Sojourning in Lawrence – writer and romantic arrives
September 20, 2011.
The train arrives a half hour late in Lawrence, bringing me in at almost 12:30 a.m. I deboard, the three-inch heels of my red patent leather Mary Janes stepping to the platform. This writer and romantic, and quite the quirky gal, enters Kansas, and will be here till December.
The conductor and another Amtrak attendant lift the huge, trolley luggage and top-size for airplane carry-on luggage — both stuffed. I tote over my shoulders a large leather travel bag, a large cloth shoulder bag that carries my laptop and USB connections and anything else I could fit in it, a leather shoulder briefcase, all black. Also over my shoulder is a large catch-all white wicker bag that caught a lot of what I thought to bring.
The pavement is wet from the same thunderstorm I’d watched from the Lounge car a couple hours ago. A few passengers also deboard; a larger number queue to board. My host steps in front of the latter to greet me.
My host, dear readers, is my favorite and most trusted editor, Malcolm Gibson. I met him in 2001; he was hired to travel to Chicago to be my writing coach for a week, before the launching of my newspaper column “Letter from Chicago.” Mr. Gibson became my fan and I his. He understands my passion and what I offer, and celebrates by not letting me leave anything off the page. Which is torture for a writer, and necessary. When she thinks she’s giving everything and the editor says “there’s more. spill it!” And she digs farther into herself to give more than she thought she had, and it’s terrifying … and wonderful. The end result is the readers get everything, every breath she as to offer.
Mr. Gibson and I had remained in touch sporadically. When he and his wife Joyce visited Chicago about once per year, we met over dinner and cocktails to catch up. When I committed to completing my novelette For the Love of Chocolate, Mr. Gibson volunteered to be the editor.
Meanwhile I began the “Writer in Residence” actual and virtual expedition via my web site, with the mission to simplify my life to travel and writing. My first destination choice was Lawrence, Kansas, as I thought it ideal to begin this expedition by meeting face to face the editor and coach who knows me, reveres my writing voice and insists I put every bit of it on the paper.
Now I arrive, in his territory. We greet with a kiss. He wears a baseball cap, white and pale blue Hawaiian-style shirt, khaki shorts and boat shoes. I wear a black and white big polka dot dress with crinoline, no gloves that I’d intended to wear yet my fingernails are a shiny red. I wear shiny red Mary Janes with three-inch heels and a hair tie with a large faux-flower. He pulls the trolley luggage to the awaiting navy blue SUV. I tote the other bags and hand them to him to stuff in the vehicle.
Thump goes the closing of the trunk. Mr. Gibson opens the passenger door and I settle in, wrapping my arms around the skirt to hold it ladylike as he closes the door.
Ten minutes away is his and Joyce’s home, the “Gibson B&B” as he told me when inviting me to stay with them for a portion of the Lawrence Kansas Writer in Residence. Malcolm shows me my room, complete with a desk with a red rose on it and a Ghirardeli Chocolate on the pillow. Gent that he is, he prompts me to relax while he unloads the luggage. Joyce is asleep this late hour, having to arise early for work.
“May we have a glass of wine and catch up?” I ask. Yes, he replies after a beat of consideration; let him first bring in the luggage. I sit in a living room claret color winged chair, smoothing my polka dot skirt.
Malcolm returns, asks if I prefer red or white. Red. He opens a wine armoire and a good bottle and pours. He sits in the winged chair across from me and we converse about our lives, Writer in Residence project plans and ideas till 3:30.
That was last night, I say as I tap at the computer 12:45 a.m. Tomorrow’s another day. I and my gracious hosts are invited to the Circle S Ranch for a Farm to Table Dinner. After which Malcolm and Joyce return home, and I spend the night in the Circle S “Cowboy Room.”
I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, here’s related coverage regarding the Jacquée T. “Writer in Residence” expedition:
—“Lipstick and pen — her ‘Writer in Residence’ embarks”
— “The midnight train – a romantic journeys to Kansas”