Writer’s Note: The bold type and Italics that I customarily use for emphasis in my posts are not in this one since I haven’t yet figured out how to do those on my iPad … 🙂
A quick post is required here because of all the heartwarming comments that have come in since my meeting with The Happy Bookers in Atlanta on Tuesday (the 19th). But first …
… I’m still on the train en route to New Jersey and will be for another 4-5 hours. The Amtrak route I take whenever I travel to Atlanta is on a train called The Crescent, which runs daily from New York to New Orleans (through Atlanta, among lots of other towns, small and sort of small-medium). This is an overnight trip that I’ve taken dozens of times over several decades, and I’ve come to love this excursion as yet another idiosyncratic element of my life. And, with less than a handful of exceptions, there have never been any problems or delays.
However … Yesterday, as the train was leaving New Orleans for the return trip to New York, somebody in a little Louisiana town had his/her truck on the railroad tracks and, for some reason, did not move the truck before the train got there! I know! Unbelievable. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured (that I’ve heard about anyway), but both engines of the train, along with five cars, were derailed.
Needless to say, the 8:21 p.m. departure from Atlanta didn’t happen. By the time Amtrak got everything squared away (details I’ll be glad to share, if anyone is interested and asks), the New York bound train didn’t arrive in Atlanta until almost two o’clock this morning. We pulled out of the station at 2:20 a.m., exactly six hours late. And we haven’t been able to make up any of that time. So we’re now due to arrive in Newark, New Jersey between 7:00 and 8:00 tonight (instead of the original 1:30 p.m.).
But all of the passengers I’ve encountered on board have been remarkably pleasant and patient–and the Amtrak personnel have been extremely accommodating. Many of them were working on the derailed train and were transferred to the train Amtrak rerouted to keep the New York return trip from being completely cancelled. They (the Amtrak personnel) are understandably exhausted, and some were really sore from being tossed around during the accident. (Really a miracle that there weren’t any major injuries!) Under the circumstances, everyone on this train (who I’ve run across, at least) is totally taking this whole experience in stride.
As for me, as soon as the porter in my car prepared the upper bunk in my little sleeper room, I put on my “train jammies” and climbed up onto that bunk, which sort feels like a hammock to me (it was after 3:00 a.m. at that point). I made a valiant effort to read a little bit of John Grisham’s The Confession on my Kindle, but caved somewhere around 3:30. Slept like a baby thereafter, being rocked gently by the train’s motion for the next six hours. Woke up at 9:45 a.m., as we were pulling into Danville, Virginia–still six hours behind schedule. Had lunch in the dining car with a fascinating fellow: born and raised in Atlanta, an artist (painter), and living in the East Village of Manhattan for the past couple of years.
Now we’ll be in Washington, DC in about 30 minutes, and I’ll be working on Under Construction for a couple of hours. There’s always something very “Agatha Christie” for me about these train trips to and from Atlanta–but this particular excursion is embedded with extraordinary memories that will probably show up in a scene or two of a future novel. 🙂
Meanwhile … As all of the train stuff was unfolding, I was watching with feelings of indescribable warmth as comments were being entered by Happy Booker book club members to my Tuesday, April 19 blog post about our incredible book club meeting together. My entire book club experience with them has been more fun than anyone should be allowed!
I want to thank all of those women so very much for their amazing words and thoughts! Getting to know each one of them was a pleasure that totally (and extremely) exceeded my most Technicolor expectations, and I am so excited about staying in touch with everyone! Their support and encouragement has further energized and motivated me to get the next book (the nonfiction Under Construction) finished as soon as possible (target: my birthday on October 14) so I can quickly move forward with the next novel (which is now looking more and more like a sequel to Separation of Faith, based on popular demand 🙂 ).
The infusion of light from The Happy Bookers will forever be a treasure! Thank you so very much!
Wishing a wonderful rest of the week to this blog’s amazing followers, to those popping in for the first time, and to the book club. And best wishes for a Happy Easter to those who celebrate!
P.S. More photos of the book club meeting will be posted after I get home. For some reason, my iPad doesn’t want to recognize my flash drive, even when using Apple’s own adapter attachment supporting USB and cameras. If anyone can help me understand why this would be and how to fix that problem, I’m wide open to solutions! 🙂