Part of what we do as writers is to go to places we do not live, to reach readers and get our name out there. We also rub shoulders with our peers and learn tricks and techniques that make us all better.
So I’m sitting on a nice Arizona night, alone on the patio, with a good bottle of Coppola Claret (yes, a whole bottle because I’m writing tonight and not driving), listening to the tinkling chatter of the other diners, the piano player in the background playing Misty. This is one place the spirit of Clint Eastwood hovers over. I can feel it, just like I can feel the spirit of John F. Kennedy, who once stayed here and left his swimming trunks behind. Wonder what he did when he went on his midnight swim. Oh, just thinking about the stories this hotel could tell!
FDR stayed here. Clark Gable, Teddy Roosevelt and a couple of his buddies went deer hunting in the mountains nearby. I’m not a historical writer, but I’m drawn to places where others have played, been discrete, or in some cases, scandalous. The passion of life, right? Just the thought of this drives my muse crazy as if I was waiting for my lover to walk up and join me. I can imagine all sorts of behavior in living color. Do I want reality or fantasy? I guess I live in both worlds.
Tucson Festival of Books usually has over 150,000 people and over 1500 booths. I think this year it was less, just judging from the traffic. However, I enjoyed engaging in small talk, hawking my books and being gracious when people walk by, look at my covers and snicker to themselves or to their friends. Young Arizona male students find my covers the most fascinating. One even asked me if being a cover model might pay for his college education. I said no.
There is a gentle breeze brushing against my cheeks. The patio is surrounded in blooming orange trees, which waft in my direction. My waiter is tall and handsome, which helps. I am getting myself steeped in the research mode. Tomorrow to Phoenix where I have some appointments to meet some people who can help me with the Dine research I’m doing while here. I was told a story yesterday about the school basement with the “screaming voices” from their death march and internment. Symbols of the tribal culture and some of their myths. I’m stopping by the University of Arizona library on the way, though. And then there’s laundry to do. Ah, the sacred and the profane!
The waiter has just served me the roasted Brussels sprouts and panicotta. The tangy vegetables make me feel positively divine. The wine is warming me. The song now is Moon River. I feel Rod McKuen sitting across the table from me. He’s writing, just like I am. And then he looks up, and we smile.
I guess I have the wanderlust gene in me. I don’t mind being alone, because my heroes are all around me, speaking to me, whispering their stories, nudging me in ways I love. I look like one single lonely woman, but I travel with an entourage that would make Madonna blush. How wonderful to be a writer and to be able to have my job follow me wherever I go. I can feel worshiped and revered though there is no one here to say those words.
Tomorrow is another day in my patchwork life. I stitch the chapters together and weave a story of my heart, share it. Most important part is the sharing. That’s where the love is. Always.