SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25. 3:30 AM
The alarm clock goes off about three minutes after my eyes open. I should be tired, but I've just spent the last year, doing the exact same thing; gettin' up at this time to prep for my temporary assignment at the fabulous Peninsula hotel, where Oprah's guests stay, apparently. Normally, I'd brush my teeth, head downstairs to grab a cup of coffee, step outside the backdoor and sneak a smoke. Think. A lot. About a lot of stuff. Then I'd have another cup, snack on a honey bun, or a danish or something, take my vitamins, jump in the shower. Then get dressed, a quick check of my email, and race out the door to catch a bus, then a train, downtown to make a 6 AM start time.
Today, however, is different.
Today, I'm going to New York, to attend the New York Comic-con, where I will meet my new publishers, Narwain. Particularly, Sabrina and Dario, the head of marketing and editor in chief, respectively.
SATURDAY, 2/25/06. 5:30 AM
On the road to the airport. My wife, Amy, is driving. I look at her, glancing from the corner of my eye, and realize once again how important she is to me. When Sabrina contacted me about the possibility of my attending this con, the first of the year that Narwain will exhibit at, I considered it an opportunity to get to know, on a personal level, my new publisher. Up til now, Moonstone Books has been putting out my books. I owe a lot to them, but have been wanting to spread my wings a bit. How odd to find a home for my project with a company based in Spoleto, Italy, just outside Rome!
After mentioning it to Amy, the idea of attending the con, an hour later, she had my itinerary in hand: flight and hotel info, all laid out for me. All I had to do was show up! God bless her, she knows how important this is to me, and takes great pains to make this creative struggle of mine much, much easier to contend with. The fact that Amy considers New York to be the city she'd move to at the drop of a hat is mentioned only once; she's been there a number of times, with me, with her family, but this is the first time I've gone by myself since we met and married. I feel a little guilty for her not going, but I know that we can't afford the both of us taking the trip. We really can't afford my going, solo or otherwise.
The convention began on Friday, so I'm already a day late. I think, in hindsight, I should have gone the day before, but with my last day at the hotel and the expense of another night's stay at the hotel, Amy and I have decided this was best.
She drops me off at the American Airlines terminal. We kiss, I grab my bag, and I'm out the door. She peels away before the airport cops give her any grief for spending too much time parked. It's a little after 6 AM, and I stand outside, smoking a last cigarette before heading in. I quickly check my cell phone, which is set to silent. A voice message. It's Amy, giving me one last ego boost, wishing me luck and telling me she's proud of me and loves me. I smile, crush out the butt, and head into the terminal...