In giving Kenzie that three-day weekend once every four weeks in the new novel Pit-a-Pat High Jinks, I was leaning on a work schedule I had on a newspaper out in Ohio. I sure wish I had it when I was living Upstate New York and assigned to a typical split week like his in the story. It was brutal.
Of course, in this round of revision, I was looking ahead to his experiences in my new Subway Visions. He would now have a chunk of time to head off to the Big Apple and return home.
As I reflect on my own forays into the city and its mass-transit tunnels, I think I made as many trips during my time in Ohio as I had in a similar period when I was living only four or five hours away from the metropolis. In other words, Kenzie gets in a lot more time on the underground tracks than I ever had.
Living an hour north of Boston, as I do now, I can admit to spending far more time on its subway system that I had in New York’s. And I’ve also relied on the systems of Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington in the years since I drafted the original Subway Hitchhikers.
Have you ever had a special twist in a work schedule that had an impact like this?
Most of the hippies I knew were from New York City or its suburbs.
No wonder Woodstock was such a big deal. It was just a couple of hours up the road from the Big Apple.
Not all that far from where Kenzie would wind up living in Pit-a-Pat High Jinks, for that matter.
They all started out very much like me, but now I hardly recognize any of these characters.
Or, for that matter, lovers.
Because of What’s Left, I had a clearer sense of Kenzie’s youth when it came to the revisions that led to Daffodil Uprising than I did back when I published the earlier version.
It’s surprising what a few more years of perspective can add, especially when you now have someone like Cassia sitting beside you.
Is there a personal event you’ve come to understand quite differently now?
To call me visually oriented would be an understatement.
For most of my life, I’ve viewed the world through imaginary frames and lenses.
I had four years of art training in high school and when recently reviewing many of those pieces was impressed by their high quality. I seriously considered continuing on into college and a career beyond but realized the struggles of making a living that would follow. And so I veered into journalism, where I applied many of those skills in designing newspaper pages, photo essays, and cropping pictures. Thousands and thousands of them.
It also led to a love of typefaces and calligraphy and book design.
Maybe I haven’t strayed that far.
I’ve also worked with some of the best photojournalists in the field and known a number of outstanding artists. I even married one.
On a more mundane level, I sometimes shift into cartoon mode and begin seeing people as whimsical drawings. Or I ponder how they would photograph. (No, I’m not staring at you the way you think I am, sorry if it’s making you uncomfortable.)
Well, for that matter, I did meet some famous cartoonists when I was working for the newspaper syndicate and selling their work to our clients.
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modesty / quietude / passion