Saturday, December 19, 2009


as somebody once said, it is finished! 32 hours, 5,600 words, 10 traveller's tales, and one drained writer.

i settled on the 30-ish hours because that's the longest i've been in transit on a trip - both going to and coming from egypt last year took 30 hours. so, instead of travelling wide, this time i went deep - deep into one place, one moment, one man.

i've never spent so much intense time with a character. when writing black snow, i spent months with tommy but it was always a part of my life - not the whole thing. dave and i have been joined at the hip for 32 hours, and i've got to know him quite well.

bad planning on my part means i'm wearing the same clothes now that i started out in yesterday morning. my teeth are gritty. my hair is greasy. the whole experience feels strangely like an actual trip - packing my bags, heading to the airport, sitting in a seat for hours and hours, not sleeping properly, not eating right - let's face it, i look and feel like hell. and probably smell like hell. but i feel like i got somewhere, too.

the airport staff were fantastically helpful in putting this whole project together and seeing that it went off without a hitch. tim hortons kindly kept me coffeed up, hms host fed me and the quality inn gave me a bed for the night - thanks!

now: they're calling dave's flight on the PA - let me go down the hall and see what he's up to:

Dave’s flight was called. Please proceed to gate seven.
Dave froze. He stared at the blank page on his notebook. The white paper was as brightly blank as the young heart of a star. His heart shook.
He pulled in a lungful of air, let it out through his mouth. If you want to be reborn in a new life, your old life must die.
Dave stood.
His legs trembled. He clutched the notebook like it was his oxygen supply. Sunlight streamed in.
Final call for flight.
Dave set his teeth, turned left, walked toward the check-in. Stomach wrenched, stopping him.
He forced himself to open his notebook. Wrote it down.
Another step.
Another note.
Another step.
“And where are you heading today, sir?”
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