This is another long drive, made worse by losing an hour as we enter central time. We leave early, knowing rain is in the forecast for much of our route.
What we don’t know is that the rain is coming from a wannabe hurricane that has moved up from the gulf. It won’t rain much of the day, it will pour. It starts around Odessa and continues for the rest of the day, with only short breaks in the action.
We’re talking the kind of shower that makes you feel like you are driving through a car wash; one that is so loud you can’t talk or listen to music, and is so intense that you can barely see the tail lights of the vehicle ahead of you. We change drivers often because it’s exhausting at best and downright dangerous at worst. As we near Fort Worth, we start to run into the inevitable weather-related traffic accidents, and from then on we find ourselves in stop and go traffic in a downpour until we reach our destination.
A few years ago I made a play list of songs with the word “Home” in the title. I was moving across the country at the time, leaving my home of fifteen years, and I was trying to generate enthusiasm for making a home elsewhere. It helped.
As I take my turns driving, one of the songs keeps running through my head, I think because the chorus has something to do with stopping a hurricane.
Tonight, I won’t be in my own house but I’ll be staying at the home of someone I love, and I’m looking forward to it. There will be a home-cooked meal (and probably a very good one) and fine wine and a soft bed that I haven’t had to pay to sleep in. It feels welcoming as I drive through the storm.
I don’t have a rule of the road today; the best I can do is a guideline. (Thank you Jack Sparrow.) Avoid extremely difficult days as best you can and when you can’t, do your best to see there is comfort waiting for you at the end of the day. If you’re lucky, you’ll arrive at your own home, or that of someone who loves you.
Authors note: My third novel z2 is currently on blog tour through the fine folks at Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours. The post below is part of that tour and it appeared a week or so ago on a wonderful blog called Coffee Break. My thoughts were inspired by a post I wrote on my x0 blog back in 2013, two whole books ago. A lot has changed for me since then, but apparently other things haven’t changed much at all.
We are a thousand miles from home, traveling to visit my husband’s family in a part of the country settled by Italian immigrants. A confluence of scheduling has left us with one night on our own.
“Italian food,” he insists. “Absolutely,” I agree. He’s heard of a new place and we head over eagerly. What do we find? Buca di Beppo, a good Italian chain restaurant that also has a place about five miles from where we live in Texas. We have to laugh. No way.
As we go off in search of more interesting food, I think about my writing. Traditionally published novels are like chain restaurants, I think. Some are okay and some are great but they are seldom awful. You have a pretty good idea of what you are getting. Self-published novels are more like tiny mom-and-pop restaurants. Some are really bad and some are absolutely fantastic and there is no good way to tell the difference from a distance. Good or bad, the contents are always something of a surprise.
We stumble on a tiny place where the menu is hand typed, and the Pollo Maria Teresa that catches my eye is described with honesty as being a pasta dish served with chicken and “some lobster”. I smile at the lack of polish. It’s like homemade gravy or hand-built furniture. One makes both with love and with all the skill that one can.
Each of my self-published books has been similarly created, edited and rewritten to the best of my ability at the time that I wrote them. Then, because I wanted the product to be better, each was professionally edited with what I could afford. Although both I and my editor have gotten better with each one, my books don’t have the polish provided by industry experts. They are homemade gravy and hand-built furniture. They make no pretense to be otherwise, even though I hope that they can be enjoyed by those who also appreciate the style and predictability of chain restaurants.
The Pollo Maria Teresa arrives and it is wonderful. I smile as I enjoy some of my “some lobster” and I think that it is good to have variety in ones life.