November was NaNoWriMo. I pledged to write 50,000 words.
Yesterday, it ended finally. And I failed.
It was an over ambitious goal to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I knew it right at the beginning. Still all is not lost. I don’t consider the effort a total failure.
While I might not have met my word count goal, I did finally spend time to chalk out the plot line, the events, the characters and the mystery. And even wrote several chapters. I didn’t write daily, and in fact didn’t write most of the month. Strangely enough November ended up being way too busy. Way too busy than normal. Did I mention I work 40+ hours? I flew most weekends in November as well. I don’t want to give reasons as to why I didn’t write. Considering the few days, actually hours I spent on this, it was still worthwhile. I enjoyed every moment, creating the characters, the scenes, the mystery and building the plot.
This was the first time I was focused on a full length novel, so it was an interesting exercise to work the details, keep the dates right, the names right and tie all the events together cohesively.
As far as I am concerned, the writing will continue. My goals remains unchanged. And I have a mystery to solve!
Here’s another fragment for your enjoyment. Enjoy!
“William Turner Atwater!” bellowed a voice.
“Teddy! Is it really you?” laughed Bill, getting up and hauling Teddy into a warm embrace. Theodore Edward Graham was another legend at the airline. “So you are the surprise. Well. Well. John, do you know Teddy?”
“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him in person, but of course I have heard about him. Who hasn’t?” I responded, shaking Teddy’s hand.
“He and I were together at Nam and fought side by side. We quit the army around the same time and chose a career in aviation. Thirty years. And it comes to an end soon. I heard you are retiring soon, Teddy.” Bill said, looking at Teddy.
“Yep. In fact today is my last day. I jump seat with you to LAX, pick up the flight to DC. My last flight.” He answered wistfully.
“Are you planning to retire in the Capital?” questioned Bill.
“No, just have to take care of some business out east, and then I will move permanently to Lancaster, CA. I still own a home there. Millie and I will settle down there. How much longer do you have?” Teddy asked.
“I have one more year to go. Good to hear that you are still going to be in California. Jill and I plan to retire in San Luis Obispo, so we will be practically neighbors.” Bill responded enthusiastically.
“Captain, ready to load the passengers?” asked Nina, our chief flight crew member, peeking into the cockpit.
“Yes, better get them in, before they start a strike,” joked the Captain.
Thirty minutes later with the passengers loaded, weight and balance resolved, we finally closed the airplane doors and taxied in line to depart from Runway 28L.
I like these early morning departures. Daylight was barely breaking through. There was some early morning fog hugging the coastline. The lights of San Francisco were like beacons suspended in space. Off to the right was the Bay Bridge glistening in silver. Even this early in the morning, I could see traffic trickling through. And to the right, glinting golden with the streaks of dawn was the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Wisps of white fog floated. We climbed steadily and headed towards Point Reyes, before turning to intercept the radial to Woodside VOR.
I always enjoyed flying the Golden Gate Arrival during evening twilight or dusk as well. It is breathtaking, or sometimes, as is often possible, when the fog rolls in and the Golden Gate remains suspended in space, resplendent in the evening glow. Seeing the Golden Gate any time of the day or night means coming home. The setting sun over the Pacific, the crisp sunny skies with fog looming over the valley, were a comforting sight. I loved flying from my home town of San Francisco.
The trip to LAX was a mere one hour. Within minutes we were headed direct to AVX VORTAC and cruising in level flight. Arriving at AVX we will execute the arrival procedure into LAX. Over the last two years, I had flown this route many times. I could literally fly this route blind folded.
I could hear the bantering between Bill and Teddy as they joked about bygone days. I wished the flight were longer. One did not get the opportunity to fly with not one but two legends in the same cockpit. Bill flew the plane with expert precision and finesse.
We had arrived at AVE and were already working through our before landing checklist, when a call from our dispatch office buzzed in. Seconds later, we had communication with the Air Traffic Control.
Neither of us knew that moment, how irrevocably, all our lives were going to be changed.