Five years ago, I began writing what I had hoped would become either a solid short story or, if my creativity and stamina would cooperate, a full-fledged novel. Needless to say, the story did not hold my interest long enough to see it to completion. In fact, after writing only enough to set the stage for a political and military confrontation between allied, I set the story aside. Only this morning, as I skimmed a list of documents in a “writing” subdirectory did I come across the meager framework of what could have become an interesting story. The two characters in the opening scene of the story are the prime minister of Canada and the president of Mexico. They have just agreed that the topics they were about to discuss would be held in strict confidence between the two of them; no one, not even their most trusted staff members nor their spouses or anyone else, could be privy to the information they would share.
The information they shared was this: both countries had secretly been developing nuclear weapons; not as offensive weapons, but only for their defense. Defense from their most powerful ally. The United States. Especially in light of the fact that an egotistical madman occupied the White House. The leaders of the two countries were concerned about the unpredictability of the U.S. president; they felt obligated to protect their citizens from his actions. During their brief meeting, they agreed to quickly craft and sign a mutual defense agreement and announce it publicly.
About the same time I was writing that piece of fiction, I was exploring the idea of writing a novel, also involving nuclear weapons as a source of dramatic tension. And part of that tension revolved around nuclear threats that could, eventually, lead to catastrophic destruction of a major U.S. city. But, before that city might be destroyed, another small city whose name suggested the larger target would be targeted. Just as proof of intent.
I convinced myself, at the time, that a road trip to gather information for my novel would be in order. So, my late wife and I drove to Manhattan, Kansas. The details of what I did there are dull and unexciting, but the seemed interesting at the time. So, this morning as I wonder where mi novia and I might go as we launch our road trip, Manhattan, Kansas is among the places I might consider as a target. But, the Texas coast, setting for another short story (actually published in an anthology), is another option. So are Oberlin, Ohio and Traverse City, Michigan and Savannah, Georgia. We’ll see where we are tomorrow morning at this time.
This trip, though, will not be a “writing trip.” It will be an opportunity for experiences and excitement and the thrill of travel. And off we go. Soon.