The Artist Date is a dream-child of Julia Cameron. We’ve discussed her book, The Artist’s Way, and highly recommend both the book and the weekly date. It can be life-changing. It can open your creativity like nothing else. This week, we’re dipping and turning in the clouds!
I love to fly, any kind of flying, so it wouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who knows me well that I would jump at a chance to go up in a jet fighter doing dog fighting maneuvers at an air show.
Now while admitting to having a need for speed and a daredevil’s temperament I should also admit that I probably have the worse tendency toward motion sickness known to man. There is even a joke in my family that as a kid I would get car sick in parked cars. But was I going to let that stop me? Absolutely not.
A handful of Dramamine later and with absolute determination I was not going to embarrass myself by acting like a screaming girl, I slid into the cockpit of the LTV A-7 Corsair II Trainer. The theme from the movie Top Gun started playing in my head. Mike—call sign “Jellyfish”—slid into the seat behind me. He would be doing all the real work on this hop; after all it was his plane. Though when he found out I had flight experience he sort of cocked his head and got that look in his eye that said I might be allowed to touch the stick if I didn’t scream too much.
We were towed out to the flight line to wait our turn to taxi for take off. While we were waiting, Mike tested my procedural knowledge by having me talk to the tower. I hadn’t forgotten my pilot alphabet, though I found the panels in the Corsair II a lot more complicated than any plane I had ever flown. Where was the altimeter again?
Before long we were up for take off. Take-offs and landings are the most difficult parts of flying, so this was all Mike. If you have ever sat in a commercial jet during take-off you, know what it feels like to be pushed back in your seat as the plane climbs, now imagine what it feels like when you are in the sports car category of planes. As I was slammed back into my seat the thought crossed my mind that there wasn’t enough Dramamine on the planet for this.
I barely had time to think much during the next minutes. Actually, time had no meaning. I was caught up in being weightless for microseconds at the peak of parabolic arches and pitched to my left or right as the plane pitched over toward one side then the other. I was either staring up at endless blue sky or watching the ground rushing up to greet me. I don’t think I ever did scream, but I know I was laughing and whooping as one does on an amusement ride.
In the end I did get to touch the stick for a while as we brought the plane in for approach to land and I realized I had totally forgotten to be airsick.
Photo by ktorster. Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post by Kathryn Neel.
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Maureen Doallas says
Love the writing on the side of your plane, Kathryn. Now you just keep on flying. . . higher.
Monica Sharman says
Loved the weightlessness at the top of the parabola. Too bad it doesn’t last longer! I was in jr. high when Top Gun came out. Didn’t Navy recruiting skyrocket right after that?
My favorite part of the instrument panel: the attitude indicator.
Thanks for taking us with you! Every artist should fly.
Kathryn Neel says
I hadn’t noticed “The Office” on the plane until you pointed it out, how funny! It is perfect, though.
Kathryn Neel says
Yeah, when I was in high school one of my dreams was to be an astronaut/science tech so I could try weightlessness, alas the closest I ever got was scuba diving and going to Space Camp with my niece and nephew. I did work as a contractor for NASA for a while, but that was totally ground based.
Will Willingham says
You had me at the dramamine. I spent a lot of time with those nasty yellow pills when I was small. My sister and I were famous for “initiating” every driving relative’s new automobile.
Okay, and then you had me at not screaming like a girl.
Sounds like a great time, in any event. 😉
I think I’m feeling a bit motion-sick…
🙂 it was the “danger” on the side of the plane that caught my attention. Riveting, Kathryn. You are the bomb.