Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The howler on the plane

en route to Prague

I have a whole chapter in my new book Sidewalk Oracles on my adventures and misadventures during my airline travels around the world. They are evidence that my survival strategy as a very frequent flyer often works: if your plans get screwed up, look for a new opportunity or at least a fresh story. Real writers know that if nothing goes wrong you don't have much of a story. However, as I embarked on nearly 20 hours of straight travel from my home to Prague on Monday, I decided I could do without a new story on this trip. I announced as much to the airline gods: "I don't need a new story today."
They heard me, up to a point. All my flights arrived on time, or early, connections were easy, and my bag came to meet me as I walked to the carousal at Vaclav Havel airport. On the longest flight, from Dulles to Vienna, the only empty seat on the plane was the one next to mine. So I got extra legroom and sprawl space, but no interesting conversation with a stranger. There was the small matter of the baby three rows ahead of me. This was the loudest howling baby in human history. Every time it started up, it felt like an air raid siren had gone off just above my head. This happened every fifteen minutes, without preamble, for the whole 8-hour flight. Goodbye to any chance of sleep or proper rest on that redeye flight, though I had boarded sleep-deprived afetr staying up reading most of the previous night. However, the howler in the night brought me an unlikely gift. As I was ripped again and again out of drifty liminal states, I found that I had strong imagery and compelling ideas for a possible new book I had never considered before, though if I bring it off it will marry many of my life themes, dream adventures and experiences of walking on the mythic edge. I can't say more until the writer in me has had a chance to work on this. Writers write. I have never been inclined to say too much about what may be in the works until the work is done. But I'll share my one liner from the trip: A howler can monkey with you to a purpose.
Drawing by RM.

5 comments:

Mountain Lion Lady said...

I love the drawing!

Mountain Lion Lady said...

I love the drawing!

Peggy said...

Howler monkeys roar like jaguars.

John Swan said...

then there is the howler monkey of the tropics

John Swan said...

the picture reminds me of THE SCREAM...the famous painting