Friday, May 29, 2009

UP and Adventure

I expected to like the new Pixar movie UP. I've liked all the others, and it had balloons! Take a look at the cover of my novel Lighter Than Air. It was obviously destined to be a movie for me.

However, ten minutes into the movie and I had all my expectations changed. It wasn't wacky kids getting into adventures. It was about the gray haired old guy Carl, who's heart and the love of his life Ellie were aimed at adventure, but real life got in the way.

The thing is, I'm a gray haired old guy, and my heart and the love of my life are aimed at adventure. The only difference is a few choices Mary Ann and I made early in our marriage to "Travel now! We might not have the opportunity later."
And so we did. From weekend trips when I had no vacation time and gas was cheap, to the later years when we submarined off Grand Cayman, or flew in little planes across Africa, or followed the wildlife in Yellowstone.

Mary Ann found her calling as a nature photographer, and I discovered the great joy of finding the right "place" to inspire my writing. There is travel with nice hotels and fine food, and we do like that. But the bulk of it is taking the road we've never see before, or heading down to Galveston to ride out Hurricane Ike, or finding creative ways to get from A to B by visiting the whole alphabet, making a trip to a science fiction convention into a 15 state marathon.

Just such an opportunity is coming up soon, and it can't come too soon.

So the movie spoke to me. I made life choices differently, but that's beside the point. If things had happened differently, that could have been me facing old age with nothing left but a grand gesture to try. It made me all the more grateful for Mary Ann and the wonderful opportunities we have enjoyed. It made Carl's loss of Ellie deeply emotional for me. I doubt I'll ever be able to watch it without tears. And I intend to watch it again soon.

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