The Trip So Far

On the road again.  I left New York on Monday for Matlacha (pronounced mat-le-SHAY), Florida on my way to the Historical Novel Society Conference in St. Petersburg.

My first surprise was the brand new Delta Airlines terminal at LaGuardia.  The space at the gates, rather than being filled with quasi-comfortable chairs, is almost entirely taken up with one-person booths, each one equipped with an iPad on which you can check the status of your flight, order food and drinks to then pick up at the bar, read uninspiring internet newspapers—like USA Today, or play hangman.  There is almost no place else to sit while one is waiting for a flight, except for a tight row of chairs along the windows, almost all of which are marked as reserved for the handicapped.  The whole place carries the air of that interstellar café from the first Star Wars movie, and you expect to see large hairy creatures with yellow and green striped horns playing music through their clarinet-shaped noses.

But I came prepared.   I had begun to read Deadly Harvest, Michael Stanley’s latest Detective Kubu novel, as soon as I laid my hands on it at CrimeFest at the beginning of the month.  But though it took a LOT of self-control, I restrained myself and saved the last half of it for the plane ride to Florida.  Good thing too, as the flight was awfully bumpy and only by putting my head in Botswana with Kubu and his new colleague Detective Samantha Kama could I maintain my cool with no one to hold my hand.  Kubu did NOT let me down.

The blue dot is the middle is Matlacha
Here I am now on a relatively unspoiled part of the Florida’s west coast, visiting my friend and fellow writer, Marta Rangel Gibbons.  Marta and her husband Michael are recent transplants to these precincts from up north and in addition to their home, own two cottages, which they rent.  They took me on a tour of them and ever since I saw the smaller one, I have been fantasizing how perfect it would be as a writing getaway when the snow starts to fly in New York round about next January.

View from the back deck of Green Cottage
Marta kindly arranged three appearances for me, the first of which was at a meeting of The Pine Island Writers, which took place just hours after I arrived.  I will go on to speak at the Lehigh Library on Wednesday and the Pine Island Library on Thursday, just before Marta and I set off for the HNS conference.

 It will be my first attendance and I am looking forward to it beginning on Thursday evening.   More about which I will post at some point soon.

Annamaria Alfieri