Sunday, August 3, 2014

On Vacation

I’m taking a vacation. A vacation from writing. For the last year and more I have been working on several stories that are now on their own (see my web page), and frankly, I’m tired. I need to remove myself from my desk, from my office, and (while the weather is good), spend more time outside preparing for the coming winter, cleaning up after the last one, fixing things that got put aside and just, in general, doing things other than writing. Everyone needs a vacation.

I can’t put writing away, though. There is something in me that won’t be sequestered (the Politically Corrupt term-of-the-day); something that cannot be turned off for more than a few minutes at a time, it seems. My mind, and I suspect that of most who write, isn’t capable of stopping the process of examining and playing with ideas. The ideas are mostly triggered by what we see and hear and experience second-by-second, or if fatigue has entered the equation, hour-by-hour.

It is almost as though I have two people in me: one is the person I am “in the moment,” and the other is the observer, considering what I see and participate in as part of a story; a story I will write later perhaps, or discard as not a story worth telling. Most of life is in that category, I think. Life is, well, life. It is what we all experience day-by-day. The exceptional events, the unexpected things that happen, are what make a good story, or at least trigger a line of thinking that results in a story. Sometimes that works to produce a story I want to tell. Sometimes it is just a bit of text I scribble in my mental notepad and later discard. Whatever happens to the idea, it is a process I can’t turn off. That’s why I carry a notebook in my pocket, a notebook and a pen, and fill with “jottings” as well as notes about things needing my attention or supplies that need to be replenished. I have a box full of little pocket notebooks that probably aren’t worth keeping, but I keep anyway. Now and then I go back to them, looking for an idea I know I put down, or details of an event I witnessed or participated in, and want to elaborate on.

A vacation, then, for me at least, is a period in which I will be able to turn off the keyboard, if not the process.

Sometimes it lasts all day.

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