The joys of flying

KK 270

Stranded at the Omaha airport for eight hours. Then from Denver we fly to Burbank although our car is at LAX. By the time we arrive home, we will have been travelling nearly eighteen hours. That’s a long time for a flying time of four hours. There goes my dream of landing at LAX at 12:30 pm and getting home in time to unpack, drop my clothes at the cleaners and go out for a sushi dinner. I actually dreamed of sushi last night, in my dreams I was eating oyster shooters.

Well, here at the Omaha Airport, there isn’t an oyster shooter in sight and if there were it might be unwise to eat it. What’s funny is that if you get somewhere, you can dig into being there but at the time that you are ready to go home, you get your mind wrapped around it, like Beetlejuice you hear that voice in your head, “Home, home, home.” And that’s it, you want to get out of there and be home wrapped in your own cocoon of warmth.

There is one basic food at this airport and that is pizza. We had a bagel and coffee but at some point we are going to get hungry. Right now we have five more hours here. I was thinking of doing some yoga moves against the wall. It’s possible that people would look at me like I’m odd, but I don’t know any of these people and am unlikely to see them again so it’s irrelevant. Mark is working away on his writing but being in an airport makes me too anxious to write so I am working/blogging/doing email.

My plan is to take a long run tomorrow so I hope that we do get to Los Angeles because running around the Denver airport really could be awkward.

There’s a scene in Slaughterhouse Five that I like to think about because it says so much about human behavior and what makes for writing strong characters. Roland Weary is with Billy Pilgrim and these two scouts during the war and he wants to be “in” with the scouts. He pictures the three of them as the three musketeers travelling throughout the war and doing many feats. Weary is actually a war loving mongrel and ends up dying of gangrene after the Germans strip him of his many unnecessary weapons. His father collected medieval torture implements which made Weary very proud. By the way, Roland Weary is a great name for a bully who’s going to end up dying of gangrene, but not before convincing Paul Lazarro to kill Billy Pilgrim for him. What I like about this character is that he is a pathetic bully but… If he were just a bully with a bunch of knives, he’d be a cliché, but he also has a rich fantasy life and in his rich fantasy life, he is a soldier with a purpose who is a valued part of a team. In real life, he is actually one of those people you do not want to be around. But he wants to imagine that people like him. There are people who suck all the air out of the room, and people that are simply arrogant little busy bodies but if you create characters like this you need to give them an inner life. Vonnegut does that. That’s what I tell my writing students, “Try to be a little more like Vonnegut, will you?” Sometimes they listen. Sometimes they are listening to their own inner life/voices.

The Omaha Airport is not at all exciting. It’s a good thing I have an inner life.

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Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 8:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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