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Usually, when I come to Colorado for the Grand Lake Writers’ Retreat, I fly. But this year my husband is traveling with me, and we decided to drive, to make a vacation of the journey, as we have many times in the past. Tonight is the first of three we’ll spend on the road — we’ve just arrived in Las Vegas and checked into our hotel. Vegas is only four hours from L.A., an easy, unambitious start. It’s 110 degrees and full of tourists, which means, I suppose, people like us. You have to be in the right frame of mind for this place, and I am. The occasional night (one) spent inside an insanity is bracing. The sensory overload makes me laugh. I like to gawk at the lights, to play Black Jack and eat a nice meal and swim in an overheated aquarium. Just another fish.
I’m not sure whether I’ll have time to gamble this trip, though, seeing as I’m still 5000 words shy of a complete draft of the memoir. In order to meet my self-imposed Grand Lake deadline (previous installments on the angsty-angst can be found here, here and here), I must write while on the road, and after arriving in Colorado, too, 833 words a day for the next six days. I know myself: if I skip a day, I won’t finish. I can do it, right?
To paraphrase Christopher Moltisanti: I’d fuckin’ better.*
I used to think people who took cabs to get back and forth between the casinos on The Strip were ridiculous. The Luxor is right over there — just walk. But marching along the sidewalk, sweating in the ungodly heat, the pyramid never seems to get any closer. Until, that is, you’re right on top of it.
Coming up on the Rockies from the east has a similar feel. I’ve made that drive many times, too. Here’s a bit from the memoir:
I think of the pioneers, days and weeks swallowed by grass and sky. Wheels turning, turning, clouds like dreams that followed them as they spoke.** The eruptions are tiny, fixed in the distance, but eventually the wagon train draws close enough and everyone understands what’s ahead. Who can be prepared for that moment, no matter what they’ve been told or by whom? Some must have thought, Ah, it’s beautiful. Some must have thought, This is far enough.
See you soon.
* We’ve been rewatching The Sopranos.
** I realize this sentence doesn’t make sense. Fuck*** it.
*** That’s two profanities in one post. Probably, there’s a law.