2001 Space Odyssey

Hit the road, Jack...

The last time I wrote that having a variety of job experiences is a good thing for writers, just for their overall education and background to draw from. I realize it also made it look like I couldn't keep a job, but there's nothing I can do about that. You may reach any conclusion you want.

Today I'm addressing another topic, and that is the benefit of travel as a source of education and material. I tend to believe this one, although I know it's possible to travel in one's imagination and still come out sounding knowledgeable. I'm confident Arthur C. Clarke did a fine job with 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I have traveled a lot, including 47 states and the District of Columbia. I have actually lived in Iowa, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. I lived on USAF bases in Texas and Massachusetts. I also traveled in 24 countries, living in Germany, Turkey, and Israel, and stationed by the USAF in The Republic of the Philippines for eighteen months.

I have yet to live on another planet, but if that ever happens, there'll be something I can use for my stories. Travel!


Just what do you think you're doing, John?

Wheeeeeeeee! I have conversations with my chair. You need to understand this is not an ordinary chair. This is a new chair that my long-suffering wife, Lisa, bought for me on the sly, assembled herself, and set it before my computer. It is a beauty, and it knows it. Sort of like Lisa's self-absorbed cat, Bernadette.

Anyway, it is a wonderful chair and it invites me to sit in it and write.

"I am comfortable, John. Here, come sit and write."

"I know you're comfortable, but I'm busy procrastinating right now," I say.

"I am adjustable up and down."

"I know."

"I can go round and round, spinning like a top. It's fun!"

"I know that, too," I say.

"I can rock."

"I agree, you definitely rock, being comfortable, adjustable, and spinning-capable," I admit.

Most days, this new chair does not need to entice me. Most days I am motivated enough that I go there willingly, without conversation. Like today, as I write this, and prepare to send it on to my book concierge, Rowe Copeland.

But now it is time to get up and attend to some chores, yet I hesitate, afraid to hurt its feelings. You see, the chair has taught me to say, "I appreciate you" whenever I get up and go away for a while. And after I say that, it responds with, "You're welcome, John. See you again. Soon." This reality makes me nervous. Makes me think of Hal, the computer, in Stanley Kubrick's epic film, "2001, A Space Odyssey."

The voices are similar, soft, mellifluous, easy on the ears. Hypnotic.

Maybe I'll stick around and write something more. Another blog, a letter to my congressman, a note to an old friend. Surely I can come up with something to keep me in the chair. I mustn't make it angry, it is so comfortable. One could get lost in its lovely contours. Maybe I'll just rest my eyes for a moment, maybe doze off, perchance to dream, to dream, to . . .