This trip seems somehow, weirdly, self-indulgent. I always feel guilty when leaving family at home. Always. The guilt will never go away or change – I have to just pack it with me and drag it along. An extra carry-on.

I am on this trip because I am researching a new novel.

That phrase seems so upbeat and confident on its own. If that sentence had legs, they would be rushing away at nobel or pulitzer clip. Ta Ta – must be off and all that. Could you give me a hand here, that’s it. Up and over. On the way, off we go.

Well, not with that kind of confident assurance, but I am. Researching a novel. In the novel, Hannah from Cleveland gets dropped off indefinitely with her gran in Tucson. There she gets way more involved with the local border issues than she could have foreseen.

So, in order to write the book, I am here in Tucson to take a lot of notes. Meeting me at the airport was Ed, my cousin Debbi’s husband. Guess he got the short straw. Already on the drive to their house, I am revising what I have written so far in consideration of his narrative. I need to be here, to indulge my imaginings.

Still, it IS a risky thing to declare oneself in the process of writing a novel. Isn’t it? And I can’t do this without help – now there is extra pressure, I must do well since others have invested precious time in my project. Part of me wants to bail quickly – but the cat is out. The first few chapters are out. This is it. I am researching. And according to Ray Bradbury – I should enjoy the hell out of the first draft – the nine revisions are certain to be a pain in the neck, might as well enjoy the fun part.

So, tomorrow is planned by Debbi, a travel day into the desert. Time to sleep, now. Tomorrow it begins in earnest. Through Hannah’s eyes.

One response to “Tucson”

  1. Sara,
    Please do not forget an old..oops! past friend ( we are not old! Just more mature and expericed!) who lives souteast of Phoenix when you are on your trips to Arizona! i still use your poems in my classroom…think of you and your family. Stay in touch ! Debbie Cartwright

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