Thousands of kilometers, Baconators, and how to fix Star Wars – Guest Post by C.M. Forest

Blog Post No. 499

Continuing the run up to the 500th post, this week we have a guest post by C.M. Forest, better known on this blog as jerk Christian Laforet.

20190210_173939Alright, picture this: It’s early, like, the sun isn’t up yet early. The day is promising to be a hot one, but the chill from the night before is still in the air. I’m standing in front of my house, a small suitcase and a bag of books on the ground beside me and a Monster energy drink in hand (with a few more tucked into my suitcase). I’m anxious. Toronto is a four-hour drive (through some of the most boring landscape ever spewed from the Earth) and the event, a reading at a bar for a genre publisher, will not pay near enough to cover the costs of the trip. I can’t even say I’m looking forward to the event itself. I’ve always been an introverted person and the idea of standing before a group of strangers and reading aloud is not an appealing one. So, yeah, I’m anxious. And then I see the red pick-up truck turn the corner of my street and that anxiety begins to dissipate like the nighttime chill. A moment later, Ben is parked in my driveway, my bags are loaded and I’m climbing into his truck. Some sort of joke has already been cracked, as has my Monster, and with a last glance at my house, we’re off. And now I’m no longer anxious, but exited (and not just because Ben is a good-looking guy either!). I’m excited for the hours I get to spend with my friend with nothing but conversation to fill the time.

20190209_091538Ben and I have developed a sort of conversational itinerary while on the road. I think Ben has talked about this before, but, in case you’re not aware, he has written a damn lot of blog posts, so I’m not going to take the time to look, and rather just assume. Still, it bears repeating. Our go-to topic is how Star Wars has been, well, let’s just say, less than it could be, beyond the original trilogy. If Disney had a hidden microphone in the car while we drive up and down the 401 (a highway which runs from Windsor to Toronto—and beyond—for those not familiar with the area), they would have avoided some rather embarrassing entries in the Saga. But it’s not just Star Wars, oh no, we are willing to “fix” just about any movie or television show we’ve seen. You might think this topic of conversation could get stale, but you would be wrong!

img_20170215_203023_695Beyond the big (and small) screen, our discussions also frequently veer into brainstorming sessions. I don’t know how many short stories, novellas and novels were first given voice while cruising to a reading, or convention. Some might think it’s a case of “captive audience” but it’s honestly not. I love hearing what stories have been filing Ben’s thoughts, what ideas have gone to seed in his mind and are just now breaking the soil. Conversely, I get a chance to run a concept or plot idea by him before anybody else gets to hear it. The drive is long enough to really work through the ideas, nurture them into something worth putting on paper.

Of course, such brilliant conversation needs fuel, and as luck would have it, one is never too far from a Wendy’s. Another great thing about traveling with Ben is we both acknowledge that Wendy’s is da bomb (yeah, I said “da bomb”, so what? I’m a child of the 90’s. Deal with it!). Now, full disclaimer, although the title mentions the legendary Baconator, that is not our first-choice burgers. I’m a Dave’s Double kind of guy (or even a Dave’s Triple when the mood strikes me), while Ben goes for the Bacon Mushroom Melt (when it’s on the menu). I can safely say that at some point, during every road trip, we hit a Wendy’s (unless there isn’t one on the way, then we go with something else—except Burger King, because Burger King is garbage).img_20180516_194332827

So, you might be asking yourself, why this piece about road trips? Why wax nostalgic? Why now? The answer: I’m just weeks (days? depending when this gets posted) away from making my first solo trip to Toronto for a book signing. Due to the fact that Ben has Addison’s disease (damn you Addison and your need to spread your stupid disease), he is not ready to venture into the germ-filled wilds of the wider world yet (and I don’t blame him). But what that means, is that for the first time, I’ll pack my books, crack a can of Monster, will likely even stop for some Wendy’s along the way, and head to Toronto for a book-related event alone. The logistics will be the same. I’ll leave at the same time, take the same route (not there’s a lot of options in that regard), pack the same stuff, but it will not be the same. When I pull out of my driveway, and the night chill is still hovering through the air, I’ll know that the anxiety I’m feeling about the endeavour is not going to disappear. It will not evaporate before the face of good conversation with a close friend. It will stay with me for the four hours between my house and the book store I’m signing at.20190414_095208_hdr

The good news, at least, is that things are getting better (or, I should say, boosters and vaccines work, so for those who have received them, the chances of catching a nasty case of the ‘vid has grown slim), and I can confidently say that both Ben and I are just getting started with our writing careers. What that means is that the road trips are not over, just on pause. We’ll be rolling along the 401, sometime in the near future, doing what we can to fix The Book of Boba Fett (although that might take more than one trip), and I’ll happily leave the anxiety behind.

Christian (C.M. Forest)

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