One of my projects for Act III of my life is to have a more efficient approach to fun. This sounds grim and actuarial, but it isn't. What I mean is that I want to see if I can have more fun in my life for the same amount of effort expended.
I first formulated this approach for myself when I spent last summer teaching at Hollins. One of my most beloved students, Amy, and I realized that for the same effort of meeting to discuss her chapter-book-in-progress we could meet while licking black-raspberry chocolate chip ice cream cones or while sitting in rocking chairs on the verandah. For the same effort of writing a chapter of my own book, I could write it in the Cups Cafe in the Grandin neighborhood of Roanoke, with a grilled cheese sandwich afterward at Pops.
Okay, it takes a little more effort to transport myself to the ice cream shop or the cafe, but for a tiny bit more effort I can transform an ordinary day into an unforgettable one.
I'm writing this from my motel in Sheridan, Wyoming, where I'll be doing two days of author visits on Monday and Tuesday. When librarian Jennifer wrote to invite me, she told me that I had three options for getting from Boulder to Sheridan (on the northern edge of Wyoming, just a few miles from the Montana border): I could drive (seven hours each way); I could fly to Billings, Montana, and rent a car to drive to Sheridan; or her father-in-law, who is a pilot, could fly down and get me in his little plane.
Hmm. Get more fun in my life for the same amount of effort expended....
As the weather was predicted to be a bit iffy for Sunday, Jennifer and I agreed that Pilot Billy would fly down to get me on Saturday, and I'd have an extra day in Sheridan to write (have I mentioned that extra days to write are my favorite thing in the world?). So mid-morning yesterday, Jennifer, Billy, and Jennifer's fabulously sweet, bright, and dear eight-year-old daughter, Paige, flew down to collect me at the little Rocky Mountain Airport around 10 miles from my house.
I admit I was a tad nervous about the flight, nervous enough that I did say a special goodbye to my family, assuring them that I've already lived a full and happy life, so they didn't have to mourn me too much if anything happened. But of course, nothing did. We flew on air as smooth as silk, in serene silence (courtesy of our headsets), looking down upon the Wyoming wilderness spread out beneath us.
Now I'm at my motel - not a motel chain, but the Mill Inn, cheaper and funkier than the higher-end alternatives. I already used my clock-change hour to write a chapter on my novel-in-progress. Shortly I'll write another chapter and then head out to wander around the charming town of Sheridan.
So many of my days, sweet as they are, blend into one another, no day much different from the next. They are days to savor, but not days to remember. Yesterday, for the same effort as an unmemorable day, I had a day to remember always.