By James M. Jackson
Earlier this week we returned from our 23-day journey in and around Antarctica. During that time, I had no access to electronic news feeds. I missed the Super Bowl – although I did hear the score the next day. I missed five shootings in or around schools: Lincoln High School in Philadelphia (1/31), an “unintentional” shooting of two in Sal Castro Middle School in LA (2/1), Oxon Hill High School, Oxon Hill, MD (2/5), the parking lot of Pearl-Cohn High School, Nashville, TN (2/9), and mass murder at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL (2/14). I missed (I think) Congress passing a budget. I returned to find Dreamers are still caught in a nightmare and the Olympics in full swing.
|Sheep with Magellanic Penguins on Falkland Islands|
|Striated Caracara - Falkland Islands|
The only time I consciously spent in writerly activities was during one day at sea. The birds had mostly left us, and it rained or drizzled all day. I stayed in my cabin and wrote the drafts of two blogs related to the April 3 release of Empty Promises. I suppose I should also count time I spent talking with fellow passengers about my writing. That should probably be counted as sales activity.
|young Black-browed Albatross - Falkland Islands|
Or perhaps a character will incorporate some trait I saw a passenger exhibit: how they approached eating each meal, a sideways shift of his eyes when he didn’t agree with a statement but chose not to engage in argument, a chuckle that turned into a giggle that turned into a knee-slapping roar.
|Chinstrap Penguin in the Southern Ocean|
Weather good. Beat Olympia 3-2. (Only by the date could I know if this was soccer or baseball!)
|King Penguin colony on South Georgia Island|
"If I turn my back on you will you stop squeaking?
I could choose to remain a Writer Unplugged. In some ways it would be easier to ignore all that’s wrong with the world and go my merry way without a care. Except, I prefer making decisions based on facts rather than beliefs, and by ignoring injustice, I’d lose the part of my core being that cares about the plight of others.
|Cape Petrel in Southern Ocean|
Oh, and so I don’t leave you with any false impressions, let me confess: I did manage to take 2,740 non-blurry pictures during the trip. How about you—what’s your biggest take-away from your latest trip or vacation?
P.S. I am posting photos and commentary of this trip on Facebook, as though you were traveling with me with a 20-day delay. You can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/james.m.jackson.author Be sure to check the Album as well as the daily posts. ~ Jim