When I’m busy with projects, I tend not to post here. The blog is a quick and dirty way to get that good old writing feeling. When I’m stuck on a project (meaning a novel), I don’t write. So the blog is helpful in that instance. When you’re a writer, and then you don’t write, and you know you should write, and you need to write, but you’re not doing it, the writing that drives you nuts and feeds you nonetheless, your homeostasis is totally off and you’re oh so frustrated because you don’t write. The very smart Susannah Levine, with whom I yakked not long ago, described it perfectly: “literary mastitis.”
It feels so ick. A malaise with aches and an inflammatory, gout-like aspect. Substantial and pernicious. Reaches into your interior in an expansive, stretching way, like red wine has legs. And that is where the blog comes in.
But I’ve been so busy with my two novels in progress — one in particular — and an additional project — a serialized novella commissioned by In Tune Monthly for an e-Pub they’re launching soon (stay tuned!) — that the blog’s been moribund.
Which is fine. Since I’d rather write. As in write write.
One of the novels I’m working on is called Ah Here We Go. It is based on the Alaska Airlines disaster in 2000. If a plane crash is everyone’s worst nightmare, then this specific event is every single parent’s worst nightmare.
If you know me in real life, you likely know that if I have a fetish, it would be aviation.
I am obsessed with the whole schmear-y mess of it: from rivets to wind shear, the quotidian and the catastrophic, the equipment and the physics. I have always wanted to write about the “gleaming silver death machine” — thank you, Don DeLillo. And from that same eavesdropped cockpit transmission recounted for Jack Gladney and Tweedy Browner at the Iron City airport: “I love you Lance.” That moment, too. When someone thinks it’s the end, and it’s not.
Unlike the plane and Lance-loving pilot in White Noise, Alaska Airlines 261 was real. The pilots flew valiantly and did everything they could despite their airline’s negligent beyond-woeful non maintenance of a critical huge screw. They tried to make it work. They couldn’t. This was not an instantaneous evaporation or explosion. The passengers sat there, longer than for an episode of 30 Rock, feeling the attempts to keep them level and alive. An amazing single mom lost two children on that plane. They were with her ex-husband, their father, and new stepmother, half-brother and stepbrother. She was en route home from her own vacation. She had no clue the plane carrying her children crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu. She had to be intercepted by family and friends. She lost everything yet she is still here. How, I do not know.
The captain’s last words were “Ah, here we go.”