Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just travelin' along

I'm running over to Rochester, tomorrow, because that is where the closest branch of my so-called international bank is. Chase has no offices in Buffalo, at all. So if I have to do some business at one in this area, I have to travel 60 miles. Irritating...but it may turn out to be all right, in the long run. I'm told there's a great barbecue place in Rochester called Sticky Lips. With a name like that, you know I had to find a reason to try it out. Plus part of the Erie Canal runs through the city.

It's funny, but I hadn't really thought about how you can make this massive circle around the Eastern US via the Erie canal and the Great Lakes (Ontario, Erie and Michigan) then down the Mississippi to the Gulf and around the Eastern Seaboard back up to New York and up the Hudson to the Erie, again. A woman at work was telling me about how her husband and brother-in-law did that, once, over the space of a couple years. One would take the boat a certain distance then fly home and the other would get vacation time and find the boat and take it farther. It's called "The Great Loop" and sounds like it'd be fun to do, sometime.

I broke POS into its three sections and bought a ring binder for each. Green ring binders, capable of holding 275 pages for a total of 925 sheets. Not counting dividers. Section 1 already has 14 chapters with a good 8-10 more to go. The other two have fewer than 9 chapters. Man, this story keeps widening as I go through it, like a river aiming for the sea. Like "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and Huck's journey down the Mississippi on a raft with Jim, the runaway slave. As the river widens, so does the breadth of their tale.

Y'know, that story is brilliant and elegant and totally worth the read. Mark Twain's use of English in not only the proper sense but the colloquial was unmatched, and his characters unequaled.

What's sad is, I remember a lot of people were loudly offended by Huck's use of the "N" word in regards to Jim. Of course, it was obvious they'd never read the book, because if they had they'd have seen how Huck was brought up to believe Africans were less than human, slavery was protected by the bible and if you helped a slave escape you'd go to hell. All drilled into him by Aunt Polly. But by the end of his travels, Jim had become such a friend to Huck, the boy decided he'd rather go to hell than betray the man. It was a thrilling realization in a deeply humane book.

I'm hardly on the level of Mark Twain (or Leonid Tolstoy) so I can only hope to reach the beauty of that moment in my writing, I know, but it never hurts to try. Keeps me working out my writing muscles.

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