Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Self-Imposed Exile

I’m writing this post, surrounded by the gathering rain clouds and the sound of the wind whistling through the poplars and the birch trees. Rain clouds. Again. It wouldn’t be so bad except I’m parked in a campground in a trailer we fondly refer to as the Upchuck Wagon. Don’t ask. The good news is I’ve been happily turning pages and reading books, whittling down my summer reading list while sipping my current favorite tea, Stash’s Earl Grey Black Tea.

A little update on how I’m doing on my summer writing goals. I think ‘poorly’ sums it up nicely. I had planned on doing some writing while out here on our two-week camping stint. But you know what, I needed a break. The characters in my head are still whispering to me, but from afar as they’re on their own vacays. Lily is with Grace and Kate at the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa in Moose Jaw and Chase recently bought a Harley and is making his way on the open road to the beautiful Cypress Hills. He’s hooking up with a friend for some fishing, some beer and a long overdue conversation. Things are percolating in my head on a mostly silent level, which makes no sense I’m sure, but it’s the best way I can sum it up.

My brain is resting. Or maybe that’s nesting. Maybe it’s coming up with all sorts of good ideas for me to use when I’m back in my office, in my chair, facing the character board I’ve started creating for my new project. Or it’s gearing itself up to start the second revision process on Common Ground. Or maybe my brain cells are so saturated by hamburgers, potato salad and s’mores it can’t think clearly. (Note to self – cut back on the toasted marshmallows, not to mention the hot chocolate.)

I know writers are supposed to write everyday and I do usually write a bit everyday but everyone needs a holiday, a good solid holiday of no writing, a recharging of the batteries so to speak. I’ve had no access to the outside world. No Internet, no blogs and no emails (hubby will be posting this as he’s commuting back and forth to work) and I’m enjoying it. I do miss my cyber friends. There’s always a downside, darn it.

I think it helped that I just finished rewriting Common Ground (and I do mean rewriting, the last half of the manuscript almost completely) and knew I needed to take a break from it, set it aside instead of diving right back in on the next revision. Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to this revision, so I panicked a little at first over my self-imposed exile. I feared loosing momentum, ideas dropping into some deep, jet-black abyss never to be heard again. Dramatic tendencies aside, I worried over the outcome of a break from writing. As usual, I’m worrying for nothing. I’m feeling refreshed, ready to get back at it next week. My brain is slowly refueling and restocking.

If you could embark on any holiday you wanted, where would you go? Keep in mind, you’ve just won the lottery, you’re a billionaire, and money is no object. What’s your fantasy vacation? I think one of mine would be renting a villa somewhere warm with a full staff and lots of historical landmarks to explore, or my own island, sun, sand, and surf (no wind or rain in sight), also fully staffed.

Sorry, the cellular customer you have dialed is out of range, so please talk amongst yourselves. Hope you’re having a wonderful summer.


Yunaleska said...

I hope you're enjoying the break! It's always good to chill out. I take a mini-break every week by allowing myself Saturday off from writing. My muse is champing at the bit on Sunday.

Dream holiday, hmmmm that isn't so hard! Visiting Japan! Soaking up the language in one of the cities, with an huge shopping spree for anime and manga (japanese versions). Since money is endless, doesn't matter if I have a huge shipping charge to send everything home! Just being able to hear Japanese spoken everywhere, and hopefully improve on my accent and be understood when I ask for things. Being able to hear it on tv/radio. Then perhaps just spending time in local parks reading, writing and watching the sun set over Mount Fuji.

Captain Hook said...

Breaks are great for brain recuperation!!

My ideal holiday? I'd go to my grandmother's old house in the mountains of Vermont. Most of my happiest childhood memories are from there and I have always regretted that she died before I could ever take the kids to go visit her there (actually she died before they were born).

I want the chance to share those memories with my kids and maybe recreate them with them so the kids will have their own special memories to last the rest of their lives.

Janet C. said...

I hope the rain lets off for the last part of your holiday, Karyn. The summer hasn't been the best this year. And I'm glad you're resting, reading, re-charging. I think that's important for a writer and I'm looking forward to my own escape from 'reality' for the month of August.

Dream holiday? No money worries? The South of France - in a villa near the mediterranean. Fully staffed, of course, with lots of walks through vineyards and meals of baguettes, cheese and good red wine. I loved the movie A Good Year with Russel Crowe - of course, my villa would be in much better shape :)

Second choice would be a castle in Scotland, but that's my heritage coming through. The weather there would require me to seclude myself in the cosiest turret and write dark, gothic historicals.

Helena said...

Seems like summer does have some effect on our brains, at least the writing function part. No matter that I plan ahead, summer gets in the way. Never mind the weather -- if it's sunny and warm, I have to be in the yard; cool and rainy like lately, all I want to do is curl up with a book or in front of a screen showing a movie.

However, when Karen gets back in front of her computer next week, she'll probably go great guns. Meaning our brains know what's good for us, even if we don't.

My dream vacation would be to take over a mountain chalet in the Austrian alps and spend my days roaming the mountain meadows and sipping schnapps on the balcony watching the sun slip behind the peaks. Second choice, same as Janet's.

Ban said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ban said...

Oh Karyn, I'm with you - had such hopes and plans for my vacation ... didn't write a thing :( still plan to meet the Aug. 1st deadline though.
Can't wait 'till you're back, miss your comments over on my world ...
And as for vacation - I would go to Hawaii or one of those islands - I'd get myself a secluded house (one with wide open rooms, enormous windows, gauzy curtains and vaulted ceilings braced with large wooden beams) with a great view of the forest covered mountains and the ocean. haven't thought too much about that ... ;)

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
Even writers need a break once in a while. Everyone needs to recharge, and if this little break has made you excited to start revisions, so much the better.

If I had endless money and could go anywhere and do anything, the first place I'd like to go is Maui. I've always wanted to go to the Hawaiian Islands. A luxury hotel with people waiting on me hand and foot would be nice. Preferably beachfront, close to golf courses. My second choice would be Tuscany in Italy. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, terrific food and wine. Total heaven. My third and fourth choices would be the same as Janet's. I've been to Scotland once and I've always wanted to go back. But hey, if I'm rich I can do all four trips!

Hope it quits raining for you. And for me too. We've had close to six inches in the last week here, coming down in torrential downpours. Last night one of the window wells filled up with water and poured in over my washer and dryer. Looked like Niagara Falls. Our back yard was a lake. I'm thinking of building an ark!


Suse said...

Hi Karyn,

I'm envious of you and your recharging of your brain cells. I don't get away much during the summer and so many things seem to fill up my days, plus I don't manage my time very well, that I'm never really recharged for the fall season back at school. I seem to start the new academic year just a little bit more tired than I did the previous fall. I still go to work some in the summer, so I'm never really AWAY from it. And the days I do have off, I try to fit too many things in, including the writing which just isn't flowing.

Now if I could go anywhere I want, I would head back to Nimes, Carcasonne or even Monte Carlo (hey, I got lots of money.) Vancouver Island (Victoria area) would be a nice 2nd choice. I just like to be able to sit by the ocean and walk along the beach. There's nothing like the calming sound of the waves lapping on the shoreline. Just what I need to calm my overcharged brain.

Whereever I go though, I'm like the rest of you - I want someone to cook my meals, clean my house, and do my laundry.

I hope everyone has a fun and relaxing summer (despite the rain and below seasonal weather).

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Karen, don't feel guilty about not writing. Everyone needs a vacation once in a while whether they realize it or not. And the ones that don't get 'burn-out' and then wonder how it happened to them.

I know these 2 weeks have been unseasonly cold, windy and rainy but it sounds like you're making the best of it. Enjoy your family because they're more important than writing any day. We used to do a lot of camping. In fact, those were some of our best times with the kids.

As for where I would go on a vacation? On a Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise. Lots of sun. Comfy chairs. No big bugs, spiders, snakes, etc. I don't really like crowds, but I'll put up with them if it means I get a variety of fully cooked meals without having to make them or clean the kitchen after. No worries or cares. Magically arrive in different ports. Yup. That's the vacation I'd choose. :)

Good post, Karen.

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Checking in late again. For a true vacation, Italy or Japan, a mix of city and country, and that villa idea sounds lovely Karyn. For a long-term writing retreat, a cottage by a lake or on the coast, anywhere honestly. England, France, BC.. hehe.

And Anita, I can't help but smile at your mention of big bugs, because one of my most vivid memories of my family's cruise when I was nine, was us getting off the ship in Jamaica and waiting for our plantation tour to head out, and I looked up into the trees and saw the biggest spider in all my life hanging in a web above my head :)