5 Things I Learned About Writing While Trying To Get Home

Other passengers make excellent cushions when properly subdued.

1. All airport coffee is inferior coffee. Both in terms of taste and caffeine. Five cups and I was barely vibrating.

2. That weird half-doze I inevitably fall into while looking out an airplane window brings me the best ideas. I don’t know what it is. Something about staring at the sunlit tops of the clouds puts me in this strange not-awake, not-asleep trance. My eyes are open, and I’m reasonably sure that if you talk to me, I’ll respond*, but all higher brain functions are temporarily suspended. If you put an ear up to my head, you’d hear white noise. Or maybe the ocean.

Something about the Airplane Trance brings me awesome story ideas, though. I think it’s because, with all logical thought disengaged, my creative parts take over and start freewheeling through my brain like a Ferris wheel cut loose from its moorings. I get characters and stories and scenes that way. All partials, of course, because Airplane Trance Brain is absolute balls with planning, but still interesting stuff. Yesterday, on the tiny prop plane that takes people to where I live, I found two guys having a conversation in my head. I’m not entirely sure what they were talking about, but I sure as hell want to find out.

3. Writing is the best way to kill time when your flight is delayed by eight hours.** Absorbing, entertaining, and magically transports you to another place. Which is more than your airline can do at the moment.

4. People will bite you if you come near their power outlet. Based on the evidence of that guy in the suit with a laptop, iPad, iPhone, bluetooth headset, and travel vibrator connected, spider-like, to a single outlet at Pearson Airport. Relax, dude: I charged at the hotel.

5. If you write on a plane, people will read over your shoulder. Yes, I’m talking to you, Leather Jacket Guy Whose Elbows Extend To The Ends Of The Earth. And you, Miss I Bathed In Perfume Before Boarding So I Can Force Everyone To Sit In An Immoveable Cloud Of My Stink. I can see the reflection of your roving eyes in my laptop’s screen if you’re behind me. If you’re next to me, I can tell that you’re not reading your book because you haven’t turned a page in an hour. Don’t think you fool me with your sidelong glances. I know what you’re doing.

Ditto for notebooks. I’ve had people tilt their head to better decipher my handwriting. Pretend you were stretching your neck for the eighth time in ten minutes all you want. I know what you’re doing.

I just don’t care.

In fact, just for you, I’m going to pull up that crazy sex scene and start editing it right fucking now. Enjoy.

*Or I would if I didn’t have headphones on.
**And then cancelled entirely. Polar vortex wins again.