Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 88 Day Stay

Look out! I'm coming to your town. Maybe. But only for 88 days.

W'huh? What's this all about? Glad you asked. I'll tell you. Plans are underway to commence a project that has me moving to a different city every 88 days.

Why 88 days? Answer: 77 is not enough. 99 is too many. Not to sound trite or quippy, although to be fair that has never stopped me before, if I were to make the moves too frequent I would not have enough time to engage and immerse myself in the town, and if I made the moves too lengthy I'd run out of time, lifetime, that is.

The original idea came to me as I was considering where to move once my house sells. I got this wild idea to live in each of the 50 states, you know, bucket list style. But at my age, even if I lived in each state for six months that would bring me out to age, uh...57 plus 25 equals...82 years old. So then I said to myself, how's about quarterly? Each state for 90 days. But those terms sounded so fiscal.

Taking good long look at the number 88 I found it to be graphically symmetrical, yet strangely jolly. Turn the number 8 onto its side and it resembles the symbol for infinity. Kinda cool. And hiding just under the surface of 88 is the number 33. My birthday is the jolly and symmetrical March 3 (3/3), so there you have it, the origins of "The 88 Day Stay."

Doing another round of The Math I realized 50 states in 88 day stays still has me on the road until, uh...50 divided by 4 is 12.5 plus 57 equals...70 years old-ish.

That's when a new reality set in. While I might love being the Great American Wanderer what if I want to give Italy a shot? Or Norway? What if I want to live in BOTH Branson and St. Louis? Orlando, Miami AND Key Largo? What if, after having been born in Portland, Oregon, I elect to skip the Rainshine State. That's when I decided to let go the cold, rigid handle of the galvanized bucket that held the 50 state list and grab the soft, adjustable strap of a stretch-cotton tote that held four red Nerf balls, which coincidentally represent my logo design:

What's in store for me? Lots of stories (most of which) I will share with you. And no, I will never ask you to help me move. That's how good a friend I am. But there will be lots of moving, lots of writing, lots of photography, story gathering, recipe collecting (for The 88 Day Cookbook) and meeting lots and lots of people.

In order to "hit the ground running" I will join the local Soroptimist club in every town I live in. Note how I say "live" not "visit." I want to live (and work?) in the cities, not just drop in as a tourist. This won't be a travelogue, rather a dialogue. I hope to make each book in the series unique in terms of locale, but taken as a whole a continuing story about "you people" mingled in with own personal evolution.

What's in store for you? Lots of stories! You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be inspired. Your wanderlust could be stimulated or possibly satiated. You will be able to take literary excursions without so much as having to pack a toothbrush. You can, if you wish, live vicariously through me sitting behind your 2.25x readers, or make the effort to intersect your vacations or journeys with mine.

When does the adventure begin? I don't know. Before I can hit the road I need to liquidate a lifetime of hoardings...really cool hoardings. Whereas a few years ago I'd be barfing right now at the mere thought of letting things go, I've taken an important, truly essential, step: to feel good about dissociating myself from mystuff.

Where will the first 88 Day Stay be? That depends. I am going to begin by making a list of cities that meet certain criteria. These destination cities (or towns or villages) should be places that interest me and preferably have at least one Soroptimist club. They should not be under siege, under water, on tornado watch, cleaning up after the recent infestation...you get the idea. And most important, have an interesting story that will contribute to the positive message that it's a small world after all.

"Yikes!" you exclaim. What's this going to cost? I anticipate a furnished high rise studio in Chicago costing more than a beach shack in Key Largo...then again maybe not...and a room in a midwest farmhouse costing less than a room in a lodge overlooking the Grand Canyon. I'll find out, won't I? It will average out over time and since I won't be paying rent or mortgage payments on an unoccupied permanent residence (a home in the classic sense) it probably will be about the same as if I stayed put.

Not to mention, if the 88 Day Stay series is a success there will be some money coming in from book sales, royalties, and of course movie rights. They'll probably ask me to write the screenplay and direct. But then I'll have to get someone to play me in the movie. What do you think about, say, Kathy Bates? She's such a good actress, funny, smart and down to earth. We're like twins that way.

Well, there you have it, the first installment. "The 88 Day Stay: The Big Picture."

All rights reserved (c) Lori K Oliver 2011

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