Weekend Trek

It was a busy weekend. The family drove to St. Louis Friday night so I could wake up Saturday morning and fly to Minnesota to hear my son’s performance at a music composition camp, then fly back with him to St. Louis and drive home. My son’s composition was brilliant (and so too were those of many of his fellow camp members).

I had a lot of down time, but I also had a lot of really bad sleep. I’m still pretty exhausted, actually. I did have a few observations, though.

1. The security personnel at the Minneapolis airport were some of the best humored I have ever dealt with. Two thumbs up for them for being professional, courteous, and good spirited. The bonhomie actually seemed to permeate the entire staff. (And here’s a mildly curious aside — as my son and I were lining up for the security check I passed a gentleman getting in line to check his bags, and danged if I didn’t do a double-take. He wasn’t some guy who vaguely resembled Al Franken… he was Senator Al Franken. I suppose that it’s not at all remarkable that Al Franken should ride planes, or that he should be in Minneapolis, seeing as how he’s a senator from Minnesota, so perhaps it’s not actually that interesting an aside…)

2. If you’re ever eating at the P.F. Chang restaurant near Brentwood in St. Louis, ask for Zach. He’s the best waiter I’ve met in many years, surpassing many at far more exclusive restaurants. He was seriously excellent.

3. While waiting in airports I spent a lot of time revisiting David Gerrold’s The World of Star Trek and discovered that it’s actually a really excellent book for writers. I’ve had it on my shelf since I was ten or twelve, but haven’t picked it up to read since I was fifteen or so. In any case, it’s just chock full of great discussions about plot and character, how to avoid formula, and so on. I found myself wishing that the reboot writers had taken a very close look at all of Gerrold’s observations.

Gerrold cites a lot of original episodes to make his points about good or bad features, and while he’s speaking specifically about Star Trek, all of those lessons can be applied generally to other writing. I’d highly recommend it to all writers… except that you have to be extremely knowledgeable about the original Star Trek to understand a lot of the thrust of his arguments.

Right — off to get back to work on my Hearthstones novel. Hard to believe GenCon is practically around the corner now!