I’m Back From San Francisco


FullSizeRender-1I have a habit of separating my personal life from my blogging life, and recently I’ve wondered if I might benefit from a greater extent of transparency and intimacy with all of you lovely people, and so I want to, for a moment at least, get more personal.

Firstly, I want to apologize for dropping off these last ten days. As many of you know, irowboat and I ran off to San Francisco last weekend for The Night of Writing Dangerously, and a few days of much-needed vacation and rest. I planned on blogging while we were there, and quickly discovered that the wifi in out hotel was not sufficient to upload what posts I wrote.

So, we decided to go into actual vacation mode – save for one article I was contracted to finish in that time, and leave the blog and other worldly cares aside.

FullSizeRender-3I have a strange history with trips to California. I love the state – The Novel even takes place in San Diego. Yet, nearly every time irowboat and I venture there, something goes strange or wrong. We seem able to coordinate with large news and world events, as if we and California have some karmic agreement made back in the ether of our fates.

In 2009, we took a road trip from San Francisco through San Diego, stopping to enjoy the sights on our way down the coast. The day we went to  Legoland, I awoke with one of the worst sore throats of my life. I assumed it was from getting swimming pool water up my nose, and we ventured forth. Throughout the rest of the trip, I was dreadfully ill with a runny nose, stomach ache, and general death. It wasn’t until we were driving home that we learned mine were the symptoms of Swine Flu.

On a 2013 stop through Los Angeles, we sat in our hotel and snacked on leftover doughnuts while we watched footage of the Boston Marathon bombing. We were scheduled to have dinner with a friend, and had to wait and see if his girlfriend had survived the marathon.

IMG_8391On Saturday, we once again sat and watched the news, this time of the attacks in Paris. It’s a strange feeling to watch terror while away from home. We want to be near those we care about, but the point of vacation is to be away from all of that. We continued as normally as possible, mostly because there wasn’t much else to do but go forward, just as there wasn’t the other times bad things happened.

We walked through Chinatown, shopped in Japantown, visited the pier to explore an old battleship and a museum of coin operated machines, and were condescended to by a wide variety of baristas. It was a lovely enough time, as it always is when irowboat is around.

I attended The Night of Writing Dangerously, and I will post all about it as soon as I can. It was easily the best part of the trip, and a welcome reprieve. On our way to the airport, we detoured to see the lovely people who run NaNoWriMo in their office – and I guarantee you will never meet a more genuine or sweet collection of humans.

IMG_8455Despite our efforts,the vacation began to feel more like some cloaked figure of unknown intentions. Over the weekend, a project I’ve been working on has been discontinued, leaving me unsure of my employment status with one of my writing jobs, and I now find myself in need of a writing portfolio for job hunting. Holidays loom with their complicated family gymnastics, and so does the remaining word count for the month.

Returning to Salt Lake, the reminders of terrorism and threat hovered – our airport check in left us ruffled from extra baggage checks, nervous fliers, gossip; we were delayed on return when a plane traveling from LA to Paris had to land in our home airport, Salt Lake City, due to a bomb threat. We drove past the flashing emergency fleet lights as we numbly drove out of long term parking.

Since coming home, I felt the need to be silent and get my mind in order. Some people can plow through and keep working in a crisis. Me, I need to take a step back and be still a moment. There are things to do – Parisian friends to check on, jobs to hunt, a portfolio to produce, a novel to write, blog posts to create.

But for now, there are just a few days left until the end of NaNoWriMo, and if you’re at all like me, there’s much left to be done.

So let’s go write some really bad rough drafts. Thanks for listening.

San Francisco from the S.S. Jeremiah O’Brien

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