One of the all-time best improvements to luggage is that extra compartment out front. If you pack too tightly, have to add a last-minute item, or just need to get something fast, the zippered pocket is your salvation.
When authors pack up and hit the road, the inclination is to pack – suitcase and brain – the way a general maps a battle. Plan, practice, penetrate. Maximize the time and leave little to chance. And no freelancing.
I learned today you need an extra compartment out front, a place in your noggin that lets you entertain the idea of an extra stop. En route to a weekend of events in Charleston, S.C., I took a lunch break in Florence.
Hungry and sick of driving, I wanted to get to the restaurant identified by Google, and then get back on the road. As I glanced left, however, I noticed a palace of a building that turned out to be, according to the sign, a public library.
I kept going, but the image of the building returned throughout lunch. A quick search revealed this was the Doctors Bruce & Lee Foundation Library. I called and got Margaret at the Reference Desk. I explained I once worked for a South Carolina newspaper, had written two novels, and was wondering if I could come by and donate a copy of Bella and Bootlicker.
Affirmative. I went back and wound up having a nice chat with Margaret’s boss, Reference Manager Aubrey B. Carroll. Mr. Carroll gladly accepted the books, posed for a photo, and said he’d add them to the collection.
You’ll recall the usual luggage metaphor advises to write as tightly as you pack, with no clothes hanging out the sides. (Or excess verbiage clogging the pages). This one’s a little different. It’s about leaving space to follow an impulse. I recommend you do just that.
What’s the last spontaneous thing you did on an author road trip?
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