A Trip Through Time

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Cover ©1977

Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Cover ©1977

Schlachthof-fünf

Ho Hum

Siggie

Great Lakes

Ann-Tique Anny

Waterfalls

Cemeteries

Chateaugay

Corner Stone

Wild Walk

McCadam

So it goes

In no particular order, the above are elements of my upstate NY trip from last week. I left Colorado early in the morning on July 11th and arrived in Vermont early in the afternoon of the same day (that seems to have to be stated these days). Seeing the familiar greenery and terrain of the Northeast was like salve to my soul. My folks (dad and stepmom) picked me up and we headed to New York.  I spent a week there. I left New York and Vermont July 18th. And again, the day after that. Air travel was severely backed up on the 18th, which delayed lots of flights. My flight. I stayed at a crappy hotel run by nice people (the Ho-Hum Motel) with no air-conditioning. In the upper 80s, muggy. I stayed on the second floor in the building behind the pool. I stayed with one table fan, two dead and (half-inch-sized) unidentifiable bugs shaped like those kernels of candy corn, a disgustingly dirty mattress and pillow with unidentifiable stains and black hairs under the bed sheet, and one live (and Daddy-Longlegs large) spider that went off somewhere I know not where and is surely still having the run of the place. My flight out the next day was again delayed. Due to “a mechanical” (nose gear failure). We left about 45 minutes late. I got to O’Hare. The short story of my flight out of O’Hare went something like this: three gate changes, three plane changes, 2+ hours of a “quest for a plane.” Through all of this, I’d been re-reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. I began reading it in an airport in Colorado, and I finished reading it in the air over New York State, just minutes before crossing Lake Ontario. I was reading the 1977 paperback I’d read in high school. My Fight Attendant out of Vermont was a blonde German-sounding woman, named “Siggie.” But she could have been Norwegian.

So it goes.

I will write a handful of posts about my trip, whereupon I visited a couple of cemeteries, a waterfall, and took in a “wild walk” through the Adirondack woods. I also visited a bookstore (Corner Stone) and explored a small community (Chateaugay), which included a cheese factory (McCadam) and antique store (Ann-Tique Anny).

I’d decided to re-read Slaughterhouse Five because I loved that book and its cool time traveling shit and I wanted to see how Mr. Vonnegut handled writing about his funky time-traveling shit. See if I could employ any of his techniques. I think I can, said the train.

I’ve tried to read some late-model novels (car people say “late model,” so I thought I’d try it with books) over the past couple years, and across the whole I have to say I’ve been roundly disappointed. Sometimes it was the writing, sometimes the story. Many times both. I’d even tried to read some other science fiction novels I’d absolutely loved when I was a kid…and had again found myself severely disappointed. And these were great names, on the order of (because I don’t point fingers, I am giving the kinds of names these authors I’d read were, and am NOT saying these were authors whose work was terrible) Pohl or Zelazny. When I’d reread some of the above, I was positively stunned at how poorly written I’d found them to be as an adult and as a writer. Perhaps what I’d read was early in their careers. I hope so. But, wow, Slaughterhouse Five, which I’d read in high school, however, did not disappoint. In Slaughterhouse Five I’d found an incredibly well-written novel that eschewed traditional structure and incorporated “author intrusion” to its benefit. And Vonnegut’d employed “small words.” Amazingly so. Slaughterhouse Five impressed the shit out of me. Made me interested in reading fiction again. That’s why the classics are so-labeled, I guess. Maybe that’s what I should start [re]reading. The classics.

And so it goes.

I’d written the longhand draft of this post over Lake Ontario, Canada, Michigan, and Indiana, I imagine. If you get right down to it, over the clouds over these places, really. And I’m finishing it over the carpet in my writing office. As I’m currently inputting these inked words into the electronic, I feel curiously displaced, much like Billy Pilgrim. I feel myself still in the air…yet in my office. Tripping through time. I like flying. I like writing. I like tripping through time, Tralfamadorians be damned. I came out East (as I usually do) to visit my folks, my dad and stepmom, and another set of characters, the Adirondacks. I haven’t been to many places outside this country, but I have traveled up and down, left to right across this country, and the Adirondacks is where my heart is…perhaps to my Colorado wife’s dismay—though she does enjoy visiting with me. I went alone on this trip. Wife’s schedules. So it goes.

I was also a tad stressed when I left July 11th. From writing. Working on Voice and trying to meet my self-imposed deadline that was already shot because of other schedules…as well as some other, non-writing-related issues (as I wrote this section on the plane, we passed an interesting cumulus cloud that resembled a lamb lying upright…its head the shape of that alien monster from Alien; this singular cloud rode atop all the lower, horizontally lying clouds), like just trying to get a fare on a certain airline that “awards” frequent flyer mileage for loyalty…then gives out only the suckiest of pairings.

But…I got there…am here…was heading home.

There’s more to come.

I felt the plane descending into O’Hare.

So it goes.

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About fpdorchak

Paranormal fiction author.
This entry was posted in Books, Leisure, Metaphysical, Nature, To Be Human, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to A Trip Through Time

  1. Jim Johnson says:

    Never, ever transit through O’Hare. That is a life lesson I’ve learned the hard way – oh, 20 times or more.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Yeah, I know…but otherwise I was getting routed all over the country for three stops v two (Texas or DC or…) and have 12 hours of “flight.” This was my [theoretically] BEST option. I always try to avoid O’Hare if at all possible. Usually my flights go well!

  2. Candy Corn shaped bug, sounds like a stink bug, when smashed smells dusty and astringent. Speaker once said to add extra time to your deadline since life ALWAYS will come up with something that takes away time from writing. The buffer allows for less discouragement if later and more celebration if you come in earlier.

    • fpdorchak says:

      No, not a stink bug; I know those. I’d never seen this [in person] but they almost reminded me of ticks. I hafta look those buggers up….

      I’ve added 17 years to that deadline, if ya know what I mean. :-]

      Sometimes you just get caught up in things…like boiling water. You throw a person into boiling water, they realize THAT ain’t good, and try to immediately escape. You stick a person in warm, comfy water…then gradually turn that sucker up…and before you know it, someones eating you for dinner….

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  12. I spent about 16 days in a cabin (Trailside Cabins) in Owls Head between spring and early summer. Had a great time fishing the Chateaugay, the Salmon and the St. Regis. Walked the trail to high falls on the Salmon (not the ones in Chateaugay). Just had a great time and met some nice people. Spent a lot of time in the Malone library doing research on two old ghost towns. One is going to be published soon (I will let you know when and where) and the other will end up being published or I will break it down into several posts on my blog.
    Nice meeting you,
    Wally

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