Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Writing and Driving

Hello, all!

I haven't written an entry here in ages. Main reason is that I've spent most of the time since my last post traveling. Finally, I've been home for a week and a half, and I've been catching up. Writing, polishing, submitting to agents, entering writing contests, -- even coordinating part of one -- and reconnecting with my writing colleagues on several e-mail loops. Not to mention that I have a family whom I love dearly and try to care for. However, with my only child in college now, I only have to care for my dear hubby, who doesn't need much, so, until she comes home for a weekend in early November and then, of course for Thanksgiving, my time is my own.

Then there's the household clutter that builds up when I'm working hard on my writing. I have to get going on that, too.

I'm continuing my exercise program of fast walking and am now working with a personal trainer in preparation for the ski season. I adore skiing, which is probably evident to anyone who reads my book, Lost Mountain, part of which takes place in the Swiss and Italian Alps, and also the ski slopes of Lake Tahoe.

What does this have to do with driving, you ask? Err..nothing. Now you know I'm a writer who likes to veer off on a tangent.

Do giive me a break. I'm working so hard at honing my craft and building my novels with good, solid, interesting structure, that I need a little release. So, there you have it. I meander.

On one of my writing e-mail loops today, a New Yorker joked about New Jersey drivers. Since I'm originally from New Jersey, I took to pondering her point. In response I wrote this little story of my driving life and posted it on the loop. Something compels me to post it here.

So, here goes my story. I'll be back in a couple of days to update you on my goings-on. And, believe it or not, I never got back to the beach to read my book. But where I live, sometimes you can sit on the beach in winter, so I'll keep trying.

OF STATES AND DRIVERS

I was born and raised in New Jersey, where we used to gnash our teeth about "New York drivers." (And let me be up front --though I live in California and am a member of Silicon Valley RWA, I still long for my home state and have recently joined NJRWA -- so if any of my NJ sisters are reading here's a wave!)

A small town in New Jersey is a great place to be brought up. However, after college I longed for the excitement of the city andmoved to Manhattan. There, I had a respite from driving, but when Ifinally moved to Brooklyn and bought a car, I became a "New York driver." Well, of sorts. Since I'm from Jersey, I guess you New York natives will never extend me that kind of street cred.

When I moved across the country to live in Seattle (on BainbridgeIsland, actually) a girlfriend and I drove from New York to Washington in her VW Scirocco with NY plates. We were issued a couple of tickets -- cops seem to love to get their quota by picking on the drivers from out of state. (Would we ever speed on those lovely flat expanses of country road in Nebraska? Noooooo way, Jose!)

In Seattle I had to take the road test (again), since at the time Washington State did not have reciprocity with any other states. People told me the test was hard, so I even took some driving lessons. (Yes, I know the New Yorkers would agree that I needed those.) Once Igot my Washington license, I became a West Coast driver.

I always loved the drivers in Washington state -- after New Jerseyand New York, they seemed positively mellow.

After a couple of years, I moved to California -- the San Francisco Bay area -- to marry my dear husband -- and learned to driveon California freeways. I've now been a California girl for a good number of years. I have a college student daughter, so you can imagine how many.

Recently, I drove from the Bay Area to Seattle, a two-day drive on I-5. All alone, mind you, since DH had to cancel out at the last minute because of a crisis at work. I'd never before done such a drive solo, and it was an interesting and pleasant experience.

When I got back to Seattle, I found the drivers had become more like us drivers in California, USA. (The Bainbridge Island drivers still seemed mellow, though.)

Now, I'm back home. My conclusion? The drivers are great in Oregon!

Yes. I know. You needed to know this.

xo, ciao,
Rita

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