On Flying and Writing

Type A’s, like me, resist surrendering control to anyone. Yet every time I board an airplane, I do exactly that. I don’t know the pilot and the pilot doesn’t know me.

So what do I do? Finding my seat, I think about something else.

Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life ends with a chapter on flight. From page 93 to 111, Annie describes her acquaintance with a stunt pilot named Dave Rahm.

First, at an air show, she watched Dave Rahm “write an intelligent message in the sky … like a brush marking thin air.”

Later, given the opportunity to fly in a single engine plane Dave Rahm piloted, she vividly describe her the extraordinary experience.

You can do that, you know, only if you walk away after the plane lands.

Dave Rahm flew Annie to see the Cascade Mountains. “The Cascades,” she said, “make the Rockies look like hills.” In Washington state, Mt. Ranier stands at 14,411 feet, the highest peak in the Cascade range.DSC_1632cr

Annie’s experience prompted me to write, first in the margins of her book and then in my journal about a flight in Alaska I had taken. Since I could relate to her words ––the parallel she makes to writing––I share my own experience on flying.

North to Alaska. Aaa-las-kahhh! Read more