I am YA author B A Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for teens. My tagline says it all - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them. This month I'm talking about travel.
And I happen to be a train girl, all the way. I look at a train-ride is time to write in peace and private. And to catch a load of scenery, setting and new personalities on the way.
I drive when I have to. Admittedly, "have to" sometimes equals the half-mile to the grocery store, but only because I come back laden with bags. I've driven as far away as Kentucky (I live in Illinois) and back, of course, but I hated it. I don't have a GPS, or a Smartphone, I'm still into paper maps and Mapquest. I even have the hero in my WIP stare helplessly at the GPS in his girlfriends car because he's been lost in the wilds of a third-world country for a decade and has no idea what to do with that thing. Believe it or not I am in the middle of teaching a class and telling my students to take themselves OUT of the character, but as I wrote that passage Kyle Logan from The Last Logan (coming fall 2014) was me. There are parts of technology I love and probably couldn't do without, and parts that make me feel like a latter-day Luddite. Especially if it's related to a car.
Planes are the only things worse on my hate-list. It's not about the shoe removal or body scan, the long lines and high cost of food since the planes no longer feed you. Something about leaving the security of terra firma just gnaws at me. Do not even get started on earthquakes, OK? I do it when I have to, and I'm going to have to in October when I speak in Ohio at the OELMA (Ohio Educational Library Media Association) conference. I don't mind landing, I don't even mind turbulence, much. But leaving the ground -- terrifying. I sit in my seat and pretend nonchalance, book in hand, my mind repeating the 23rd Psalm alternating with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, I pray the Lord... One of my worst and never-to-be forgotten vacations involved six plane takeoffs and landings. It was supposed to be an Alaska cruise, but the boat was disabled and instead of refunding our money the travel company shlepped us around the state via small aircraft. There's nothing like boarding a tiny plane with one other passenger and a slew of mail and knowing that's all that's usually on board.
Never happening again.
If I have to go somewhere, and a train is a possibility, I'm on it. CTA train, Metra, or Amtrak. Especially Amtrak where I can go first class all the way. In many ways it's like a cruise without the waves or the shore excursions.
Yeah, I like my plan better.