There’s an undeniable attraction for writers to New York City. Whether it’s the conglomeration of culture, the proportion of publishers or just the way the city has featured in so many art forms. Walking New York is like being in an artwork itself. The buildings are the paintings, the streets the galleries. Having been to the city twice, I spent a week after the World Fantasy Convention exploring and revisiting some of my favourite destinations.
The scales were hard under my fingers, but after 120 million years, I still expected to feel some of the softness of a live fish. And yet, here I was, in the presence of possibly the oldest thing I had ever touched, apart from the Earth which I walk upon. While children ran around, shouting in joy at the dinosaur skeletons, I took a moment to stop and think, this is where I am, and it is a small place indeed.
Kat: Look, let’s face it. I could write about all the things we did in New York like going to museums and checking out art galleries, but who cares when I tell you that I got to fly a plane over New York at night, do 2 take offs and help co-pilot a landing. As my sister said “Who put you in charge of a plane?!”
Justin: One of my favorite films is the Fugitive, it actually really got me interested in the grandeur and architecture of Chicago. Its location shooting and ability to capture the chilly realism of Chicago still blows my mind when I watch it. In the film Harrison Ford essentially hides, ducks and weaves from pursuing authorities as he alters his identity to find his dead wife’s killer.
Kat: In 1965 the great (but not late) Bob Dylan released an album that would become one of the most influential of all time: Highway 61 Revisited. It contained one of his most well known songs, Like a Rolling Stone, and combined the blues and rock sensibility he was known for. Dylan himself lived near the highway for a time, hitching rides to shows. 61 is the blues line, a road full of music that defines a nation; Elvis, Muddy Waters, BB King, the list goes on.
Kat: Louisiana is best known as the vampire capital of the world. You’d think we’d get bitten with Lestat, Louis, Bill and Sookie all in the same state. But it is where the melange of American culture meets with African American, Creole and French. We’ve spent the last week in New Orleans, celebrating Halloween and learning more about blues, bayous and BBQs.
Kat: They say when you visit each state in America it’s like visiting another country. No more is that true than in the Appalachian mountains, where old-time music plays along hidden roads to the beat of running streams and falling leaves. The byroads that run through Virginia and North Carolina are world-famous, more so in the season of autumn, where the trees display a fascinating explosion of colour ranging between reds, oranges and yellows. We began our journey in Shenandoah National Park, a national park that runs 100 miles along the ridges of the Appalachian mountains. The road that runs through the park is called Skyline Drive and displays some fantastic views of the Virginian landscape.
Kat: Los Angeles: a bright shining ray of California goodness. Over the past week we stayed in Hollywood, and while everyone we talked to told us it was awful we actually enjoyed the area. We visited Graumann’s Chinese theatre and put our hands in the concrete. I have the same hands as Bing Crosby (believe me he had small hands!) and Justin shares the same size palm as the great Michael Caine. Better put on a right proper accent for that one.
Justin: We’re in the Grand Canyon, our last leg of the American national park circuit and it’s been an adventure for sure. This past week has thrown up some memorable moments, vistas, people, places and toilets.
The southwest USA is known for incredible rock formations made all the more interesting by variety of colours due to oxidization. Monument Valley and Grand Canyon as opposed to other national parks have a certain air of eternal stillness that captivates you deeply. You just really feel and touch the sands of time here.