Derry, Northern Ireland

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

Flight paths

My hotel is situated almost in the middle between the flight paths of airplanes landing at LAX.  During the day I've watched 737s and 747s and even an Airbus 380 glide in under the gleaming sun, and at night I can see their lights hovering for miles in the distance as they line up to take their turn.  Some go to my left, some go to my right, their wings spread wide and gentle, their wheels down and ready to reconnect with mother earth like geese retaking their place on the still waters of a lake...and I just watch for a short while, fascinated.

This is way too symbolic of my world, at present...hell, since I was born.  I sit in the middle as activity whispers past me.  Not partaking so much, just observing.  As if I was meant to do nothing more than report on the lives I saw as they were lived by others.  In all my stories, I've used aspects of what I've seen as well as experienced, what I've learned about as well as had first hand knowledge of, what I've wished for as well as avoided, what I've done right as well as done wrong.

Even now while gazing out the window at the passing parade, I consider each plane holds hundreds of people, each with his or her own wishes and hopes and dreams.  Maybe ten-thousand flitted past just as I wrote these words.  A friend of mine once said he couldn't look out at the LA basin from a high vantage point at night because of the overwhelming sea of lights glimmering below.  Each one represented a person and the concept of that much humanity in one place overwhelmed him so much, he feared he'd fall apart.  I used that for the basis of a character in a book I started titled "The Golden Sea."  But I started it too soon...before I really understood what he meant.

But now I do.  Jet after jet after jet after jet zips back down to earth and the sheer number of them and the  realization of how many individuals have passed makes me a bit dizzy.  But it's a good that tells me I have yet to begin to even scratch the surface of the world in my stories.  And it pushed me to remind myself that no one lives forever. quote Henry the Second in "A Lion In Winter" in response to Eleanor of Aquitaine's suggestion they do just that, "Do you think there's any chance of it?"


Writer said...

I guess somewhat similar: I've always felt on the outside looking in - now whether that was naturally from a feeling of otherness that eventually bloomed into being gay or otherness that will at some point become me as a writer. At least from the me as writer point of view, I've yet to start. While I've been gay to my knowledge for 17 years - erm, I mean, I came out to myself.

What you describe though is why I try not to think to much about cars passing me. All the lives that go past, that I will really never connect with.

However, I did once write a poem about walking past lit windows at night. And it became wandering through the night wondering about the many lives inside.

JamTheCat said...

I wonder if this is something all gay men and women feel -- a sense of "otherness" keeping them apart from the rest of society. It's probably why we build our own communities and families in the face of the world's opposition.

I'd love to read your poem. If you're open to posting it here, it will be in a place of safety.