worthwhile pursuit.
We spent the rest of that day just toodling around. We stopped to eat at a Mexican place, where I had a giant margarita and enchiladas. We visited 3 different comic shops. We found the Target, and the poor section of Hartford (Geoff has a knack for finding that, no matter what the city). We basically took our time and relaxed. It was lovely and fun. Believe it or not, we even held hands in the car. :D I know, weird.
Geoff and I had a playlist for the weekend, 4 discs. We listened to them over and over. I am still listening to them. Why not?? They are all my favourite songs.
That night, we got dressed and went to dinner and the show. Dinner was Italian, right beside the hotel. We ate at the bar, and were surrounded by other Stephen King fans, waiting for the show. Geoff and I bonded by making fun of most of them, and chatting with others. Then we walked through the park in front of the state capital and over to the show. The heat wave was on, so I absolutely wilted in the stifling heat of the city. Once I start to sweat, I can't shut it off. My hair, when we got to the theater was plastered to my head. Before that, though, I looked pretty good. :)
I had a beer before the show, and Geoff bought me Stephen's new book, Joyland (I really enjoyed it, I read it the day we came home.) I had brought a first edition hard cover of Salem's Lot with me, just in case there was a book signing (there wasn't, sadly.)
Stephen's talk was great. He is so relatable and down to earth. He swore all the time, made cornball jokes and wore jeans. He is getting older and he looks it. He talked about his addictions (booze and cocaine were his favorites, and oxycotin was the easiest to kick). His view on God (Why not believe? What have you got to lose? If there is nothing after, then you are dead and no one cares. But if He exists, then you have hedged your bets and should be good to go) and the sanctity of childhood (basically, kids, if they were adults, would be clinically insane) were just wonderful. I could have listened for hours.
Of course, I made one of my final decisions here. I listened to him talk about how, when he was 27, and he first sold Carrie, and he was able to finally buy groceries and a car. I listened to him when he talked about sitting at a folding card table in his laundry room, and just pounding out stories. I listened to him. I listened. As he spoke, I listened.
And when I stopped listening, I knew. I want to write.
Do I think I can be the next Stephen King? Why the fuck not? LOL..sure, it's a long shot. Sure, it's lightening striking twice, and winning the lottery all on the same day. But if Nicholas Spark's piece of shit books can be best sellers, can't I do that to?
Since that day, the universe has been sending me my signs. Telling me this is the right choice. This is a smart choice. The universe, I am convinced, wants me to do this. So I will.
I am not saying that I will try. I am not saying that I am thinking about it. I am using definitive words here. I am set in my mind.
I am 40. I know what I want to do when I grow up.
I am doing the things I need to do, to get there. I am thinking about my story. Do I want to do fiction? Do I want to write about Sebastian? Do I have a book in me? Or are they short stories? Where do I begin? How do I want this to end?
This feels right. In every bone of my body.
Don't count on updates. Don't count on excerpts. This is private. This is really fucking hard. Maybe I am making a mistake here, posting it, making it public. Maybe that makes me like every other twat out there that grandiosely announcing that they are writing a book (the great American/Canadian novel, or the next Harry Potter/Twilight, of course). But since you guys- all of you that have commented and reached out to me to tell me that you read, that you like what you read, that encourage me, and think I should do more- you guys are part of those signs from the universe. So thank you. All of you, thank you.
Thanks Stephen. It was a great weekend. A great vacation. Thanks to Geoff, who made it happen.
The first one will be dedicated to you.
The N stands for "now what??"