Laurie Buchanan is looking forward to the April 6th release of Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One. Find out more about Laurie here. This is her first post for us.
My dad was a pilot. My sister’s a pilot. Three of my uncles are pilots, and my nephew’s a pilot. It’s no wonder that I married a pilot.
And while I’m not a pilot, I do take the annual Flight Companion Seminar taught by the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots. Could I land the plane in the event of an emergency? Possibly. Probably. But let’s not test the theory, shall we?
One of my favorite books growing up was Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. It came out in January 1967, the year I turned ten. The idea of flying with wings that sprouted from my shoulder blades fueled my already vivid imagination. I was possibly the first (perhaps the only) person to read it through ten times in a row.
Before Covid-19, I traveled a lot on commercial flights. Since that time, I’m fortunate that—weather permitting—my husband flies me where I need to go.
When I’m on the ground, I walk six miles a day (three two-mile jaunts). I find the walks to be inspiring; they feed my writing muse. But there’s something about being cloud-adjacent that’s equally—if not even more—inspiring. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Flying is quiet and tranquil (courtesy of ANR—Active Noise Reduction headsets), a great starting point for creativity. But there’s even more that’s conducive to writing. There’s the built-in beauty of what I can’t do:
There’s no wi-fi connection, so there’s no access to social media. I can’t get derailed by the internet. All I have available to me on my laptop screen is my manuscript.
I can’t get up and walk around. That nixes any trips to the kitchen.
There are no in-flight movies to distract me.
Now and again, we hit a kiss-me-quick—my husband’s term for air turbulence. Those serve to keep me from falling asleep.
Even more so, my bladder screaming for relief keeps me wide-eyed. Don’t let anyone con you into thinking that female “relief bottles” are as easy for women to use as the male version is for men. Liar liar pants on fire!
Travel as Inspiration
No matter how I get from Point A to Point B, I find travel to be inspiring. As a matter of fact, I wrote this post on a Cessna 182 while flying from Boise to Bellingham.
I took this shot near the end of the flight, during our inbound for landing in Bellingham, WA, where my next book, Indelible: A Sean McPherson Novel, Book One, takes place. The areal view inspired this brief excerpt:
“Much like a brilliant, multi-faceted gem nestled on the ragged hemline of the northern Pacific coastline, Pines & Quill, a wooded retreat for writers, sits Zen-like overlooking Bellingham Bay in Fairhaven, Washington, holding space to unleash possibility. The mango-colored sunrises and blood-orange sunsets compete in their breathtaking showiness, each vying for the rapt attention of would-be onlookers. One heralding the beginning of day, the other bids adieu, sending it off into the ink-black night sky.”